Traumatic Brain Injuries impact about 1.7 million Americans a year. One would think the sheer number of these wounds would make doctors and other professionals more aware of their causes, symptoms, and effects. But in many cases, that’s not true, as outlined below.
Given time and treatment, broken bones, severed nerves, and many other injuries generally heal, at least to a great extent. But brain injuries are permanent. Once these cells die, they do not regenerate.
As a result, a Lexington personal injury attorney can often obtain substantial compensation for TBI victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes Brain Injuries?
Vehicle collisions cause most of the head injuries in Kentucky. These incidents combine all three causes of head injuries, which are:
- Trauma: The airbags, seatbelts, and other restraint systems in today’s vehicles are much more sophisticated than the ones in place twenty or thirty years ago. But even the most advanced restraint system can only absorb so much force.
- Noise: Many car crash witnesses say the sound is like an explosion. These sudden loud noises trigger shock waves which disrupt brain functions. These indirect brain injuries often affect bystanders and pedestrians.
- Motion: In car crashes, victims’ heads often violently snap forward and backward. This motion often causes whiplash. This soft tissue injury does not appear on most diagnostic tests, but the condition could cause paralysis.
Dog bites also cause a number of head injuries. When a large breed dog, like a rottweiler, lunges at a small child, the knockdown often causes a concussive head injury.
On a related note, child dog bite victims often experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms. Doctors now know that PTSD is not a processing disorder. Instead, it is a physical brain injury. For that reason, the Canadian Armed Forces recently renamed this condition OSI. Operational Stress Injury victims are eligible for the Sacrifice Medal, the Canadian equivalent of a Purple Heart.
Other head injury causes include falls, swimming pool drownings, and third-party assaults. Like car wrecks and dog bites, these injuries usually involve negligence.
Identifying Head Injuries
TBIs are among the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions in Kentucky. There are several reasons why.
Many head injury victims do not feel injured. That’s because the brain often conceals its own injuries. For this reason, many concussed athletes ask their coaches to put them back in the game. They honestly “feel fine.”
Because of this trait, all car crash victims should be evaluated by a car crash physician. Even if the victim feels fine, the victim could have a serious head injury. TBIs are degenerative. The longer they go untreated, the more difficult they are to address.
Furthermore, many TBI victims do not suffer signature symptoms, like unconsciousness or vomiting. So, many doctors misdiagnose these injuries as shock from the accident. Once more advanced symptoms appear, such as headaches and personality changes, TBIs are much more difficult to treat.
Finally, many physicians still believe that TBIs are not physical injuries. They ascribe TBI symptoms to dehydration or other mundane causes.
Treating Head Injuries
As mentioned above, head injuries are incurable. However, proper treatment can reduce the symptoms and enable victims to live relatively normal lives.
If the injury is diagnosed early enough, doctors often perform surgery to reduce swelling. Contrary to popular myth, the brain does not fit snugly against the skull. Instead, the skull is like a watertank which suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. If doctors can keep the brain from swelling, they can limit the injury.
Brain surgery is extremely delicate. It’s also usually quite expensive. Fortunately, as mentioned, compensation is usually available for medical bills.
Physical therapy is usually effective as well. However, brain injury physical therapy is nothing like ordinary muscle physical therapy. Brain injury physical therapists must train uninjured areas of the brain to take over lost functions. This process is usually long and laborious. Additionally, progress usually comes in fits and starts.
Frequently, insurance companies try to pull the financial plug in these instances. An attorney helps ensure the money keeps flowing, so the victim can improve to the fullest extent possible.
Brain injuries require a special kind of medical and legal approach. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Offices, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.