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Brain injury attorneys have been advocating for aggressive TBI screening after auto accidents for years. Now domestic violence and abuse advocates are taking that lesson to heart for victims of strangulation.
Traumatic brain injury can ruin a person’s life. Damage done by blunt force trauma and lack of blood flow can affect a person’s coordination, concentration, and memory.
For years, brain injury attorneys like David Christensen of Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan, have been advocating for aggressive TBI screenings in emergency rooms and by first responders. The first hours and days after an accident are essential for identifying, diagnosing, and treating concussions and traumatic brain injury. As time passes, secondary injury from swelling and internal bleeding can cause further long-term and even permanent disability.
In spite of the wealth of research showing the importance early TBI screening, many emergency rooms neglect screening in one important group of patients: domestic violence victims. In some of the most serious abuse cases, strangulation cuts off blood flow to the brain, causing traumatic brain injury. Often this gets paired with blunt force trauma as the abuser strikes the victim’s head against surroundings. But because most strangulation cases don’t leave physical marks, victims’ TBI goes unnoticed.
Now abuse advocates are recognizing the same kind of cognitive symptoms among their clients that auto accident attorney have been wrestling for years: confusion, memory loss, and disorganized thinking. They are beginning to recognize that these are not just a result of emotional trauma or fear. It is a sign of ongoing traumatic brain injury that needs to be properly identified and diagnosed.
Whether traumatic brain injury was caused by an auto accident or an abusive spouse, it can cause havoc on the witness stand. TBI affects how memories are stored and accessed. That means that TBI victims may have trouble telling their story during depositions or in court. They may remember different parts of the event at different times. Or they may not remember the event at all.
These cognitive and memory problems can make a TBI victim seem like he or she is lying. Juries, judges, and lawyers may not find their testimony credible. That can interfere with the victim’s ability to get compensation or justice for their injuries.
Regardless of the source of traumatic brain injury, early diagnosis and treatment can help minimize a person’s disability and help the patient learn strategies to overcome memory and cognitive challenges. Occupational therapy has many benefits at home, and on the job. It can also improve victims’ ability to testify in court and get the results they deserve.
David Christensen is a brain injury attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of auto accidents to get compensation for their injuries. If you or someone you know has suffered TBI as a result of an accident, contact Christensen Law to schedule a free consultation.