The consequences of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can last a lifetime. Contrary to what some believe, many individuals who experience a “minor” jolt to the head actually end up suffering TBIs that can permanently affect memory, cognition, motor coordination, and other critical body functions. Yet because they are up and walking around, the severity of their disability may go unrecognized by the people around them.
A TBI is caused by a forceful blow to the head or body. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, gunshots, military combat, and recreational accidents are common causes of traumatic brain injury in the United States. According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, about 30 percent of TBIs in Michigan are caused by car crashes.
Traumatic brain injuries disrupt the normal functions of the brain. They range from severe, with catastrophic loss of function, to mild injuries that eventually recover about 85 percent of the time. The most well-known form of a mild TBI is also known as a concussion.
You don’t have to lose consciousness to suffer a TBI. While some brain injuries are penetrating wounds, where a foreign object like a bullet or piece of flying debris pierces the skull, most are closed head injuries. In closed head injuries, the damage to the brain is internal but no less serious.
In the initial wake of a severe brain injury, a person may be in a coma or placed in a medically induced coma to give the brain a chance to recover. Sometimes long-term disability results from a secondary injury, including pressure from swelling that happen after the initial blow to the head. The bruising damages the nerves, which causes changes in the person’s abilities and behaviors. It is impossible to tell what problems may emerge at the time of the injury. Mild TBIs can sometimes result in impairments that can be as disabling as a severe TBI.
TBIs can cause crippling physical and mental changes. Because the brain is the body’s main communications center, virtually every bodily function is vulnerable to damage.
Physically, TBI victims often experience severe limitations in mobility, balance, range of motion, and coordination. Damage to the brain stem can result in paralysis. The brain areas that control involuntary functions, such as bladder control and body temperature regulation, may be damaged. Vision, speech, and hearing changes are other devastating consequences of a traumatic brain injury.
Just as damaging are the cognitive effects of a TBI. Victims may experience permanent losses in short and long-term memory, lose the ability to read and write, develop mood disorders and personality changes, and suffer from other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dementia.
TBIs are complex injuries that can completely change a person’s life in an instant. If you or someone you love sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident caused by someone else, the trusted brain injury lawyers at Christensen Law can help you pursue compensation for your losses. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.