What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Head injuries can be painful, but a head injury that causes a brain injury can result in a permanent disability.

A mild brain injury, such as a concussion, will usually heal leaving long-term complications. A serious traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, involves more complex damage to the brain, and may have a devastating life-changing impact on an accident victim and on the victim’s family. An Atlanta brain injury lawyer can help victims get compensation for their injuries, so they can focus on healing instead of legal issues.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can have many causes. A careless driver who causes a high-impact collision can change another motorist’s life forever. A train operator’s failure to warn cars that a train is approaching a road can also lead to catastrophic collisions.

Cars that strike bicyclists and pedestrians are a leading cause of brain injuries caused by negligence. Motorcyclists gain some protection against head injuries by wearing a helmet, but even the best helmet cannot protect the brain in a high-speed collision.

Negligent property maintenance or defective equipment (including ladders and scaffolding) can cause falls from a height that lead to brain damage. Construction workers who drop tools from a height can injure the heads of unsuspecting pedestrians who are walking on the boundary of the construction site.

Babies sometimes suffer brain injuries due to oxygen deprivation when a doctor negligently delays a caesarian section. Improper delivery techniques can also cause brain damage to a newborn.

In addition to negligent acts of an obstetrician, other acts of medical negligence cause brain injuries. Administering an overdose of a drug or giving too much anesthesia can damage a patient’s brain.

Gunshot wounds can also cause traumatic brain injuries. Many gunshot wounds are inflicted accidently, either by careless handling of a gun or by firing a shot while hunting that hits another hunter. Failing to keep guns in a locked cabinet or safe can cause injuries when children find and play with a loaded weapon.

Coaches who send athletes onto a playing field after they have sustained a concussion place the athlete at risk of a serious brain injury if a second concussion occurs before the athlete’s brain heals from the first blow. Coaches, athletic directors, and schools can be held liable for failing to follow established protocols for players who suffer a concussion.

Defective products and exposure to toxic substances can also cause brain damage. Carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective furnace, environmental hazards released by a chemical plant, and defective seatbelts that permit head injuries in car crashes are among the many products and substances that can contribute to brain injuries.

Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can have physical, emotional, and cognitive consequences, ranging in degree from mild to severe. Even a mild brain injury, however, can have a significant impact upon an accident victim.

Potential physical consequences include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Poor balance
  • Loss of control over voluntary movements
  • Involuntary muscle movements
  • Chronic fatigue

Emotional or psychological consequences include:

  • Personality changes, including unwarranted aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of ambition or motivation
  • Loss of interest in former pursuits
  • Delusions
  • Loss of control over emotions
  • Impaired ability to form emotional attachments

Cognitive consequences of brain injuries may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty forming new memories
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Limited attention span
  • Speech impairment
  • Impairment of the ability to read or write
  • Impairment of the ability to think clearly
  • Impairment of the ability to make plans
  • Impairment of the ability to use good judgment

With time and professional help, many victims of brain injuries can learn coping skills to deal with some of the physical and emotional consequences of brain injuries. Cognitive impairments are more challenging, because the skills needed to cope with impaired thinking are not easy to acquire.

Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injuries

In some cases, neuropsychological treatment can help brain injury victims learn to process information in different ways. Medical treatment for brain injuries is expensive and patients must often be monitored for years.

Neuropsychologists working with other skilled professionals can also devise treatment programs, which may include medications, to help injury victims who suffer from depression, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, mood disorders, and personality changes. Injury compensation should cover the anticipated cost of future treatment for the brain injury victim.

Speech pathologists may be helpful when brain injury victims have difficulty forming words. Physical therapists can help brain injury victims who need to regain control of their muscle movements.

When a brain injury victim cannot return to work, a vocational rehabilitation specialist may be needed to help the victim learn new job skills. In addition to paying for those services, compensation should cover past wage loss and loss of future earning capacity that results from the brain injury.

In the most severe cases, a brain injury victim may need a caretaker to assist with the basic functions of living, including preparing and consuming meals, hygiene, and getting dressed. Compensation may need to pay for a lifetime of care, and a personal injury lawyer Atlanta, GA residents rely on from Butler Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys can help make that happen.

Finally, every head injury that causes a traumatic brain injury is accompanied by pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Accident settlements and jury verdicts for a traumatic brain injury victim must recognize those losses and allow the victim to offset suffering by giving the victim an opportunity to enjoy the best possible life.