- TBI does not require a loss of consciousness
- TBI does not require a direct blow to the head
What to Look for After a Head Injury:
- Loss of memory about what happened immediately before or after the accident
- Witnesses and EMS describe victim as “dazed,” “confused” or “altered mental status (AMS)”
- Rapid acceleration/deceleration of the head
Symptoms of a Brain Injury:
Difficulty “finding the right words”
Difficulty getting to sleep
Difficulty waking up on time
TBIs are caused by a blow to the head or a wound that penetrates the skull and damages the brain. Brain damage from a TBI may range from temporary confusion (getting your “bell rung”), to loss of consciousness or lasting harm that includes cognitive deficits and personality changes. Some TBI victims become disabled and find their lives forever changed.
The personal injury attorneys of the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP help TBI victims and their families regain financial footing after life-changing accidents. We pursue compensation for clients injured in accidents that were caused by others’ negligence.
If you have suffered a serious traumatic head injury in Long Island, we are ready to fight for you.
Personal injury, handled personally. Contact us today for a free consultation about your TBI lawsuit.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Identifying the Invisible Injury
Some injuries are easy to prove. An X-ray will show a fractured bone. An MRI will show a herniated disc. But some injuries are less apparent. Traumatic brain injury (TBI), for example, is known as the “invisible injury” because TBI victims often suffer harm that is very real even though it cannot be seen.
A traumatic brain injury can go undiagnosed for months. A TBI is not apparent to the casual observer, like a broken limb. Rather, its detection usually requires the use of expert medical witnesses, who often use advanced technologies in medicine, including Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI).
DTI is a method of imaging that spawned from what is commonly referred to as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). DTI was invented approximately 20 years ago. Despite its existence for almost a quarter of a century, the vast majority of the United States is just now beginning to see DTI availability.
Here is how a DTI works: DTI uses MRI technology to track and analyze the movement of water as it travels throughout the white matter of the brain. The brain’s white matter contains fiber tracts. These fiber tracts are nerves, and are known as axons. The axons are encased in an insulating cover called a myelin sheath. As water moves throughout the brain’s white matter, it normally travels along the paths of the encased axons, rather than travelling across the brain from one axon to another. If an axon and/or its myelin sheath is damaged, water will travel outside of the path of the axon. The more water that travels outside of the brain’s axon’s path, the more structural damage the brain has sustained.
There are literally hundreds of peer reviewed studies about the effectiveness and reliability of using DTI to assess traumatic brain injury. In fact, DTI is also used to plot and plan brain surgeries. It is also used in procedures involving the insertion of deep brain stimulation electrodes, and in cases of epilepsy. As well, the science and reliability of DTI has been accepted in courts throughout the country.
Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Our brain helps define who we are. Thus, the consequences of a traumatic brain injury have the potential to change every aspect of our lives. Neither a direct impact to the head, nor a loss of consciousness are required to suffer a traumatic brain injury. In fact, the TBI victim will often look “normal” immediately after suffering a TBI say, in a car accident. This devastating injury is often missed by first responders and even doctors at the hospital.
TBIs often occur with the rapid movement of acceleration/deceleration, such as when a victim is involved in a rear-end car crash. In such circumstances, the brain’s movement within the skull often results in a “shearing” (scraping) of its sensitive and delicate structures.
These injuries are often not detectable on traditional CT or MRI scans, leading doctors to read them as “normal.” Most of the time, it is a family member, close friend, or co-worker who will first notice the signs and symptoms of TBI – the victim will seem “dazed,” “angry,” or “a little off.”
It is crucial that accident victims be assessed for traumatic brain injury as soon as possible after the event. Recovery from a TBI is entirely possible, but cannot be implemented without first determining whether a TBI has been suffered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 1.7 million TBIs occur every year, either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries. The Brain Injury Association of America says more than 5.3 million children and adults in the U.S. have a permanent disability caused by TBI.
TBIs may be described as closed-head injuries or penetrating injuries. A penetrating TBI is one in which a foreign object – such as a bullet, bone fragment or car crash debris – breaks through the skull and into the brain. It causes brain damage where the brain tissue is cut and torn.
A closed-head injury occurs when a blow or sudden jolt to the head causes the brain to move violently within the skull and suffer damage as it slams into the inside of the skull. A closed-head TBI can cause widespread or “diffuse” brain damage.
Any head injury is a medical emergency because unseen consequences can rapidly become worse without treatment, the Mayo Clinic warns. Doctors need to diagnose the patient quickly to provide appropriate medical care.
The Mayo Clinic says a mild TBI, which is known as a concussion, may cause such symptoms as:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Memory or concentration problems
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech, blurred vision, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
A mild or severe TBI may cause the symptoms of a mild injury, plus additional symptoms within the first hours to days after the head injury, including:
- Lengthy loss of consciousness or inability to wake from sleep
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Persistent or worsening headache
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
A severe TBI may cause cognitive damage (judgment, memory, learning), communication problems (speaking and understanding what others say), and behavioral and emotional changes (mood swings, depression, social difficulties or outbursts).
In some cases, a TBI victim goes into a coma or a persistent vegetative state, and develops degenerative brain disease, which may lead to death.
Common Causes of a Traumatic Head Injury
The CDC says the leading causes of TBI are:
- Falls. Falls cause half of the TBIs among children up to age 14, and 61 percent of TBIs among adults 65 and older.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Car, truck and motorcycle accidents cause the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8 percent).
- Struck by / struck against accidents. These include collisions with moving or stationary objects.
- Assaults. Assaults are the one cause of TBIs that are less likely among children and the elderly. However, a form of child abuse known as “shaken baby syndrome” is a TBI.
Head Injury Lawyer Helping TBI Victims on Long Island
Hospitalization and treatment of a TBI may be lengthy or ongoing, and will certainly be expensive. Brain damage may leave a victim unable to work for a living or even perform daily living tasks, such as feeding or grooming. Personality changes from TBIs can destroy marriages and tear families apart.
You may be able to obtain compensation to assist with the consequences of a TBI if you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. This includes car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and assaults caused by negligent security.
Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP’s brain injury lawyers have over 100 years of collective experience in personal injury litigation in New York, including work with TBI victims and their families. Our investigations of accidents that have caused TBIs include determining the full economic and non-economic costs of these injuries to our clients.
The Long Island head injury lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP know how to calculate damages and justify it to an insurance adjuster or a jury. We work with investigators, medical professionals and financial specialists to ensure we fully document a case before we present compensation demands to insurers. If we go to court, we go prepared to win.
Brain Injury Symptoms Checklist
There is no such thing as a minor brain injury. However, when there is a major blow, or external force, to the head, it can cause a traumatic brain injury. This is true even when the skull has not been fractured. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are very difficult to recover from. Recovery times are very long and can carry great financial costs, as well.
Adding to the difficulty of traumatic brain injuries is the fact that the victims do not always realize they have suffered this type of injury. Identifying this type of injury is very difficult, even for many emergency room doctors. In order to determine that a brain injury has been sustained in order to get proper treatment, there are questions accident victims can ask themselves and symptoms they can look for.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Even the symptoms of a head injury can be difficult to detect. Some may take longer to present themselves, while others may be present from the start of the injury. Those who are present immediately however, may still be difficult to detect.
Headaches are a common symptom of a traumatic brain injury. These are often different than a typical headache that may come from stress or other factors. When a headache has been caused by a traumatic brain injury, they often start behind the eyes or at the forehead. Headaches that begin at the top of the skull, at the temples, or even at the base of the skull may also be caused by a traumatic brain injury. These headaches are typically hard to treat with over-the-counter medications and tend to last longer than other types of headaches.
Sensory sensitivity can also be a symptom of traumatic brain injuries. One of the most common symptoms is being sensitive to light, even when the lights are not that bright. Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, and a loss of balance or coordination may also indicate that a traumatic brain injury has been suffered. A traumatic brain injury can also affect the way a person tastes and smells food. Often, this injury will cause food to taste and smell to take on a metallic quality.
The brain is also the center of a person’s emotions. When it has been injured, individuals may also find that they experience emotional or behavioral changes. Of course, being in an accident such as a car accident is a traumatic experience and it is natural to be emotional afterwards. If after time however, a person is still very agitated, has withdrawn socially, or is experiencing nightmares or irrational fears, they could be suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
Of course, any damage that affects the brain will also affect a person’s cognitive functions. Trouble remembering details, concentrating, or remaining focused on a single task are all very common symptoms seen in those suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
The Questions to Ask if You Suspect a Head Injury
By simply asking a few questions, it may be easier for an accident victim to identify a traumatic brain injury to get the help they need. Those who think they may have suffered this type of injury after an accident should ask themselves the questions below to determine if they need medical attention.
- What happened just before the accident?
- How were you injured upon impact?
- What happened immediately after the accident?
- Did you hit your head during the accident?
- What did you hit your head on – the steering wheel, the dashboard, something else inside the car?
- How did you feel after the accident? Were you groggy, or confused?
- Was there any nausea or vomiting after the accident?
- Were you extremely tired immediately following the accident? What about two hours after the accident?
- Did you find yourself going to bed very early the same night the accident occurred?
- Are you experiencing emotional outbursts, such as crying spells, that were not typical before the accident?
- Did you become withdrawn from family and friends after the accident?
- Do you find it difficult to become motivated? Even to perform the simplest of tasks?
- Have there been any changes in your sleeping patterns? Are you experiencing nightmares or night terrors?
- Are you having any flashbacks of the accident?
- Has there been any change in your appetite? Does food taste and smell the same as it once did?
- Do you have any fears that can be considered unusual or irrational that you did not have before the accident?
- Do you find it difficult to remember things? Are you finding you can only remember them if you write them down or create a checklist?
- Are you finding it difficult to stay focused?
- Are you having trouble concentrating?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions can be indicative that a TBI has occurred. However, because these injuries can be so difficult to detect, even those not experiencing these symptoms may be suffering from this type of injury. For this reason, anyone experiencing unusual symptoms such as changes in their behavior or ability to function should speak to a doctor right away.
A traumatic brain injury attorney should also be made aware of any symptoms that may indicate a traumatic brain injury. When patients speak to doctors alone, these symptoms are too often brushed off as being due to another injury when that may not be the case. An attorney will be familiar with the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and can help any individual suffering from one as they speak to healthcare professionals.
Speak to a Head Injury Lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP Today!
Call us now or fill out our simple contact form for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case and advice about your legal options.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Traumatic Brain Injury
- Mayo Clinic – Diseases and Conditions: Traumatic brain injury
- Brain Injury Association of America
For a free legal consultation with a traumatic brain injury lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900