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Important Tips:

• TBI does not require a loss of consciousness
• TBI does not require a direct blow to the head

What To Look For:

• 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:

cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-01Vision disturbance
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-02Hearing disturbance
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-03Dizziness
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-04Difficulty “finding the right words”
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-05Headaches
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-06Difficulty getting to sleep
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-07Difficulty waking up on time
cohen-jaffe-tbi-blog-08Difficulty concentrating
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 the New York City area, 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.

tbiThe 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
  • Headache
  • 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.

Legal Help for 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.

Cohen & Jaffe’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.

We 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.

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.

Sources:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Mayo Clinic – Diseases and Conditions: Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain Injury Association of America