When you are a traumatic brain injury lawyer, it doesn’t take long to see first-hand why traumatic brain injury (TBI) has gained a reputation as “the silent epidemic.” Each year, millions of Americans experience a TBI. While many individuals who experience a TBI recover with minimal to no long-term side effects, many others do experience life-long repercussions, with some issues worsening over time or emerging years later.
If you or someone you love has received a traumatic brain injury due to the fault of another party, a traumatic brain injury lawyer at Mithoff Law can help. Our team has decades of experience investigating TBI cases and successfully resolving claims both in and out of the courtroom.
Learn more about traumatic brain injuries and then call a top traumatic brain injury lawyer at Mithoff Law at 713-654-1122 today.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
In personal injury law, a traumatic brain injury is a type of catastrophic injury that results from either a blow to the head, a severe jolt of the head or body, or penetration of the skull/brain tissue. When one or any combination of the above occurs, the brain may experience bruising, internal bleeding, and/or torn tissue.
According to data from the CDC, there were approximately 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (EDHDs) in 2014 in the United States. Of these, there were 56,800 TBI-related deaths, including 2,529 occurring among children.
If mild, brain injuries and damaged brain cells may heal. But unfortunately, even “mild” traumatic brain injuries can have long-lasting health consequences for a person’s physical and psychological health.
Types of traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to moderate to severe. However, even mild TBIs are serious, that in some instances side effects may worsen over time, that mild traumatic brain injuries can occur without losing consciousness. Keep in mind that many of the following injuries are “closed head injuries,” i.e. head injuries that don’t involve penetration of the skull.
One of the most frequent questions a traumatic brain injury lawyer receives is. “Is a concussion a traumatic brain injury?” The answer to this question is yes. Even though concussions are sometimes considered to be a mild traumatic brain injury (or mTBI), the effects of a concussion can still be serious and long-lasting.
Concussions are typically caused by accidental blunt trauma to the head or severe whiplash, and occur when the brain, normally kept safe by protective membranes and fluid called meninges, comes in contact with the inside of the skull. Concussions, however, do not constitute physical damage of the brain, but a change in how it functions. Concussions can cause a loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes and temporary amnesia that lasts less than 24 hours. (Loss of consciousness and amnesia that extends beyond these parameters may change the diagnosis of the traumatic brain injury to a moderate or severe TBI.)
After a concussion, many people experience side effects that have collectively been termed “post-concussive syndrome.” Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include headaches, dizziness, unusual mood changes (depression, anxiety, irritability), difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms may last anywhere from several hours to several years.
In instances when someone receives a second concussion before the symptoms of the first are resolved, second impact syndrome (SIS) may occur. The cause of SIS is unknown, but is thought to be related to blood vessels in the brain losing their ability to control their diameter and thus blood flow, resulting in rapid swelling of the brain. SIS is often fatal.
Even if someone does not experience SIS, the effects of multiple concussions on your health can be extreme. Those who experience multiple concussions (such as athletes) are more susceptible to depression, dementia, Alzheimers, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, epilepsy, and issues with memory, communication, and balance. Most of these side effects do not manifest until years after the initial traumas.
Note: You do not have to have had a concussion in order to have experienced a mild traumatic brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injury is a wide category intended to cover changes in mental state due to trauma or forceful head movement; concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injuries.
Subdural hematomas (blood clots), hemorrhages, and edemas
Hematomas, hemorrhages, and edemas are TBI issues involving blood and/or swelling in the brain. A subdural hematoma is a blood clot that occurs outside of blood vessels and in between the skull and the brain. A subdural hematoma can create pressure buildup within your skull which can lead to a loss of consciousness and/or brain damage.
A hemorrhage is also bleeding that occurs outside of burst blood vessels (but does not involve clotting). Subarachnoid hemorrhages occur in the space outside of your brain and may lead to nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Intracerebral hemorrhages occur within your brain tissues and may lead to a buildup of pressure.
Edemas involve the swelling of tissues in the brain. Edemas are actually fairly common in injuries, but because the human skull cannot stretch to accommodate the swelling, edemas can also cause a damaging build-up of pressure.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAIs)
Diffuse axonal injuries are caused when extremely quick movements of the head create shearing forces — fast acceleration and deceleration — that in turn cause the brain to slide back and forth within the skull. When this occurs, These movements cause widespread (diffuse) trauma. More specifically, axons (nerve cells) are “sheared” (cut, removed) as the different tissues in your brain slide over one another. DAIs often result in longer spans of lost consciousness and, if severe, can be fatal.
Contusions and coup-contrecoup
Contusions can occur all over the body, but when considered in regard to TBIs, they indicate a bruising of the brain. Like concussions (with which they are frequently confused) they are typically caused by a strong head impact or whiplash/severe shaking of the head. Coup-contrecoup occur when an impact causes the brain to first hit one side of the head, causing the first contusion (the coup), and then move and hit the opposite side, creating a second contusion on the opposite side of the brain (the contrecoup).
Skull fractures and penetrations
The human skull is extremely hard to break. However, when a break does occur, this is known as a skull fracture. Skull fracture alone may contribute to traumatic brain injuries, but skull fractures that involve penetration — typically as a result of a sharp object or bullet — are especially dangerous. Penetration injuries frequently result in pieces of the skull becoming lodged within the brain, and are often fatal.
What causes traumatic brain injuries?
Most TBI-related injuries in adults are the result of unintentional blows to the head, unintentional falls, and car accidents. As noted in the CDC data mentioned above, the majority of fatal TBI incidents occur during car accidents, with individuals involved in motorcycle accidents being much more likely to sustain fatal injuries. Children are more likely to sustain TBIs from an unintentional fall or a sport-related incident, while infants are more likely to receive a TBI as a result of a birth injury.
Why hire a traumatic brain injury lawyer to represent my case?
Traumatic brain injuries are often life-altering and are frequently accompanied by life-long medical issues. The list of potential long-term side effects includes cognitive, emotional, physical, sensory, behavioral, and social problems. TBI to the base of the skull may even cause certain types of paralysis along with issues hearing, smelling, seeing, and tasting and swallowing.
And, as stated before, these medical issues may not manifest until years after the initial incident, which may tempt those involved (including the victim) in the injury to downplay the severity of the injury. But as traumatic brain injury lawyers with decades of experience, we cannot stress the importance of taking these injuries seriously and speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible after you or your loved one sustains injuries.
If your TBI was caused by the fault of another party that is liable, a traumatic brain injury lawyer can help assess and bring your claim for potential damages. Skilled traumatic brain injury lawyers have the experience needed to successfully conduct investigations into your case and to navigate the complex litigation involved in TBI cases.
Mithoff law is a nationally-recognized traumatic brain injury lawyer with over four decades of experience handling TBI cases. We are known for our strategic approach to investigation, our thoroughness in evidence preservation and collection, and our vigorous pursuit of our client’s best interests. Over the years, we have also established professional relationships with a variety of subject matter experts whose testimony can shed invaluable insight into the root cause of a traumatic brain injury.
What is the statute of limitations on traumatic brain injuries?
Mithoff Law represents victims of traumatic brain injuries from all over the nation. The statute of limitations for filing a claim regarding a traumatic brain injury varies from state to state, and can change depending on what type of suit is filed (wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, etc.). To determine whether your case still falls within the statute of limitations for your particular case, we encourage you to set up an initial consultation with a trusted traumatic brain injury lawyer.
Mithoff Law: Top traumatic brain injury lawyer
When clients retain a traumatic brain injury lawyer at Mithoff Law, they are able to rest assured that their personal injury claim is in the hands of some of the top lawyers in the country. We have resolved many sizable settlement claims for our clients as well as won significant TBI victories in court for our clients.
If you or a loved one received a traumatic brain injury, the time to speak to a traumatic brain injury lawyer is now. Request a free consultation with a Houston traumatic brain injury attorney at Mithoff Law by calling 713-654-1122 or contacting us online today.
More Helpful Articles by Mithoff Law: