Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur due to many kinds of accidents, ranging from car accidents to a slip and fall. A brain injury can create lifelong issues. In severe cases, a traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent disability or even death.

As a result, it’s important to watch for the signs of a TBI after an accident. A TBI could require extensive medical treatment, physical therapy, and mental therapy in order for you to fully recover. You may need substantial compensation to cover your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering from your injury.

Here are some of the characteristics of traumatic brain injuries and an overview of how a brain injury could affect an injury claim.

Characteristics of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs can range in severity from minor bruising of the brain to severe hemorrhaging of the blood vessels that feed the brain. Doctors often categorize brain injuries by their causes. Some of the common causes of brain injuries include:

Penetrating Injuries

This happens when an object penetrates the brain. For example, a construction worker might fall from a ladder onto a piece of steel rebar that enters the skull and penetrates the brain. Penetrating injuries can also occur when a sharp blow to the head fractures the skull and drives shards of bone into the brain.

Blunt Force Injuries

A force applied to the skull or the neck can cause the brain to move inside the skull. The brain then impacts the skull. The impact can cause a brain contusion, in which there is localized bruising, bleeding, and swelling of the brain.

Concussion Injuries

When a force impacts the skull, the force might not be sufficient to cause the brain to impact the inside of the skull. Instead, the brain may shift inside the skull. The pressure of the fluid on the brain can cause widespread, minor bruising of the brain.

Blast Injuries

Shock waves from an explosion can cause rapid pressure changes in the fluid surrounding the brain. This compression can cause a concussion-type brain injury to people in a blast zone.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAIs)

DAIs are caused by whipping actions, such as a rear-end or front-end car accident. Other terms used to describe DAIs include whiplash and coup-contrecoup injuries. As the head whips forward and backward, nerve tissues in the brain, which are called axons, tear apart.

Asphyxia-Induced Brain Injury

When the brain lacks oxygen, brain tissue will die. Bleeding and suffocation can lead to asphyxia-induced brain injuries.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Almost any accident can cause a TBI. Some examples include:

Car Accidents

Car accidents involve an enormous amount of energy and force. A motor vehicle crash can cause blunt force brain injuries, penetrating brain injuries, concussion injuries, and DAIs. If a victim experienced severe bleeding or stopped breathing, an asphyxia-induced brain injury may result.

Falls

Falls from a height and slip-and-fall accidents can cause brain injuries. When the head impacts a surface, it can cause a blunt force injury, concussion, or DAI. If the skull fractures or your head strikes a sharp or pointed object, you could suffer from a penetrating injury.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents can result in brain injuries. Machinery can toss out objects that can strike or penetrate the head. Falls and trips can result in impacts to the head that can cause concussions and blunt force injuries. Workplace explosions can result in blast injuries for people inside the blast radius and other types of traumatic brain injuries for those who are outside of the blast radius.

Medical Error

Negligence by a health care provider can lead to brain injuries. A medical error may cause asphyxia-induced brain injuries if a provider failed to give competent medical aid to stop bleeding or maintain respiration.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can cause a wide range of symptoms. The brain controls all of the voluntary and involuntary movements in the body. As a result, a brain injury can lead to motor difficulties, abnormal blood pressure, problems swallowing, or even the loss of bladder or bowel control.

The brain also controls all thought processes. Brain injuries can lead to confusion, memory loss, and other cognitive problems. Or, they can cause mood swings, behavioral issues, and mental illness.

Symptoms of Minor Traumatic Brain Injuries

Some of the minor symptoms of TBIs that may clear up within a few months after a brain injury include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination

You should always visit a physician if you exhibit any TBI symptoms or suspect that you might have a brain injury. A minor TBI should clear up in a few weeks. A physician can use X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tools to determine the extent of your TBI.

Symptoms of Serious Traumatic Brain Injuries

Minor problems that last longer than a few weeks or worsen over time might signify a serious brain injury.

In addition to ongoing symptoms like those listed above, some symptoms of a serious TBI include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Sleep disorders
  • Paralysis
  • Memory problems
  • Problems concentrating
  • Changes in behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory loss
  • Weakness or numbness in the extremities

In worst-case scenarios, a severe TBI can lead to coma or even death.

TBI and an Injury Claim

If someone else’s negligence led to your TBI, you may file a claim with the person’s insurance carrier. 

For example:

  • If you were injured in an automobile accident, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver through their auto insurer.
  • If you were injured in a slip and fall at a place of business, you can file a claim against the company’s general business liability policy.
  • If you were injured in a fall at a residence, you can file a claim against the homeowner’s home insurance policy.
  • If you were injured due to a medical error, you can file a claim against the health care provider’s malpractice insurance policy.

When you file an insurance claim or file an injury lawsuit, you can claim all of your economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses, such as your current and future bills for medical treatment, physical and mental therapy, and medications
  • Past and future lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity (if you had to change jobs or cannot work)
  • Pain and suffering for your mental anguish

If you’ve developed a TBI, your damages could be significant. Your injuries could affect the rest of your life, and you might need compensation to cover your losses. You should contact an attorney to discuss your rights to compensation.