What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a broad category of head injuries that result in damage to the brain. Medical professionals divide Traumatic Brain Injuries into two major categories, closed and penetrating. A closed head injury is a blunt blow or impact to the head whereas a penetrating head injury involves a puncture or penetration of the skull itself. Both types of head injuries can result in a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe.

As the damage in a traumatic brain injury is internal, to the brain itself, it is commonly not apparent when someone is suffering at first glance. Upon closer examination, traumatic brain injury can be diagnosed by the myriad of symptoms it can produce.

Symptoms of Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries symptoms can vary greatly depending upon the nature of the injury and the condition of the victim. Some symptoms of brain injury are obvious and immediate, while others are subtle and occur over longer periods of time. Regardless, brain injury can only be accurately and definitively diagnosed by a trained medical professional. 

Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury can include:

  • Headache
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing of the ears, tinnitus
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disruption
  • Behavioral and emotional changes
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Bad taste in mouth for no apparent reason

In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, someone with a moderate or severe brain injury can display the following symptoms:

  • Persistent headache
  • Prolonged nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Inability to wake from sleep
  • Pupillary dilation
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness of the extremities
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Profound confusion
  • Excessive restlessness or agitation
  • Coma
  • Wrongful Death

Further complicating Traumatic Brain Injury is that the onset of symptoms is often delayed.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are most commonly caused by physical contact to the head. 

  • Falls
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Violence
  • Sports
  • Explosions or combat injuries

Treatment and Care of Brain Injury

San Antonio Brain Injury Attorney Regardless of severity, prompt medical diagnosis and intervention is crucial to ensure maximum recovery. The first and most essential step in diagnosing brain injury is a neurological exam by a medical professional. Neurological exams will evaluate a broad spectrum of brain functions including: cognitive function, motor function, sensory perception, coordination, vision, and reflexes. 

Depending upon the results of an initial neurological exam, your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tools can provide an accurate picture of any physical damage to brain tissues. 

In some situations, brain injury can be addressed through surgical intervention to remove blood clots or hematoma, to repair skull fractures, to stop a brain bleed, or to open the skull to relieve pressure from accumulated fluid. 

Many victims of traumatic brain injury will require some form of rehabilitation. A wide variety of rehabilitation therapies are available and may include physiatrists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, social workers, and vocational counselors. This rehabilitation may assist in relearning walking, talking, or writing. 

As traumatic brain injury can result in such life-changing complications, many sufferers and their loved ones benefit from psychological counseling and support groups.

Traumatic Brain Injury FAQs

Q: Can traumatic brain injury result from medical malpractice?

A: Yes. When placed under anesthesia, as for example during a surgery, a patient incurs the risk of oxygen deprivation. In as little as four minutes, oxygen deprivation can result in loss of brain cells. An injury stemming from a complete lack of oxygen is referred to as an anoxic brain injury whereas an injury resulting from a partial restricted flow of oxygen is referred to as a hypoxic brain injury. 

Q: What is a CTE brain injury?

A: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, is a degenerative brain disease common in contact sport athletes such as football players and boxers or others with a history of multiple concussions or head injuries. CTE can only be conclusively diagnosed through a postmortem autopsy of the brain. 

Q: If I suffered a traumatic brain injury how much compensation am I entitled to?

A: As with any personal injury case, a myriad of factors must be considered in determining the amount of damages, if any, a victim is entitled to. These factors must be considered in their totality and may include: the extent of the injuries suffered, the prognosis for recovery, the age of the victim, the economic situation of the victim, the responsible party or parties, the insurance coverage of those responsible, and other related circumstances. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, loss of past and future wages, loss of consortium, legal fees, and in rare cases, punitive damages. 

Q: Do victims of traumatic brain injury recover, and if so, how long does it take?

A: Brain injuries vary wildly in scope and severity. Likewise, recovery prospects can vary markedly depending upon the nature of the injuries, the location of the injury, the health and age of the victim, previous history of brain injury, and the quality and timeliness of the medical interventions received.

Q: Has the FDA issued any warnings regarding medical devices to assess or diagnose traumatic brain injury?

A: Yes, in 2019 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication warning against the use of non FDA-approved medical devices to diagnose or treat a head injury. According to this safety communication, non-approved devices may fail to correctly diagnose brain injury. 

An incorrect diagnosis following a head injury can be serious and lead to dangerous circumstances such as an improper authorization to return to sports or failure to obtain necessary treatment and care. Regardless of the device used, brain injury cannot be accurately diagnosed without a complete medical evaluation by a trained professional.

Q: What is post-concussion syndrome?

A: Post-concussion syndrome, or persistent post-concussive symptoms, occurs when the symptoms of a concussion persist beyond the anticipated recovery date following a concussion. The lingering symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Typically, symptoms of a concussion will improve within ten days of the injury. However, with post-concussion syndrome, these symptoms may persist indefinitely. 

Q: Should I settle with an insurance company following a traumatic brain injury?

A: If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the acts or negligence of another party, you may be contacted by that party’s insurance coverage and be encouraged to quickly settle the matter. Quick settlement offers from an insurance company are often less than you need to recover for all the damages you may have suffered.

This is especially true with traumatic brain injuries. In the first days and weeks of a serious traumatic brain injury, the long term effects may not be readily apparent. Before you agree to any settlement offer, talk to one of our experienced San Antonio Personal Injury lawyers right away. 

Contact a San Antonio Brain Injury Lawyer at Khattar Law, PC

If you are looking for legal advice regarding brain injury in San Antonio, TX, please contact the experienced lawyers at Khattar Law, PC. Call us at 210-923-1234 or head to khattarlaw.com and fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation and get help as soon as possible.