Understanding the facts about traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are a type of head trauma, which may be sustained in car crashes or other incidents and may require ongoing medical treatment.

Every day, people throughout New York suffer serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 1.7 million people across the U.S. sustain this type of head trauma each year. This may be a frightening experience for many, and often leaves people unsure of what to expect.

What causes traumatic brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injuries are a type of acquired brain injury. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, this occurs when sudden trauma to the head causes brain damage. This may be due to a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, as well as due to penetrating head injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are often associated with sports and combat. However, they are also commonly sustained due to motor vehicle accidents, assaults, falls and other accidents.

Common symptoms of brain injuries

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries may experience a wide range of symptoms. These vary based on factors such as the type and severity of their injuries. Traumatic brain injuries commonly have physical, sensory and cognitive effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include the following:

• Loss of consciousness

• Headaches

• Nausea or vomiting

• Dizziness

• Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleepiness

Additionally, this type of injury may cause people to experience blurred vision, ringing in their ears, sensitivity to light or sound, memory loss or mood changes. As a result of these, and other effects, people may be unable to work for an extended period after sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

Possible complications

Some of the effects people experience due to traumatic brain injuries dissipate with time and rest. However, some may suffer complications as a result of this type of trauma. For example, some people may fall into a coma or be left in a vegetative state after suffering traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries may also lead to seizures, blood vessel or nerve damage, or infections, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, long-term intellectual problems are a common complication resulting from traumatic brain injuries.

Treating traumatic brain injuries

The treatment people require after suffering a traumatic brain injury varies based on the type and severity of their injuries. Often, they require emergency medical care, which may include stabilizing their heads, necks and bodies, as well as administering oxygen or IV fluids. The Mayo Clinic points out that some patients who have sustained these types of head injuries are prescribed medications to treat their symptoms, such as anti-seizure medications or painkillers. Some people may require emergency surgery to remove hematomas, repair skull fractures or open windows in the skull.

In some cases, people who sustain traumatic brain injuries may need ongoing medical treatment. This may include different forms of rehabilitation. Occupational therapy may be used to help them relearn or improve the skills necessary to perform everyday activities, while physical therapy may aid them in relearning balance, movement patterns and walking. Those who experience certain cognitive complications may need to work with a speech and language pathologist.

Consulting with an attorney

Sustaining a traumatic brain injury may be devastating for people in New York, as well as for their families. They may be left wondering how they will pay for their medical expenses and other monthly bills while they are off of work recovering. If their injuries were suffered as a result of the negligence of another, he or she may be held liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, it may benefit those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries to discuss their situations with an attorney to learn about their rights and options.