What Exactly Defines a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Simply put, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that causes dysfunction in the brain. It’s typically caused by trauma, such as a blow to the head or the body. The starting point for most traumatic brain injuries is a concussion, which is the mildest form of traumatic brain injury that a person can suffer. It increases in severity from there. The medical community typically divides traumatic brain injuries into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe.
What Are the Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?
The most common cause is certainly trauma to the head. A traumatic brain injury can be caused by a violent blow or even a soft jolt. The blow doesn’t always have to happen to the head; severe whiplash affecting the neck can cause TBI because of the effect that it has on the brain as well.
What Are the Short and Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury?
The short and long-term effects of TBI vary widely depending upon the specific injury. Furthermore, there’s not always a correlation between the symptoms and the severity of the injury. For a mild TBI, the most common short-term effects include loss of consciousness for a short period of time, confusion or disorientation, headaches, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, sleeping more than usual, and dizziness or loss of balance. There are also sensory effects like blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and sensitivity to light or sound. There can also be cognitive or mental symptoms, such as memory or concentration problems, mood changes, and feelings of depression or anxiety. These symptoms typically go away after a few months, but in some cases, they can last long-term or even be permanent. A typical cut-off point is about one year; if you’re experiencing symptoms from a mild traumatic brain injury after one year, then it often becomes a long-term or permanent effect.
For moderate to severe brain injuries, the symptoms include those listed above, as well as loss of consciousness for several minutes to hours, headaches that worsen, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, dilation of the pupils, clear fluids draining from the nose or ears, inability to be awoken from sleep, and weakness or numbness in the fingers.
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries also have more severe cognitive or mental effects, such as profound confusion, combativeness towards other people, and slurred speech. Severe traumatic brain injuries can cause comas or other disorders of unconsciousness. Because of the wide range of symptoms that are related to traumatic brain injury, it’s important to be seen by a competent medical professional that can diagnose and treat any form of TBI.
What Factors Constitute a Strong Traumatic Brain Injury Claim?
Medical documentation is the key in constituting a strong TBI claim. Oftentimes, the first place someone goes is an emergency room at a hospital. Emergency rooms are basically triage centers, and they are horrible at documenting a TBI. They are also horrible at getting the proper imaging for a TBI. Clients need to see a specialist who treats patients with traumatic brain injuries. Here at Feller & Wendt, we encourage our clients to get proper medical treatment from a specialist who can properly diagnose and treat the TBI. We also encourage our clients to keep a journal to document their symptoms and what they’re feeling day to day. That way, they can recall this information down the road. By keeping a journal, clients are able to keep track of how long their symptoms have lasted, and it also gives them a clearer picture of the severity of their symptoms.
How Long Do Traumatic Brain Injury Claims Typically Take to Get Resolved?
The length of time that TBI claims take to get resolved is completely dependent on how long the symptoms persist. If the symptoms persist after a year, we like to have our clients see their specialist to get a proper prognosis on their condition. As I mentioned earlier, one year is usually the cut-off point between short-term and long-term effects. If you’re still experiencing symptoms after a year, then those symptoms are likely permanent in nature. Once we have that prognosis, we can continue to work to resolve the case. So, the reason that they take so long is because you have to wait to see if the symptoms subside. You can’t always do things to speed up that process; it’s a waiting game in a lot of cases.
Do Most Traumatic Brain Injury Claims Go to Trial or Do They Settle?
Like any personal injury case, the vast majority of them settle out of court. Cases that are well-documented often settle without the need for any litigation. Cases that are poorly documented are hard to even take, let alone settle. However, they are more likely to be filed and litigated because insurance companies dispute the extent of the client’s injuries when there’s not proper documentation.
For more information on traumatic brain injury claims in Utah, a free initial consultation with an Ogden brain injury lawyer is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 499-5060 today.