Understanding the Types of Brain Injuries
After more than 34 years as a personal injury attorney, I have seen first-hand the anger and frustration a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause. The injured individual is frustrated because they are unable to do the things that they used to doing or are unable to achieve the quality of which they have become accustomed. Because the true impact of many TBIs is internal, family members and friends can fail to understand the full extent of the injury. At times, they may consider the injured’s improper actions or inability to complete tasks as “acting out”. However what they are actually witnessing is the true extent of the injury. A greater understanding of the injury, its impacts, and the potential treatment options can help the injured along with friends and family better handle the situation.
The two main types of brain injuries are penetrating injuries and closed-head injuries. A penetrating injury occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and causes localized damage to one or more structures. The archetypical example of a closed-head injury is a gunshot to the head. Closed-head injuries occur due to a blunt-force impact to the skull. The repeated blows to the head a NFL player suffers is a typical example of a closed-head injury. Unfortunately, both types of brain injury can cause brain damage such as:
- nerve damage
- blood clot
- intracranial pressure
The Problems Typically Associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Regardless of whether your TBI was caused by an auto accident, a household accident, a sports injury, or a defective product generally the impacts of a TBI can be seen in three distinct areas:
- Communication – After a TBI the injured individual may find it difficult to comprehend normal conversation. Depending on the severity of the injury, they may need to concentrate as if they were attempting to decipher a foreign language to glean meaning or may be unable to understand. Other problems may include the inability to use an appropriate tone or volume of voice, recognizing and understanding facial expressions and body language, or taking turns in a conversation.
- Cognitive Functioning — Simply put, your cognitive ability is your ability to think, reason, solve problems, be self-aware and plan for the future. Individuals who suffer a TBI may find these and other tasks extremely difficult. Coping strategies such as minimizing distractions, taking notes, and asking the speaker to repeat the information may allow for improved functioning.
- Physical Problems – This category of problems is typically the easiest for friends and family members to understand because they seem to affect the physical body rather than the mind. Physical problems associated with a TBI can include: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, decreased coordination, hearing loss and tinnitus.
While we have already discussed the types of TBIs above, but we have yet to touch on the severity of TBIs. The severity of a TBI is graded on scale of one to seven with one being the least functional and seven being the most. The grade is computed based upon the injured individual’s performance on a series of Functional Communication Measures.
Can My Condition be Treated?
While this question is better answered by a medical professional, I have had to opportunity and pleasure to represent many Pennsylvanians who have suffer a TBI. The short answer is: it depends. The successful treatment of a brain injury is dependent upon many factors including the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and the injured individual.
However, there is hope. According to a study by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) a significant percentage of patients who undergo treatment show improvement in their functioning. ASHA reports:
- Improvement in 81% of patients who undergo treatment for memory
- Improvement in 82% of patients who undergo treatment for attention
- Improvement in 83% of patients who undergo treatment for pragmatics
- Improvement in 80% of patients who undergo treatment for problem solving
While each injury and recovery are different, the apparent efficacy of therapy and treatment offers real hope to those impacted by a traumatic brain injury. However the most important step is to take the first one and seek treatment for your injury.
What are My Options Under Pennsylvania law?
If another individual’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional act caused your injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. Delay, however, may adversely impact or bar your claim in its entirety. While the pain and suffering caused by traumatic brain injuries and other serious bodily injuries can make it difficult or nearly impossible to concentrate, your perseverance is essential.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death claims is two years. The statute of limitations is, essentially, a time limit on how long you can wait to bring legal action after becoming aware of the injury or death. Because of the relatively short period a Pennsylvanian has to bring suit, seeing an experienced personal injury promptly is extremely important. Putting your case in the hands of an experienced attorney will allow greater peace of mind and allow you to better focus on maximizing your personal recovery.
Put Our 30+ Years of Experience to Work for You
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, you don’t have to go through it alone. For more than 34 years, The Reiff Law Firm have represented Pennsylvanians in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Let our experience handle your legal claim so that you can focus on on your health. For your free no-obligation consultation, call us at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.