A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur in any type of accident as a result of a blow to the head. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report TBI is a major cause of disability. The extent of the disability can vary. For some, treatment can improve quality of life, but for many the traumatic brain injury can cause permanent and life-altering disabilities.
Common Types of Disabilities Suffered from a TBI
No two head injuries are alike. The effects will depend on a variety of factors, such as the location of impact, severity of damage to the brain, and much more.
The following are possible TBI disabilities that patients may experience:
- Cognitive functioning: Memory is one of the most common functions affected by a brain injury. But a TBI disability can also include impairments in reasoning, thinking, problem solving, and processing information. Disabilities with cognition can lead to problems affecting concentration, attention and judgment.
- Communication: Characterized by difficulties with the spoken and/or written language, it can impact one’s ability to socialize. Some have difficulty reading body language and nonverbal cues from people.
- Sensory processing: Vision is the most common of the senses impaired. But a TBI can affect all of them (taste, touch, smell and hearing). Disabilities can include trouble with hand-eye coordination, persistent ear ringing (tinnitus), imbalance, bitter taste, double vision, and more.
- Mental health: Patients with TBI may also experience changes in personality, depression, anxiety and aggression. It can lead to a variety of behavioral problems such as violence, impulsiveness, verbal/physical outbursts, mood swings, paranoia, and other difficulties.
- Post-concussion syndrome: This can lead to symptoms such as vertigo, headache, memory difficulties, irritability, depression, anxiety, and dizziness. The symptoms can present themselves within days or weeks of the injury and can last for several weeks or sometimes months. The severity of the injury doesn’t necessarily determine risk of post-concussion syndrome. It can occur in a mild or severe TBI.
Other disabilities don’t develop until long after the person has suffered a brain injury. This may include diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and certain types of dementia that might be related to head injuries.
Addressing TBI and Disability in a Personal Injury Claim
It’s important to remember that it’s not just the victim who suffers from a TBI. It can impact family, friends and other relationships. It may even prevent the person from working for an extended period of time or even permanently.
One of the challenges in addressing this type of injury in a claim is determining the value of the damages it causes. It’s fairly easy to calculate the medical bills incurred or figure out how much income the victim has been without. But there are future medical costs and lost wages to consider, and the claim should account for the physical and emotional impact the injury had on the patient.
When a TBI results in disability, the next step is to seek legal counsel. An attorney can help assemble proof that shows someone else’s negligence caused the injury, and can help determine the appropriate damages to seek. Call D.J. Banovitz if you’re in the Aurora area and considering filing a claim after a TBI related to another’s negligent acts.