Traumatic Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know
This article was submitted on behalf of San Antonio injury attorney Thomas J. Henry
Every year many people are injured at work, in vehicle crashes, while riding bikes or playing sports, falling over, and the like, and end up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of injury is typically caused by a jolt, blow, or hard bump to the head, or results from some other penetrating head injury that ends up impeding the normal functions of the brain.
Although traumatic brain injuries can be mild (such as a concussion), many people are affected with severe injuries (e.g., remaining unconscious for days at a time, significant memory loss, etc.), or even become permanently disabled or die.
As a result, it’s important to do everything you can to stay safe in the workplace and at home, when out and about, driving, playing sports, and the like. If not, you could end up with a TBI that leads to debilitating effects that you (and your loved ones) need to deal with for the rest of your life. If you’re keen to learn more about the issue, read on for the lowdown on TBIs today.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics
According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, and more than 130 people die each day in the United States from injuries that include a TBI. The CDC estimates that TBIs are a contributing factor to approximately one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
Of the acquired brain injuries that occur annually, TBI rates are higher for males than females. The highest rates of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths, combined, occur in males aged between zero and 4 years old; while the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death occur in adults aged 75 years and over. Older adolescents, those aged between 15 and 19 years of age, are also highly likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury.
When it comes to the causes of TBIs, the leading factor is falls, estimated as occurring more than 30 percent of the time. Other common causes are motor vehicle traffic injuries, being struck by or against something, and assault. It is estimated that the direct and indirect costs of traumatic brain injuries to the United States (including medical expenses, lost productivity, and other costs) totals more than $60 billion per year.
Serious Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are numerous serious effects that can stem from an acquired brain injury. Personality changes are one of the most commonly seen issues that arise. For example, TBI sufferers can become very agitated and restless, pacing a lot and/or pulling at tubes and other medical devices attached to them to aid their recovery.
Extreme mood swings, bouts of aggression, and explosive, violently-angry reactions (often to things that to most people would just be a minor irritation) can become the norm over the long term too. The frontal lobes of the brain, which control frustration tolerance and emotional behavior, often get damaged during a traumatic brain injury and can cause these changes.
People with a TBI are often seen to display impulsive behavior and a lack of inhibition. This is again due to damage caused to the frontal lobes. People affected in this way can become socially inappropriate, touching others when or where they shouldn’t, lacking tact, and so on. They also often fail to consider the consequences of their actions.
Many people who have had a TBI notice changes to their sex drive too. This can be either increased or decreased, and is due to the physical damage caused to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus is the nerve center that affects testosterone release and sexuality.
When changes occur here, people can end up with a dramatically increased sexual urge, and become promiscuous as a result. They can tend to misinterpret innocent behavior from others as flirting when it isn’t, too. Conversely, other TBI sufferers can find their libido seriously reduced after their head injury. As such, they can find it challenging or impossible to orgasm, and can have issues with sexual function.
Deep depression is another serious issue that affects many people. This usually occurs during the later stages of a person’s rehabilitation, as this tends to be the time when sufferers have come to understand the extent of their situation and the changes the TBI has meant to their life.
If you or a loved one suffer from a TBI, you may want to consider a lawsuit if carelessness by an individual or a company caused the injury. A lawsuit tends to be the only legal means that you have available to you to hold someone accountable for what they may have done, and it can provide you with some money to cover lost income and to put towards the long-term care needs that a brain-injured person can have. These include modifications to the home, special therapies, and attendant care.
If you’re thinking of taking legal action, it is important that you choose a personal injury lawyer wisely. It is best to select someone who has experience and a track record of success with representing brain-injured clients.
Learn more about brain injury claims here.