As we’re all aware, the human brain is the most complex and important organ in our anatomy. It’s the dashboard for controlling nearly every aspect of our daily lives to keep us functioning at our peak performance. An injury to this part of our body can be devastating changing lives forever in some cases. In this light, let’s take a look at some important information about brain injuries, from mild to traumatic, potential legal claims and lawsuits, along with other vital data about these often life-altering conditions.
What Are Some Medical Terms?
Just like the brain itself, injuries to this vital organ are equally as complex. They’re often confusing and range from a simple bump on the head to a mild concussion or a major TMI (Traumatic Brain Injury). In short, a TBI is caused by a wound, bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. A little knot the head is often insignificant and may only require the application of some ice and a bit of rest. Meanwhile, a severe TMI will land people in the hospital, in a coma, or in some cases find these patients in the morgue.
Medical experts recommend all head injuries should be taken very seriously. Recipients of a blow to the head should always be seen by a medical professional to ensure the person isn’t at risk for temporary or permanent damage. It’s important for a patient’s ongoing health and a potential future legal case to have all their ducks in a row going forward for the best possible results in both of these vital matters.
Is a TMI and a Concussion the Same Thing?
Yes. Many doctors will refer to a concussion as a mild TMI and both terms are used when a person experiences changes in normal brain functions longer than a few minutes following trauma to the head. While concussions aren’t usually life-threatening, however, their effects can be very serious.
Symptoms of a concussion can range from mild to severe and often include a loss of consciousness, confusion, feeling drowsy, or difficulty waking from sleep. Along with an obvious headache, those suffering from a concussion may have changes in vision, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, people have reported a feeling of “losing time” or suffer from memory loss (amnesia) of events before and/or immediately after the injury.
How About Preventative Measures?
Everyone knows to wear a helmet when operating a bicycle or motorcycle, but this safety gear should also be worn for other activities, especially for children. This includes when riding scooters, pushing skateboards, while rollerblading, and playing sports. Other preventative measures for youngsters include the installation and use of an appropriate car and booster seat for kids when riding in vehicles.
Parents should also consider using “baby gates” at the top and bottom of stairs and stairwells to prevent potential falls with infants, toddlers, and young children. When using or installing playground equipment, look for softer surfaces like mulch or sand instead of grass, dirt, or concrete.
Are There Stats Available From the CDC?
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has recently reported some eye-opening facts and stats about brain injuries, especially those that are life-threatening. According to this highly-respected medical organization, TBI is a major cause of disability and death in the United States and this includes these related figures:
● The number of TBI related deaths from 2006 to 2014 increased by a whopping 53%
● In 2014, there were 155 people per day who died every day as a result of TBI injuries in the United States alone
● In the same year, one-third of TBI fatalities were from self-inflicted wounds
● Falls and motor vehicle collisions are the first and second leading causes of TBI hospitalizations at 52% and 20% respectively
● For children, being struck by or against an object was highest among those 5 to 14 years of age
● The elderly (75 years-of-age and older) are at the highest risk for death from TBI
Statistics are very telling figures and show that nearly anyone regardless of their age is susceptible to suffering from a TBI due to accidental exposure. For example, the CDC also reports that there’s no such thing as a “concussion-proof” protective helmet.
What About Hollywood and the NFL?
Many of us may remember when the popular actor and comedian Will Smith took on a more serious role starring in the film Concussion. This film was specifically meant to bring attention to these traumatic contacts with athletes not treated for these injuries immediately on the field. In this groundbreaking movie based on real events, Mr. Smith tackles the role of Dr. Bennett Omalu, a forensic pathologist. During an autopsy of a former NFL athlete, he discovers there’s an associative neurological deterioration condition that’s similar to Alzheimer’s disease found with the past player.
After Bennett discovers the anomaly, he publishes his findings in a prominent medical journal. As other athletes continue to receive this diagnosis, the doctor embarks on a crusade to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma. While the movie was released in 2015, the mission of Dr. Omalu was realized since the NFL instituted concussion protocols beginning in 2013 according to sources at Sports Illustrated.
Were There Lawsuits Prior to the Concussion Protocols?
The short answer to this question is yes. In 2013, the NFL ended a seven-year battle with an insurance company because the league refused to pay their fair share in over $1 billion in medical expenses. The NFL and Westport Insurance Corporation settled for an undisclosed amount according to paperwork filed in the New York State Supreme Court. Lawyers and retired players accused the NFL of fraud and not just negligence for deliberately hiding the dangers of concussions from them. Lawyers were able to successfully argue they did not have to cover legal costs or the payments to insured clients under terms of the settlement.
The settlement produced more than $600 million dollars in claims to date. Former players were paid up to $5 million depending upon the type of neurological or cognitive problems they suffered as a result of their injuries. Amounts also varied according to their age at the time their illness was diagnosed and conditions including ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and Alzheimer’s disease.
What About Other Possible Long-Term Effects?
A person suffering from a severe TMI must be hospitalized and may have long term problems with memory, thinking, their ability to learn and understand. They may have difficulties with coordination, balance, have trouble with vision, hearing, and vision. In some cases, patients suffer from emotional problems that disrupt a person’s daily life including relationships with family and friends as well as their ability to work or be employed. A serious TMI could prevent a person from going about their normal everyday life with everything from doing household chores to driving.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury no matter how mild or complex, please contact us today. Even when you don’t believe you may have a case for negligence on the part of a person, product, business, or other entity, we will help you make this important decision. If you can’t come to us for help, we’ll come to you. We’ve got your back (and head) and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.