Brain injuries: What every patient should know

Traumatic brain injuries are a type of head trauma that may cause people to experience a range of symptoms, some of which may have long-term effects.

Head injuries are common for people in Connecticut, and elsewhere. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries across the U.S. in 2010 alone. Although they occur somewhat frequently, many people do not understand these types of injuries or their potential effects.

What are traumatic brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the term used to describe a group of brain injuries. These conditions range in severity from mild to serious. According to the Mayo Clinic, TBIs are often caused when people sustain a violent jolt or blow to their heads or bodies. Penetrating injuries to the skull may also cause these types of injuries. While they are commonly associated with sports, people may also suffer TBIs as a result of work-related accidents, car or truck crashes, slip and fall incidents, or numerous other situations.

Common symptoms of TBIs

The types and severity of symptoms that people may have as a result of a TBI vary based on a number of factors. This includes the severity of the injury. As a result of this type of head trauma, people may experience physical, sensory, and cognitive or mental effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms that are most commonly suffered due to mild TBIs include the following:

• Headaches

• Blurred vision

• Nausea or vomiting

• Fatigue or drowsiness

• Mood changes

• Loss of consciousness for a short period

In more serious cases, people may experience persistent or worsening headaches, repeated nausea or vomiting, seizures or a loss of coordination. They may also suffer from significant confusion, agitation or combativeness, or slurred speech.

Long-term prognosis

Some symptoms resolve with time and rest. In other cases, however, people may have a prolonged recovery process. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke points out that the disabilities which may result from TBIs depend on the severity of the injury, its location, and the health and age of the person who was injured. When people suffer serious head trauma, they may experience ongoing cognitive or sensory issues. Sometimes, they may even go into a coma or vegetative state as a result of a TBI.

Even if the initial symptoms resolve themselves, people may be at an increased risk for other medical conditions. There is still much to be learned about the link, however, those who suffer TBIs may be more likely to develop conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and dementia pugilistica. As a result of these conditions, people's brain cells gradually degenerate and they gradually lose their brain functions.

Seeking legal guidance

Particularly when they have long-term complications, those in Connecticut who suffer TBIs often require medical treatment and care. As a result, they may incur undue medical expenses and lose income while they are recovering, or because they can no longer work. In cases when people suffer this type of head trauma as a result of another's negligence or intentional actions, the person responsible for causing the injury may be held liable for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have experienced situations such as this may find it of benefit to discuss their case with an attorney. A lawyer may help them to understand their rights and their options for pursuing financial compensation.