traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries often represent one of the least visible but most serious injuries that an accident victim can suffer. After a blow to the head in an accident, a person may initially seem fine, only to begin suffering serious or life-threatening symptoms hours or days later. Or over time, a person who has unknowingly suffered a traumatic brain injury may find themselves with subtle yet permanent changes to their motor skills, behavior, and cognitive ability.

Victims of traumatic brain injuries may face months, years, or even a lifetime of recovery and intensive personal and medical care. If the accident that led to your brain injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for your losses. For more than 50 years, the South Carolina brain injury attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been helping people like you demand justice after life-altering accidents. Our firm has a proven track record of obtaining maximum compensation for people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Contact our firm for a free case evaluation to talk to an experienced South Carolina traumatic brain injury lawyer. We will fight for the financial resources you need to treat the effects of your brain injury and move forward with your life. Call us today at 888-324-3100.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs whenever the brain suffers a disruption to normal function, often due to a violent blow to the head or an object penetrating the skull and piercing into the brain tissue. TBIs commonly occur due to falls, sports accidents, motor vehicle collisions, explosions, and violent assaults.

Traumatic brain injuries can range in seriousness from mild, to moderate, to severe, depending on the extent of physical damage to the brain and the severity of the symptoms from the injury.

Traumatic brain injuries may cause only subtle signs and symptoms. Or signs and symptoms of an injury may not manifest themselves for days or even weeks following the accident. While most people suffer only mild TBIs and recover in a matter of days, for some people, symptoms can last for weeks or months. Many people also find that recovering from a second brain injury takes longer than recovery from their first TBI.

Moderate and severe TBIs can cause severe complications, including altered consciousness, such as a coma, vegetative state, or brain death. Even once the damage from a moderate or severe TBI has been repaired and healed to its fullest extent possible, a TBI victim may be left with long-term or permanent cognitive and physical disabilities.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

A mild traumatic brain injury, which typically results in a concussion, usually heals itself with time and rest. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to help with headaches. Common symptoms of mild TBIs include:

Physical symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness of facial muscles, especially droopy eyelids
  • Speech issues
  • Balance issues

Sensory symptoms

  • Blurred or fuzzy vision, or seeing double
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Foul taste
  • Changes to smell
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound

Cognitive, behavioral, and mental symptoms

  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Feeling dazed or disoriented
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Mood changes or swings
  • Feeling depressed, nervous, or anxious
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep, or sleeping more than normal

Once a mild TBI is diagnosed, no further treatment is usually needed. However, someone with a mild TBI should be examined again if symptoms persist or worsen.

Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

A moderate to severe traumatic brain injury represents a far more serious situation than a mild TBI. It requires immediate medical attention to diagnose the injury and determine what treatments may be needed to repair the injury and prevent further brain damage. This may include administering medications, performing surgery, or inducing coma to give the brain a chance to heal itself. Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include:

  • Hematoma, or a blood clot in brain tissue.
  • Contusion, or bruising to blood tissue.
  • Hemorrhage, or brain bleed. This includes intracerebral hemorrhages, bleeding within the brain tissue, or subarachnoid hemorrhages, which involve bleeding across the surface of the brain.
  • Diffuse injury, or microscopic damage that occurs throughout the brain.
  • Diffuse axonal injury, which involves the tearing or shearing of axons, the extensions of nerve cells that allow them to communicate with one another. This type of injury often results in long-term or permanent disabilities.
  • Ischemia, or the loss of blood supply or oxygen to brain tissue.
  • Skull fractures, which, if severe enough, can damage underlying brain tissue.

Moderate or severe TBIs can include many of the same symptoms of mild TBIs, but often to a worse degree. Examples of symptoms of moderate or severe TBIs include:

Physical symptoms

  • Prolonged loss of consciousness lasting several minutes to several hours
  • Persistent or worsening headache
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Unusual dilation of the pupils, or one pupil dilated larger than the other
  • Clear fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) draining from the ears or nose
  • Weakness or numbness in hands and feet
  • Coordination issues
  • Inability to be woken up from sleep
  • Paralysis

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Confusion, including the inability to recognize people or places
  • Agitation and combativeness
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma

Moderate to severe TBIs can have long-lasting or permanent effects, such as:

  • Physical disability
  • Intellectual disabilities, including memory problems, difficulties with cognitive tasks, and difficulty speaking or writing or understanding speech or writing
  • Behavioral changes, including issues with self-control, emotional outbursts, and engaging in risk-taking behaviors
  • Clinical depression and anxiety
  • Increased risk of degenerative brain diseases from repeated or severe TBIs, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

Children: TBI Signs and Symptoms

Children, especially younger kids and infants, may not be able to explain or alert adults to symptoms of TBIs that they may be experiencing. Parents and guardians of children should familiarize themselves with signs and symptoms that a child may have suffered a traumatic brain injury. These include:

  • Changes to eating habits
  • Vomiting
  • Easily agitated or irritated
  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled
  • Changes to attention span
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Sadness or depressed mood
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Loss of interest in toys or activities
  • Unusual balance or coordination issues
  • Changes in academic performance

When to See a Doctor

If a person experiences signs or symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI immediately after a blow to the head or at any point within 24 hours after an accident, they should seek immediate medical attention.

If a child shows any of the symptoms of moderate or severe TBIs common to adults, or will not stop crying, nursing, or eating, the child should be brought for immediate emergency medical treatment.

Even if someone is believed to have only suffered a mild TBI, they should continue to be monitored in the days following the injury. If symptoms persist for several days or worsen, they should seek immediate medical attention, as that may indicate that the injury was more severe than initially thought.

Talk to a Brain Injury Lawyer Now

If you’ve suffered a brain injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve to seek financial compensation to help with your recovery and the long-term care you may need. Don’t wait to start the process of pursuing your legal claim. Contact Joye Law Firm online, or give us a call at 888-324-3100 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

A knowledgeable South Carolina personal injury attorney from our firm will explain your options and next steps for demanding justice for your traumatic brain injury. With four office locations in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Clinton, our firm works with accident victims throughout the state. We do not charge any fees upfront to begin work on these types of cases. In fact, you only pay us if we recover money in your brain injury case.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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