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Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Traumatic Brain Injuries

A recent meme on social media is titled “Traumatic Brain Injuries.” It features two photographs: on the left is a photo of a single railroad track stretching off into the distance in a straight line, while the photo on the right depicts a tangled jumble of railroad tracks criss-crossing one another and circling in various directions. It’s a visual representation of the way people who suffer this type of injury might be feeling, and it packs a punch. If you or a family member has sustained a minor traumatic brain injury (TBI), the victim can have symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • Confusion or disoriention
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision or ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

A moderate to severe traumatic brain injury brings more intense symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

TBIs are brain injuries that are acquired when something outside the body causes a jolt or bump to the head. Causes of TBIs can include motor vehicle accidents, falls, assault, gunshot wounds, domestic violence (assault, strangulation, suffocation), shaken baby syndrome, sports injuries, and combat injuries. Rates of TBIs in Canada are increasing – every day, 452 people in this country suffer a serious brain injury. The incidence of serious brain injury in Canada is higher than that of spinal cord injuries, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, and, in fact, is the leading cause of death and disability for Canadians under the age of forty. Many children are among the victims.

 

 

What to Do

If you’ve suffered a TBI, the consequences can be devastating. Physical changes such as those above may be accompanied by cognitive, emotional, and behavioural changes. You may need more time to process information, or have difficulty making plans or beginning tasks. You might have difficulty remembering things or making decisions, or you might experience confusion when doing ordinary chores. You might be quick to anger, or experience sudden extreme emotions. You may catch yourself saying inappropriate things, engaging in risky behaviour, or having difficulty with social or work relationships. You are at a much higher risk of developing PTSD or depression than the general population. All of these things can take a toll on your family and professional life.

 

The first thing to do is to seek out the best medical help possible. There is no known cure for TBI, but symptoms often fade over time, and various treatments may be very helpful. These treatments can include everything from over-the-counter painkillers to surgery to reduce pressure on the brain. Doctors often refer TBI patients to rehabilitation specialists such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, and vocational counsellors. If patients are having difficulty coping with everyday life, a social worker or case manager may be appointed to help them manage appointments and rehab.

 

 

Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

If your traumatic brain injury was caused by an accident, such as a motor vehicle crash, a motorcycle accident, or a fall, you may be able to file an insurance claim or pursue a lawsuit. Personal injury law firms have experience with these kinds of cases, and can advise you about the value of your claim and your legal options.

 

Money can’t restore victims of TBI to health, but personal injury lawyers work with their clients to recover compensation (or “damages”) that can allow them to live more comfortably with a TBI. Compensation might include money for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, caregiver expenses, and more. Experienced personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable in several different areas; they know about insurance claims, tort law, and medicine, among other subjects. The best personal injury lawyers also have the ability to empathize with their clients and to understand their circumstances. They become a source of support during a difficult time for families, and help them to get the highest amount of damages possible.

 

Most personal injury law firms offer a free initial consultation, where you can describe your situation to a lawyer and ask questions about the best course of action. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they will not charge you hourly, but will ask for a percentage of any settlement money you receive.

 

Any permanent injury to a loved one or yourself is not easy to cope with. Contact a personal injury law firm today and find out more about getting fair compensation for your traumatic brain injury.

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