Traumatic Brain Injury: Deceleration Injury and Other Causes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in the U.S. Of those injured, 52,000 die. There are more than 5.3 million people living in the United States with disabilities caused by TBI. What is worse, these figures may underreport instances of TBI, since those the number of people who receive no hospital or emergency room care is currently unknown.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

TBI occurs when trauma causes damage to the brain, frequently a result of a sudden and violent blow to the head or an object piercing the skull and entering brain tissue. Since every head injury does not result in TBI and symptoms of TBI vary significantly, self-diagnosis is difficult.

A person experiencing mild TBI may never lose consciousness, or lose consciousness only briefly, and thereafter suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Upset in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things

Symptoms of severe TBI may also include:

  • Unrelenting headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination or weakness in the extremities
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness

TBI may lead to cognitive difficulty or problems with behavior or mental health. In some cases, TBI results in stupor, coma or persistent vegetative state (PVS).

Causes of TBI

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of brain injuries, with most victims suffering either deceleration or closed head injuries.

A deceleration injury occurs when a sudden force (such as a car accident) causes a person's head to move quickly in one direction and either stop or snap back into place. The abrupt movement causes the victim's brain to strike the interior of the cranial cavity, which can cause serious injury.

Although little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by the trauma, immediate medical attention can help with stabilization and damage prevention. Diagnosis may require imaging tests and treatment may involve psychological and language therapy, physical therapy, or surgery.

An Attorney Can Help

Those who may be suffering from TBI should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether they have a claim for compensation for their medical expenses and any loss of wages.