Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Lawyers in Columbia
Many injuries can affect a person’s mobility, but a brain injury can affect much more. A brain injury can impact mental capacity, personality, and the ability to perform daily life activities. Brain injuries are distinct and unpredictable in their outcome, but every person affected by these injuries needs proper assistance and support.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact a Columbia traumatic brain injury lawyer at the Strom Law Firm. We will take your case on a contingency fee basis so you will not have to pay anything unless we obtain compensation for you. The Columbia Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney at the Strom Law Firm has extensive experience with securing compensation for injuries. Call us today to see if one of our traumatic brain injury attorneys can assist you.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
According to the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina, 61,000 residents have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) disability. Additionally, each year in South Carolina, over 1,300 people will sustain a life-long TBI-related disability. TBI injuries are the number one cause of deaths in South Carolina of people between the ages of 1 and 44 years old. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 2.5 million TBI-related emergency department visits were treated in 2014. Over 56,000 of these were fatal injuries.
For those who are over 75 years of age, the risk of a brain injury can be exceptionally high. In children 19 years of age and younger, it has been shown there is an increase in concussions and other brain injuries. This is primarily due to sporting or recreational activities.
A traumatic brain injury is defined as a “blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.” Not all damage to the head can cause a TBI. In mild cases, there could be a brief change in mental status or consciousness; yet, in more severe cases, there is an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. These injuries can be short-term or long-term in their impact on a person’s independence.
Conditions like a stroke, brain infection, or a brain tumor are not included in the scope of a TBI. Other states like a mild concussion, temporary confusion, headaches, long-term coma, or even death could be considered a TBI. Medical professionals can determine and classify the levels of brain trauma, but this is usually only applied to the initial presentation of symptoms. Some TBI can cause lifelong complications, while others may fully recover from their severe TBI symptoms.
Types of Brain Injuries
Injury to the brain can result in mild or severe conditions. Some injuries can have such force as to cause a person to stay in a coma or permanent vegetative state. Other times, a person may not even know they have a brain injury as they are without any typical signs. The signs of a brain injury may be immediate or they may not appear until long after the injury occurred. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for the executive functions and regulates emotions. This area of the brain is often found to be the most injured.
Several types of injuries to the head include:
Hematoma is when there is bleeding in or around the brain. There are several types of hematomas:
- Epidural hematoma (a pool of blood between the skull and the protective outer layer of the brain)
- Subdural and Subarachnoid hematomas (blood collects inside the skull on different layers of the brain)
- Intracerebral hematoma (bleeding into the brain itself)
These injuries are hazardous. The effects of hematomas can lead to permanent brain damage.
Uncontrolled bleeding in the brain is called a hemorrhage. Subarachnoid hemorrhages are those that occur around the brain, while intracerebral hemorrhages are those that have bleeding within the brain. Usually, symptoms of a subarachnoid hemorrhage will begin with headaches and vomiting. Depending on the amount of bleeding and time, intracerebral hemorrhages can cause pressure to build up and become a life-threatening situation.
An impact to the head caused by a bump, blow, jolt, or a hit to the body that results in the brain moving rapidly back and forth is considered a concussion. This bouncing or twisting against the skull can change the chemicals in the brain and damage brain cells. Concussions are not regarded as life-threatening; however, the effects of them can be quite severe. Repeated concussions can cause permanent damages, and there have been recent concerns about the impact of repeated concussions in sports. (are we doing a page on the NFL case? If so, link here.)
Swelling in the brain is called cerebral edema or brain swelling. This becomes serious and life-threatening when the skull can no longer contain the swelling brain. Fluid develops in the brain and causes pressure to build up, resulting in pressing the brain against the skull. Such swelling will decrease the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain and can cause irreversible damage. Symptoms of brain swelling include headaches, dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, and numbness. Severe cases will exhibit signs of moodiness, memory loss, speech difficulties, incontinence, change in consciousness, and weakness.
The skull is a hard bone to break. A forceful blow to the head could cause a fracture of the skull and result in a brain injury. The inability to absorb an impact to the head due to a fractured skull, can increase the amount of damage to the brain. Symptoms of a skull fracture include bleeding from the nostrils and/or ears and facial bruising.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury is when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull during the impact of the trauma. Those who suffer this type of injury typically lose consciousness for at least six hours or are left in a coma. Other symptoms include confusion, headache, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, more extended periods of sleep, and dizziness. This is one of the most common types of TBI and can be one of the most debilitating.
Some Common Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury Include:
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Fatigue or sleep disturbances
- Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
- Memory problems
- Attention, focus, or concentration issues
- Agitation and irritability
Treatment for a Columbia TBI
As with any medical condition, treatment for a TBI is unique and case-specific. Treatment can include medication and rehabilitation, but may also require hospital stays. Further out-patient therapy and rehabilitation may be needed to assist individuals suffering from these conditions to return to their daily lives.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina, the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries in S.C. include:
- Falls: Accounts for 28% of cases in the state
- Motor Vehicle accidents: Car accidents account for 23% of all cases in the state
- Violence: Accounts for 10% of cases
- Struck by or against an object: Accounts for 8% of cases
- Sports and recreation: Competitive sports and recreational activities account for 3.8 million concussions every year in the United States. Seventy percent of these seen in emergency rooms involve children and teens.
- Combat Blasts and Explosions: Accounts for .2% of cases and is the leading cause of TBI for active military duty personnel in war zones.
Children between the ages of 0 and 4 and between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are the ones at highest risk for TBI. Males are 1.5 times more likely to suffer a brain injury than women. African Americans have the highest TBI death rate.
What to Do if You Have Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury
As reports have shown, no one is exempt from potentially suffering from a traumatic brain injury. These injuries can have a lasting impact on a person’s life, whether the effects are momentary or permanent. It can affect all areas of life, including vision, hearing, memory, physical feats, and mental and emotional functioning. A person may not know the extent of these injuries, and the symptoms may not be visible to others. Future medical care and treatment may be required.
If you or someone you know was injured, even if you believe the injuries may be minor, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment are necessary to avoid any further injury or the chance of a permanent injury. You should also obtain all medical records on the injury and treatment as they may be necessary if you pursue a lawsuit.
Under South Carolina law, you may be entitled to compensation if you believe that another is the cause of your TBI. Losing time from work, requiring new employment, or being unable to work is not uncommon after suffering a TBI. The medical procedures and treatment can produce massive medical bills, not to mention the physical and emotional pain you will endure. It will quite possibly alter every area of your life.
Consult a Columbia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
Every traumatic brain injury claim is unique. These claims and lawsuits are extensive and can include very complicated legal issues. If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Pete Strom and the experienced Columbia Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney at the Strom Law Firm are experienced, available, and determined to help many people recover the compensation they deserve.
Our offices in Columbia, South Carolina, and Georgia are equipped with the knowledge, skill, and dedication to discuss your claim. Call today at (803) 252-4800 to schedule your free case consultation.