Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when an external, mechanical force damages the brain. Medically known as intracranial injury, TBI symptoms include dizziness, memory loss, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms. Often, TBI causes significant long-term health effects that may severely disrupt your quality of life.
If you are a victim of a brain injury accident, know that you have rights. As experts in catastrophic injury cases, the Marrone Law Firm can offer you the support and legal help you need during this trying time. You will require medical attention for your symptoms and may live with pain. You may also face certain social stigmas and feel isolated. However, there is hope. By choosing us as an advocate, TBI victims can seek redress of their injuries and get the justice they deserve, allowing them to live more fulfilling lives.
TBI Metrics in the United States
TBI statistics are harrowing. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain TBI yearly. Of those, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.365 million are treated and released from an emergency room. What’s more, TBI is also a contributing factor to almost a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost productivity, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in the year 2000.
There are many different ways to suffer a TBI, some of which include:
- Brain injury due to accidents, such as a car crash
- Construction accidents
- Birth injuries
- Collegiate football concussions
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and fall
TBI and Its Effect on Quality of Life
TBI can have a catastrophic effect on a person’s quality of life. According to Medscape, the following is a partial list of complications associated with TBI:
- Posttraumatic seizures, which frequently occur after moderate or severe TBI
- Hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of fluid in the brain that can cause headaches, double vision, urinary issues, and mental impairment
- Deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in the leg
- Heterotopic ossification, which is when bone forms in areas of soft tissue
- Spasticity, which is when muscles stiffen and affect normal body movements like walking and speech
- Gastrointestinal and genitourinary complications
- Gait abnormalities
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Many do not see these complications right away; in fact, such complications may only be noticeable at a later stage. Moreover, if the conditions go undiagnosed and untreated, it is likely that they will develop into more significant complications at a later stage.
Medscape also identifies the following TBI-related conditions that hamper a victim’s ability to reintegrate into the community and return to work:
- Cognitive decline
- Posttraumatic headache, including tension-type headaches and migraine-like headaches
- Posttraumatic depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Increased potential for substance abuse, dysregulation of emotional expression, and aggressive outbursts
As a result of TBI, you may become increasingly isolated due to both dealing with the pain and suffering of TBI complications and the social aspect of reintegration. Former friends and acquaintances may feel that you are just not the same person anymore. Losing one’s social support system can further increase depression. This combination will likely make your recovery so much harder.
Infant Brain Damage
Millions of babies suffer infant brain damage for many reasons. In fact, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in children in the United States. Statistics show that it has resulted in 2,685 deaths, 37,000 hospitalizations, and 435,000 ER visits in children ages 0 to 14 in2004.
If your doctor’s negligence caused TBI, you are entitled to a reward. Often, a doctor’s negligence during delivery results in you and your child enduring lifelong suffering.
Construction Accidents and TBI
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, conducted a study that demonstrates how construction workers are at high risk of TBI. According to NIOSH metrics from a study conducted between 2003 and 2010 and published in the March edition of American Journal of Industrial Medicine, more than 2,200 American construction workers died of TBI during that period. That number represents twenty-five percent of construction-related accidents during the study period.
People who work on construction sites are often asked to perform dangerous tasks, increasing the risk of becoming a TBI victim. Moreover, people who pass by construction sites are also at risk of having a brain injury.
Workers in similar industries also face significant TBI risk. For instance, those working in the foresting industry, where there are often falling branches and other objects, are very susceptible to these injuries. In other words, the inherent danger of TBI is everywhere.
Concussions and the NFL
The CDC defines a concussion as a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It can also be caused by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Such sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.
Over the last several years, the NFL has developed a concussion protocol and keeps statistics of diagnosed concussions. CNN Money estimates that there were 261 concussions in 2012, 229 in 2013, 206 in 2014, and 271 in 2015.
A number of former NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL. Many of them claim that they developed memory and cognitive issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. After much negotiation, the suit settled, with the NFL to pay $5 million per player suffering from severe injuries due to concussions.
It is interesting to note that former NFL players have a significantly higher bankruptcy rate than the general population, which may be linked to concussions. According to a National Bureau of Economics research paper report, 15.7 percent of former NFL players filed for consumer bankruptcy. In contrast, the rate among American adults with consumer bankruptcy filings on their credit report is 4.1 percent, according to Credit and Debt Discussions. NFL players make substantially more than the average American and tend to have college degrees, yet, after their playing days, suffer from financial stress at an alarmingly high rate.
College Football Players Sue the NCAA
Concurrent with and styled after the former NFL players’ lawsuit against the league, former college football players are suing the NCAA for not implementing procedures to protect the players from collegiate football concussions, according to USA Today. Specifically, the suit alleges that for decades, the NCAA had sufficient scientific evidence about the correlation between TBI and the long-term effects of concussions and failed to implement procedures that would educate and prevent concussions. The suit further alleges that the NCAA purposely withheld this information so it would profit.
Automobile Accidents and TBI
TBI is not limited to work-related accidents. It is often the result of a car accident, as well. In fact, over half of reported brain trauma injuries are caused by automobile accidents. Because these accidents often occur at high speeds, many victims suffer an open TBI where elements penetrate or fracture the skull. Victims might also bang into the steering wheel or suffer whiplash that causes the brain to bash into the hard part of the skull, called closed TBI.
The Crashworthiness Doctrine, which is a tort-law doctrine developed by John Stapp for the U.S. Army in the 1950s, is used by courts to determine fault after an automobile accident. The court considers crashworthiness, which is damage incurred besides the damage caused by the direct hit, to decide if a manufacturer produced a car with a deficient design. This doctrine holds that because car manufacturers and designers should contemplate that automobile accidents happen, they are therefore liable for negligently creating a vehicle with a defective design.
Know that the same can be applicable for similar accidents. Train accident victims may also suffer from TBI complications. We hear about train accidents all the time, wherein commuters become victims of negligent planning and train operations. Often, these commuters have little protection inside a train car, which makes them targets for TBI in the event of an accident.
What to Do if You Suffer a TBI
If you are involved in an accident, TBI may be a significant factor. Whether you suffer from TBI due to premises liability, an auto accident, or because you are a football player, you need to know the facts. You should consult with your doctor, especially regarding closed TBI. A diagnosis of a concussion or other form of TBI may arm you with evidence against the other driver and their insurance company when filing an insurance claim and suing in court.
When you’re ready to get compensation for your suffering, our attorneys at the Marrone Law Firm are here to help. As leaders in the intersecting worlds of technology, civil rights, and criminal law, and products liability, we have assisted numerous TBI clients in getting the money they deserve. We can be reached at 215-732-6700 or 866-732-6700.