According to the CDC, Americans suffer approximately 2.8 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year, resulting in almost 50,000 deaths.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that 286,963 people in Illinois suffered severe brain injuries in 2014 alone. More important than just numbers, the effects of a serious brain injury can be devastating, leaving victims suffering for months and years. For some victims, traumatic brain injuries can even result in permanent disability, changing their lives forever.
The Illinois personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. regularly help people across the state who have suffered brain injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Our experienced legal team provide dedicated, high-quality representation and work with every client to ensure that they secure the compensation they deserve.
Call us today at (217) 528-9955 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us explain your rights and fight for what you need. There are no up-front fees, and we won’t get paid unless you recover compensation.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury as “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” There is a common misconception that traumatic brain injuries are limited to injuries such as skull fractures, brain damage, and similar causes. However, the CDC notes that traumatic brain injuries can cover a spectrum of injuries ranging from mild to severe. Concussions are the most common form of a mild traumatic brain injury, much more common than many people think – more than 170,000 children and teens are treated for traumatic brain injuries and concussions each year.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can occur in a number of ways, and the CDC studies indicate that children and people over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of suffering a TBI. Common, everyday accidents can result in a severe brain injury, such as the following situations:
- Car accidents
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Athletic activities and sports
- Construction site injuries
- Being struck by a falling object
These accidents can be the result of pure chance, but they are often due to someone’s negligence.
Brain Injury Statistics
Somewhat surprisingly, unintentional falls are the leading cause of TBI-related deaths and hospitalizations across the country. The Illinois Department of Health broke down its 2014 brain injury statistics as follows:
- 34% were caused by unintentional falls
- 17% were caused by motor vehicle accidents
- 7% were classified as “other” and 40% were caused by murder or suicide
TBI-related ER visits:
- 32% were caused by unintentional falls
- 11% were caused by motor vehicle accidents
- 46% were classified as “other”
- 31% were caused by unintentional falls
- 17% were caused by motor vehicle accidents
- 45% were classified as “other”
To summarize, unintentional falls and car accidents were the top two causes of TBI-related accidental death when you remove intentionally-inflicted injuries. For ER visits and hospitalization, the “other” category encompasses the primary cause, which suggests that people can suffer a severe a brain injury in various ways.
Brain trauma caused by car accidents account for a higher percentage of hospitalizations than ER visits. This suggests that a significant portion of those diagnosed with brain injuries perhaps did not suffer symptoms immediately after the accident.
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Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe. The symptoms can also vary widely from person to person, and can often be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms may not even appear immediately after the accident. It may be days or even weeks before the symptoms become apparent, which can be a frightening and stressful experience for the victim. Even if you’re not certain, you should seek immediate medical attention if you may be suffering from a brain injury, regardless of circumstances.
Mild brain injuries typically include concussions where the victim suffered a loss of consciousness of less than 30 minutes.
Some common symptoms of a mild TBI:
- Persistent headaches
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Confusion or clouded thinking
- Irritability, depression, or mood swings
Moderate brain injuries are marked by a loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes up to 24 hours.
Moderate brain injury symptoms typically include:
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Fluid draining from the ears or nose
- Strong, recurring headaches
These symptoms can linger for quite some time, as it can take months to recover from a moderate brain injury. Even a moderate TBI can have a significant impact our your day-to-day life.
Severe brain injuries are coupled with a loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours. A person suffering from a severe TBI is likely to experience the same symptoms of mild and moderate brain injuries with a greater degree of severity, along with:
- Blurred vision
- Significant motor impairment
- Difficulty speaking and forming sentences
- Sleep disturbances
- Issues with bowel or bladder control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Significant behavioral changes or issues
Although loss of consciousness is used to classify the severity of brain injuries, it is not necessarily the sole determinative factor, especially with mild or moderate injuries. In other words, you can still suffer a mild or severe concussion without losing consciousness.
The Costs of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Unfortunately, people often fail to consider the costs beyond the medical bills. The first thing to consider is what impact the injury will have on the victim’s ability to work, and whether it will result in a partial, total, permanent, or short-term disability. The Northwestern study also found that TBI victims are unemployed for an average of two years. The victim also needs to worry about whether they will need special accommodations in their daily lives such as transportation arrangements or medical equipment. The changes to your daily life may come at a cost that may not be covered by insurance.
The CDC estimated that the total cost to Americans in 2010 as a result of traumatic brain injuries was over $76.5 billion. In addition to the emotional and physical toll, a traumatic brain injury can have an astronomical impact on you and your family’s economic future.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Brain Injury Attorney
If you’ve suffered any kind of brain injury, you need to give careful consideration to your well-being and future. You need to focus on your recovery, but also consider both the cost of medical treatment and future ability to work and live your daily life.
The attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C work with people across Illinois who are suffering from serious brain injuries. We have helped them get the treatment they need and the financial recovery necessary to move forward in life. Let us identify the negligent parties in your brain injury accident, handle the insurance companies and doctors, and work to get you everything you’re entitled to.
If you’re suffering from a brain injury and don’t know what to do, contact us for a free consultation. Call us today at (217) 528-9955 or contact us online. There are no up-front fees, and there is no cost to you unless we recover compensation.
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