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A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common yet least understood personal injuries that occur as a result of automobile collisions and workplace accidents.
TBIs can range from severe (death, coma and paralysis) to seemingly minor (difficulty with short-term memory, mood swings and dizziness). While the most severe TBIs are obvious because of visible injuries to the head and neck, it is the mild brain injury that is often overlooked and takes time to diagnose and treat.
When most of us think of head injuries, we imagine fractured skulls and open head wounds. This is why mild brain injuries can be missed. Even if there is no apparent trauma to the head, like a cut, the brain can be damaged in what are called “closed head injuries.”
A closed head injury occurs when something strikes the head but does not cause an open wound or when a strong force – like a car accident – causes the head to jerk violently without hitting anything. Recently, these kinds of injuries have received more attention because of the substantial number of veterans returning home with TBIs suffered from being in close proximity to a bomb blast, even when nothing physically touches their heads.
Although the skull protects the brain from most external forces, our soft brains have little protection against the violent forces that are created by modern technology or from something simple like a fall. After a car accident, you may have obvious injuries, like fractures, sprains, abrasions and bruises, but the headache and dizziness you might feel may be more than the lasting effects of the sound of impact or the discharge of air bags.
The force generated from an accident can injure the brain in a variety of ways. When the head is in motion and suddenly stops or is violently jerked in one or more directions, the brain can momentarily be compressed toward one side of the skull. You can literally “sprain” your brain. The shock these forces generate can cause bleeding of the brain, interrupt blood flow in the brain, damage connections between brain tissue and cause other types of brain trauma.
The symptoms of a TBI usually depend on what part of the brain is injured and the degree of severity. Common TBI symptoms include the following: short-term memory loss, difficulties with problem solving, difficulties reading and hearing, dizziness, headaches, seizures, irritability, mood swings and depression. A TBI can take weeks, months or years to heal, but can also be permanent.
It is important for personal injury victims to receive compensation for negligently caused brain injuries. Compensation ensures that you are in the best position to treat your brain injury and obtain the best recovery possible.