A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. You may hear the terms “mild traumatic brain injury” (MTBI) or “post-concussion syndrome”. The Centers for Disease Control stated that of the 1.4 million traumatic brain injuries that are reported each year, 50,000 people die, 235,000 are hospitalized, and 1.1 million are treated and released in emergency departments.
The most common causes of TBI are falls (28%), automobile accidents (20%), struck by/against events (19%) and assaults (11%). The victim may or may not lose consciousness, and the injury may be mild, moderate or severe. Over the last few years, we have seen a sharp rise in brain injuries in our military because of the concussive forces with our forces running over land mines in the Middle East.
Generally, brain injuries can be classified as mild, moderate and severe. The classification is usually based on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS ranges from 3-15 and scores eye, verbal commands and motor commands. Mild brain injuries have a GCS ≥ 13. Moderate brain injuries have a GCS of 9-12. Severe brain injuries have a GCS of ≤ 8.
Symptoms of TBI may include headaches or neck pain that does not go away, dizziness, confusion, forgetfulness, loss of balance, blurred vision and tiredness. TBI may also cause short-term memory loss, behavioral changes, mood swings, and inability to think properly. Sometimes the signs of TBI may be so subtle that they are only noticed by the victim's spouse or family.
A lawyer representing a client with a traumatic brain injury faces special issues because: (1) the cause of the injury may not be readily apparent; (2) TBI can result from a mild impact; and (3) the effects of the injury can be subtle. These are brig problems in both clinical practice for doctors and legal practice for attorneys because a lot of doctors and lawyers do not understand the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injuries. Because of the misunderstanding of TBI lawyers, doctors, and insurance companies sometimes jump to conclusions and believe the victim is faking, exaggerating or over-reacting because diagnostic tests were negative.
Guy S. DiMartino is an attorney and chiropractor who practiced over 17 years helping patients injured in accidents. Because TBIs are not readily apparent, the defendant's insurance company will usually downplay these claims and treat them as simple whiplash cases. The attorney experienced in TBIs must understand the neurology, neurophysiology and pathophysiology of these injuries in order to show the defendant's insurance company or jury that the injuries are real, significant and life-altering.
If you have any questions about a potential brain injury following an Indiana accident, you can give Guy DiMartino Law a call or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.