The brain is the control center of the body and is crucial for every task that the body performs. The brain is a delicate structure responsible for every single physical and mental process that we perform throughout the day, which totals in the millions. In addition to the processes that we think about, the brain also plays another crucial role in the body. The brain controls all of the processes that we do not think about, such as breathing, organ control, and regulating our internal temperature. The brain is the most crucial part of life, without the brain, we could not survive, and if it is damaged we will experience a decline in the quality of life. While other organs in the body can be repaired and or replaced, the brain, however, is so critical to our very identity that it cannot be substituted. In addition, while modern medicine has begun to better understand the inner-workings of the brain, their knowledge of the millions and billions of delicate connections is very rudimentary. Despite the brain being an essential organ in our body, it is only protected by a thin layer of fluid and bone. Therefore, any trauma to the head can result in drastic and lifelong injuries.
Coping with such a catastrophic incident is not only emotionally and physically challenging; but, when such an injury is the fault of another person or party, the situation can be almost impossible for victims to accept.
If one of your loved ones is suffering from a traumatic brain injury which was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malpractice, a Bucks County traumatic brain injury lawyer from the personal injury firm of Reiff & Bily is here to help. For over 34 years, our traumatic brain injury attorneys have been providing aggressive representation to litigants in communities throughout Bucks County. With more than three decades of experience and millions of dollars in damages recovered for our clients, you can rest assured that with Reiff & Bily providing your legal representation, you’re in capable hands.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
The skull is responsible for protecting our all-important brain, however, the skull is not designed to be an absolute protection from blunt for trauma. There are many activities that people engage in almost every day that increases the risk of a brain injury. However, not all brain injuries are the same. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, there are two main categories of brain injuries:
- Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
An acquired brain injury or ABI results from a biological process within the body itself. An example of an acquired brain injury is a stroke. A stroke is most often a form of acquired brain injuries as a result of a blood clot, which can deprive the brain of the crucial oxygen it needs to, function, thus resulting in damage. While an ABI is generally the result of some internal process, a traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, is generally the result of an external event or occurrence, which results in damage to the structures of the brain. The classic examples of traumatic brain injuries include falling backward and striking your head. The Brain Injury Association of America provides the following definition for a traumatic brain injury: “…an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.”
In summation, any internal or external event or occurrence, which changes or alters the structure of the brain, can be considered a brain injury.
Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
As noted above, the brain is the center of human function. That being said, this means that it is sometimes difficult to identify exactly what the effect of brain injury will be. Because of the importance of the brain, any damage can have debilitating effects, which are not always easily repaired. Unlike other areas of the body, or other injuries such as a cut, the brain does not heal the same way that the rest of the body does. In addition, because of the vast amount of complex processes that the brain is responsible for, if there is too much damage, the brain may not be able to repair itself at all. While the list of potential side-effects a person may experience as a result of a traumatic brain injury are endless, the following conditions have been particularly identified as an effect of a brain injury.
Some common effects resulting from TBI include:
- Blood Clots
- Blurred Vision
- Heart Problem
- Hematoma (blood pooling outside of a blood vessel)
- High Blood Pressure
- Low Blood Pressure
- Lung Problems
- Muscle Weakness
- Nerve Damage
- Poor Coordination
- Reduced Sensory Input (e.g. diminished sense of smell)
This list is not exclusive, meaning that there are numerous other medical conditions that can result from a traumatic brain injury. However, many of these listed conditions can lead to significant additional complications, because the brain is so interconnected. To demonstrate how one injury can result in another injury, a blood clot which is considered an acquired brain injury may be the result of improperly prescribed medication, and if not identified in time could result in a stroke or even death. Traumatic brain injuries can manifest themselves in numerous ways, and can have a wide range of debilitating effects on physical and mental capabilities, and even on a person’s personality. Because the brain does not heal the same way that the result of the body does, a person who sustains a traumatic brain injury may suffer either temporary or permanent disabilities. In extreme cases, victims who survive TBI may require around-the-clock, lifelong care.
The effects of TBI can damage the entire anatomy, not just the brain itself.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics
A report that was released by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that in 2010, there were 2.5 million documented cases of traumatic brain injuries all across the United States, and even right here in Bucks County. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, Division of Health Risk Reduction, from 1995 to 1999 in Bucks County, there were 2,920 cases of traumatic brain injury. Despite the advances in modern medicine and the continuing development of the brain and its function, The Brain Injury Association of America reports that TBI’s are the leading national cause of death for both adolescents and children. In 2010 alone, traumatic brain injuries were identified as the source of over 50,000 deaths in America.
Despite the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injuries, many situations, and things we interact with almost every day can cause them. Even seemingly minor bumps on the head can cause internal damage and result in lifelong consequences. According to the Center for Disease Control, the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries across the country is falls. Falls, account for almost 41 percent of all traumatic brain injuries.
Some common causes of traumatic brain injury include:
- Car Accidents – Americans use their cars on almost a daily basis. While, most if not all cars today are equipped with safety features such as airbags, even these do not prevent the brain from suffering damage in the event of a crash.
- Falling Materials – Those who work in the construction industry and those who work with heavy machinery are particularly at risk for traumatic brain injuries, which are a result of materials falling on their head.
- Slip and Fall Accidents – Slip and fall accidents account for another large percentage of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. When a person slips and hits their head on the ground, there is only so much force that the skull and the fluids surrounding the brain can absorb before the brain is jostled and injured.
- Gunshot Wounds – Gunshot wounds are a particularly devastating injury, which often results in severe trauma to the brain, and often leads to death. However, even if a person survives a gunshot wound to the head, their quality of life and their ability to function will be greatly impaired by the internal and external damage that a bullet produces.
- Sports Accidents – Unfortunately, sports injuries, which lead to traumatic brain injuries, have begun to gain notoriety even amongst young children. Doctors are only beginning to understand the impact of concussions on the brain and how even small injuries can leave a person permanently impaired.
However, when a traumatic brain injury is the result of another’s negligence or malfeasance, a person may be left with debilitating injuries. Many of those who suffer a brain injury must undergo lengthy rehabilitation periods, and even then, are not guaranteed to be able to return to their original state. Many brain injury victims even require lifelong care.
If one of your loved ones has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Bucks County traumatic brain injury attorney, call the law offices of Reiff & Bily today at (215) 274-0072, or contact us online.