The brain is protected by the bones of the skull, but many kinds of accidents produce more than enough force to damage it. Brain injuries can be caused by any event that causes the brain to bump against the inside of the skull (closed head injuries) or which propels an object through the skull and directly into the brain (known as “open” or “penetrating” injuries). Open injuries allow direct contact with the brain tissue.
Statistically, the most common causes of TBIs are:
- Motor vehicle accidents (53 percent of all TBIs)
- Falls (24 percent)
- Intentional assaults involving anything from fists to hammers to pipes (12 percent)
Extent of the TBI Problem
Brain injury is quite common. More than five million people currently live in America with long term damage from TBI. These victims live with a wide array of disabilities and require many different kinds of assistance in their lives.
In addition, more than 50,000 people die from brain injuries each year, while another 300,000 suffer brain injuries serious enough that they are hospitalized. Of that 300,000, it’s estimated that 80,000 will be left with behavioral and/or cognitive disabilities for the rest of their lives.
Consequences of TBI
The brain is, in effect, the control center for the entire body. When it is significantly injured, the victim experiences negative changes in every sphere of life: basic physical abilities, emotional health and stability and cognitive (intellectual) skills. Even TBI that are classified as mild may cause long term effects, while the 10 percent to 2 percent of TBIs classified as moderate and severe cause even more, and longer lasting, problems.
Physical impacts of TBI may include:
- Impaired sensation
- Impaired coordination and balance
- Loss of strength
- Vision, hearing and speech deficits
- Muscle spasms
Among the most devastating consequences of TBI are impairment of the ability to perform basic thinking, and the ability to remember. When short term memory is impaired, the victim’s employment future may be extremely dim. Socializing also becomes a problem—even people who have been friends for years may find it too vexing to interact with someone who can’t remember the beginning of the conversation they are having.
For obvious reasons, this also puts major stress on caregivers and family members.
Victims may also experience diminished:
- Ability to think in an orderly way
- Speed of thought
“He’s just not himself anymore” is a common refrain from the family and friends of TBI victims. The victim may experience such a fundamental change in basic personality that there is little resemblance to the person who existed before the accident.
Given the change in life quality, and diminished future prospects, it’s not surprising that depression and anxiety follow. Other typical psychological/emotional consequences include:
- Apathy and/or procrastination
- Emotional outbursts
- Loss of confidence
- Lack of concern for others
If the people who caused the injury are going to fully compensate the victim, the victim’s attorney really has to understand how to evaluate the victim’s long-term prognosis, and how to use that evaluation to convince a defendant, an insurer, a jury or a judge that you are entitled to compensation sufficient to provide the best future that the victim can hope for.
The assessment requires thoroughly analyzing the major factors that predict a victim’s long-term abilities and disabilities:
- What abilities did the victim have before the injury?
- What deficits to those abilities—mental, physical, psychological—have been identified after the injury
- What ability has the victim shown to “compensate”—essentially, to find ways around–each of those deficits
That’s a tricky task, and experience with past TBI cases is invaluable. The victims ability to afford the various devices and therapies that can improve the quality of life, depend on success.
The Jabar Injury Law firm has been successfully handing major injury cases in Maine for 36 years. We have an excellent record in obtaining fair settlements and, when required, seeing the case through to a successful verdict. We know what we are doing, and the legal community and insurance companies know that we know what we are doing. Many of our cases are referred by other lawyers.
Call our office and let us know what happened to you or our loved one. We’ll tell you what we think of the case. If we take it, you pay a fee only if we succeed in obtaining the compensation you are due. Call now.