Kentucky Traumatic Brain Injury
The brain can be injured in numerous ways, some involving trauma, many others involving only natural forces of one kind or another. A “traumatic” brain injury (TBI) is one that results from external physical force—banging your head on the windshield of a car, being hit in the back of the head with a club, being shot in the head, etc.—as opposed to damage from such things as tumors microbes, and strokes.
Each year in the United States, an estimated 50,000 people die from TBIs, another 300,000 people suffer a severe enough injury that they receive hospital care but don’t die, and 80,000 of those injured end up with some degree of disability that affects the remainder of their lives.
How Injuries Occur: Open vs. Closed Injuries
The brain itself is hefty—some 3 to 4 pounds–but the tissue is delicate. It floats in the liquid within the protection of the bony shell of the skull. When centrifugal force is applied to the head, as when a vehicle stops suddenly and violently, or there is a severe impact to the skull, the soft brain tissue can slam against the bony skull and cause significant damage. That is known as a closed head injury, because the skull was never penetrated, and no external object impacted the brain.
Outside objects, from bullets to fragments from an explosion to spikes on a metal fence, may enter the skull and directly impact the brain. These are called open head injuries for obvious reasons
What TBI Means for a Victim’s Life
What can a serious TBI do to your life? Everything. The brain is, essentially, you and all your abilities. Depending on the part of the brain that is injured, and how severely, these are some of the things you might no longer be able to do:
- Think coherently
- Understand what is said to you
- See clearly
- Manipulate objects with your hands
- Recognize your family
- Have sex
- Control your bladder or bowels
Pain frequently adds to these problems.
And those are just the abilities that are directly affected. Think about how many activities are difficult or impossible if those abilities are damaged. Raising children, working, socializing, watching movies or TV, going for walks, listening to music, reading, driving…the list is endless.
“Minor” or “Mild” TBI
Of course, some injuries are far less severe than others. Mild concussions, for example, do less harm than injuries that wipe out your memory. But both in medicine and in law, there is a tendency to dismiss or minimize the problem once it gets labeled as “minor” or “mild.”
In many cases, the person who caused the injury (usually by way of the relevant insurance company) argues vehemently during settlement talks and at trial that the amount of damages the victim claims are “outrageous” given that the injury has been consistently classified as minor or mild. But “mild” and “minor” are relative term comparing these injuries to ones that are even worse. Victims often suffer cognitive, psychological and other consequences from these supposedly mild injuries.
Psychological and Emotional Problems
Given the massive life changes that can follow a significant TBI, it’s not surprising that victims often suffer from psychological and emotional problems. These problems can be caused by the stress and difficulty of dealing with the functional consequences of TBI, or by direct damage to the portion of the brain that regulates mood, emotions, etc.
One common problem that TBI victims report is simple mental fatigue, reported by as many as 70%. They just feel mentally drained, overwhelmed and not up to the task. Given how much harder they have to work to accomplish simple goals, this merely adds to the difficulty of adjusting to their new roles in life.
Other major psychological and emotional consequences of TBI include:
- Mood swings
- Temper tantrums
- Attention deficit
- Executive function problems
Get Legal Help for Traumatic Brain Injuries in Western Kentucky
Nothing about TBI—not the incident causing the injury, not the recovery process, and certainly not the attempt to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury—is easy. The people who caused the injury, and the companies that insure them, tend to resist at every stage. They deny liability, blame the victim for the injury, and try to minimize the impact the injury has had on the lives of the victims and their families.
One problem is that, despite advances in diagnostic tools, the extent of an injury may not be known for some time after it occurs, when the victim’s abilities and disabilities can be specifically documented. It takes an attorney with considerable experience in Kentucky TBI cases, working with other experts in several medical-related fields, to establish the true extent of the injury and the amount of compensation the victim is due.
At the Bowling Green, Kentucky law firm of Lowder & McGill, PLLC, we have years of experience in handling serious injury and death cases, including brain injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic. Our persistence, dedication, and focus translate to hundreds of successful recoveries for people whose lives have been disrupted and damaged through no fault of their own.
Call us today to arrange for a free consultation about your case. We will answer any questions you have and discuss your options with you. There is no fee unless we succeed in obtaining a recovery through a fair settlement when possible, or through a court trial when necessary.