4 million Americans sustain what is known as a traumatic brain injury, or TBI--that's about one person every 23 seconds.
These injuries are caused primarily by falls and accidents, but can also result from incidents like assaults and, for military personnel in combat zones, blasts.
The Brain Injury Association of America estimates that 50,000 people die each year as a result of TBI, and more than 5.
3 Americans are living are with them.
TBI is categorized between "severe" and "mild.
" Generally, "mild" means the person did not lose consciousness during or after the accident, and "severe" means they suffered unconsciousness or amnesia for an extended period of time.
TBI can cause epilepsy and extreme functional changes in a person's thinking, speech, emotions, and senses.
It can also greatly increase the risk for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other age-related brain conditions.
But despite these figures, many victims of TBI are grossly under-supported in their struggles to overcome changes the injury has caused in daily life.
This is particularly true for those who are dealing with mild brain injuries, primarily because the damage can be difficult to identify.
This article is intended to aid the friends and families of those suffering mild TBI; to help them better understand their loved one's injuries; and to provide information and insight regarding the legal rights to which a TBI victim is entitled.
If the victim of an accident has amnesia or remains in a comatose state, it is reasonable and relatively easy to assume that they have sustained a severe TBI.
But for those with mild TBI, the symptoms may be far less obvious and can take days or weeks to appear.
Mild TBI symptoms include such subtle changes as:
- Headache/vision problems
- Memory loss
- Slow thinking
- Loss of concentration
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
It may be difficult for the person to perform at work or to do daily tasks.
For example, when grocery shopping, they may get lost on their way to the store, forget what they intended to buy, or become confused trying to unlock their car door.
Many victims of mild TBI are put under pressure from friends and family to "snap out of it.
" And because these symptoms cannot be measured as easily as a broken bone or fever, they are often not recognized as stemming from the accident.
Doctors may incorrectly attribute the person's unusual behavior to depression or some other psychological condition.
The result is that victims of TBI, especially mild TBI, frequently lack the assistance they need to deal with their injuries.
If a doctor fails to recognize mild TBI in an accident victim, he or she will not know that treatment is available or that there are thousands of people struggling with similar injuries.
Even when a diagnosis is made, insurance companies will frequently refuse to pay for therapy, particularly if the person was not visibly injured at the time.
In such a situation, it is highly advisable for the victim, or the family or friends of the victim, to contact an Indianapolis brain injury lawyer.
An experienced TBI attorney has the resources necessary to make a case against the responsible party or uncooperative insurance company to get TBI victims the therapy they need to get back to a more normal and secure way of life.
Above all, it is important for those struggling with even mild TBI to know that they are not alone.
A victim should never feel bad for their inability to control their own brain's behavior.
Millions of people deal with similar struggles each day, and there are even several nonprofit organizations working to connect TBI victims with helpful resources and information.
If you or a loved one is struggling with TBI as a result of an accident or assault, do not be discouraged, but know that legal support, treatment, and hope are within your reach.