A brain injury is one of the most serious forms of trauma anyone can experience. According to the CDC, nearly one-quarter of a million people seek treatment in hospitals for brain injuries every year. Some of the most common causes of brain injuries include falls, vehicle collisions, and accidents on the job.
If you sustain a head injury in any kind of accident, you should see a doctor immediately. All types of brain injuries require prompt treatment. Ignoring the injury could increase your risk for long-term complications.
Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help if you suffered a brain injury through no fault of your own. Please call (402) 241-5020 today for a FREE case review.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are classified as either traumatic or non-traumatic. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain suffers physical damage. Non-traumatic brain injuries involve damage to the brain caused by a stroke, lack of oxygen, infection, and other issues.
Meanwhile, TBIs may be caused by a wide range of incidents:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents
- Falls from stairs, ladders, or roofs
- Product malfunctions and failures
- Physical assaults
- Sports accidents
- Workplace accidents
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to hit your head to suffer a brain injury. Concussions, which are by far the most common type of brain injury, can occur without impact. Violent shaking of the head or forceful movement of the head in one direction (i.e., in the event of a head-on car accident) can be enough to cause a potentially serious brain injury.
Common Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Identifying your symptoms can also help you determine if you may need treatment for a brain injury. While the symptoms of specific types of brain injuries vary, some of the most common signs of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sensitivity to light or noise
These are all symptoms of “mild” brain injuries according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you are experiencing symptoms such as loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, slurred speech, or difficulty walking without losing your balance, these can all be signs of a more serious injury that needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
How Doctors Diagnose Brain Injuries
When you see a doctor for a possible brain injury, your doctor may use a variety of different means to assess your condition. Three of the most common tools doctors use to diagnose brain injuries are:
- Testing with the Glasgow Coma Scale – The Glasgow Coma Scale is used to assess the effects and potential severity of a traumatic brain injury. When testing with the Glasgow Coma Scale, doctors ask patients to perform a number of basic movements and tasks (i.e., following directions, following moving objects with their eyes, and moving their limbs). The patient’s ability to perform these tasks is rated on a scale from 3 to 15 (the higher the score, the less serious the injury).
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans – If the Glasgow Coma Scale suggests that a patient may have a brain injury, the next step is usually to conduct a CT scan. This is essentially a multi-layered X-ray of the brain. CT scans can be used to identify bleeding, bruising, and swelling in the brain.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans – An MRI scan uses radio waves to create a visual image of the inside of the brain. By examining MRI scans, doctors can identify abnormalities that are indicative of brain trauma in order to more thoroughly diagnose the patient’s injuries.
What to Do If You Have Concerns About a Brain Injury
Again, if you have concerns about a brain injury, you should seek treatment promptly. We cannot stress this enough. You should not try to self-diagnose your condition, and you should not ignore your symptoms assuming that they will go away in a few days. Delaying medical care can result in serious, potentially life-threatening complications.
It is also in your best interest to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. Brain injuries can lead to both financial costs and major physical, emotional, and mental hardships. If someone else is responsible for your injuries (e.g., a careless driver causes a car accident in which you sustain a TBI), an attorney can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Brain Injury? Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop Can Help
Suffering a brain injury can turn your entire life upside-down. If you have been diagnosed with a brain injury following an accident, our lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options.
For a FREE case review, contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop today. Our attorneys serve those who have suffered brain injuries in Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska and Iowa.