TBI in Texas: A Potentially Life-Changing Injury - Traumatic brain injuries affect 1.7 million people each year. Learn about the common causes and symptoms of TBI, as well as legal recourse available when caused through the fault of another party.
In 2009, 16-year-old Gabriel Edwards did not expect anything out-of-ordinary to happen during his football practice at Johnson High School in San Antonio. He certainly did not expect to receive a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during practice - an injury his own brother had sustained and recovered from six years earlier.
But that is precisely what happened to Edwards when he joined his high school football team on the field that day. After receiving a particularly hard blow to the head, Edwards was rushed to the hospital. His injury resulted in a subdural hematoma, or a collection of blood on his brain. His condition was so serious that he had to use a ventilator and was in-and-out of consciousness for seven days.
What is so extraordinary about this story is that it is not all that rare - every fall in Texas, thousands of kids across the state suit up to play football. Any one of them could get hit in just the wrong place at just the wrong time and receive a TBI just like Gabriel Edwards.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Sport injuries, including concussions and serious head injuries suffered by football players, are one of the common causes of TBI. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. They are the most common cause of death and disability in children and young adults.
Some of the other common causes of TBIs include:
Motor vehicle crashes, including motorcycle accidents and ATV accidents
- Child abuse, spousal abuse and other acts of domestic violence
- Recreational activities and sports
People who have had repetitive head injuries are at a greater risk of developing a TBI. Repetitive head injuries could be the result of multiple concussions or episodes of losing consciousness. For example, a person who has been in more than one motor vehicle accident during their lifetime is at an increased risk for TBI.
Types and Symptoms of TBIs
TBIs can be mild, moderate or severe. Mild brain injuries also are referred to as concussions. They usually do not include loss of consciousness, and when they do, it usually is not for more than 15 minutes. Mild brain injuries usually are closed head injuries, meaning that there is no skull fracture.
Victims of mild brain injuries may be up walking and talking soon after the injury. Symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue and confusion may not develop until hours or even days after the initial injury.
Moderate brain injuries, on the other hand, always involve a loss of consciousness, from a matter of minutes or up to several hours. Victims usually feel confused or "out of it" for a couple of days or sometimes even weeks after the initial head injury.
Severe brain injuries usually involve a loss of consciousness that spans weeks or months and, in some cases, the victims fall into a coma. Severe TBI victims may have physical, mental and behavioral changes that last for several months. In the most serious of cases, the changes will be permanent.
Some of the symptoms of a TBI include:
Disorientation and confusion
- Difficulty sleeping
- Slurred speech
- Chronic headaches
- Forgetfulness, difficulty remembering
- Short-term memory loss
- Blurry vision
- Changes in taste, smell
- Impulsive behavior
A study reported recently in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson 's disease during their lifetimes. According to the study, 20-30 percent of those with either Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease have suffered a TBI in the past.
In addition to being at risk for developing these serious diseases, brain injury victims also face weeks, months or longer of medical treatments and rehabilitation. In the most severe cases, TBI victims may be unable to take care of themselves and have to rely on in-home care or residential care in a nursing home or other facility.
The costs of caring for a TBI victim can quickly escalate. It is estimated that it can cost between $600,000 and $1.875 million over the victim's lifetime. Collectively, the CDC estimates that it costs the United States between $9 and $10 billion each year to pay for acute care and rehabilitation costs of brain injury victims.
Your Legal Options Following a TBI
In some cases, traumatic brain injuries happen not because the individual was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, but because someone else acted negligently. When this happens, Texas law gives TBI victims the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
The negligent party may be a distracted driver that was busy talking on a cell phone or sending a text. Or the negligent party might be a manufacturer who produced an unsafe product, like a defective football helmet or an unsafe ATV. The responsible party also could be a person who started a bar fight and hit someone in the head. In another scenario, the responsible party could be a football coach who failed to properly supervise his or her student athletes.
Whatever the circumstances may be, if another party acted negligently or purposefully and caused a traumatic brain injury, the injury victim has the right to be compensated for their injuries, including:
Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Personal injury cases for TBI can be quite complicated; victims often have difficulty in obtaining a correct diagnosis. However, an attorney experienced in working with TBI victims can help navigate the obstacles involved and help victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
For more information on your rights to compensation for a TBI, contact a Texas attorney experienced in handling catastrophic injury cases.
Article provided by The Law Offices Of Tyler & Peery - Visit us at www.tylerandpeery.com
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