Written By: Attorney Kaitlin Nares
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A traumatic brain injury can be life-altering. It can result in a range of symptoms that include some of the following: feeling out of it, fatigue, headache, migraines, nausea, disorientation, imbalance, vomiting, light or hearing sensitivity, brain damage, or even death. Failure to treat a brain injury can result in an aggravation of these symptoms.
It is important to take any possible brain injury seriously and ensure that you consult with a medical professional as soon as possible. When you are dealing with a brain injury, it can become overwhelming trying to negotiate with insurance companies to fairly compensate you for your injuries—the car accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, loss of earnings, pain and anguish, and ensure you are getting the treatment you deserve.
How do I know if I have a brain injury?
If you are in a wreck and you hit your head on the headrest, steering wheel, or window, it is important to consult with a medical professional to ensure that you have not sustained a brain injury. However, you do not have to physically hit your head against something to sustain a brain injury.
Your brain is floating in cerebral fluid. When your head whips front to back, or side to side, commonly known as whiplash, then your brain can hit against your skull causing a brain injury. Even if you have not physically hit your head, if you are experiencing neck pain, dizziness, or other symptoms, it is important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
Sometimes, after a car accident, you may not experience any brain injury symptoms because your adrenaline is high which may dull your symptoms, or you may have an injury to another part of your body that is diverting your pain. If you experience any symptoms within a week of the car accident it is important to consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
When you consult with a medical professional make sure to describe each symptom you are having, how frequently you are having each symptom, how severe each symptom is, when the symptom began, and whether the symptom has increased or decreased in severity.
If possible, seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident. After the accident, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you feel like you might have sustained a brain injury and need an ambulance. Medical professionals will conduct an examination of your eye functioning and reflexes to determine where you lie on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS).
The GCS is a neurological scale that is used to assess a person’s level of consciousness after a head injury. A normal GCS does not necessarily equate to the lack of a brain injury. The GCS is used by first aide, nurses, and doctors in acute medical and traumatic patients. The case is composed of three tests: eye, verbal, and motor responses. A severe GCS is a score of less than 9, moderate is a score of 9 to 12, and a minor GCS is a score between 13 and 15. A GCS is not predictive of post-acute recovery in mild and moderate brain injury cases.
Mild traumatic brain injuries
The term mild usually refers to the severity of the initial trauma that caused the injury. It also may refer to the symptoms within the first 24 hours after injury. The term mild is not intended to describe the long-term severity of the consequences of the injury. According to the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, a patient with mild traumatic brain injury is a person who has had a traumatically injured physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- any period of loss of consciousness;
- any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident;
- any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident (e.g. feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused);
- focal neurological deficit(s) that may or may not be transparent.
Causes of a mild traumatic brain injury can be the head being struck, the head striking an object, or the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head.
A typical initial diagnosis of someone with brain injury symptoms is a concussion. A concussion is defined by the American Academy of Neurology as a “trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness.” A concussion refers to altered function, while a mild traumatic brain injury describes a pathologic state of the brain after the concussive event.
- A grade 1 concussion is defined as having altered mental status lasting less than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness.
- A grade 2 concussion is defined as having altered mental status lasted more than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness.
- A grade 3 concussion is defined by a loss of consciousness.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
A moderate traumatic brain injury is defined by prolonged loss of consciousness of greater than 15 minutes but less than 24 hours.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
A severe traumatic brain injury is defined by a comatose state where structural lesions are revealed by neuroimaging. A severe traumatic brain injury can be caused by a skull fracture, intracranial hemorrhage, defuse cerebral edema and related conditions. A severe traumatic brain injury has a high likelihood of reducing life expectancy.
Who are the specialists that treat traumatic brain injury?
A physician with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.
A physician that performs surgery on the brain or skull, often to address emergent bleeding or swelling in the brain that will lead to further damage or death.
A PhD who studies the relationship between the brain and a person’s behavior. A neuropsychological evaluation is an assessment of how a person’s brain in functioning. A neuropsychologist draws conclusions about the structural and functional integrity of a patient’s brain. A neuropsychologist can relate how an individual’s problems are the result of the brain injury.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician
Referred as a physiatrist or rehab doctor, they are concerned with restoring functional ability and equality of life.
Other specialists include neuro-radiologists, who interpret diagnostic tests, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and educational consultants.
What are the various types of brain imaging technology?
Computerized Tomography (CT Scans)
CT scans tell us very little about non‐operative brain injuries. They detect fractures of the skull and facial bones, accumulations of blood and swelling or shifting of the brain structures.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A brain MRI is far superior detecting smaller lesions that may not involve hemorrhage and evidence of axonal injury.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Fmri)
This MRI provides real‐time data on cerebral metabolism during specific cognitive or motor tasks. It demonstrates evidence of neuronal dysfunction by the imaging of regional changes in blood oxygenation patterns.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
A DTI creates image of the pathology in the fiber tracts within the white matter of the brain, even though individual axons are too small to be seen within a microscope. A DTI is a modality for measuring white matter integrity and connectivity. The organized and specific direction of diffusion in healthy white matter is known as anisotropy. Fractional anisotropy measures how much local diffusion deviates from isotropic diffusion (lack of directional organization). Reduced directionality of the diffusion of water is shown by a reduction in fractional anisotropy scores at sites of traumatic axonal shearing injuries, which indicates a loss of microstructural fiber integrity.
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
A MRS provides images that illustrate the functional cerebral metabolism and could potentially be used to delineate the psychologic changes seen in concussions. A MRS uses metabolite data from areas of the brain to provide an assessment of neurochemical alterations after a brain injury. It identifies changes in NAA/Creatinine and choline/creatinine ratios indicating a brain injury in those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, even when no structural injury is visible on MRI. It identifies metabolic disturbances after brain injury.
An EEG measures the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity over a short period to time, usually 20‐40 min, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp.
This is a functional neuroimaging technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain, using very sensitive magnetometers.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
This test is for severe traumatic brain injuries. It takes images of functional cerebral metabolism.
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
This test is a radioactive tracer to detect abnormalities in cerebral flood flow.
ZINDA LAW GROUP SEEKS MAXIMUM COMPENSATION FOR BRAIN INJURIES
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced brain injury attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
Our firm believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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