What Are the Long Term Consequences of Brain Injury?Request Free Consultation
Traumatic brain injuries have become a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S. with nearly 1.5 million TBIs reported per year in either mild, moderate, or severe categories. Of the estimated 1.5 million brain injuries, 50,000 victims die from their injuries but the rest survive their TBIs and go on to live with the after-effects. While the mildest brain injuries, such as slight concussions, may leave a victim with little more than a headache, more serious injuries leave up to 90,000 people per year with long-term disabilities.
What is brain injury, why do they occur so often in the U.S, and what are the long-term consequences that are now causing a growing trend of liability claims?
Understanding Brain Injuries
An accident that causes a jolt to the head may result in the brain banging against the bony interior surface of the skull or rubbing against it, causing friction. Direct head impact, skull penetration by a sharp object or bullet, or shaking injuries all cause various degrees of traumatic brain injuries. The result may be bruising, swelling, or the stretching and tearing of delicate brain tissue. Any injury to the brain tissue resulting in negative effects on the way the brain works is a traumatic brain injury. Mild brain injuries such as slight concussions only temporarily affect the functioning of the brain cells in the area of impact, but more severe injuries may destroy a portion of the brain cells and interfere with the brain’s ability to function. Long-term complications and even death may be the end result.
Some complications of brain injuries occur immediately or soon after the initial impact, while others develop in hours or days following an injury as bleeding and inflammation cause pressure within the skull.
The most common accidents resulting in brain injuries include the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents including car, truck, and motorcycle collisions
- Falls, including slip-and-fall accidents, falls from ladders, and falls from stairs
- Sports-related injuries
- Violence, including random violence, domestic violence, and shaking injuries in babies
- Blast injuries and combat injuries
Because of the variety of ways brain injuries happen, they affect people of all ages and lifestyles, from children to the elderly.
Long-Term Effects Associated With Brain Injuries
While a single mild TBI, like a concussion, causes only short-term, mild effects, studies show that people such as athletes and boxers who experience multiple concussions may experience long-term physical consequences including personality changes, depression, headaches, and forgetfulness.
Moderate to severe brain injuries have more serious long-term impacts and sometimes result in long-term or lifelong impairment including the following:
- Physical changes
- Behavioral changes
- Emotional changes
- Cognitive effects
- Memory loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Shortened life expectancy (by about 9 years)
- Problems with speech and language comprehension
- Problems processing visual information
- Balance problems
- Visual changes
- Chronic health problems including pneumonia, infections, drug overdoses or poisoning
On-going treatment, proper healthcare, and community services can help reduce the negative consequences of a brain injury.
The added expenses of long-term solutions for brain-injured individuals as well as the lost wages and diminished earning potential related to brain injuries makes getting the maximum compensation for a claim essential in cases where an act of negligence or willful misconduct results in a traumatic brain injury.