Representing Victims of Brain Injuries in North Carolina
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says roughly 153 people die each day from brain-related injuries in the United States. Brain injuries may only affect you for a few days, or may last for the rest of your life. These injuries have an adverse impact on almost all bodily functions and may diminish memory, movement, vision, hearing, and emotions.
In the U.S. annually, there are over 50,000 deaths, 250,000 admitted to hospitals, and 1 million visits to emergency rooms from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). If you experienced a brain injury following an accident, consult with a brain injury attorney with experience in assisting brain injury victims. Remember, brain injuries may be more serious than they initially appear to be; in fact, it may take time before the full extent of the damage begins to surface.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A TBI is an open (penetrating) or closed injury to the brain that stems from an external force (trauma). TBIs alter brain function and may be caused by a strike or jolt to the head. They range from mild – typically a brief disruption of mental function or unconsciousness – to severe, resulting in long episodes of unconsciousness or loss of memory. Severe cases may lead to disability and death. In North Carolina statutes, TBI was first referenced in 1985 within the provisions of Development Disability. The CDC has labeled TBIs a “silent epidemic” because often the signs and symptoms are not clearly apparent.
The CDC classifies the severity of these injuries with a variety of methods. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a widely used method that measures an individual’s conscious response to defined stimuli. Injuries are then classified with a score between 1 (severe) to 15 (mild). Other methods include the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), the Trauma Score, and the Abbreviated Trauma Score. Once an injury is clinically scored, treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy can be applied accordingly.
Symptoms of TBI
The impairments from TBI generally consist of four types:
- Cognitive: Inability to focus, poor memory, or confusion
- Motor: Weakness in extremities, poor balance or coordination
- Sensory: Decreased perception, hearing, or sight
- Emotional: Depressed mood, anxiety, or impulsiveness
Other physical symptoms include seizures, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Typically, those with severe TBIs will begin to demonstrate limitations in their ability to live independently – a lack of personal care, motivation, or struggles with daily living.
Concussions are the most common form of TBI. They are caused by physical impact to the head or a sudden change in momentum; they may result in unconsciousness for a few minutes. They may involve stretching of blood vessels or harm to cranial nerves. Victims may also suffer a skull fracture, bleeding in the brain, or swelling. Studies suggest that those who suffer a concussion are at a higher risk of experiencing another. Certain imaging tests, such as CAT scans, may not detect the presence of a concussion.
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