Too few people are aware of the devastating frequency with which brain injuries occur in the United States, or of the simple precautions that can reduce those statistics. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result in more deaths among children and adolescents than any other single cause, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control notes that 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths were connected with TBI in 2010, and they point out that these figures have risen steadily in recent years. Having seen too many brain injuries in the course of practicing as a Boston personal injury lawyer, each of us hopes that Brain Injury Awareness Month can help reverse this disturbing increase.
A Brief Explanation of Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury results from a blow to the head and the subsequent swelling that occurs. The Brain Trauma Foundation explains that your brain will react to a blow with swelling, just as a broken wrist will swell after the initial moment of injury. Blood circulation can be interrupted by the initial accident or by the swelling that occurs hours later, and brain cells can die as a result of being starved for oxygen.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Some symptoms may take time to appear, so it’s important to realize that even if the accident occurred weeks or months earlier, the following symptoms could indicate brain damage:
- Cognitive problems: These include difficulty with memory and concentration, but can also refer to general difficulty with performing intellectual tasks. “Brain fog” is sometimes used to describe the condition.
- Physical disturbances: Very individualized from one person to the next, physical symptoms include headaches and nausea, fuzzy vision, problems with balance and dizziness, and an excessive sensitivity to noise and bright light.
- Emotional symptoms: This usually refers to displays of uncharacteristic emotions, especially irritation, intense anxiety, or sadness. Volatile mood changes are also a common symptom.
- Differences in sleeping: Some people sleep excessively after a brain injury, while others have insomnia.
When Is It an Emergency?
If you or a family member have been the victim of an auto accident in the past days or weeks, you should immediately seek medical help if you experience any of the following symptoms: unconsciousness or overwhelming drowsiness, one pupil being larger than the other, seizures, extreme confusion or not recognizing familiar people or places, or any peculiar behavioral displays. Young children may also indicate a serious problem through inconsolable crying and a refusal to eat.
Preventive Measures You Can Take
The CDC has created a chart showing that over 40 percent of all traumatic brain injuries are caused by falling. In the case of elderly victims, falls are the cause more than 80 percent of the time. Therefore, the most important step you can take to prevent traumatic brain injuries is to reduce the danger of falling.
Reducing the Potential for Falls
For young children, this includes making sure they aren’t playing on fire escapes or open balconies, and always using safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases. Window guards can prevent curious children from falling out of windows. For elderly people, it’s important to have non-slip mats in bathtubs and ample railings in bathrooms and bedrooms.
Decreasing the Harm When Accidents Occur
Helmets should be worn by every bicycle rider, and they are essential gear for skiing, snowboarding, and all high-speed sports. Playground surfaces should be made of soft, shock-absorbent materials, and every person in an automobile should wear restraints appropriate to their height and weight.
Boston Personal Injury Lawyer
When your family is experiencing the ongoing crisis of a traumatic brain injury, you need to have a knowledgeable ally. Contact a Boston personal injury lawyer at 877-762-9510 today for your free consultation. Our team has an outstanding track record of success in compensating victims of traumatic brain injury, and we are ready to assert your right to the just compensation you deserve.