The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that according to the most recent available data, as many as 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year. The groups with the most common occurrence of TBI are very young children, older adolescents and elderly adults over 65 years old – three of the most common population demographics in the state of Florida. Given that TBIs can occur very abruptly, with minimal warning, it is generally a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and also with the potential liability for such injuries, especially if you or your loved ones fall into those age groups.
Most TBIs Are Minor But Serious
By far the most common type of TBI is a concussion, which as most people know can range from very mild to life-threatening in terms of the amount of damage done. The concerning aspect of concussions is that they can occur in a variety of different ways, engaged in a variety of different activities, including some that one would not imagine to be that dangerous. It can be possible to not even be aware of a mild concussion for quite some time if you are not aware of the risk of injury from whatever activity you are engaged in – for example, tripping over a crack in a sidewalk and landing in exactly the wrong way may lead to a mild concussion, but because such an injury is not very foreseeable, it may go some time without being reported.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that even a minor TBI can lead to significant neurological damage, especially if it is repeated over time. Multiple studies of athletes – football players and boxers in particular – illustrate an increased risk of conditions like Parkinson’s or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) over time, with an even higher symptom load seen in many who sustained multiple TBIs in close succession. The same is seen in soldiers, especially those who have seen repeated periods of active duty. However, one need not be an athlete or soldier to sustain a TBI, as seen – the CDC states that falls are the most common cause of TBIs, followed by auto accidents. In car accidents, passengers may suffer traumatic brain injuries due to whiplash or to the standard blunt trauma to the head. If the neck is yanked forward and the head does not follow at the same speed, a blow to the head or injury to the back of the skull and brain can result.
Distinguish Truth From Myth
While many do not bother to enlist the services of an attorney well versed in TBI signs and symptoms, it is recommended that you do so, because there are several pervasive myths that still linger in the public consciousness that can be used against you by insurance adjusters. For example, it is still touted as fact that most victims of minor TBIs recover quickly. This is simply not accurate for some; “minor” TBIs may have minor physical symptoms, but cause long-lasting psychological or emotional effects. There are many different factors involved in assessing a patient’s prognosis; from any previous history of psychological trouble to the exact location of the injury, mere millimeters may be the difference between a complete recovery and persistent, lingering neurological damage.
Another common myth is that if a neuroimaging scan like a CT scan or an MRI does not show any abnormality, no TBI exists. This is not the case because there are different types of TBIs, and some, like diffuse axonal injuries, can be so slight as to appear as though no structural tearing has occurred. TBIs are simply too varied to categorize into one linear group, but it is in the best interests of insurance adjusters to cite the myth so they can avoid paying your medical bills. The types and the symptoms of TBIs are both so varied that very often, adjusters and defense attorneys may try to claim that a symptom like memory issues is indicative of some other condition. If you and your attorney are well versed in the common symptoms of TBI, you will likely have more luck combating this kind of deliberate indifference.
Contact A Ft. Lauderdale TBI Attorney
Because they can be so difficult to spot and diagnose, anyone suspected of sustaining a traumatic brain injury should be assessed by a medical professional as soon as humanly possible. Once you have obtained a clear medical picture, however, it is a good idea to retain a knowledgeable attorney if there is any question of liability for your injuries. The Ft. Lauderdale traumatic brain injury attorneys at the Law Office of Joseph J. Lorusso, P.A. are happy to sit down with you and help you to work out the best path for you going forward. Contact our office today at 954-715-3260 to set up an appointment.