Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often heard in discussions of car accident injuries, motorcycle accidents, and other types of injuries, including sports injuries.  Often, the terms used for these types of injuries include:

  • concussions
  • head injuries
  • head trauma
  • blunt force head trauma
  • fractured skull
  • bleeding on the brain

These types of accident injuries happen for various reasons.  In vehicle accidents, factors such as the speeds involved, as well as other attributes of vehicle crashes, such as the impact force, often contribute to or cause accident injuries that involve the head, neck, spinal cord and brain.

Chicago-Area Accidents Resulting In Head Injuries

This site has summarized many Chicago metropolitan area crashes that have resulted in head injuries.   A sample of these crashes show that such head injuries have happened in a range of accidents, including pedestrian accidents, car-bicycle collisions, bicycle “dooring accidents”, motorcycle accidents, cars striking runners, motorcycle-bicycle collisions, and car rollover accidents.

The above accidents have happened in many different cities, including:

  • Skokie
  • Streamwood
  • Palatine
  • Evanston

In Chicago and its neighborhoods, including:

  • Gold Coast
  • Austin
  • Logan Square
  • Portage Park
  • Avondale

There is also the possibility of concussions and other head injuries stemming from expressway accidents.  One such head injury was seen in a Bishop Ford Expressway accident.

Description Of TBI

The NIH (National Institute of Health) NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) page titled “NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page“ has a description of TBI, as described as:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.  Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.   A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.  A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Whenever someone has a significant head impact, it is recommended that a (very) prompt and  thorough medical exam is performed to assess whether a TBI has occurred.  Of note, many types of head injury symptoms – even those that are serious if not potentially life-threatening – can take (many) hours to become apparent to the person injured.  Typically, a visit to the emergency room may include testing for bleeding on the brain and other potentially problematical health conditions.

Of note, there doesn’t have to be an “open wound” or penetration of the skull in order for serious traumatic brain injury to occur.  [“Open vs. “Closed TBI” is further discussed on the Northeastern University “Types of TBI” page.]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page titled “Concussion Danger Signs,” in which “Danger Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion” is discussed.

Preventing Head Injuries In Vehicle Accidents

As far as car and other vehicle accidents are concerned, head injuries are often seen in certain types of accidents.  Among these types of accidents are “head-on collisions” and rollover accidents.  Head injuries are possible in such accidents due to the impacts and other physical characteristics of such accidents.  As to rollover accidents, which are further discussed on the “Cook County Rollover Accidents” page, such accidents and their characteristics – as well as their potential for causing head, neck and spine injuries – is discussed.

As far as traveling in a car or other vehicle, there are various steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of getting a head injury.  Among the best preventative measures that can be taken is the wearing of a seat belt.  Vehicle airbags can also prevent potential head injuries.

For children and infants, proper occupant safety devices such as car and booster seats are among actions that can be taken to reduce the possibility of various accident injuries.

Other recommendations for avoiding head trauma stemming from vehicle accidents includes avoiding certain types of “high-risk” driving, such as (excessive) speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and driving while intoxicated on drugs.

Preventing Concussions And Other Brain Injuries By Wearing Helmets

As mentioned above, other Cook County accidents in which head injuries have occurred include a wide range of accidents and other activities.  These accidents have included pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and various types of bicycle accidents, including “dooring accidents.”

While there is no universal step one can take to guarantee against a head injury, there are certain actions that one can take to reduce the likelihood of a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.  As far as participating in sports, general recommendations as well as those tailored to various sports are seen on the CDC “Concussion Prevention” page.

Motorcyclists are especially at risk for potential head injuries during accidents, as seen in many injury statistics as well as descriptions of motorcyclist crash injuries.  One way for motorcyclists to reduce the likelihood of a head injury during a crash is by wearing a certified, properly-fitted motorcycle helmet.  The importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet is further discussed on the “Illinois Motorcyclist Safety And Helmet Use” page.

Bicyclists also can greatly reduce the possibility of a (serious) head injury during a crash by wearing a helmet.  The benefits of wearing a bicycle helmet is seen in the July 12, 2014 post titled “Bicycling Helmets And Their Importance Regarding Head Injuries.”

Legal Steps To Take If You Have Had A Head Injury

Should you be involved in an accident, there are many steps you should promptly take in order to protect both your health and your legal rights, which includes your ability to potentially receive accident injury compensation.

As mentioned above, from a medical perspective, it is highly recommended that you get a prompt and thorough medical evaluation after an accident, especially one in which a significant head impact has occurred.

From a legal perspective, it is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after being injured in an crash.   There are many reasons for this.  In short, the lawyer can provide you with the actions that you should take in order to protect your legal rights.  The personal injury lawyer can tell you whether the filing of a lawsuit is appropriate.

Due to the nature of head injuries and other serious accident injuries, it is important that those who have been injured seek appropriate compensation for these injuries.  There can be many substantial direct and indirect costs stemming from such injuries.  As such, those who find themselves incurring such expenses will want to seek the maximum amount of compensation in order to offset the various costs and other hardships.

Generally speaking, there are various forms of accident injury compensation. These forms include, but are not limited to, compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Physical and vocational rehabilitation costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for permanent impairments (loss of function)
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Costs of fixing and/or replacing a damaged vehicle, in the case of a vehicle accident

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of Chicago’s Elman Law Group, offers a free legal consultation to those that have been injured in an accident.  He also offers this free legal consultation to individuals who represent those who have died as a result of an accident.  Tony can tell you the actions that you should be taking in order to maximize your potential accident injury compensation, as well as provide you with an idea as to what levels of compensation may be reasonably expected for your accident injuries (i.e. “how much your case may be worth.”)

Tony Elman can be contacted directly at (773) 392-8182.  Elman Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury cases over the last 25+ years.  We have established a reputation for notable successes in both court verdicts and settlements for our clients.