Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are the result of some type of sudden trauma to the head or body. It can be a violent jolt or physical strike. The closed head injury may not cause any damage to the skull itself, or an object may crack through the skull, entering the brain tissue. Not every blow to the head will develop into a brain injury either. Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity. A mild brain injury might only render the person unconscious for a second or not at all, while a severe head injury can result in an extended period of unconsciousness or even death.
The American Academy of Neurology estimates that approximately 1.7 million people experience some sort of traumatic brain injury each year. The leading cause of TBI is falling down. The second most common cause is an accidental blow to the head, while the third leading cause is car accidents.
How are Traumatic Brain Injuries Diagnosed?
Many doctors assess traumatic brain injuries using the Glasgow Coma Scale. This is a 15-point scale that rates the injured person based on their answers to specific tests and questions. It checks the person’s ability to move their eyes and limbs as well as to follow the medical professional’s commands. The higher the score, the less severe the brain injury is. A low score would indicate someone who’s likely in a coma.
Other diagnostic and imaging tests are often ordered with a brain injury. These include x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
The general criteria of scoring for loss of consciousness (LOC) is ranked as follows:
- Mild is a loss of consciousness under 20 minutes
- Moderate is loss of consciousness that doesn’t extend for more than six hours after hospital admittance
- Severe is loss of consciousness for more than six hours since patient was admitted
The Glasgow Coma Scale scores range from three to 15. A mild TBI typically falls in the 13-15-point range, while a severe one is eight points and under.
Common Symptoms with a Traumatic Brain Injury
Not everyone with a traumatic brain injury loses consciousness. It is common to feel like you’re dazed and “out of it” for the next few days, or even weeks, after the accident. Some other symptoms to watch for include:
- Memory issues and difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Lightheadedness and confusion
- Difficulty sleeping
Someone with a more serious traumatic brain injury might exhibit more symptoms, indicating the need for immediate medical treatment. Symptoms of more severe traumatic brain injuries may include:
- Numbness in the extremities
- More serious confusion and memory issues
- Dilated pupils and slurred speech
- Vomiting and nausea repeatedly
- Difficulty waking from a deep sleep
Hiring a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
If you were in an accident and you believe you suffered a traumatic brain injury, or were diagnosed with one, you need a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney. You can’t necessarily protect yourself from a brain injury that occurs during an accident, but you can take the proper steps after to ensure you receive proper medical attention afterward. The attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm are experienced in dealing with traumatic brain injury claims. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.