All head and brain injuries are serious and deserve the attention of an experienced Tampa brain injury lawyer. Fiol Law Group is your legal ally in Tampa Bay.
Many types of personal injury accidents can result in traumatic head and brain injuries. The brain may suffer injury in an accident due to blunt force trauma to the skull and swelling. Brain injuries also occur when the force of momentum whips the head and neck around, often striking stationary and moving objects. Non-impact incidents can also cause brain injury due to lack of oxygen. Traumatic brain injuries are severe medical concerns that can lead to physical or cognitive disabilities.
The Basics of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A head injury is any sort of damage to the brain, skull, or scalp. This includes contusions, bruising, fractures, concussions, and brain injuries. Head and brain injuries take many different forms and require a variety of treatments. The prognosis for recovery depends entirely on the severity of the injury. An open head injury is one in which the skull has cracked and something has touched the brain. A closed head injury does not break the skull, but may still affect the brain. There are two main categories of head injuries:
- Blow-related injuries. A blow to the head, or traumatic blunt force, can occur in a car accident, slip and fall, physical assault, catastrophic bike accident, or sports-related accident. Blows to the head can cause skull injuries or concussion. Concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a blow jolting the brain around in the skull.
- Shake-related injuries. Brain injuries can also occur from excessive shaking. Injuries from shaking occur most often in infants and small children (Shaken Baby Syndrome), but can happen during any type of violent shaking.
Head and brain injuries can take the form of a hematoma, hemorrhage, concussion, edema, skull fracture, or diffuse axonal injury. It is impossible to see the full picture of a head or brain injury without x-ray scans. However, common symptoms of brain injuries include dizziness, nausea, bad headache, seizures, dilated pupils, confusion, and memory loss. See a doctor as soon as possible after any blow to the head to ensure you do not have a traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries may also result from medical malpractice or hospital negligence. An anesthesia error during surgery can cut off oxygen to the brain, causing brain hypoxia. Lack of oxygen in the brain can lead to physical and cognitive difficulties, coma, and death. Hypoxia may also occur in infants during the labor and birth processes under the care of a negligent or incompetent physician. Failure to monitor fetal heart rate and take appropriate action in emergencies can lead to lack of oxygen in the brain.
What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has gained more widespread attention in recent years, in part because of litigation surrounding the National Football League (NFL). If you’re unfamiliar with CTE, you’re not alone. This relatively new diagnosis can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that primarily affects athletes, members of the military, and other people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. With this disease, a special protein, called tau protein, forms clumps that spread throughout the brain and create cell death. CTE has been noted in individuals as young as 17, but the symptoms usually don’t manifest until years after the individual has suffered multiple head impacts.
The earliest symptoms of CTE may appear in a patient’s 20s and 30s. These are usually marked by changes in the patient’s mood or behavior. Common examples include aggression, impulse control issues, paranoia, and depression.
As the disease progresses, patients begin to experience additional problems – namely, those involved with cognition and memory. Examples of later symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, and dementia. These symptoms appear in an affected individual’s 40s and 50s.
No two cases of CTE are exactly alike. Some patients may only experience behavioral symptoms, while other experience issues with behavior and cognition. In some cases, symptoms get progressively worse over time, while others may experience years of relative stability.
What are the Causes of CTE?
Based on what we know about CTE, its cause is repetitive blows to the head over a number of years. This does not necessarily mean you’ll get CTE if you have a handful of concussions in your medical history. Rather, most victims we know of with CTE sustain hundreds, even thousands, of blows to the head over the years (think of contact sports and serving in the military). In fact, our body of evidence points to sub-concussive impacts (non-concussion forming) as the largest factor in developing CTE.
For this reason, the NFL has come under scrutiny, as there were allegations that suggested the organization knew about the inherent dangers of the sport but did not adequately protect players. In recent years, the NFL and NCAA have taken additional steps to prevent CTE by creating penalties for targeting, spearing, and other head-on contact.
Risk Factors of CTE
CTE is most commonly found in:
- Football players
- Military veterans
- Victims of domestic abuse
- Soccer players
- Hockey players
Other risk factors include:
- Age of first impact – those who play contact sports at a younger age are more prone
- Length of exposure – generally, athletes with longer careers or those serving long stints in military active duty are more vulnerable
How is CTE Diagnosed?
Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose CTE is a brain biopsy after death. Researchers are currently working on a way to confirm CTE during life to avoid some of the disease’s most devastating effects. Until very recently, there were few doctors who even knew how to diagnose the disease. Hopefully, with continued research, we can identify for risk factors for CTE and save more lives with preventive measures. For now, all we can do is limit the amount of sub-concussive blows to the head whenever possible.
When to Sue | Tampa Brain Injury Attorney
Every head and brain injury is different. Speak to a Tampa brain injury attorney about the specific details of your particular injury to find out if you have the elements of a personal injury case. This may be the case if you sustained a brain injury in a car accident, while playing sports, in a slip and fall accident, during surgery, at work, from a defective product, or during a physical assault. If someone owed you a standard of care, breached this standard, and caused your head injury, you likely have a case of negligence.
Fiol Law Group has what it takes to represent you in car accident, medical malpractice, and work-related cases. Our Tampa brain injury lawyers may be able to seek compensation for your past and future medical bills, including any physical therapy or rehabilitation you may need. Compensation may also cover your mental anguish, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. This is especially important if you cannot return to the job you held prior to the accident due to permanent brain damage. Contact us for a free consultation.