Acquired Brain Injury
A brain injury that has occurred after birth and is “not hereditary, congenital, degenerative or induced by birth trauma.”
Brain injuries are among the most lethal injuries a person can suffer, and can cause devastating, long term complications for those who suffer them. And brain injuries can happen to anyone: infants, children, adults and the elderly alike. To make treatment more complicated, many brain injuries often go undiagnosed for years.
According to the CDC, every year in the United States there are around 1.5 million people who suffer a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Out of this 1.5 million, up to 90,000 people will experience a long-term disability related to their brain injury, and around 60,000 will die as a result of sustaining a TBI. If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of someone’s negligence, a car accident, or medical malpractice, you may have legal recourse to cover your medical bills, as well as receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), also known as acquired brain injuries, head trauma or concussions — can be deadly or debilitating. TBIs can result from any trauma to the head, leading to injury of the scalp, skull or brain. They often occur from an injury or an accident, such as a serious car accident.
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability for young adults and children in the United States, with nearly 5.3 million people living in the United States suffering from permanent TBI-related disabilities, according to the CDC.
According to the CDC, there were over 200,000 hospitalizations for TBI related injuries in 2018, and well over over 60,000 deaths related to traumatic brain injuries in 2019. But the causes of traumatic brain injuries will vary, depending on the age group affected.
Among the elderly, the most common cause of brain injuries is falling. For infants, one of the more common causes of a TBI is being shaken violently. For young adults, specifically young men, car crashes are one of the most common causes of a TBI.
The most common causes of brain injuries across all age groups are:
Car, motorcycle and truck accidents account for 17.3 percent of TBIs according to the CDC, but bicycle and transit accidents can be as damaging.
Falls lead to over half of all TBI related hospitalizations according to the CDC. Falls can be caused by a variety of issues, including premises and workplace liability or nursing home neglect.
Assault accounts for 10 percent of all TBI cases.
New revelations are coming up every year about the impact that sports can have on the brain — one 2018 study found that 5 percent of all youth football players suffer concussions at some point in their playing career.
Forceps injuries, delayed C-sections and the failure to diagnose or treat high-risk pregnancy issues can all lead to lifelong brain injury.
Our skulls are remarkably resilient, but there’s so much we still don’t know about brain injuries. Some people can withstand severe head trauma without it affecting their brains, while others sustain mild repeated damage with consequences that show up later in life.
The following are the most prevalent types of TBI:
Many of the typical symptoms of “mild” to “moderate” TBIs are difficult to notice, even in the emergency room. It is important to know that because brain injuries are often difficult to detect, many victims rarely receive prompt treatment for their physical and cognitive impairments. In fact, health practitioners often misdiagnose a brain injury, or fail to diagnose them all together.
If you suspect a brain injury has occurred, you need to look for symptoms, which can include:
Remember that these symptoms may not always show up immediately. Many people who suffer a concussion will not begin to notice symptoms for several days, and often feel completely fine – until the moment they suddenly don’t. Anyone who has suffered an injury to their head should be carefully monitored by another adult, and a physician may recommend that you be woken up every 2-3 hours from sleep to check on your cognitive functioning.
The following symptoms suggest a more serious head injury that requires emergency medical treatment:
One of the groups most susceptible to brain injury are young children. Many of the most common birth injuries are caused by brain injury. These injuries often don’t require any trauma to occur — a lack of oxygen to the brain, known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, can cause irreversible damage within minutes.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Brain injury in children is most often caused by a fall or by assault. This is commonly referred to as “shaken baby syndrome”. The other common causes of brain injury in young children are:
Symptoms in young children can be similar to those seen in adults, but there are few extra details that parents and caregivers should be on the lookout for after any sort of trauma to the head.
Since children often can’t talk about what’s wrong with them, caregivers should watch to see if the child has a dazed appearance, or becomes listless and easily tired. Irritability, excessive crying, a change in eating or sleeping patterns, or a loss of balance are also other key warning signs. If a child has a large head bump or bruise on any area other than their forehead, they should seek immediate medical attention. This is especially true for infants under a year old.
Brain injury statistics are staggering and will likely surprise you. Some of them include:
If your family needs advice about your legal options in the aftermath of a brain injury, contact our experienced Philadelphia medi
cal malpractice lawyers. At McEldrew Purtell, we offer free consultations, and we can usually advance the expenses involved in the investigation and proof of your claim. We only recover our expenses if we successfully resolve your claims through settlement or trial.
Our attorneys have more than 30 years of trial experience with complex personal injury and brain injury litigation in Pennsylvania. Over the years, they have developed close working relationships with outstanding medical professionals, whose evaluation and expert conclusions about what caused the injury could become an essential feature of your claim. Get a free confidential consultation now by filling out our form or calling us directly at (215) 545-8800.