By Dr. Ken Manges, Ph.D. | Forensic Psychologist
A Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as a TBI or intracranial injury, is generally the result of a sudden, violent blow or jolt to the head. This jolt to the head launches the brain into a collision course with the inside of the skull, resulting in possible bruising of the brain, tearing of the nerve fibers, or bleeding. Traumatic brain injuries can range in severity, with some being severe and potentially lethal.
It is important that attorneys understand TBIs to represent their clients effectively who have been in a wide variety of accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Additionally, a client may have a TBI in a premises liability case.
Anyone who may have suffered a concussion or head injury should immediately consult a physician for the potential diagnosis of a TBI and to receive treatment, particularly if any of the following symptoms are present:
Unconsciousness, inability to remember the cause of the injury or events that occurred immediately before or within 24 hours after the injury, confusion and disorientation, difficulty remembering new information, headache, dizziness, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting, ringing in the ears, trouble speaking coherently, or changes in emotions or sleep patterns.
Determining Whether a TBI Has Been Sustained
The first step in any potential TBI litigation is determining whether your client has suffered a TBI based upon a formal medical diagnosis. There are a variety of tests that healthcare providers may use to assess a person’s injuries, brain and nerve functioning, and level of consciousness. A Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) measures a person’s ability to speak, open his or her eyes, and move. A speech-language pathologist can complete a formal evaluation of speech and language skills, which can include an evaluation of the strength and coordination of the muscles that control speech, the individual’s understanding of grammar, and the individual’s ability to read and write.
Neuropsychological assessments are occasionally used to obtain information about an individual’s cognitive capabilities. Cognitive capabilities include an individual’s processes of thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, information processing, and memory. Healthcare professionals may take CT or MRI scans of the brain to assess damage, including inter-cranial bleeding.
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