There are few types of injuries more dramatic and tragic than traumatic brain injury (TBI). Seen frequently in motor vehicle accidents in which two vehicles collide at high speeds, thus subjecting occupants to extreme forces, TBIs can have devastating, lifelong impacts on victims – with sometimes fatal results.
TBIs can also result in suffering in the victim’s family, as they often must support the victim on a short- to long-term basis.
Traumatic brain injury is, in a word, scary. Here’s how lives can be changed in the blink of an eye – and how families must cope with the aftermath.
The Brain Is Essential, but Fragile
The brain is the epicenter of everything about you. How you think and feel is created by your brain. Your sense of self is created by your brain. Your organs function due to your brain. It’s an essential organ to living – but it’s also fragile.
Your brain itself is vulnerable to damage. Our bodies have ways to protect the brain, ranging from a hard skull to fluid that acts as a cushion and shock absorber. Your brain is also flexible due to neuroplasticity, which means if there’s damage in one area of your brain, it can be balanced by increased activity in another area.
Traumatic injury, however, can get past our defenses. Take car accidents as an example. A tremendous amount of force is involved in a serious collision. This force can cause the brain to move around violently inside the skull, to the point where even fluid can’t protect it.
The rotational force – the force that causes your head to shake or rotate rapidly – creates what’s called a diffuse axonal injury that literally tears brain tissue. Damaged tissue releases chemicals that cause even further injury.
With torn, damaged brain tissue comes a wide range of frightening effects that result from the TBI.
The Effects of TBI Are Often Severe
The brain can be resilient, but in a serious accident, with a serious TBI, the damage can be too much to overcome – resulting in severe consequences.
There are generally two types of severe damage: physical and psychological. Non-fatal physical damage can result in anything from paralysis to coma and brain death. Your brain can lose the ability to control certain parts of your body or certain organ systems. You can lose the ability to move some or all of your body. You may experience severe sensory damage, such as deafness or blindness. You can even lose the ability to speak.
Psychological damage is no less tragic. Those who have suffered from traumatic brain injury have had short to long-term amnesia, chronic fatigue, profound personality changes, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), serious to severe cognitive impairment (the ability to think), behavioral and emotional changes, and even a loss of identity and the concept of self.
Serious TBIs disrupt lives. They have real costs, both materially and relationally. At a minimum, a victim with a TBI will have medical bills, both for the accident and for continued treatment (sometimes for the rest of their life). They may not be able to work for a while or at all, which results in lost wages and further financial trouble for their family if they were a breadwinner.
The victim will suffer from psychological emotional damage that causes pain, suffering, and distress. Their relationships with their loved ones are often strained. Their loved ones suffer because they have to take care of the victim in some capacity.
In short, a serious traumatic brain injury often means drastic change.
Making Your Life Whole After a Traumatic Brain Injury
Recovering from a TBI and getting your life back on track as much as possible requires medical help, a caring support system, and some way to support you and your family financially and pay for the expenses that come from the injury.
Doctors understand TBI far better than they ever have. The ways these injuries are treated today are astounding, and many people with a TBI have improved their situation after their accident. With that being said, treatment is often long, arduous, and expensive. You may need some kind of rehabilitation therapy for a long time following the surgery, maybe even the rest of your life. And there’s no guarantee that even the best medical care can completely restore your life.
A caring support system can make a world of difference in how you’re able to cope with TBI. Hopefully, family and friends will be there for the victim. But, the victim may also need help from mental health professionals to provide counseling and other treatment for the psychological damage caused by TBI.
To summarize, a TBI can result in enormous financial burdens. Treatment is expensive, plus there’s the pain, suffering, and distress that you and your family have had to endure. All of that requires compensation. The party responsible for the accident that led to your traumatic brain injury should be held accountable so you can do as much as you can to put your life back together, as expensive as that may be.
Talk to a personal injury attorney if you or someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident. Recovering from a TBI is hard; doing it without financial help is even harder. Get the compensation your family needs by exploring legal options today.