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Always Take Any Head Injuries Seriously

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us brain injury is the leading cause of death among children and people 18-35. It is estimated 6,000 Wisconsinites suffer a brain injury each year, and 50,000 Wisconsin residents live with the effects of a brain injury. Most all of these are the result from household falls, auto accidents and other mishaps. The common denominator is generally bad luck.  You don't have to be traveling at a high rate of speed or to strike a hard object in order to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Any kind of trauma to the head or neck region can cause the brain to bruise, bleed, tear, or swell.

There are two general types of head injuries: open and closed. An open injury means the skull has been fractured, and this kind of brain injury usually results from falls or other accidents in which the head comes in direct contact with a hard surface or object. A closed head injury doesn't involve a fracture, but can be more serious than an open injury due to the possibility of brain swelling and the formation of dangerous blood clots inside the skull. Whether a brain injury is open or closed, the most serious of either type can cause paralysis, loss of consciousness, and even death.

Brain injuries turn people’s lives upside-down. Symptoms like headaches, memory loss and sleep disorders lead to job loss, family meltdowns and worse, all from a bump on the head.

Too many people don’t see a doctor after a head injury, usually to their own detriment. They say “I got my bell rung, I’ll get some rest and be fine in the morning.” They look fine on the outside, but the damage is on the inside. Soon after an accident or injury, it may be difficult to know whether you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, especially when no visual indications of serious injury exist. Here are some things to look out for when evaluating an accident victim's potential for brain injuries:

  • Confusion and difficulty remembering recent events

  • Unusual tiredness or sluggishness

  • Nausea and dizziness

  • Severe headache

  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body

If any of the above symptoms are present soon after an accident or injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. It’s even possible to suffer from a brain injury and still feel fine. Some victims have suffered serious brain injuries in an automobile accident, yet have been able to get out of their car and direct traffic away from the scene. Therefore, if there is any question at all whether a brain injury could have occurred in an accident, it’s critical to go to the nearest hospital for a thorough medical evaluation.

Bruising of the brain is a common injury that results from automobile accidents, falls, and sport-related accidents. The force involved in such occurrences can force the brain forward and then backward, or vice versa. The force can cause bruising in some areas and bleeding in others.

Another common effect of trauma to the brain is called tearing. The force of a collision can cause tearing. Tearing is similar to what happens if a block of ice were to be struck with a hammer; small cracks form, yet the block remains intact. The nerve system of the brain is usually damaged and, depending on the areas in which this occurs, can cause serious impairment of bodily functions.

When the brain suffers the type of trauma described above, swelling usually occurs. The body's natural healing processes cause swelling, but the problem with swelling of the brain is that there is no room for the brain to migrate. What results is called intra-cranial pressure, which can be deadly or cause severe impairment of body functions.

Especially after a serious accident, TBI victims may need financial assistance in treating the injury and in continuing with their life. Medical evaluation of the degree of an individual's impairment can have a huge impact on the level of compensation the individual will receive, from all sources. Medical evaluation will also have an impact on findings such as:

  • The injured person's ability to work

  • The right to receive different kinds of economic compensation

  • Eligibility for protection against discrimination

  • Whether independent living is possible

  • What type of physical therapy might improve his or her health

An evaluation should include the significant changes an individual will undergo as he or she progresses through acute hospitalization, then returns to the home and community. An individual will likely experience the best possible outcome with rehabilitation that offers an interdisciplinary approach and coordinated care.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, contact the attorneys at LDM&M.   Acting promptly to preserve your rights is essential after any accident.  For over 40 years, the attorneys at LDM&M have been helping individuals across Wisconsin receive the legal satisfaction that they deserve.  Contact our offices for a free, personal consolation.