Brain Injury

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

by Mike Rainwater | June 8th, 2017

Per the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following:

  1. any period of loss of consciousness;
  2. any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident;
  3. any alteration in the mental state at the time of the accident  (e.g. feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused); and
  4. focal neurological deficit(s) that may or may not be transient;

but where the severity of the injury does not exceed the following: i) loss of consciousness (LOC) of approximately 30 minutes or less; ii) after 30 minutes, an initial Glosgow Coma Scale (CGS) of 13-15; and iii)  post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) not greater than 24 hours.

This is intentionally a very technical definition. The point is to provide a technical definition that can be used by those not familiar with the neurological details of what happens to the brain when subjected to “a non degenerative, non congenital insult to the brain from an external mechanical force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary impairment of cognitive, physical, and psychosocial functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of consciousness.”

In other words, a brain injury can be a SERIOUS, damaging injury even if it is MILD.  Insurance companies want to act like a MILD TBI is not a serious injury. Further, insurance companies will lead people to believe that there is not brain injury unless there was a “loss of consciousness” at the scene of a motor vehicle collision.  Not true.  The Mild TBI definition uses the words “any alteration in the mental state at the time of the accident.”  This can include feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused.

If you or a loved one has been in a collision which involved any “insult to the brain from an external mechanical force (which can include “whiplash”), you need the services of an experienced Arkansas motor vehicle injury lawyer in order to deal with the technicalities of pursuing a claim for damages that includes consideration of a mild traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Plan Properly for Just Compensation

by Richard Atkinson | November 9th, 2016

It’s estimated that 1.7 million people sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) annually in the U.S., most commonly from falls and auto accidents. Unlike injuries to other parts of the body, TBI can change the way your brain works and victims might not know the extent of the injury until days, weeks or months after. Because the affects of a TBI are revealed over time, determining compensation in a brain injury trial can be complicated, but there are a few things you can do to prepare for the best outcome.

Understanding the Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

First, you must understand your injury. There are two types of TBI: mild and severe. A mild TBI is defined as losing consciousness for less than 30 minutes following a head injury – although symptoms can last for a year or more. The majority (75%) of TBIs are classified as mild. A severe TBI is defined as losing consciousness for more than 30 minutes following a head injury. A severe TBI can change the victim’s life forever.

Whether mild or severe, any type of TBI can potentially affect the victim’s cognitive function, motor function, sensation and emotion leading to expensive medical costs and unquantifiable pain and suffering by the victim and their loved ones.

What to do Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

After immediately seeking medical care and getting on the road to recovery, you might wonder what steps to take if you’re considering taking legal action. Follow these recommendations to prepare for a TBI case.

  • Maintain all Medical Records and Documentation: Anything that documents the extent of the injury is very important in determining compensation for the accident.
  • Keep a Daily Journal: Writing about how you feel and any changes daily can help determine the lasting affects of a TBI.
  • Consult a Brain Injury Lawyer: Contact a brain injury attorney to learn about TBI litigation. Have them review the details of your accident and discuss next steps in pursuing compensation.

If you live in Northwest Arkansas and experienced a TBI at the fault of someone else, educate yourself on compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other factors. Talk to a Fayetteville brain injury attorney if you believe your TBI was caused by someone else’s wrongful actions.

The Dangers of Assuming You’re Not Injured

by Staff Blogger | August 22nd, 2016

The first thing anyone does immediately following a car accident is to check to see if anyone in their vehicle is injured. Only when you know the answer to that question can you know what needs to be done next. Hopefully, there are no injuries and everyone can walk away from the accident with their most valuable asset: their health. However, just because you didn’t suffer any broken bones or lacerations doesn’t mean you weren’t injured. One of the most common and serious injuries sustained in car accidents don’t materialize until after you’ve left the accident scene, sometimes once it’s too late.

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often sustained in a car accident that can lead to serious complications, including epilepsy. However, because there are usually no immediate external indicators that you’ve sustained a concussion, you may assume at the scene of the accident that you’re fine. That’s why it’s vitally important that you seek medical attention after an accident even if you feel fine initially. A simple medical exam at the hospital can help determine whether or not you’ve sustained a TBI that needs to be closely monitored. Don’t take chances with your life. Take the time to go to the hospital.

If you or someone you love sustained a traumatic brain injury, we know how to protect your rights to compensation. Call our Arkansas brain injury attorneys today for a free consultation.

What are brain injury symptoms?

by Mike Rainwater | July 15th, 2016

Anyone who has suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), knows how debilitating and life altering it can be. Few people realize, however,  just how common these injuries are. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are responsible for 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths every year. The most common cause is, of course, a car wreck.

A traumatic brain injury can result from a crash even if there was no direct impact to the head. Just violently whipping the head back and forth in a crash can cause a brain injury.  This is what happens to babies diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome.  The same thing can happen to an adult during a crash.  (Think of the brain as Jello in a Tupperware bowl being shaken back and forth.)

Whether a brain injury is mild or sever depends upon the amount of damage to brain tissue.  But, even a so-called “mild” TBI can be very problematic, as it may affect mood, emotions, personality and the like.

Clinically speaking, a mild TBI is “a traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as manifested by at least one of the following: 1. any period of loss of consciousness; 2. any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident; 3. any alteration in the mental state at the time of the accident  (e.g. feeling dazed disoriented, or confused); and 4. focal neurological deficit(s) that may or may not be transient; but where the severity of the injury does not exceed the following: i) loss of consciousness (LOC) of approximately 30 minutes or less; ii) after 30 minutes, an initial Glosgow Coma Scale (CGS) of 13‑15; and iii)  post‑traumatic amnesia (PTA) not greater than 24 hours” (per the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine).

A mild TBI is most likely not going to be pictured on a CT scan or an MRI image.  This is because the injury is microscopic.  Clinically speaking, it is described like this: “The primary neuropathology of TBI is diffuse axonal injury (DAI) caused by shearing forces generated in the brain by sudden deceleration.  These shearing forces disrupt fragile structures running in the long axis of the brain, primarily axons and small vessels.  Axonal injury causes swelling and often lysis of the axon with wallerian degeneration.  The role of release of excitatory neurotransmitters from the synapses of damaged axons as a cause of downstream cell loss in uncertain.  Vascular injury can disrupt small veins, producing  petechial hemorrhages or local or focal edema.  The primary distribution of injury seems to be parasagital deep white matter spreading from cortex to brainstem.  This pattern may be responsible for  the eventual predominance of attentional and “executive” deficits in even the mildly impaired.  …  It is the inertial force transmitted by sudden deceleration that causes DAI; more force means more injury” (from NEUROLOGY 1995; 45:1253‑1260).

What this means is that a mild TBI is generally going to be diagnosed some time after the crash from the before-and-after differences in the person hurt in the crash. And, the best evidence is the anecdotal reports of persons who have spent time with the injured person both before and after the crash. To begin the process of finding out if your loved one has suffered a mild TBI, you can use report like the following (Symptom Summary), to be filled out by close family and friends is critical in diagnosing a mild brain injury.  Show this evidence to the experienced personal injury lawyer and he or she will be able to help you find help. Yes, cognitive therapy is available and does help persons suffering a mild TBI.

“Concussion” Brings the Risks of a Traumatic Brain Injury to the Silver Screen

by Staff Blogger | December 28th, 2015

If there’s one thing that can cause more damage to the brain than a concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s another blow to the head before the initial injury has healed. Studies have established a link between the degenerative brain disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and repeated TBIs.

The Arkansas brain injury lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton explain CTE can be brought on when the brain is unable to recover from the damage that results from a TBI. As the condition progresses, the matter that makes up the brain and the organ’s function can both deteriorate. Symptoms can include changes in behavior, mood, and sleep patterns.

While many sports organizations are working to make athletic events safer by implementing strict rules and utilizing the latest and safest equipment, some scientists say that raising awareness about the adverse health effects TBIs can have on players is the best way to battle the problem.

Hopefully, a new movie starring Will Smith called “Concussion” will help bring the dangers of TBIs to the spotlight for millions of Americans. FOX News reports the film is about the life and career of the pathologist who identified the connection between CTE and athletes who had suffered repeated TBIs while  playing contact sports.

Even with the exposure the film will bring to the risks of TBIs, it’s important to remember that not all accidents can be prevented, especially if it was caused by another person’s negligence. That’s why our legal staff at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton encourages TBI victims to learn more about the resources and options that may be available to help along the road to recovery.

Arkansas Lawyers Discuss New Brain Injury Testing Method

by Staff Blogger | March 16th, 2015

Brain injuries and concussions occur when the head is jarred in such a manner that the brain strikes the inside of the skull, causing bruising and swelling to occur around the brain. Unfortunately, these types of injuries are all too common in our state. In fact, data indicates there are an average of 2,200 Arkansas brain injury hospitalizations and around 695 brain injury fatalities are reported each year.

The symptoms of these injuries can be very difficult to spot, which is why a new test has been developed to identify traumatic brain injuries more easily. According to FOX News, the test examines the victim’s vision to determine if he or she has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

A potential brain injury victim’s ability to follow an object or light with their eyes, as well as an examination of the eye’s ability to dilate, have been used to identify concussions and other injuries for decades. Now though, the King-Devick Test uses the victim’s ability to speed-read.

A base line reading is required for the test and is determined by having the individual read a series of words as fast as possible. If a brain injury is suspected, the victim takes the test again so that the two scores can be compared.

The test was found to be effective amongst young athletes. Researchers found those who suffered a traumatic brain injury read the lines an average of 5.2 seconds slower than their previous base line scores.

Failing to treat head injuries can have devastating results. That’s why the Little Rock personal injury lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton are hopeful this new testing method can be utilized in the future. We also encourage anyone who believes they may have suffered a brain injury to seek treatment as soon as possible.

 

Blast-Induced Brain Injuries In Soldiers May Be Their Own Medical Condition

by Staff Blogger | January 26th, 2015

As more than 30,000 military veterans return from service with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), identifying and treating these injuries remains extremely difficult. The results of one new study will hopefully alleviate this problem though, as a group of scientists have pinpointed patterns of damage in the brain that can identify blast-related TBIs. Furthermore, they believe the condition could be categorized as it’s own disease.

According to USA Today, researchers looked at the brains of five deceased soldiers between ages of 23-38 who had sustained TBIs in combat. They discovered patterns of brain lesions that were only consistent with sustaining the impact of a major blast. The damage was also consistently inflicted on the area of the brain that controls memory and decision making.

These findings have prompted at least one of the military’s authorities on TBIs to call for blast-induced brain injuries to be categorized as their own condition.

This isn’t the first time officials considered such a proposal. When thousands of soldiers from World War I returned home from service suffering from a range of mental issues, their conditions was lumped together under the title of “shell shock”.

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we understand the difficulties soldiers with disabilities face upon returning home. That’s why our team of Little Rock personal injury lawyers hope this new scientific study improves the treatment of blast-related TBIs.

Who’s Most at Risk for Traumatic Brain Injuries?

by Staff Blogger | December 8th, 2014

One of the most devastating types of injuries a person can suffer is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can not only affect the victim’s physical abilities, but their cognitive abilities and personality as well.

Estimates show that as many as 1.7 million people will suffer injuries caused by blows to the head this year. This number is up by almost 29 percent from 2013.

An article from NBC News explains TBIs are most commonly seen among:

  • Soldiers- Battlefield blasts and other combat-related impacts have left as many as 30.000 service members feeling the effects of TBIs.
  • Athletes- Boxers, football players, wrestlers, and hockey players are just beginning to understand the ways repeat blows to the head can impact their health. More than 4,500 former and current football players have sued the NFL for damages.
  • Children- Infants and toddlers are prone to falls as they become mobile.
  • Elderly- The elderly are especially prone to slip, trip, and fall accidents, increasing their chances of suffering TBIs.

The Little Rock personal injury lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton understand the impact TBIs can have on the lives of victims and their families. That’s why we encourage you to speak with our legal team if you or a loved one has suffered a TBI caused by someone else’s negligence. Call us today at (800) 767-4815 to learn more about how we can help.

Female Athletes Face Significant Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries

by Staff Blogger | July 14th, 2014

New research shows that it’s not always the first traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can cause serious harm, but subsequent blows to the head after the injury. These risks have received more media attention in the wake of a settlement between the National Football League and hundreds of current and former players who allege they were not warned of these dangers.

The risks TBIs pose to male athletes is significant, but there may be an even greater risk among female athletes. An article from Cosmopolitan discussed how a TBI ended the career of a 19-year-old female soccer player from Arkansas. In 2011, the player suffered a blow to the head that left her dizzy, nauseous, and sensitive to light. Although her coaches and trainers cleared her to return to the field for training, an independent doctor instructed the girl to not partake in physical activity for two weeks and quit playing soccer to avoid potential permanent brain damage.

When asked about the incident, the coaches and trainers stated their actions were within regulations. This has raised concerns over the need for a change to the rules.

The Arkansas personal injury attorneys with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton recognize the dangers TBIs pose to athletes, and we encourage anyone who has suffered a TBI to discuss their legal rights with a member of our legal team.

 

MMA Fighters Face High Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries

by Staff Blogger | April 21st, 2014

Mixed martial arts has received a boost of public support within the last decade. However, serious concern has began to surface regarding the long-term health of participants due to the significantly high probability of suffering brain injuries.

Public attention has been focused on athletes and brain injuries since a settlement was reached between the National Football League and hundreds of former and current football players. The suits alleged the NFL had failed to educate them on the long-term health effects that repeat traumatic brain injuries can pose.

Since the settlement was reached, other professional athletes, such as hockey players and boxers, have filed similar suits.

THV 11 News reports that a new study has shown mixed martial arts contest end in knockouts or technical knockouts roughly one-third of the time, while the rate of incidence was much lower for boxing matches. This was only complicated by the fact that mixed martial artists may be struck in the head between five and ten times after a match-ending blow but before referees can officially stop fights.

These findings leave many fighters wondering what they should do if they have been seriously harmed as the result of repeat brain injuries. The Little Rock personal injury lawyers with Rainwater, Holt & Sexton would urge any athlete who has suffered such an injury to discuss their legal options with an attorney immediately.

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