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Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most devastating injuries someone can sustain, often impacting the rest of that person's life. The consequences of this brain damage can include short-term or long-term memory loss, sensory loss, physical impairments, permanent changes in lifestyle, or death.

A TBI, no matter how minor, almost always results in some lasting effects and will take time and effort to overcome. For a victim, this may mean not only pain and suffering, but changes in personality, abilities, and future achievements and employment. A small insurance settlement won't begin to cover the expenses and realities of life after a brain injury. That's why you need an experienced Omaha personal injury lawyer to represent you and fight for your rights.

After any brain injury, call the legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Tell us what happened, and we can talk about your options going forward.

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Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Most brain injuries are caused by some sort of shock to the head, which impacts the brain. This could be a direct strike to the head, or an incident in which a person's brain strikes the inside of the skull. Both intended violence and unfortunate collisions can leave a person with a TBI, but also, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • A blast or explosive concussion can cause widespread damage to the head.
  • Severe rotational forces (intense spinning) can tear the brain’s cellular structures.
  • Any object that penetrates the skull, obviously, can cause direct tissue damage, internal bleeding, swelling, and potentially, infection.

In the U.S., you’re most likely to get a TBI from a:

  • Fall (even falling from your bed or in the shower)
  • Motor vehicle crash (whether you’re a driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian)
  • Attack (person-on-person violence)
  • Sports injury (especially for children)

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Types of TBIs

Traumatic brain injuries include a group of different problems inflicted on the brain, such as:

  • Concussion: Considered the mildest form of traumatic brain injury, concussions involve a temporary loss of brain function, usually due to the brain hitting the interior of the skull and suffering short-term chemical changes. They are common in compact sports, such as football and soccer. Repeated concussions, or receiving a subsequent concussion within a short amount of time, creates a great deal of danger of long-term brain damage.
  • Cerebral contusion: A “contusion” is a bruise, and a cerebral contusion is a bruise in the brain tissue. It is localized, meaning it occurs in a small, specific area, and may vary in severity. If there is bleeding associated with the bruise, you may develop a blood clot in your brain, putting you at risk of a cardiovascular or pulmonary embolism.
  • Hematoma: A “hematoma” is a localized rupture of blood vessels, usually with associated swelling. A blow or jolt to the brain can cause an intracranial or subdural hematoma, depending on which layer the bleeding occurs in. If the hematoma is swelling and squeezing the brain within the skull, immediate surgery is needed to save the victim’s life.
  • Diffuse axonal injury (DAI): Your axons are the nerve cells carrying messages in your brain. When the head undergoes a “shearing” or violent side-to-side, up-and-down motion, these cells can be torn apart. Some DAI is possible in a concussion, and it is the cause of the trauma in shaken baby syndrome.
  • Coup-contrecoup injury: When your brain bounces inside the skull, hitting one side of the bone and then the opposite side, and suffering injuries to both sides, it is known as a “coup-contrecoup” injury.
  • Open head injury: When your skull is cracked, or an object actually penetrates into your brain (such as a bullet or metal bar or wood splinters), it is known as an “open” or penetrating head injury. These wounds are usually obvious, and need to be treated right away.
  • Anoxic brain injury: Any chemical process that deprives the brain of oxygen, such as inhaling carbon monoxide from a faulty space heater, can cause anoxic injury. Without oxygen, brain cells begin to die off, and if enough cells die, then widespread brain damage or brain death can occur.
  • Coma: There are several forms of coma, and when a traumatic brain injury causes swelling or bleeding that is not remedied immediately, the victim can lapse into a coma, where certain brain functions cease altogether, and the victim cannot be awakened by stimuli. This condition may be temporary or permanent; and if the victim awakes, they may have lifelong brain damage, or they may not. There are many factors in these cases, and many of them are not yet well understood by medical science.

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Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries can have serious consequences that greatly impact the rest of a person's life, or end it altogether. Even minor brain damage can result in loss of memory (short-term or long-term), or sensory loss (vision or hearing impairment). Brain damage can cause cognitive problems, including difficulty speaking or understanding what others say. It can alter the nervous system and your motor control over your body.

Some brain injuries can cause a sudden and serious change in someone's personality, which could manifest in violent outbursts and new likes or dislikes.

All of these changes can result in costly medical bills - not just right after the injury, but also in ongoing treatment like physical therapy and counseling. Changes in lifestyle - for example, dealing with vision loss - can destroy relationships, including marriages. That’s not to mention the loss of earning potential and need for a different career, if you can work at all.

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Negligence and Liability After a Brain Injury

When a TBI is caused by someone else's negligence, it’s tragic.

Legally, someone who harms another person can be held liable for the damages he or she caused. The at-fault party would be responsible for immediate expenses - property damage and medical bills - as well as long-term costs: ongoing medical treatments, loss of wages and earning potential, and changes in lifestyle. It can be difficult to fully appreciate just how these costs will add up over the years, which is why you need a lawyer to consider the case from all angles and protect your future.

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After Any Serious Accident, Call Us

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, just know that you are not alone. Call the Omaha brain injury legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234. Put us to work protecting you and your family’s legal rights. We can help.

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Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.