Brain Injury Symptoms and Diagnosis
Every day, 138 Americans die from injuries that include brain injuries. As a result, it's important to recognize brain injury symptoms, understand how doctors diagnose them, and know your legal rights if you've suffered one. Below, you'll find information about the causes, symptoms, treatment methods, and legal options related to traumatic brain injuries.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
Brain injury symptoms generally begin to appear shortly after the injury occurs. Brain injuries are caused by an impact to the brain that interferes with normal brain function, such as from a blow or jolt to the head. They can also be caused by an object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet. Common causes include the following:
- Vehicle-related collisions
- Sports injuries
- Falls, such as falling out of bed or slipping in a tub, are the most common cause of brain injuries.
- Violence, such as domestic violence, child abuse, and gunshot wounds
- Explosions and combat injuries suffered by military personnel
- Medical malpractice, such as birth injuries, improper use of anesthesia, or failure to diagnose a brain tumor
- Workplace accidents
Brain Injury Symptoms
Brain injury symptoms indicating that you may have a brain injury include the following:
- Excessive drowsiness
- Severe headache
- Weakness in your arms or legs
- Dizziness or loss of vision
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness or confusion
- Vomiting or nausea
If you are experiencing any brain injury symptoms, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Also, brain injury symptoms may not appear immediately, so if you think you may have suffered a brain injury, seek medical assistance.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors use several methods to determine whether a brain injury has occurred, including:
- Glasgow Coma Scale Test -- This test for possible brain injury symptoms evaluates how well an injured person follows simple directions in order to determine the severity of an injury.
- Imaging Tests, such as CT and MRI scans, to view any injury to the brain
- Questioning those present at the time of the injury about possible brain injury symptoms
Treatment for brain injuries range from rest and over-the-counter pain medication to anti-seizure drugs and surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. Brain injuries may also require the injured person to go through rehabilitation programs, such as speech therapy and physical therapy, to regain their pre-injury functions.
Know Your Rights
The costs of medical treatment, including costs of rehabilitation, therapy or assisted care, can run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If your brain injury was caused by someone else, you may have the right to be compensated for your injury and the costs you will incur. Typical ways that another person may be held liable for your brain injury include medical malpractice, product liability, and negligence.
Waiting to diagnose your brain injury symptoms may cause further damage to your brain and may jeopardize your chances of bringing a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injury. Often, those suffering brain injury symptoms may dismiss them as not serious and not seek medical treatment. In addition, doctors may misdiagnose brain injury symptoms or fail to recognize the signs of a brain injury.
If you believe you are suffering brain injury symptoms, have been diagnosed with a brain injury, or are concerned that you have been misdiagnosed by a doctor, you should seek the help of a qualified brain injury lawyer. A lawyer can also help you negotiate with an insurance company, file a worker's compensation claim, and apprise you of any other rights you may have. You shouldn't delay, as many states have statute of limitations laws limiting the time you have to file a lawsuit.