Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain Injury Lawyers in San Francisco

The terms “moderate” and “severe” brain injury most often refer to individuals who sustained a head injury resulting in coma, loss of consciousness, and / or skull fractures. Testing, such as an MRI or CT scan, can typically diagnose these injuries. In many cases, the victim’s life and well-being are at risk after an injury that falls into one of these categories. This means, during the recovery process, the victim’s quality of life is the most important goal.

The physical repercussions of a moderate / severe TBI can include:

  • Difficulty Remembering
  • Eating Disorders
  • Speech Disorders
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Weakness
  • Lost Muscle Control
  • Hemiparesis
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Sensory Losses

If you or someone close to you sustained a serious brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuits. At the Scarlett Law Group, our San Francisco brain injury attorneys are leaders in the legal community and have considerable experience representing TBI victims. Learn more when you contact our office today to schedule your first consultation.

What Constitutes a “Severe” Traumatic Brain Injury?

Any number of factors can make a brain injury “severe;” however, the most common indicator is coma. When an individual is comatose, his her TBI is automatically considered a severe injury. On the other hand, not all cases of severe traumatic brain injury lead to coma. In most cases, both moderate and severe TBIs require a multi-disciplinary treatment process.

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury

Between 8 and 10% of brain injuries are moderate. Some experts believe this number is much higher, roughly 28%, but the generally accepted rate is between 8 and 10%. Additionally, the standard for categorizing TBI is somewhat flexible.

  • Post Traumatic Duration (PTA) - One test is the duration of posttraumatic amnesia duration (PTA). If PTA lasts between 1 and 14 hours, the injury is generally considered moderate.
  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) - Although the test is labeled a “coma scale,” it involves all forms of damage and side effects caused by TBI. Anything that falls between 9 and 12 on the scale is a “moderate” TBI.
  • Length of Unconsciousness – Moderate traumatic brain injury occurs when the victim is unconscious for more than 20 minutes, but less than 6 hours. Anything less than 20 minutes is considered a mild TBI.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Studies show that 10% of traumatic brain injuries are severe. In most cases, persons who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries are unable to resume independent living or work. The rehabilitation process for a severe TBI is not only time consuming, but costly. In many cases, the families of those who suffer severe TBI are left with growing emotional and financial burdens.

A TBI is “severe” when:

  • The victim suffers PTA lasting between one and seven days
  • The victim suffers coma lasting more than six hours
  • The injury falls below an eight on the Glasgow Coma Scale

Living with a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Severe TBI can lead to a number of serious and lasting effects. These include:

  • Motor Function Problems: The type of motor function problems a TBI victim suffer can range depending on the injury and the person. Many individuals who have suffered a severe brain injury will face issues involving range of motion, equilibrium, primitive reflexes, abnormal movements, involuntary movements, and trouble sitting, walking, kneeling, running, or standing.
  • Executive Dysfunction / Frontal Lobe Syndrome: One of the most common effects a brain injury victim must live with is the loss of executive skills, such as self-direction, organization, self-direction-regulation, self-control, and determination. Loss of these skills can make it difficult for a person to form goals, create plans, remain organized, and make decisions.
  • Memory Deficits: Most traumatic brain injury patients suffer deficits in memory. This can make it difficult for victims to remember information over a long period of time. However, in most cases, a person’s short-term memory is affected before long-term memory.
  • Attention Deficits: It is common for brain injury victims to suffer from attention deficits. This can make a victim unable to pay attention for short or longer durations of time, depending on the severity of the injury.
  • Language and Speech Difficulties: About 2% of the traumatic brain injury population suffers from the inability to understand speech. This condition is often referred to as aphasia. This problem usually occurs when a victim has sustained focal lesions on the brain.
  • Difficulty Smelling/Tasting: Some victims of TBI suffer the loss of smell and taste due to frontal lobe damage. This happens because olfactory nerves, those that allow a person to smell, are located at the bottom of the frontal lobes.
  • Seizure Disorder: TBI victims have a higher risk of developing epilepsy. The chances of a TBI victim suffering from seizures especially increases when a victim has suffered focal lesions.
  • Psychiatric / Emotional Overlay: Studies show that psychiatric or emotional disorders and organic brain injuries can coexist. However, when a person suffers an organic injury, the person is more likely to recognize his or her own deficits.

Location of the Injury & How it Affects the Victim

The location of the brain injury influences the severity of the injury. If an injury occurs in the temporal lobes, TLE (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) – seizures – may occur. On the other hand, injuries that damage the frontal lobes can lead to frontal lobe syndrome. Another factor is the concentration of the damage. Focal and diffuse injuries will have differing effects, depending on the one or multiple locations of the brain that were affected.

Contact Our San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyers Today

Traumatic brain injury claims and lawsuits are complicated. Scarlett Law Group possesses not only the knowledge, but the frontline experience to help you and your family seek the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your legal rights, schedule a consultation with our San Francisco traumatic brain injury attorneys today.

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