What is a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI?

Traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. A bump, blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain, can lead to TBI. In 2010, 2.5 million people suffered TBI. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The two leading causes of TBI are falls and motor vehicle accidents. Teens and young adults ages 15-24 are hospitalized more than any other age group for TBIs due to motor vehicle accidents. As previously reported by our RI brain injury lawyers, motor vehicle accidents are, tragically, the leading cause of death among teens, and TBIs play a role in many of those deaths.

TBIs are classified into two categories: mild (“concussion”) and severe. A mild brain injury results in loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation for less than 30 minutes. The individual can suffer from cognitive problems such as headaches, difficulty thinking, memory problems, and attention deficits. Symptoms of a mild TBI may last for several months, and possibly a year or more.

A severe brain injury is associated with extended periods of lost consciousness, such as comas and amnesia, as well as death. Short and long term effects of nonfatal TBIs can include loss of memory and attention, impaired motor function, impaired senses, depression, and personality changes. Severe TBIs can have devastating effects on a person’s ability to engage in relationships and perform the simple tasks of daily living.

Most severe TBI injuries require immediate surgical treatment and may require months of rehabilitation recovery, as seen in our client’s Massachusetts car accident case after an open skull fracture led to a TBI.