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What are traumatic brain injuries?

Some people living in Colorado may be familiar with the consequences of traumatic brain injuries. A serious public health problem in the United States, TBIs cause a considerable number of deaths each year; in 2010, their overall economic cost nationwide was approximately $76.5 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A TBI can range from mild to severe: A mild one may consist of something like a bump on the head that results in a concussion while a severe TBI may result in permanent damage, disability and death. In order to differentiate between degrees of severity of an injury, professionals utilize different rating systems such as the Glasgow Coma Scale, the Abbreviated Injury Scale and the Trauma Score.

There are two types of severe TBIs: closed injuries, which involve the brain getting hit against the inside of the skull; and penetrating injuries, which involve an external object like a bullet piercing the skull. A severe TBI can result in coma and long-term effects such as emotional changes and depression, decreased cognitive functioning, impaired motor functioning and the loss of some physical perceptions such as smelling or hearing.

The CDC recommends several measures that help to prevent a brain injury or help mitigate the damage after an injury occurs. Some of these measures include following general safety practices like wearing a seatbelt when in a motor vehicle, wearing helmets and other gear while playing sports and properly securing small children in rear-facing car seats manufactured for their size and age.

Car accidents are the leading cause of TBIs among all groups. A severe TBI can not only have long-term effects on an individual's mental and motor functioning, but on their finances as well. Individuals who have suffered a TBI in a car accident may benefit from contacting a lawyer and discussing options with regard to financial compensation if another party caused their injuries. While this blog offers some useful information, it is not meant to be construed as legal advice since every case is different. A lawyer can evaluate your particular case and provide guidance.

Source: CDC, "Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Fact Sheet ", October 10, 2014

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