When to Call a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney – What is a TBI?


Cassandra Nguy

We understand that injury victims may be hesitant when calling for a traumatic brain injury attorney. They may feel it’s not worth the hassle or that their injuries will get better soon. However, when it comes to traumatic brain injury, certain conditions may be impossible to recover from, or even be fatal.

Certain TBIs are recoverable, but may involve steep medical fees and time off work that may lead to financial disaster. Filing an insurance claim may help, but insurance companies may lowball your settlement to preserve their profits.

This isn’t fair when you weren’t at-fault for the accident that caused the traumatic brain injury in the first place.

Maximize your settlement amount with a brain injury attorney, who can pressure insurance companies to offer you a better deal. A personal injury attorney specialized in brain injury lawsuits can lay out the evidence that proves the other party’s liability for the accident.

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Table of Contents

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury caused by an outside impact on the brain, disrupting its basic functions. TBIs can have short, mid, and long-term effects depending on its impact and severity.

Studies suggest that when brain cells are damaged or destroyed during impact, they lose certain functions that cannot be recovered.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the most frequent cause of death and disability in young adults and children in the developed world…

Sulhan et al., 2020

Furthermore, about 50% of patients suffering from TBI will experience cognitive decline and premature mortality within 5 years from the initial impact.

However, some patients don’t recover from the typical two-week to three-month timespan some brain injuries go through. In 2019, medical research showed that up to 30% of patients continue sustaining long-term effects for more than three months, or even years after the concussion.

These long-term consequences are known as post-concussion syndrome (PPCS) which occurs after a mild concussion persists for months or years.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs may range from trauma severity to the area impacted by injury. In broader terms, there are two types of head injuries, penetrating and non-penetrating TBIs.

  1. Non-penetrating TBI is a closed head injury or blunt TBI caused by an external force that moves the brain within the skull. A concussion would be an example of a non-penetrating TBI.
  2. Penetrating TBI, also known as open TBI, occurs when an object pierces the skull (glass, wood, metal, etc.) and enters the brain tissue.

In explicit terms, the most common types of TBIs shown among victims are:

Skull Fractures

These are bone-shattering injuries that affect the soft tissue and functions within the skull. Symptoms include sensory loss, loss of cognitive function, and possibly death.

Contact a medical professional immediately if you or a loved one suffered a skull fracture. This type of penetrating TBI may require surgery to prevent further internal bleeding within the brain.

Hypoxia and Anoxia

Anoxia and Hypoxia are traumatic brain injuries related to the amount of oxygen sent to the brain. Hypoxia occurs when oxygen is partially cut off from the brain, whereas anoxia occurs when the brain is completely starved from oxygen.

Your brain uses approximately 1/5th of your body’s oxygen supply, and if oxygen is cut off, brain cells deteriorate.

Within 15 seconds of complete oxygen deprivation, you’ll lose consciousness. After four minutes, you may experience irreversible brain damage. This may result in brain death or a coma.


A laceration occurs when there are tears or ruptures in the brain’s blood vessels or tissue. This often occurs due to penetrating TBIs caused by foreign objects or bone fragments in a skull fracture.

Brain Hemorrhages

A brain hemorrhage occurs when there is bleeding in the skull or within the brain itself. Brain hemorrhages are a life-threatening condition that limits the amount of oxygen going to the brain while killing surrounding cells.

Injuries to the head are the most common reason for a brain hemorrhage to occur in people younger than 50 years old.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Focal Contusions

Rapid movements that slam the brain within the skull may lead to focal contusions, or brain bruises. This can cause memory loss, inability to concentrate, and difficulty controlling emotions.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI)

A diffuse axonal injury involves stretched or torn nerve fibers (axons) due to blunt trauma within the brain. Most DAIs are caused by rapid acceleration or deceleration in the brain, such as from falls or violent attacks.

The main symptom of diffuse axonal injuries is lost consciousness, but symptoms vary depending on the area damaged on the brain.


Concussions are categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury dealt by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Doctors may downplay this injury as mild brain injury because they are often not life-threatening, but the effects can be serious if not properly treated.

The consequences of TBI may be severe over time and should not be ignored. Even if you’ve sustained a mild brain injury, it’s better to have it examined by an experienced doctor, no matter the symptoms.

While you or a loved one are recovering from a traumatic brain injury, you may be worried about hospital fees. While recovering, keep track of hospital receipts to give to your attorney in the future. The more evidence of damages, the higher the likelihood of a sufficient payout for your losses.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries?

An impact on the head or body often causes traumatic brain injury. The degree of injury may depend on other factors like the nature of the injury and the force of impact.

For instance, you may sustain a penetrating TBI when objects pierce your skull and enter your brain tissue. These injuries are common in motor vehicle collisions and can impair your regular brain functions.

Usually, causes of a closed brain injury are due to rapid forward or backward movements or shaking of the brain inside the skull. Bruising and tearing of brain tissue and blood vessels often occur as a result of the injury.

Also, falls are another leading cause of death and nearly half of the TBI-related hospitalizations. Emergency departments recorded almost three million visits for older-adult falls and one million hospital stays.

Oftentimes the cause of a TBI accident resulted from the negligence of another party.

Factories may have created unsafe working conditions that resulted in a fall and a traumatic brain injury. A facility may have neglected to clear the snow, resulting in a slip and fall accident.

If you believe the cause of your traumatic brain injury resulted from negligence, you may qualify for a personal injury claim. That’s when a traumatic brain injury attorney is key to finalizing your lawsuit.

How Common Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur?

According to the CDC, the United States incurs about 1.7 to 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries each year. In 2021, there were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States, about 190 TBI-related deaths every day.

Symptoms of a TBI You Should Look Out For

Various physical and cognitive symptoms can occur from a traumatic brain injury, depending on the part of the brain that was damaged.

Physical symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Paralysis
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances, seizures, and coma

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Loss of balance
  • Altered senses (touch, taste, smell, etc.)
  • Short attention span, difficulty concentrating or problem-solving
  • Constant confusion
  • Problems with language or communication
  • Difficulty understanding or learning new things

Some other behavioral symptoms that can occur with TBI include mood swings, depression, emotional distress, inappropriate and aggressive temper, or inability to control one’s emotions.

Never Ignore a Traumatic Brain Injury

Do not ignore a traumatic brain injury no matter how mild the injury may seem. TBIs can be life-threatening conditions that may become incurable if not properly diagnosed and treated.

Go to the hospital and acquire documentation as evidence for your insurance company. If you were not at-fault for your injury, you may file a lawsuit and contact a personal injury or auto accident attorney to help with your case.

The Potential Effects of a TBI

The body may not respond the same way it used to before the accident. Damage to certain areas of the brain may make it harder to process or control emotions and memories.

A traumatic brain injury can have various physiological and psychological effects that can dramatically alter one’s life.

Physiological Effects

The physiological effects of a TBI involve the patient’s physical changes and behavior that affect their normal functions.

  • Mobility and movement problems—slow movements, reduced balance, pain, and fatigue can majorly affect the quality of one’s life. You may be unable to do normal activities like lifting, bending, or walking properly.
  • Spasticity—muscles in the body may go into spasms, where certain body parts contract involuntarily. The victim may feel pain and uncomfortable since it limits their movement.
  • Paralysis and weakness—when a part of the body is weak or paralyzed, affecting the ability to drive or complete daily tasks or activities. This can lead to the victim losing employment opportunities they may have had in the past.
  • Ataxia—irregular or uncontrolled movement affecting any part of the body. Victims may lose control of muscles that are in charge of vital roles in the body, like digestion or balance.
  • Sensory impairment—a loss of sensation may occur if parts of the brain in charge of those roles were damaged, affecting the victim’s quality of life.

Different doctors may help you with the effects of a TBI like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, or speech and language therapists. Speak to your general provider and find options to help with your physiological injuries.

Psychological Effects

Psychological effects involve the victim experiencing personality changes, emotional dysfunction, psychiatric disorders, or other irregular cognitive changes. The nature of mental health after a TBI is complex and may take time to adjust or treat.

The effects can range from mild disorders to severe psychiatric disorders including post-traumatic disorder (PTSD). Anxiety and depression are frequent in these cases and may occur during post-concussion syndrome.

How Much Does a TBI Cost?

Depending on the severity of your injury, researchers have studied that TBI treatment costs can range between $85,000 to $3 million. Keep in mind this is the cost of the treatment. There could be additional expenses that would raise the costs of your financial recovery.

Rehabilitation costs may be needed such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

TBI patients rehabilitating in a hospital spend about $1,600 per day and $46,000 total for treatment. Nearly 90% of the costs were for room, board, and rehabilitation therapy.

Why You Should Call a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

You may need a traumatic brain injury attorney to represent you while you or your loved one are recovering from your injuries. These costs are steep, and it’s unfair for you to spend money out-of-pocket for treatment if you didn’t cause the accident.

A TBI lawyer can help you file a claim, aid you in the legal process, and get compensation for your medical and rehabilitation costs.

You don’t have to suffer alone and handle the high hospital bills for your treatment. Understand that TBI lawyers are there to help you maximize your settlement for the losses you’ve sustained.

Proving Negligence in a TBI

If you plan on filing a claim or suing the at-fault party for negligence, you must document and save all important evidence involving the incident that caused your traumatic brain injury. Save all important documents given by the doctor concerning your TBI including:

  • Doctor’s note or summary
  • Doctor’s diagnosis and test results
  • Imaging tests
  • Neurological examination
  • CT scans and X-rays
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Pictures, videos, or records of the incident

Save all document-related traumatic brain injuries implicating the at-fault party to prove their negligence and get compensation for your loss.

Contact LegalASAP to Connect With a Brain Injury Attorney

Do not wait for your TBI to recover because it can get worse over time. Instead, fight for your rights with a traumatic brain injury lawyer from LegalASAP.

See if you qualify for our free consultation by filling in this form.

We may connect you with many distinguished attorneys across the United States with over 500 firms and thousands of attorneys willing to assist with your case. You may call our hotline at 888-927-3080 for any questions or concerns.

Cassandra Nguy

Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at linkedin.com