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Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur as a result of violent impacts or jolts to the head. In a closed head injury, the brain’s sudden movement can cause mild damage of small tears in the brain tissue up to significant shearing damage to tissue and blood vessels deeper in the brain, which cause more pronounced disabilities, or even death. These can be devastating injuries to the victim and their family, with permanent consequences.

TBIs are often the result of car crashes, falls, assaults, or being hit in the head with equipment. Even seemingly low impact collisions can cause TBIs, such as with whiplash injuries. All that is needed is a rapid rotational force to stretch and/or sever connecting fibers in the brain.

Social and Physical Characteristics of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries include a wide range of symptoms including headaches, speech issues, cognitive dysfunction, personality changes, memory loss, visual sensitivities, and brain “fog.” Sometimes they are life-altering because they can cause loss of ability to function socially, loss of earning capacity, complex physical disabilities, and relationship problems.

The severity of a TBI can be characterized from “mild” (short term changes in mental status) to “severe” (extended unconsciousness and/or memory loss). The term “mild” TBI (MTBI) can be misleading because although a person may have minimal symptoms following an injury they can still experience headaches, dizziness, and cognitive changes that affect their daily function.

How are TBIs diagnosed?

Often TBIs are diagnosed by an emergency medicine physician or a primary care provider who has documented brain dysfunction such as dizziness, headaches, and speech issues. Certainly imaging studies can show obvious signs of brain changes, but for the most part they are difficult to diagnose. Most brain imaging studies do not detect signs of brain injury so medical providers rely on symptoms, neuropsychological testing to identify cognitive deficits, and special occupational and/or speech and language assessments.

Common symptoms of a TBI include the following:

Lack of focus                   Memory loss                   Speech changes​

Personality changes       Depression                     Anxiety

Irritability                         Anger                               Sleep disorder

Case Example: Multiple Head Injuries from Two Collisions

Settlement Recovery: $450,000 


Our client was in two forceful rear end collisions within a short period of time. She suffered contrecoup head injuries (when the brain hits the side of the skull as opposed to the point of impact) and developed migraine headaches, mild memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, speech issues, and personality changes that caused poor judgment and impulsivity control issues. Her earning capacity was affected because she was no longer employable to the same level she was before her injury. The cognitive changes were well documented. All available insurance proceeds were tendered (third parties and underinsured motorist policies).

Contact Sherrard McGonagle Tizzano & Lind’s Bainbridge Island Office to schedule your free case evaluation. We proudly represent injury victims throughout Washington State.

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