While brain injuries can stem from multiple etiologies such as stroke or infection, TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI) is a subtype of brain injury that occurs when external head trauma harms the brain. Since traumatic brain injuries result from physical trauma, common causes include motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, penetrating wounds, and any direct impact to the head. Mild traumatic brain injury, commonly known as concussion, is a clinical diagnosis since it may not reveal any findings on CT or MR imaging. More significant TBI may cause diffuse axonal injury (DAI), an important finding of tissue injury that appears as a visible abnormality of MRI with diffuse tensor imaging (DTI). Moderate to severe TBI may also cause bleeding (intracranial hemorrhage) that extends into brain tissue (intraparenchymal hemorrhage) or around the brain itself. Blood collecting around the brain is often referred to as hemorrhage or hematoma, and is described by its location as epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, or intraventricular.
TBIs are classified as mild, moderate, or severe based upon their associated Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) and the duration of post-traumatic amnesia and absence of consciousness. Even the mildest form of TBI has the capacity to cause a range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes. While some traumatic effects of brain injury may be temporary, others may be permanent or even lead to death. One particular form of traumatic brain injury, known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), stems from chronic repetitive injuries that cause degenerative changes that may eventually culminate in death. Recent recognition of chronic traumatic encephalopathy led to the NFL Concussion Settlement and heightened public awareness regarding the dangers of head injury and TBI.
TBI litigation nearly always involves contentious debate regarding the nature, etiology, extent, and prognosis of neurological, cognitive, and neuropsychological sequelae of trauma. Typical cases require the expertise of multiple specialists including Neuroradiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychology, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), and Life Care Planning. Given the strategic options, risk, and expense associated with TBI cases, experienced legal teams appreciate the necessity of comprehensive strategic and tactical planning.