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Concussions from Personal Injury Accidents: Causes, Symptoms, and Complications

The after-effects of a brain injury can be extremely difficult to manage. Even though concussions are common, they affect everyone differently. Brain injuries like concussions can leave sufferers with long-term challenges and changes that can create all types of difficulties for the rest of their lives.

Brain injuries can be caused by a wide range of different accidents. The first thing many people think of when they hear the word “concussion” is sporting injuries. But there are many cases where people experience a concussion due to no fault of their own.

In everyday life, people experience events where they are left concussed and have to deal with the life-altering symptoms that follow. An unexpected concussion can be caused by a slip and fall accident while out shopping or from a rear-end car accident while waiting at a red light.

When it comes to concussions caused by negligence, or for any reason, it’s important to know the common causes of concussions, symptoms to look out for, and complications you should be aware of so that you can understand and manage the head trauma.

If you suffer a concussion because of someone’s negligence, one of the first things you should do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has the resources to handle a brain injury case.

Overview of a Concussion

A concussion is a clinical syndrome classified as a traumatic brain injury that alters normal brain functions. Concussion brain injuries usually occur as a result of a violent jolt or force to the head. This causes the brain to forcefully rattle or slam against the inner walls of the skull.

Once a concussion has occurred, a person will usually suffer from short-term side effects such as:

  • problems concentrating
  • impaired coordination
  • lack of balance
  • headaches

In some instances, a concussion may cause a person to lose consciousness. However, unlike the way popular culture portrays it, losing consciousness is not a required symptom of a concussion.

Concussions are divided into 3 main categories which are graded by severity:

  • Grade I: No loss of consciousness occurs and amnesia is absent or present for less than 30 minutes.
  • Grade II: Loss of consciousness occurs for less than five minutes. And/or amnesia occurs for between 30 minutes and 24 hours.
  • Grade III: Loss of consciousness occurs for more than five minutes, and/or amnesia occurs for more than 24 hours.

In the case of Grade III concussions, where a person is unconscious for a longer period of time and has significant amnesia, more serious brain damage is almost guaranteed. In Grade I and Grade II concussions, other types of brain damage are still possible.

Causes of a Concussion

Let’s now look at what causes concussions and other brain injuries. In everyday life, you’re protected from minor bumps to the head by fluid in the skull surrounding the brain that acts as a cushion.

Sudden acceleration and deceleration can cause the brain to slide around, knocking into the walls of the skull. The brain is highly susceptible to damage from sudden jolts and movements.

When the brain experiences extreme situations that cause it to thrust around, it can result in various injuries.

According to Mayo Clinic, the leading cause of concussions are falls. In the event of a violent blow to the head, the brain is at risk of injury. Concussions are not uncommon in situations where someone falls and hits their head against the ground. Or someone may fall from a ladder, stairs, or a tall height.

Brain injuries can also be caused by a wide range of other incidents and activities, including sports, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and even physical abuse like assault and domestic violence.

These situations are not just possible circumstances. They occur on a daily basis. And in a lot of cases, concussion sufferers don’t seek the necessary medical treatment that could help them to make a physical recovery and help them with a future financial claim if necessary.

With that being said, most people who experience a concussion make a full recovery after following their doctor’s orders and getting plenty of rest to allow the healing process to take place. In these instances, people are often still left with thousands of dollars in medical bill debt and lost wages that they in no way deserve to be on the hook for. And if things are serious or get worse, those financial struggles can only multiply from there.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can vary widely from case to case. All people respond differently to injuries. What might take one person two days to heal from could take another person two months. The same is true for how long it takes for symptoms to appear and how long those symptoms last.

The symptoms of a concussion could appear immediately. Or they could take days or weeks to appear.

Concussion symptoms can also last for days or weeks. In some cases, symptoms may last for much longer than that. It all depends on the person and the severity of the injury.

Some common physical symptoms that may point to a concussion are:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision

Other symptoms that can be observed include headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Amnesia is also a common symptom of a concussion, which can often lead to the concussed person forgetting the events surrounding the head injury.

Obvious amnesia presents some problems when it comes to an injured victim being able to provide testimony evidence in their personal injury claim. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist with your case to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Complications from a Concussion

Concussions can cause all kinds of lasting and inconvenient problems for a sufferer. Concussions also come with unique risks that some people may not know about. This includes debilitating headaches, vertigo, post-concussion syndrome, and second impact syndrome.


After a concussion, sufferers can experience headaches for weeks, months, or even a lifetime after their injury, which can be debilitating. These serious headaches can make everything from parenting to working to hobbies nearly impossible to do on a regular basis.


Vertigo is a spinning or dizzy sensation experienced by some brain injury victims. It may last for a short period of time or indefinitely following an injury. Vertigo can cause all kinds of unexpected consequences. For example, it may prevent a person from working because of how dizzy they can get and how quickly the vertigo symptoms can set in. If someone operated a forklift or drove an ambulance before they suffered a concussion that led to vertigo, they would need to find another profession.

Post-concussion Syndrome

Some people find themselves still experiencing headaches, dizziness, and difficulty thinking for more than three months after a concussion. Symptoms persisting for longer than three months are considered post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Post-concussion syndromes can cause victims to experience memory and cognitive problems, depression, and anxiety which can hinder their lives in countless ways.

Second Impact Syndrome

Experiencing a second concussion before the symptoms of the first have subsided can lead to a serious condition known as second impact syndrome (SIS). Second impact syndrome can cause more severe symptoms and complications. In some cases, the results can be fatal.

Getting the Compensation You Need After a Concussion

If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion or other brain injury, do not take it lightly. Even mild cases of concussion should be taken seriously. Although brain injury experts recognize that some concussions are less severe than others, there is no such thing as a ‘minor’ concussion.

All concussions should be met with the proper caution and medical care. Brain injuries that do not receive proper medical attention may lead to serious complications like internal bleeding, swelling, permanent cognitive impairment, lasting emotional problems, and death.

Contact Abels and Annes For Your Brain Injury Claim

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, the lawyers at Abels & Annes are here to help you understand your legal options. A brain injury claim can be filed to help you receive compensation for any losses or damages you accrued as a result of another person or company’s negligence.

The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes are ready to help you navigate through these difficult times. Contact us today online or call us at 312-924-7575 for a free case consultation and to start getting your life back.

“Mild” Concussion Symptoms

concussion lawyer in chicagoConcussions are a type of brain injury. Doctors sometimes refer to them as a “mild” traumatic brain injury, but the truth is there is nothing mild about them. They are serious injuries that can cause long-term health and life consequences.

Concussions can cause a wide variety of symptoms, but some symptoms are more common than others. We discuss the symptoms of a supposedly “mild” concussion below.

Common Symptoms of a “Mild” Concussion

To repeat, there is nothing “mild” about a concussion. It is a traumatic brain injury with potentially life-changing consequences.

If you suffer any sort of blow or jolt to your head or body and experience any of the following common signs of a “mild“ concussion, then seek immediate medical treatment:

  • Temporarily losing consciousness (for seconds) at the time of the concussion;
  • Headache;
  • Ringing in the ears;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Drowsiness or fatigue;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Confusion;
  • Amnesia surrounding the time of the concussion or the event that caused it;
  • Delayed response to questions; and
  • Dazed appearance.

Doctors may diagnose a “mild” concussion if some of these symptoms resolve in a matter of days after the bump, jolt, or blow that caused them. Make no mistake, however, that does not necessarily mean the brain has healed, or that the victim will not continue to feel adverse effects from the concussion. Even a concussion diagnosed as “mild” can nevertheless lead to persistent headaches, confusion, fatigue, light sensitivity, and other symptoms for months or more.

Common Causes of “Mild” Concussions

A concussion, like any traumatic brain injury, typically results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, which in turn causes the brain to shift inside the skull in a way that can damage brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerve cells. Those initial injuries, as well as any secondary injuries resulting from subsequent bleeding or swelling, cause the symptoms we associate with concussions and other brain trauma.

It is a common misconception that to suffer a concussion, you have to hit your head. In fact, although hitting your head can certainly lead to a concussion, any sharp movement of your head relative to your body can cause the brain damage associated with a concussion, even if your head is untouched. Never assume that just because you do not have a lump or cut on your head, that you cannot have sustained a concussion.

Common causes of concussions include any incident that can cause you to either hit your head or take a violent jolt, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Truck accidents

Always seek medical attention immediately after any incident that inflicts a violent blow or jolt to your head or body. Although the symptoms above frequently appear soon after that sort of incident, that is not always the case. Plus, if you have suffered a concussion, then you cannot necessarily rely on your own judgment to assess your condition. A doctor can diagnose a concussion with simple tests, and by catching and treating a concussion early, you may avoid some of the more severe and long-lasting consequences of the injury.

Groups At-Risk for Concussions

Anyone can suffer a concussion. However, some groups face a higher-than-average risk:

  • Athletes, especially those who play contact sports in which the head and/or body sustain repeated, jarring blows.
  • Children, who tend to fall more often than adults and have an underdeveloped appreciation for risk; and
  • Older adults (65+) who are more likely to fall and hit their heads, and frequently take medications (such as blood thinners) that can increase brain injury complications.

In other words, the groups above tend to sustain more than their fair share of the types of blows to the head and body that can cause a concussion.

Unfortunately, all three groups also share another common characteristic: it can be difficult to spot concussion symptoms in them because:

  • They may downplay the severity of a collision or fall, or of their subsequent symptoms;
  • They may be too young to express their symptoms effectively, or may have other health conditions (such as age-related cognitive decline) that can mask concussion symptoms;
  • Others tend to assume that the incident that causes the concussion, or the symptoms that follow, are common and not a big deal.

If an athlete, child, or senior citizen you know exhibits the symptoms above, ask them about any recent incidents that could have caused a concussion.

How a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help

It may not occur to many people to speak with a lawyer after suffering a concussion. However, the fact is that many concussions occur because someone else failed to take necessary actions to keep the victim safe from harm. The concussion victim may have the right to seek compensation from that party, and may very well need compensation to treat long-lasting, debilitating, concussion symptoms.

An attorney experienced in representing brain injury victims can represent a concussion victim in seeking money damages from parties with legal liability. The public might think suffering a concussion is no big deal but lawyers for concussion victims know that there is nothing truly “mild” about a concussion. It can severely disrupt a person’s life, and it deserves meaningful compensation if it resulted from someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions.

Every concussion case has unique characteristics that determine what a lawyer can do for the victim.

However, in general, a lawyer can:

  • Investigate the incident that led to the concussion and determine who faces legal liability for failing to take reasonable steps to keep the victim safe;
  • Evaluate the extent of the victim’s injuries and the ways they have impacted the victim’s life through review of medical records;
  • Negotiate with parties who have a legal liability to the victim, and their representatives, to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of the victim’s legal claim; and
  • If necessary, litigate in court to achieve a fair resolution of the claim.

Concussion, even so-called “mild” ones, are serious injuries. If you suffered a concussion because of someone else’s dangerous decisions or actions, then contact an experienced concussion injury attorney to learn about your rights to compensation.

TBI Definition: What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be a painful and lonely experience. Those who have suffered a brain injury may feel alone in their struggle, but they are not. Someone in the U.S. suffers a brain injury every 9 seconds, and one out of every 60 people live with the effects of a brain injury. According to the CDC, just one year saw about 2.5 million TBI-related emergency department visits, 288,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 57,000 TBI related deaths.

According to a report from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 108,101 people in Illinois sustained a TBI in just one year. Among those injured, 1,699 died, another 9,746 were hospitalized, and an additional 96,656 received emergency room treatment.

There are many causes of traumatic brain injuries, such as sports-related activities, falls, and workplace accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries. They are the most frequent cause of traumatic brain injury among individuals aged 15 to 34, according to a report from the

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” The injury damages the skull or causes the brain to move inside the skull, resulting in brain damage. A TBI is a complex brain injury that has a broad range of symptoms. Because no two brain injuries are alike, the effects will be different in each case. Additionally, symptoms may present themselves immediately or may not appear for days or weeks after the accident. A traumatic brain injury may affect a person’s thinking, memory, personality, and behavior.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many of the brain injuries suffered in car accidents are difficult to detect.

Common causes of head trauma from a motor vehicle crash include:

  • Contact with a stationary object. In a car accident, victims’ heads often hit steering wheels, airbags, or other objects. This is especially common in motorcycle accidents, due to the motorcyclist’s limited protection.
  • Forward momentum in an accident. In a car accident, a vehicle slows suddenly and dramatically. The car may stop, but an occupant’s body and brain keep going forward because of the momentum. Therefore, even if the brain does not strike a stationary object, it may strike the front or back of the skull.
  • Striking the ground. Drivers are often thrown from their vehicles or pedestrians are hit and land on the ground, resulting in brain injuries.

Types of Personal Injury Accidents that Cause TBIs

Traumatic brain injuries often occur because of personal injury accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, nursing home abuse, and more.

Slip and fall accidents are known for causing brain injuries, especially if the fall involves a strike to the head. Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. But where they occur and why they occur determines whether or not you have a potential personal injury claim.

Slip and fall accidents that occur because of someone else’s negligent behavior can occur in businesses, such as locally owned stores, grocery stores, and bigger commercially owned stores. They may also occur in apartment complexes and even a friend’s home. Slip and fall accidents may occur indoors because of clutter, messes, and spills or outdoors because of parking lot hazards, such as potholes and poor lighting. Defective or broken stairs are a common cause of both indoor and outdoor slip and falls.

Motor vehicle accidents such as car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents can all cause brain injuries because of the extreme force involved. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries in the U.S. and result in thousands of hospital visits each year.

When a person suffers a brain injury due to a motor vehicle accident, their life and their family’s lives can be changed forever. Head injuries and brain injuries can cause huge amounts of medical debt, long periods of lost wages, and all types of pain and suffering. When a brain injury caused by a motor vehicle accident was not your fault, the driver or party that was liable should be responsible for compensating you for your damages.

Brain injuries caused in nursing homes are also common, especially since the elderly are more susceptible to brain injuries. Head injuries that occur in nursing homes are commonly caused by neglect, abuse, or poor maintenance.

Neglect in a nursing home can cause a resident to suffer a TBI because of:

  • Not helping a patient who has limited mobility
  • Not answering a call to help a resident use the toilet or to bathe
  • All kinds of other situations in which staff is neglectful in helping a resident to safely do something when the alternative is them falling and hitting their head

Nursing home abuse, especially physical, can cause brain injuries for residents. For example, if a senior is shoved, they may fall and suffer a head injury. TBIs from nursing home abuse can also be caused by physical abuse like yanking someone out of bed or by aggressively moving them when they have mobility issues.

Poor maintenance can also lead to a resident falling and hitting their head. Examples of poor maintenance in nursing homes include:

  • Not repairing hand rails
  • Failing to replace light bulbs
  • Not following safety measures
  • Leaving spills on the ground

No matter what type of accident caused your injury, the experienced attorneys at Abels and Annes are here to help you get the compensation and the justice that you deserve for your brain injury case.

Types of Brain Injuries

Several types of brain injuries may affect one or more functional areas of the brain.

People injured in motor vehicle accidents often suffer one of the following types of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Concussion. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Both closed and open head injuries can produce a concussion.
  • Contusion. A contusion is a bruise or bleeding on the brain. A direct impact to the head may cause a contusion.
  • Coup-Contrecoup. These are contusions that occur both at the site of the impact and on the complete opposite side of the brain. They are associated with cerebral contusions or bruising of the brain.
  • Diffuse Axonal. When the brain is injured as it shifts and rotates inside the skull, resulting in shearing of the brain’s long connective nerve fibers. Victims of shaken baby syndrome often suffer these serious injuries.
  • Penetration. Penetrating injury to the brain includes both high-velocity penetrations, such as bullets or shell fragments, or low-velocity penetration, such as a knife. Penetration forces hair, skin, bones, and fragments from the object into the brain. Firearms are the single largest cause of death from traumatic brain injury. Although less common than closed head trauma, PBI carries a worse prognosis.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Victims suffering from a traumatic brain injury may face different symptoms depending on the severity of their injury. After the first impact occurs, the brain may swell and push against the skull, causing a secondary injury.

Physical Symptoms

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Problems sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Feeling weak or numb
  • Losing consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Vision impairment or dilated pupils
  • Hearing problems
  • Altered sensations of smell or taste

Mental or Cognitive Symptoms

  • Memory or concentration issues
  • Changes in mood
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Agitation and combativeness
  • Slurred words

The Financial Costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The direct medical costs for the treatment of patients with TBI are extremely high, but there are also indirect costs. Studies also indicate that those with a brain injury who have failed to return to work have a lower sense of wellbeing. Studies show that 52 percent of brain injury survivors were still moderately to severely disabled one year after the injury. Many never recover full social independence. They may feel a loss of self-esteem and reduced quality of life. Four years after the injury, most survivors lived with their families and did not work or attend school. Mood disorders are common.

The Personal Costs of Brain Injuries

After a traumatic brain injury, close relationships often break down. A brain injury changes the whole family, and the family system has to alter the way that it operates. Even after many years, living with a brain injury, or caring for an injured patient, may present significant hardships for the family. A brain injury can significantly change relationships, leaving spouses and friends feeling lonely and lost. Children living with a brain-injured parent may experience emotional problems and feel neglected. Usually, the person who assumes the role of primary caregiver faces many challenges. They may have to give up their career or other interests. Caregivers frequently suffer from serious depression, particularly during the first year of injury. It takes time and resources for a victim and their family to navigate the changes they face.


The consequences of a traumatic brain injury can be overwhelming. Damages may include lost income, and other financial losses, such as medical bills, therapy and rehabilitation, in-home care, adaptive equipment and modifications to the injured person’s home.

The injured person also deserves compensation for non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, physical impairments, and diminished quality of life. The injured person’s spouse or partner may also seek compensation for loss of companionship and intimate relations. Proving damages usually requires detailed medical records and testimony from expert witnesses.

Illinois law also permits punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) when the circumstances involve malice, oppression, and fraud.

What Factors Affect the Worth of my Case?

After you suffer a traumatic brain injury in an accident, you may have lots of questions about the amount of compensation you’ll be able to receive and whether or not it’s worth it to settle your case or take it to trial. Your attorney will be able to answer all of these questions and guide you with your best interest in mind. There is no exact calculation for how much your case is worth as it’s based on a variety of different factors. And every case is completely different. However, there are some things we can review to understand what factors affect the value of your case.

The Severity of Your Injuries

The severity of your injuries plays a large role in how much your case will be worth. If you have a concussion, your case will be worth less than someone who has severe brain damage. Obviously, this will affect the amount of damages you have and the amount of sympathy you will elicit from an adjuster or juror. In these cases, insurance adjusters and juries are also likely to award more compensation for injuries that are highly visible. A talented attorney will, however, be able to argue your case, explaining how your injury is severe even if the effects are not necessarily visible.

The Impact on Your Life

How much your injury has changed your life also plays a big part in your case’s value. If your life has changed greatly, your case could be much more valuable than another individual’s, whose life hasn’t changed much at all. Quite simply, the more an injury has negatively affected your life, the better your chances are of getting a fair settlement that covers all your damages.

Your Total Damages

The total amount of damages you have, including both economic and non-economic damages, is one of the most important factors in determining how much your case is worth. If you have $5,000 worth of medical bills and only 2 day of missed work, your case will clearly be eligible for less compensation than a case with $250,000 in medical bills and the victim being left paraplegic. Although this example is dramatic, it is not always so extreme. Two people may have the same type of injury, like whiplash, but one recovers in 2 weeks and the other needs surgeries and months of therapies. Although they have similar injuries, they obviously do not have similar damages.

Available Insurance

In a personal injury case, the money you get as compensation most often comes from an insurance company. Therefore, you can’t receive more money for damages than an insurance company is able to payout. This is why your case’s value is largely based on how much coverage is available. A large corporation is much more likely to have very good insurance coverage than a person driving a beat-up car. Quite simply, you are not likely to get more money than there is coverage. This is why it is important to carry additional auto insurance coverage like underinsured/uninsured coverage.

Do I Need to Hire a Brain Injury Attorney?

A lot of people ask themselves whether or not they actually need to hire an attorney in order to be successful with their case. Many people think that representing themselves will be easy and doable. While that can be true in rare circumstances, it is never true for a case that involves a serious brain injury.

Hiring an experienced brain injury attorney is your best bet at receiving a fair settlement and getting the amount of compensation you need in order to rebuild your life.

The attorneys at Abels & Annes have years of experience working on brain injury cases and are very familiar with how insurance companies operate and the tricks they use. Because of this, we are strong negotiators when it comes to settling a brain injury case prior to trial. If a case does have to go to trial because a fair settlement cannot be reached, we can retain the experts, and we have the resources and experience necessary to present a strong and compelling case in court so that you have the best possible chance of getting the verdict you need.

Consult a Brain Injury Lawyer

The TBI may be the result of another’s negligence. Negligent behavior usually consists of actions, but it may also consist of omissions if there is a duty to act with reasonable care. Like all states, Illinois sets time limits for filing a brain injury lawsuit.

We know how difficult it can be to recover from and live with a brain injury, but our talented attorneys are ready to help you with your case. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve, as well as the peace of mind that you need. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is important to consult an experienced, compassionate traumatic brain injury attorney as soon as possible.

What You Should Know About Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injuries

Approximately one million people in the United States are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, and an estimated 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBI, particularly when cars strike pedestrians. Unlike broken bones or cuts, head damage may be permanent so speak with a brain injury attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is most often caused by a blow or jolt to the head. An object that penetrates the brain tissue can also cause a TBI.

In a violent accident, such as a car striking a pedestrian, the primary brain injury typically happens at the moment of impact, when the brain is pushed against the skull, sometimes crashing back and forth. The injury may involve part of the brain or the entire brain, and can include bleeding, bruising, or tearing of nerve fibers.

The secondary brain injury occurs after the initial impact of the brain against the inside of the skull. The brain swells, which increases pressure within the head. The swelling may injure parts of the brain that were not injured by the primary trauma. This injury can happen gradually and can happen up to 5 days after the injury. In some cases, the secondary injury may become more serious than the primary injury.

The physical damage to the brain resulting from the primary or secondary injury may include:

  • A contusion (or bruising) of the brain.
  • A diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which happens when the brain bounces around inside the skull, damaging the nerve axons.
  • A Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, when bleeding occurs in the space surrounding the brain, which is normally filled with cerebrospinal fluid and which acts as a cushion.
  • A hematoma, when a blood vessel ruptures and blog clots within the brain.

Traumatic brain injuries are also typically classified by severity:

  • Mild: the injured person is awake, but may have a brief loss of consciousness, disorientation, or a headache.
  • Moderate: the injured person may lose consciousness for approximately 20 minutes to 6 hours and be lethargic when awake.
  • Severe: the person is unconscious for more than 6 hours.

Signs and Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be obvious, or they may be difficult to detect, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Here are some signs of a traumatic brain injury to watch for. Note that many of these symptoms may occur even if the brain injury is mild to moderate.

If the injury is primarily on the left side of the brain:

  • Problems with remembering words
  • Problems understanding words or speaking, slowed speech
  • Impaired control over movements on the right side of the body
  • Faulty logic
  • Anxiety and depression

If the injury is primarily on the right side of the brain:

  • Impaired control over movements on the left side of the body
  • Loss of “big picture” problem solving
  • Spatial and visual problems
  • Visual memory disturbance

Diffuse injuries, or injuries to both sides of the brain:

  • Fatigue
  • Problems thinking or concentrating
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Unable to handle changes in normal routines
  • Cognitive impairment, such as trouble making decisions, or learning new things

Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you are a pedestrian and have been struck by a motor vehicle, the force of the blow to your head may have resulted in bleeding in the brain, a skull fracture, or other dangerous types of brain damage leading to a TBI. Each case is unique; however, people who survive a brain injury often have long-term physical and mental disabilities, as well as changes in their emotions and personality, that require specialized, long-term treatment. The treatments for TBI after a pedestrian accident can include rest, medication, intensive care, surgery, and physical, cognitive and occupational therapy.

Causes of Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common causes of pedestrian accidents caused by motor vehicles include:

  • Drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Distracted drivers
  • Driver’s failure to stop completely at traffic lights or stop signs
  • Driver’s failure to make sure the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians

What Should You Do If You Have Suffered a Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injury?

If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, you may develop symptoms later. In some cases, a brain injury may not be immediately apparent. Without proper medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment, it is hard to predict future medical complications and costs.

Record as much information about the accident as possible, as soon as possible. And, soon after your accident, speak to an attorney with experience representing pedestrian accident victims with TBI. Survivors of traumatic brain injuries may be entitled to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs, pain and suffering damages, and more. A victim of a pedestrian traumatic brain injury may have a cause of action against the person or persons who are at fault in the accident. They typically need the assistance and resources of an attorney to gather the necessary evidence and determine their rights to compensation.

A pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes. Studies show that children, the elderly, and those of lower socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable. Brain injuries are complicated, devastating and can change your life in many ways. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may not look any different but may be living with long-term or permanent disabilities such as difficulty processing information, communicating, or completing assignments. Some people are left with severe psychological problems, such as emotional distress, dependent behavior, depression, anxiety, anger or aggression. He or she may need temporary or permanent help to perform the tasks of everyday living.

If you or someone you love has been suffered a TBI as a pedestrian, seek out an experienced, compassionate attorney to assess your case and protect your rights, both now and in the future. For more information, call Abels & Annes, P.C. at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

TBIs: Legal Basics for Victims

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal functions of the brain. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, but anyone who suspects they may be experiencing any degree of traumatic brain injury should seek immediate medical attention. TBIs may worsen if untreated and have a broad spectrum of symptoms with long-term and potentially deadly effects.

What Are the Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?

TBIs can result from many types of accidents or wrongful acts, including:

  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle or motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Falls down stairs or from heights
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Sport injuries
  • Shaken baby syndrome
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction site accidents

These types of accidents typically occur because another party was negligent in some way. This may give a TBI victim the right to take legal action to recover compensation for their injuries and from any at-fault parties.

What Are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Some symptoms of traumatic brain injury might not even appear for days or weeks after the injury. While symptoms can differ from one patient to another, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH) has put together a list of common symptoms to recognize patients with mild to severe traumatic brain injury. These symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision or dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness or constant tiredness
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Neck pain and headache
  • Fatigue or weakness in the body
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Migraines
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Confusion or loss of concentration

Know that even if you do not have the textbook symptoms, you still may have suffered a brain injury if you experienced a forceful blow or jolt. It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you may have a head injury.

What Should You Do if You Think You Are Experiencing TBI Symptoms?

If you think you may be experiencing any of the symptoms of a TBI, seek medical attention immediately. Your symptoms may be a sign of a traumatic brain injury and it is safer to get the symptoms checked out than waiting them out. Without a proper diagnosis and timely treatment, you may experience dangerous complications and worsening symptoms, and a serious TBI can be fatal. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist and/or do a CT scan of your brain to detect any signs of an injury.

Additionally, in the days following a concussion or traumatic brain injury, listen to the advice of your doctor. Depending on your injury, these instructions may include:

  • Rest as much as you can as your body needs some down time.
  • Rest mentally as well, as stress can aggravate symptoms.
  • Get proper sleep and try to follow a fixed bedtime schedule.
  • Try to limit screen time on your phone, tablet, computer, and TV.
  • Take breaks as necessary during or between activities.

What Legal Rights Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Victim Have?

TBIs are often caused by another person’s negligent act, which gives the victim the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to seek financial recovery. To successfully bring a negligence claim in Illinois, the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim against another) has to prove the following against the defendant (the person being sued):

  • The defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached that duty of care.
  • The defendant’s breach of that duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered injuries that can be compensated under the law.

If your accident occurred at work, you generally do not have to prove negligence – only that your injury was job-related. In this situation, you may be entitled to important benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

Also, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be eligible for time off from work if you or someone in your family has suffered a traumatic brain injury. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employee to take time off work when a family member is facing medical problems. If you or someone in your family is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, it is very likely you need time to heal or time to attend to your family member. The Family and Medical Leave Act extends to provide you and your family the time needed to recover from an injury, and workers’ compensation can help replace a portion of any lost wages.

What Kind of Compensation Can You Recover From a Traumatic Brain Injury Case?

Types of recoverable compensation for your injury varies on many factors surrounding your case. In general, compensable expenses for personal injury claims in Illinois include:

  • Present and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and income
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Any other damages associated with the claim
  • How Can You Prevent a Traumatic Brain Injury?
  • Many factors can help reduce your chances of experiencing a traumatic brain injury. These include:
  • Wearing a seatbelt while driving
  • Wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle
  • Being aware of your surroundings
  • Driving carefully, in your lane, and not making sharp turns
  • Driving under the speed limit and keeping enough distance from the car in front of you
  • Making areas safer for everyone to avoid slip and falls or trips
  • Being careful when walking, or running so you do not trip or fall

None of these steps can protect you from the negligence of others, however, so always be aware of the risks of injury and your legal rights after suffering a TBI.

Contact a Chicago Brain Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

Again, if you think you may be experiencing any of traumatic brain injury symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. TBI symptoms can have a life-changing impact on you and your family. If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your injury and the lawyers of Abels & Annes, P.C. can help. Call us today at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form.

High-Risk Groups for TBIs

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an often misunderstood and underestimated injury. When many people hit their heads, they often just rub the spots where they hit them and move on with their lives. Kids constantly hit their heads, and parents may brush them off with kisses. However, any type of blow to the head has the potential to cause a TBI.

A TBI occurs when a violent impact or jolt damages brain tissue by knocking it against the inside of the skull. Brain injuries can range from mild—often referred to as concussions—to severe. Extended loss of consciousness is one sign of a more severe brain injury, which may even leave permanent effects.

Make sure a doctor diagnoses even a mild TBI to ensure that you receive necessary treatments and protect yourself from further injuries. Diagnosis is also important because brain injury symptoms are difficult to identify and can frustrate a victim by interfering with normal functioning. You may feel out of it, suffer memory issues, feel irritable, or have difficulty processing information—even with a simple concussion. Once a doctor diagnoses you, you can better recognize the symptoms and adjust your life accordingly.

According to reports by the Mayo Clinic, the three highest-risk groups for brain injuries are young children, teens and young adults, and senior citizens older than 75. The following factors increase these populations’ TBI risks.

Young Children

Children younger than four are still developing their movement abilities. They must learn to stand up, walk, run, skip, ride a tricycle, and get used to other physical activities. During this process, even the most vigilant parents will have children who fall down and hit their heads.

In addition, adults can put small children in places from which they can fall. Infants or toddlers can fall from changing tables, high chairs, and other furniture. Daycare or school staff may leave children on changing tables unattended, even for one second, and children may roll off onto the floor. In these situations, children will almost certainly hit their heads. Shaking a baby can also result in a serious—or even fatal—brain injuries.

The brains of small children are still developing, so any degree of brain injury can cause lasting damage and changes in how they grow and develop. For this reason, have a doctor properly diagnose brain injuries so you can identify any issues your child may have as a result of the TBI.

Teens and Young Adults

As children reach their teen years, they can develop many interests that involve physical activity. Almost every sport comes with some risk of a brain injury—even in golf, you have a chance that a golf ball will hit you in the head. Some sports have a much higher risk of sustaining a concussion, including football, hockey, soccer, and boxing. If your teenager participates in any of these sports, be aware that they are at serious risk of brain injuries. Negligent coaches, trainers, and other supervisors can increase the TBI risk for young athletes by:

  • Not providing adequate helmets and safety equipment
  • Allowing rough play
  • Not enforcing safety rules
  • Pushing participants past their skill or age levels
  • Not providing prompt medical attention for those who hit their heads
  • Having unsafe facilities or equipment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this particular risk group spans from age 15 to 24. During these years, young adults and teens can feel invincible and can engage in reckless behavior that can increase their risk of falling or getting hit by objects. Even though this group is older than young children and may seem grown-up, the brain continues to develop through adolescence and young adulthood and a TBI can still have lasting effects.

Seniors Older Than 75

As many of us age, we may lose balance, coordination, muscle strength, and quickness of reflexes. This makes falling down a serious risk for adults older than 75. These falls may result in seniors hitting their heads on the ground or other objects, resulting in TBIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this age group has the highest rates of the following after sustaining brain injuries:

  • Emergency department visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

TBIs are common among this group and they can have severe effects. Many seniors who suffer serious brain injuries never fully recover and may need to relocate to assisted living facilities.

Know Your Rights

The leading causes of brain injuries include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports accidents, and violence. If the negligence or wrongdoing of another party causes a TBI, victims have the right to seek payment for their medical expenses and any other losses. If you are not sure whether you have the right to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, discuss your situation with an attorney who can evaluate your case.

Learn More From Our Chicago Brain Injury Attorneys Today

At the law firm of Abels & Annes, we have seen the serious effects of traumatic brain injuries on our clients. We can examine what happened and advise you regarding your legal options. While a legal case cannot turn back time and take away the effects of your injuries, it can help you move forward with the compensation you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please call (312) 924-7575 or contact us online.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be extremely serious, but they can also go unrecognized and untreated. As such, TBIs are often referred to as the “silent epidemic” or even as “invisible injuries.” This silent or hidden quality can intensify the psychologically damaging effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Many events can lead to a TBI, and the recovery process is typically ongoing. TBIs are unpredictable and they can lead to overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial consequences for sufferers and their loved ones. to discuss your case don’t hesitate to contact a brain injury attorney today.

The Brain’s Vulnerability

Our brains are afforded the protections of our skulls, but still remain extremely vulnerable to injury through trauma. Traumatic brain injuries are frequently caused by either blows to or sustained whipping motions of the head. Because your brain serves as the control center for your entire body, TBIs can permanently alter your life in the span of a few seconds.

The Major Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Mayo Clinic identifies several factors as the most common causes of TBIs:

Falls – While many falls lead to nothing more dangerous than skinned knees, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. This is especially true for young children and older adults.

Car accidents – Car accidents and other kinds of vehicular accidents, including motorcycle and bike accidents, are also significant causes of TBIs. Such accidents don’t even have to involve high speeds to cause significant damage. When vehicles collide, drivers and passengers can be slammed against interiors—the motion and impact of which can result in serious brain injuries.

Taking hits on the field or court – Everyone loves a good game, but sports can be dangerous, and some sports are more dangerous than others. In fact, high-impact sports such as football have received a lot of recent press for the potential danger of brain injuries. Young athletes are particularly at risk. Intense, action-packed sports provide ample opportunities to sustain dangerous blows to the head.

Criminal violence – Violence obviously endangers people in many ways and often results in traumatic brain injuries. Whenever an object hits or enters the skull, it can lead to irreparable brain tissue and cell damage, which makes gunshot wounds and heavy blows to the head especially devastating. Physically shaking a baby or small child (shaken baby syndrome) can be a direct cause of TBI. When a person is thrown, pushed, or heaved against a solid object, it can also lead to a TBI.

Military combat – Soldiers who engage in active duty can experience extremely violent explosions and collisions and high-velocity shrapnel can hit them. Such conditions are conducive to traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, the high-intensity pressure waves from military blasts can adversely affect brain functioning.

Know the Signs

TBIs are highly unpredictable. As such, each traumatic brain injury is unique. Because the consequences of a TBI can include a range of cognitive, physical, sensory, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, it’s important to recognize common symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden onset of confusion
  • Persistent headaches
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sudden onset of sleep disturbances
  • Lack of coordination
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Sudden speech difficulties
  • Sudden changes in personality or mood

The Statistics of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can vary greatly in both scope and significance, which is why they can elude timely detection. Traumatic brain injuries are not uncommon, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides some startling associated statistics:

  • About 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI each year (about 52,000 die, about 275,000 are hospitalized, and nearly 1.4 million are treated and released from the ER).
  • TBIs contribute to about 30 percent of all U.S. injury-related deaths.
  • Those most likely to sustain TBIs are four years old and younger, between the ages of 15 and 19, or older than 65.
  • Those 75 and older experience the highest TBI-related hospitalization and death rates.
  • Males experience more TBIs than do females (across all age groups).
  • Boys four and younger experience the highest rates of TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The Effects of TBIs

Even relatively minor TBIs can have far-reaching consequences. Your brain is your body’s control center, and even minor changes in that control system can lead to unpredictable results. In fact, a traumatic brain injury can affect your cognitive functioning, your language skills, and your senses, including your senses of smell and hearing. Some TBI victims suffer from seizures that can become chronic. Physical symptoms, however, aren’t the only negative consequences of TBIs.

Traumatic brain injuries are often accompanied by long-lasting psychological and emotional consequences, and these conditions can be just as difficult—and sometimes more difficult—to endure. After suffering a TBI, many find that they can no longer control their emotions. This can isolate victims and contribute to depression and other mental health issues. Furthermore, these symptoms can dramatically affect a victim’s support system, including family and friends.

Your Traumatic Brain Injury

It’s established—traumatic brain injuries are, in fact, traumatic in many ways. If you have suffered a TBI that was caused by someone else’s recklessness, negligence, or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Victims of TBIs often face futures filled with unique challenges, including financial losses. Furthermore, insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts and are not necessarily invested in fairly compensating you for the damages you have sustained.

If you have suffered a TBI, you owe it to yourself to contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. Abels & Annes handle the process of negotiating with insurance companies and advocate for fair settlement amounts rather than accepting initial (often lowball) offers. Your health, your future, and your case matters.

If You’ve Suffered a TBI, Call a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Abels & Annes understand how overwhelming traumatic brain injuries can be, and we’re here to help. If you need legal counsel, please don’t hesitate to contact or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation today.

The Long-term Effects of Multiple Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which include concussions, are serious conditions that require immediate treatment for the various symptoms that may result. While many victims of concussions or other types of TBIs recover over time, they may not realize the increased risks that exist if they happen to sustain subsequent brain injuries in their lifetime. If you are struggling to cope with any aspect of having a TBI then speak to a brain injury attorney to discuss different ways to recover compensation.

It has long been recognized that sustaining a second head injury before the first one has healed can be dangerous and even life-threatening. However, the medical community is only beginning to understand the risks of sustaining multiple concussions over time—even after the patient has completely recovered from the previous concussion. Examining the conditions of former athletes who played contact sports for years has shed light on the subject. The following are some of the potential long-term effects of multiple brain injuries:

The early onset of cognitive disorders can significantly affect a multiple concussion victim’s quality of life, ability to work, relationships, and more. In addition, CTE is a highly dangerous condition that can lead to suicide—and can only be positively diagnosed after death.

It is important to realize that while multiple concussions are common in certain types of sports, athletes are not the only ones who may suffer multiple brain injuries throughout their lives. The following, if experienced more than once, may also lead to multiple brain injuries and resulting long-term effects:

Many people, over the span of their life, experience more than one of the above accidents. Repeated accidents can result in multiple brain injuries over the course of time and lead to devastating effects and losses.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm for More Information

If you suffer a brain injury in any type of accident that was negligently caused by another person, you deserve to fully recover for your losses. The Chicago brain injury attorneys at the law firm of Abels & Annes regularly work with concussion and TBI victims to help them recover for their losses. Please contact us for a free consultation at 312-924-7575 today.

The High Cost of Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is diagnosed after damage occurs to brain tissue after the brain hits the inside of the skull, usually due to head trauma. Even relatively minor brain injuries can be serious and should always be treated as such, including seeking immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one is currently struggling financially with your head injury speak with your brain injury attorney to discuss your options for compensation. Over time, a brain-injury victim may incur substantial costs and losses as a direct result of the injury. The following are some examples of how high the cost of a traumatic brain injury can be:

Medical expenses – It’s no secret that any type of medical care can be costly in the United States, with or without help from insurance. While all brain-injury victims should seek medical treatment, some will require more extensive treatment than others. Some examples of medical expenses that may be faced include:

  • Emergency department or urgent care visits
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Hospitalization
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) treatment if a coma occurs
  • Rehabilitative therapy or stay in a rehab center
  • Therapy for emotional control issues
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical equipment to help with physical impairments
  • Medications
  • All of this care can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in medical bills over time. If ongoing care is required, the costs can keep climbing for the rest of a brain-injury victim’s life.

Lost income – Because brain injuries can affect your cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning, many victims must take time away from work while they recover. Even if you have paid time off, you can easily exceed the allotted amount and will likely eventually miss out on income you would have earned had your brain injury not occurred. If you suffer long-lasting symptoms, you may never be able to return to your previous job and may have to settle for a lower-paying job.

Permanent disability – Severe brain injuries can leave victims with permanent impairments that can completely change the rest of their lives. Victims deserve to be compensated for the enjoyment and opportunities lost due to their disabilities, as well as the stress of navigating life with a new disability.

Call a Chicago Brain Injury Attorney for Help Today

Because the losses from a brain injury can be significant, it is imperative to discuss your rights to financial recovery with a Chicago brain injury lawyer. Call the office of Abels & Annes, P.C. at 312-924-7575 as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Severe Brain Injuries Can Cause Long-Term Complications

According to the CDC, about 1.7 million people receive treatment for some degree of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on an annual basis in the U.S. Thousands of these victims are diagnosed with a “severe” brain injury, which is the most serious category of TBI. Severe brain injuries are unique in that the effects and complications can last for years. They even may be permanent. The following are only some of the long-term complications that can accompany severe brain injuries.

Coma – One sign of a severe brain injury is the loss of consciousness for an extended period of time. Victims can be comatose for days or weeks and may require time in the intensive care unit (ICU). In some tragic cases, a victim of a severe TBI may never fully regain consciousness.

Surgery – Another common yet dangerous complication of a severe TBI is increased intracranial pressure due to swelling of the brain or fluid buildup inside the skull. In some situations, doctors may need to operate to remove part of the skull to relieve pressure. In addition, they may insert a pressure monitor in the brain to identify when additional complications may be occurring.

Rehabilitation – Once a severe TBI victim regains consciousness, he or she often has a long road to recovery. Severe TBIs can affect physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities, and victims often have to undergo a significant amount of rehabilitation to return to former activities. Victims may live in a rehab center for months after the injury.

Permanent impairments – Even with extensive treatment and rehabilitation, some victims of severe brain injuries never fully return to their previous state. Instead, they will have to adjust to life with cognitive, physical, or emotional impairments, which can often prevent them from returning to previous educational programs, careers, or daily activities.

Call a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Injuries Today

Because the long-term effects of a TBI can be serious, it is important for victims to contact a Chicago brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Abels & Annes, we understand how complex this type of injury can be, so please call us at 312-924-7575 to discuss your case for free today.