Brain injuries are a huge problem in New Jersey and throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to nearly one third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. each year.
A serious brain injury can have a dramatic effect on a person for a very long period of time. Here, our experienced New Jersey brain injury lawyers discuss how a brain injury can impact an individual’s ability to function.
Understanding the Parts of the Brain
First, you should understand the parts of the brain, which many people refer to as “the most complex structure in the universe.” The specific part of the brain that an injury affects will determine how that injury impacts a person’s functioning. The brain features six general regions:
- Brain Stem – This region controls the flow of basic signals between the brain and other parts of the body. As a result, the brain stem controls some of our most basic and vital functions, including breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, balance and consciousness.
- Cerebellum – While the cerebellum does not directly control a person’s ability to initiate movement, it does control a person’s ability to move accurately and with any level of precision, or fine motor skills. Without proper functioning in the cerebellum, a person will face great difficulty with balance and coordination.
- Frontal Lobe – Some professionals describe the frontal lobe as the “control panel” of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for our personality and our ability to communicate with others. Frontal lobe damage can be extremely complex and manifests itself in a wide variety of ways.
- Parietal Lobe – This region is most responsible for our ability to take basic sensory information and signals and turn that data into meaning. Without proper parietal lobe functioning, a person can have difficulty with touch perception, visual attention and multisensory integration.
- Occipital Lobe – This region serves as the visual processing center of the brain. It enables vision and allows a person to turn the immense amount of visual information that comes in through the eyes into actual meaning.
- Temporal Lobe – This part of the brain controls auditory perception. Temporal lobe damage manifests itself in ways that go beyond hearing loss. A person with damage in this region can experience memory problems and significant emotional changes.
Brain injuries – particularly severe TBIs – rarely impact a single area of the brain. A major brain injury could potentially cause some degree of damage to every region of the brain. Also, different types of brain damage can interact in complex ways and multiply the impact on a victim.
As a brain injury grows more complex, the cost of treatment can grow more expensive. For this reason, it is highly important for you to seek legal help if you or a loved one has suffered TBI due to the suspected negligence of another. By taking legal action against the party responsible for the brain injury, you may recover compensation that can cover past and future medical expenses associated with the TBI.
Brain Injuries: Physical Effects
Concussions and other types of TBIs can have significant physical effects on the victim. In the very worst cases, a brain injury victim may end up with severe physical impairments that make independent living difficult, if not impossible. Even in more moderate cases, brain injuries can carry long-term physical effects. During and after recovery, a person may experience major problems with coordination and balance and feel general weakness. Brain injury victims may also suffer from serious fatigue.
Brain Injuries: Cognitive Effects
Many victims face ongoing problems due to the cognitive effects of a brain injury. For instance, a moderate or severe brain injury can lead to memory problems. In some cases, a victim will lose memories near the accident itself but will experience relatively minor long-term memory effects. However, in other cases, memory damage will be permanent. The victim may experience inconsistent and frustrating short-term memory problems going forward in life.
Cognitive impairments can also include permanent damage to a victim’s ability to think and reason through complex problems. Some victims report having trouble with language and remembering and using words. Other victims report having serious difficulties solving problems that were easy for them before the injury. In the most serious of cases, a person’s cognitive abilities will be so impaired that working and living independently are impossible.
Brain Injuries: Emotional and Behavioral Effects
In many cases, brain injuries have serious emotional and behavioral consequences for the victim. These effects can be among the most challenging for victims to deal with during the recovery process. It can seem like the person’s personality has completely changed. The emotional changes brought on by a brain injury can be very hard for family members who are trying to provide love and support to the victim.
Some of the most common emotional and behavioral changes include:
- Increased dependency
- Lack of impulse control
- Difficulty in regulating emotions
- Severe depression.
Get Help from a New Jersey Brain Injury Attorney
If your loved one is having a hard time dealing with the impact of brain injury, please know that you are not alone. You should look into support groups that can provide some much-needed comfort and assistance.
If you believe that another person’s negligence caused the injury, you should seek help immediately from an experienced brain injury lawyer from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. Contact us today for a free consultation. In addition to seeking all compensation you are entitled to receive, we can also work with you to find resources within your area that can help you to get through this difficult time.