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Charles J. Zauzig III

Traumatic Brain Injuries


What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?


Traumatic Brain Injuries (or TBI’s) occur when the victim receives a sudden blow to the head, which causes an intracranial injury. This trauma causes damage to the brain, which can affect the victim in any number of ways. Although it’s easy to assume that TBI’s are rare, they actually happen with alarming frequency. Approximately 1.4 million people per year are hospitalized with Traumatic Brain Injuries, with 235,000 people requiring long term hospitalization and 50,000 people ultimately dying from them.

Although it’s possible to receive a traumatic brain injury anywhere at any time, the main causes of TBI are falls (28%) and motor vehicle accidents (20%).

It’s important to understand that the blow to the head doesn’t have to be severe to cause damage to the brain. Even minor concussions can cause physical, emotional and cognitive problems among the victims. But those that suffer moderate or severe TBI’s can almost count on suffering from long-lasting effects.

Moderate TBI’s: The Damage and the Effects

A moderate TBI occurs when the victim suffers from unconsciousness that lasts from a few minutes to a few hours. Getting hit hard enough to get knocked out is usually a sign that there has been some damage to the brain. A sense of confusion can last in the victim for days or weeks. Physical, cognitive or emotional difficulties can either last for months or be permanent.

While it is true that many victims of moderate TBI’s can learn to cope with the after effects, it doesn’t mean that they can simply return to their lives as if nothing had happened. If the intricate and expansive geography of the brain is damaged or disrupted, there is no such thing as a “simple recovery.”

Frontal Lobe Damage

An injury to the frontal lobe can affect Brodmann’s Cortex, which is crucial in terms of voluntary motor activity. Similarly, damage to the pre-motor cortex, which stores motor patterns, can also affect movement. Victims of frontal lobe brain injuries have also shown difficulties in cognitive function such as impairment of recent memory and inattentiveness. This could keep someone from performing even the simplest of jobs. Emotional disorders such as a lack of inhibition leading to inappropriate social or sexual behavior have manifested themselves in patients as well.

Parietal Lobe Damage

Parietal lobe function is responsible for sensory input and sensory discrimination. Damage to this area can result in an inability to recognize sensory stimuli such as sounds or smells. The parietal lobe is also important in body orientation. In severe cases of parietal lobe damage, the victim would be unable to recognize or effectively use his or her own body parts.


Occipital Lobe Damage

The occipital lobe is directly responsible for visual reception. Not only is it responsible for our ability to see, but it also is important in terms of spatial relations and depth perception. Damage to this area could result in a number of difficulties ranging from blindness to visual impairment such as “stars” or “flashes of light.” This could keep a victim from being able to drive or operate machinery.

Temporal Lobe Damage

An injury to the temporal lobe can result in damage on auditory, cognitive and emotional levels. Hearing deficits are common in victims of this sort of injury, as well as retrieval of recent memories. Equally common is a loss of emotional control, which results in agitated or childish behavior.

Limbic System Damage

The functions of the limbic system include olfactory pathways and emotional control and response. Consequently, limbic system damage can result in relatively minor conditions such as a loss of smell, or disruptive conditions such as random feelings of rage or extreme agitation.

All of these injuries can affect a victim in ways that would make their lives extraordinarily difficult. How do you go back to being a teacher if you have a loss of emotional control? How do you go back to driving a taxi or working construction if you have difficulties with spatial relations and depth perception? How do you go back to being an air traffic controller if your ability to see or hear has been altered? A traumatic brain injury could be moderate, but the consequences could be severe.

Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

When the trauma to the brain is much more extensive, the consequences are that much more severe. Brain function can range from none at all (brain death) to minor response to stimulation (minimally responsive state.) The financial costs of such an injury are enormous to a family, and they often lead to painful and combative decisions that can tear a family apart.

Nichols Zauzig: Fighting for the Fair Treatment of Brain Injury Victims

It would seem that anyone suffering from the effects of a brain injury would have an easy and justified claim to make, but sadly, this isn’t the case. A brain injury is one that is internal, and therefore the effects might not be immediately obvious. In order to avoid any long term financial obligations, insurance companies routinely deny the claims of moderate brain injury victims. Since emotional or cognitive difficulties aren’t something that can be readily displayed to a courtroom, insurance companies are quite literally banking on the hopes that the victims will be too afraid to stand up for themselves.

The Nichols, Zauzig and Sandler Litigation Group have made standing up to the bullying tactics of insurers a priority. We have years of experience in helping injured Virginians obtain fair and decent settlements from insurance companies, as well as experience in taking cases all the way to trial. For our cases involving medical malpractice or spinal and brain injuries, we routinely confer with some of the foremost medical experts in the country, and use their testimony to help make the injuries of our clients as clear as possible to insurers, arbitrators, and juries.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, and feel that your needs are not being taken seriously by the insurance companies, contact our offices for a free legal consultation today.

Case Results for Traumatic Brain Injuries: