Living with a brain injury

Trauma to the brain affects 2.5 million people each year, yet the functions that are affected and the lifestyle changes may vary drastically.

From a seemingly simple bump on the head to an object that pierces the skull, the accidents that lead to brain injuries in Washington encompass a wide range of traumas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls cause more than 40 percent of damages that lead to hospitalization, emergency room visits or death. Other major causes include blows to the head, car accidents and assault. Of the approximately 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries reported each year, 138 end in death every day in the United States. When a TBI occurs, there could be long-term issues for the incapacitated person, and his or her family.

Functions affected

The exact changes may depend on where the wound occurred. For example, the parietal lobe is the portion of the brain where a person's sense of touch, visual acuity, shape and color identification are located. Any of these functions, or all of them, may be affected by a TBI in that area. Not only that, if this central lobe is injured, a person may no longer be aware of his or her own body, and how it is positioned in space, an ability known as spatial awareness.

A TBI in this or other lobes could also lead to the following problems:

  • Trouble remembering the sequence of events
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Decreased control over certain body movements
  • Change in thought process
  • Increased risk of anxiety or depression
  • Inability to effectively communicate

Because there are so many potential outcomes, it can be hard to know how an injury will affect a person's life. Even when two people have similar trauma to the same part of the brain, the results may be drastically different.

Recovery and coping skills

Day-to-day activities may have to change after an accident of this nature occurs. For example, a person who was previously independent may require help to complete simple tasks such as eating or bathing. Another change may come in the form of predictability. Someone who was once spontaneous may now have to keep a set schedule to make the recovery easier.

It is important for the injured and any family members to realize that the road to recovery may be long and their needs will likely change over time. For this reason, a person may benefit from the chance to fix a problem on his or her own. Trying new things could be a great way to solve an issue that crops up. The opportunity to figure out a mental or physical hurdle may actually help in the recovery of abilities.

If an accident that leaves a Seattle resident's brain functions altered is caused by the negligence of another, there may be compensation available to cover medical bills and other damages that occurred as a result. An attorney who is familiar with TBI cases may be able to provide advice about the best way to proceed.