Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Traumatic brain injury: understanding the profundity of deficits

There is no cookie cutter brain injury. Just as the brain is almost infinitely complex, no two instances of traumatic brain injury are the same. These injuries nevertheless are lumped together in the catch-all phrase traumatic brain injury, resulting from a violent blow to the head that causes long-term damage to the connective tissue and the lobes of the brain.

The same cluster of symptoms can affect us whether we are injured in a car accident, in a fall or falling object, or in an assault situation.

Some victims experience one or two classic symptoms of TBI. Trauma is more extensive in others. There is mild TBI, which may make life challenging but livable, and there is severe TBI, in which the victim is permanently disabled and unable to reliably perform basic human functions.

Damage to the thought process

Victims commonly experience problems with cognition. It may be harder to pay attention and to learn new things. Thinking may seem like it has slowed down. Problems take longer to solve. People get stuck on one problem and are unable to move on. They have trouble moving beyond concrete facts to abstract principles. They may not perform well in super-stimulating environments. As the cognitive function is diminished, so are the ways victims express themselves, including the ability to speak. They have trouble finding words, and understanding what others say.

Loss of executive function

Executive function describes our ability to steer ourselves through problematic decisions, combining intuition, logic, and an ability to think in a complex way. TBI often takes a heavy toll of executive function, leaving people confused and uncertain.

Mood and behavior disturbances

Damage to the brain can interrupt existing emotional aspects of our personalities. They may feel they are not the same person they were, and may resort to behaviors that cause problems: addictive and obsessive actions, emotional volatility, depression, the inability to initiate things, irritability, anger and aggressiveness, or acting out. These problems are often compounded by the sufferer's denial that anything is wrong.

Because of these behavioral reactions, families sometimes approach the problems of TBI fearfully, worrying that the injured person "isn't the same person anymore." Our message to families, based on our experience, is that assessment is everything in these cases. Your injured family member is still the brother, sister, spouse or child that you love and loves you back.

While TBI is an upsetting and often life-altering injury, many important things do not change: the feelings people have toward their families, long-term memories, and the things that make them interesting in life - their love of symphonic music, that trip the family took to Japan, the names of U.S. presidents in chronological order.

Embracing the life you still live

At Schmitt Mulhern, we understand the complexity of symptoms arising from TBI. Much of our task is assessing the cost of living as the victim goes forward. Our goal is to obtain every dollar victims and families will need to offset the inability to earn, the substantial costs of medical care, personal care, rehabilitation - and significant sums to compensate for the losses engendered by these injuries, and to focus on the good life that remains.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.