Becoming a parent is the most amazing, yet terrifying, thing that any person can do. It’s your job as a mother or father to do the best you can to keep your child safe from the millions of dangers out there in the world, but it’s impossible to protect them from everything. One of the most difficult problems to tackle as a parent is knowing how to take care of your child after they have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.
If your child has experienced an injury resulting in a TBI, you may feel like you are alone in dealing with the after-effects and consequences. The truth is that TBIs are some of the most common injuries, and they are not limited to any one age group. The severity of each TBI is different, but anyone has the potential at any given moment to be exposed to an act that results in this injury.
The statistics may show you that you are not the only person going through this, but when it’s your child who is suffering the pain of a traumatic brain injury, statistics are simply cold numbers. You need to know how to take care of your child and how to get through each day.
Why Are Children More Susceptible to TBIs?
While over a million people every year suffer from traumatic brain injuries, children are more at risk than adults. The reason for this is that as children, their brains and bodies are still developing.
Children automatically have weaker necks and upper bodies than adults do, so it only takes a little bit of a force to cause a brain injury. A simple fall can be enough to induce a TBI in a toddler or preschooler.
Older children may have stronger bones and muscles, but they still are learning what is smart and what is dangerous, and even knowing what’s dangerous doesn’t always stop them. They tend to play more sports and be more active, and sports-related concussions and more severe TBIs are regular concerns. Helmets can reduce the risk of skull fractures and internal bleeding, but they don’t protect from whiplash and other forces that can cause a concussion.
Concussion vs. TBI: Aren’t They the Same Thing?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force damages the brain, like in a car accident or a fall. It can also happen when a person’s head is struck by an object, which is common in sports. TBIs are classified by their level of severity or the anatomy of the injury.
Mild TBIs are concussions. These occur when the brain moves inside the head and twists or hits the skull. In a concussion, bruising of the brain and damage to cells happens, creating the after-effects. However, these are hard to diagnose because the damage is not caught by basic MRIs or CTs. A functional MRI, or fMRI, can pick up on changes in the brain patterns, but this form of specialized imaging is not always available.
The number of concussions is not accurate since many of them do not have the common signs of slurred speech and overall disorientation, so they are not immediately diagnosed. This is why the first 24 hours after a head injury are crucial. A silent concussion can become a severe problem if it is exacerbated by another injury, stress, or strain.
Moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, will result in structural damage to the brain. This damage is irreversible – it can’t be fixed completely, but in some cases, it can improve. Moderate and severe traumatic brain injury can be life-changing or even fatal.
No matter the severity of your child’s TBI, they – and you – are likely scared and confused. There are some basic guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you are on the right path when it comes to taking care of your suffering son or daughter.
General Guidelines for Getting Your Child Help with Their TBI
In the past, children with TBIs were restricted from performing most of their daily activities, like going to school and playing with their friends. Now, though, research has shown that too much rest can be just as bad for the brain’s recovery as too little.
As your child recovers from their injury, remember that trying to coddle them and shelter them to an extreme degree can stress them out. They want to be busy, to be entertained and entertain, and to socialize with their friends. You can let them be children as long as they follow specific guidelines while they are healing.
The CDC recommends that children recovering from a traumatic brain injury and their parents follow the following recommendations:
- They should limit their physical activities for 48 to 72 hours after their injury. Children who have regular mild daily activities can return to them after that time.
- You should monitor their symptoms and make notes of any unusual behaviors or physical signs. If these do not resolve within four to six weeks after the initial injury, consult your medical provider.
- Obtain a checklist of risk factors from your medical provider after you sought medical attention following the injury. Keep this list up-to-date and bring it to your doctor if the symptoms did not resolve in that four-to-six-week window.
In short, let them be children, but be there to monitor them. They won’t always know what is normal and what is concerning. And chances are, the more you hover over them, the more they are going to try to push their limits.
When Finances Become an Obstacle
A basic concussion is scary, but if your child has a mild TBI that goes away quickly, they can move on with their lives while you monitor from a distance. Chances are, you won’t have any ongoing side effects and you may never have to worry about it again. The medical bills will be minimal, and you and your child will move on with that lesson learned.
But when that is not the case, when the injury to your child’s brain is moderate or severe and you have major life changes to deal with, the costs can start piling up. Some TBIs require complete overhauls to the child’s home in order for them to simply perform their activities of daily living. Some children will require nursing assistance and regular medical care. And the mental effects of living with a TBI or a child with a TBI will require regular ongoing counseling and psychotherapy.
Who pays for all of these costs when there is no insurance, or the insurance runs out or denies your care?
The answer to that depends on the cause of the TBI. In many cases, TBIs are caused by negligence on someone else’s part. Common forms of negligence resulting in traumatic brain injuries include:
- Car accidents that occur when the driver was not acting responsibly. If they were not paying attention, speeding, or performing any other reckless or neglectful actions that caused the accident in which your child was injured, they can be held liable for their negligence.
- Slip and falls that resulted in your child’s injury that could have been avoided had the owner taken care of their premises and property.
- Defective products that your child was using correctly that resulted in an injury because they were not properly manufactured or distributed.
These are simply some of the ways neglect can cause a traumatic brain injury, but they are by no means all of the possibilities. However, if your child’s injury was the result of neglect, you may be able to file a brain injury lawsuit to help pay for repairs and renovations necessary to give them a better quality of living, medical care for the future and past, financial assistance while you take care of them during their recovery, and even compensation for their suffering.
Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits
A TBI lawsuit is often the best, and only, option that many parents have to get their child’s bills paid. It also forces the negligent party to have to take responsibility for their actions.
To file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf, you have to be able to prove that they were injured due to the defendant’s negligence. You can work with your attorney to compile enough compelling evidence to show that the other party was clearly responsible for the TBI in question.
When you work with a skilled attorney, like those of us at Hershey Law, we can walk you through the entire process and gather the evidence and facts that directly correlate your child’s injury to the responsible party’s actions.
The last thing you need as you take care of your child’s health care is one more stress and one more thing to do. That’s why we at Hershey Law want to get you the help that you need and the compensation that you are entitled to so your child can face their recovery process with you by their side. Call us today for your free consultation.