Mild traumatic brain injuries have long-term effects

Every year, there are over 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries that occur across the United States. An estimated 7 percent of these cases are in children. Mild brain injuries are often called a "silent epidemic" as the symptoms can go unnoticed. The month of March each year is dedicated to raising awareness in West Virginia and throughout the nation about TBIs, preventing TBIs from occurring and encouraging people to seek help when a brain injury occurs.

A mild TBI occurs when the head is bumped or jolted with a force strong enough to disrupt normal brain activity. It may cause brief unconsciousness, dizziness, confusion or the sensation of "seeing stars." Mild TBIs often occur as a result of slips and falls, bicycle accidents, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and combative training.

When a brain injury occurs, it's important to seek out medical care. Rest is necessary in order to let the brain heal properly. If medical care isn't administered promptly, long-term problems such as chronic headaches, head pressure, slurred speech, nausea and extreme fatigue may occur. These long-term problems may take months to resolve themselves. Experts recommend always wearing helmets, wearing slip-proof shoes and using appropriate seat belts when riding in vehicles to prevent TBIs from occurring.

When a brain injury occurs, the victim often experiences difficulty in focusing on work and school, which can have long-term effects on the future. Mild TBIs can result in costly medical bills, intensive follow-up care and missed wages. However, a personal injury suit can help an individual get the necessary treatment. The statute of limitations for making a personal injury claim in West Virginia is two years. A lawyer can help a victim determine if a brain injury occurred as a result of negligence and is in the appropriate time frame to file a claim and get accident compensation.

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