Flipping on the evening news, you see live footage of a terrible car crash. Ambulances and police cars surround the scene and traffic is backed up for miles. The reporter says that both parties survived and are being treated for injuries. As a VA personal injury attorney I often have a different reaction than most people. Most people are relieved to hear that there are no deaths and assume that the people injured will be just fine after they are treated. I know that this is not often the case. Many injuries will and can affect those injured in a car accident for a lifetime, none more serious than a traumatic brain injury.
Recently an uplifting story about a USU student, Dallin Wengert, who graduated despite suffering a traumatic brain injury shows that every TBI is different. In 2013 the student made a left-hand turn and was hit by an oncoming car. He was flown to the hospital in a coma. At first the doctors weren’t even sure if he would wake up. He did wake up but faced a difficult road to recovery, having to learn to eat, walk and talk again.
The physical effects of a traumatic injury are often very devastating. The Neurological Clinic Journal reported that two million people are affected by a traumatic brain injury each year. About 300,000 of these injuries require hospitalization, with 100,000 incurring lasting disabilities and 60,000 dying from the injury.
In the spring semester of 2014, Dallin returned to school, taking classes online and resuming his former job at the USU sheep farm. His school advisor was amazed he had the cognitive ability after the injury to even try college classes. “It is a miracle, really, for him to have a traumatic brain injury like he had and be able to come back,” Spackman said. “My experience with people who have had traumatic brain injuries is they struggle. Academically, you don’t know how far they’re going to get.
Often times the mental damage a traumatic brain injury can inflict is just as serious, though not as easily seen, as the physical damage. This can include behavioral problems and personality changes, bursts of rage, depression, and even cognitive difficulties. Through great support from family and friends and Dallin’s own determination he was able to graduate despite his traumatic brain injury. As experienced brain injury lawyers we have represented many clients and each one’s struggles are very different but just as serious and we understand the long process and financial burden this type of injury puts on the victim and their family.
Brain injuries can have lifelong effects on your life: financial effects, emotional effects, and physical effects. A person with a mild or moderate brain injury may suffer from memory problems, behavioral changes, or trouble with their speech or vision - problems that could affect their careers, their hobbies, and their overall quality of life. A person with a severe brain injury may have serious mobility problems paralysis, significant mental disabilities, and other permanent injuries that require life-long hospitalization or at least 24-hour care by health professionals.