Doctors call traumatic brain injuries the silent epidemic. Victims often don’t realize they’ve suffered one until many hours or days later — if they ever find out. In the meantime, they don’t receive the medical treatment they need, not to mention the financial compensation they deserve.
It’s a terrible scenario and one that a personal injury lawyer sees often. But this could all change with a new blood test approved by the FDA on Wednesday.
Currently the only reliable way to detect brain injury is through an expensive computerized tomography scan. But because of radiation exposure and costs, doctors won’t order a scan unless they believe that a brain injury has definitely occurred. If a person doesn’t exhibit strong symptoms and have good insurance coverage, he or she might never know they have a TBI.
Now doctors will now be able to use the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator blood test to evaluate a potential head injury. This is exciting news for patients’ medical treatment and at the same time might boost their personal injury financial recovery.
Car accident is a leading cause of brain injury
The tragic plight of former NFL players has drawn needed attention to the issue of TBIs. One well-publicized case is the legendary former Cowboy George Andrie. The star player is best known for scooping up a fumble and running a spectacular touchdown during the infamous Ice Bowl in 1967. He now suffers from debilitating dementia, the result of multiple concussions over the course of his 11-year career five decades earlier.
However,football players make up only a small portion of people living with head injuries in the United States. An incredible 2.8 million TBI patients visit the emergency room every year. Tragically, 50,000 of those patients die. Thousands more walk out of the ER completely unaware that they have mild brain damage because a CT scan was not ordered.
Car crashes account for many more head injuries than contact sports. In fact, auto accidents are the third leading cause of brain injury ER visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Car crashes are the number one cause of teen and young adult deaths, often due to severe brain damage.
Why is this new blood test important to you?
Just because you don’t know you have a brain injury doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your life. You might notice fatigue, memory lapses, cognitive impairment, depression, and headache but attribute these symptoms to something else. Alarmingly, another concussion could compound long-term damage, as we’ve seen happen to former NFL players.
What should you do? First, if you hit your head during the crash, you should ask to be tested for brain damage at the ER. Also recognize that brain damage can occur just by receiving a high-speed blow to your body in a crash. Your brain may be shaken within your skull to cause serious damage.
Unfortunately, accident victims who are not represented by experienced injury attorneys often settle their cases prematurely. This is why I carefully review my client’s file and where indicated suggest brain injury testing before engaging in settlement negotiations or proceeding to trial. The new blood test will make an accurate diagnosis much easier.
I attended seminars about TBI cases last week at the annual convention of the national trial lawyers association in Hawaii and keep up to date with brain injury and other medical areas that affect my clients.
If you have questions, find out the steps you need to take to assess your injuries and recover your damages. Berenson Injury Law offers you a free no-obligation consultation so you can learn more about your medical and legal options.