Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Concussions in Children: Negligence and the Law

child concussionTraumatic brain injuries can result from any type of impact to the head, be it a blow, bump, jolt or shake. If an object were to penetrate the skull and brain, then a serious brain injury could also likely occur. Traumatic brain injuries and concussions in children can be caused by a range of different accidents including car crashes, animal attacks, falls, sporting accidents and intentional abuse. 
 
It is estimated that as many as 475,000 children suffer a traumatic brain injury in the U.S. each year. If you believe your child suffered a concussion or TBI due to someone else's negligence, here's what you need to know about the law in Texas. 

Common Causes of Brain Injury In Children

Traffic Accidents

Car, truck, bus and motorcycle wrecks account for approximately 17 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. When the force of a collision causes a child’s neck to snap forwards and then snap back, the soft tissue in their neck and shoulders can be damaged. The damage to their muscles is commonly known as a whiplash. However, this same movement can cause damage to the brain as well, much in the similar way of shaken baby syndrome. 

Because the symptoms of a brain injury are likely not obvious so soon after a car wreck, a potential brain injury is frequently overlooked by doctors. After an auto accident, it's important to look out for symptoms of concussion and brain injury in your child, such as confusion and loss of consciousness. 

Dog Attacks

More than 57 percent of all dog attack victims in Texas are children, according to a study conducted by the Texas Department of Health (19.8 percent are aged 0-5; 17.9 percent are aged 6-10; 19.6 percent are aged 11-20). The younger the child is, the more severe the dog attack injuries might be.

An alarming train among aggressive dogs is the animal’s propensity to attack a child’s neck and facial region. This can result in a traumatic brain injury, concussion or a fractured skull. Approximately 75 percent of children attacked by a vicious dog suffer some form of head, neck or brain injury. 

Daycare Negligence

Inadequate supervision is one of the leading causes of injury in young children at day cares. Often, if a day care center has a high ratio of children to staff members, children might begin roughhousing, might step off a stair and fall, might climb onto equipment they shouldn't be on, or might otherwise put themselves into a situation that leads to an accident. Brain injuries and concussions that occur at daycare may go untreated at first if the staff member doesn't recognize the symptoms. 

Sporting Injuries and Falls

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury is falls (35 percent of TBI cases). Young children are at particularly at risk of suffering serious falls around the home, while older children are more likely to be injured while playing sports. High-contact sports such as football, rugby and ice hockey all pose their own risks. 

Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury

There are three distinct levels of brain injury severity: mild, moderate and severe. Mild injuries typically do not result in a loss of consciousness, and resolve themselves within a matter of days or weeks. Moderate and severe injuries typically involve loss of consciousness and require additional treatment.

Since the brain controls all mental and physical functions, a traumatic brain injury can result in a combination of physical, cognitive, behavioral and emotional impairment. This can occur regardless of the severity classification assigned to the TBI. Common symptoms include headaches, migraines, dizziness, pain, fatigue, nausea, confusion, fatigue, anxiety, depression, anger, ringing in the ears, impaired vision, lack of coordination in the arms or legs, reasoning difficulties, memory loss, communication problems and slower mental processing. Several studies into childhood traumatic brain injuries have found that children who suffer a traumatic brain injury display significantly higher levels of ADHD symptoms than non-injured children.

Concussion Symptoms: What to Look For

Although a concussion may not be easy to identify visibly, you can look for symptoms by analyzing how your child behaves. For example, if your child is typically very active and all of a sudden seems very tired and inactive, this may be a sign of a concussion. When the body notices a difference in performance, it works harder in attempting to stabilize itself. This process takes an ample amount of energy from the human body. A child's body is smaller and more fragile, which makes concussion recovery take time. Also, take into account the appearance of your child's eyes. Red or teary eyes is a red flag. 

What to Do If You Suspect a Child Concussion Brain Injury

Parents should be vigilant in identifying traumatic brain injuries in their children. It is critical that children who suffer a head injury receive thorough medical attention as TBI symptoms are too often overlooked, meaning the child never receives the adequate medical care they need.

Since many traumatic brain injuries are the result of closed head wounds, it is often necessary to undergo testing in order to accurately determine the extent of the injuries to the brain. The most common techniques employed by doctors are MRI and CT/CAT scans, although these are sometimes regarded as insufficient since they don't allow detection of subtle brain abnormalities and micro-lesions. Far more accurate are PET scans, MRI Spectroscopy and other more advanced forms of Neuropsychological Testing.

An experienced brain injury doctor will determine the extent of the damage and the best course of treatment. 

Your Child's Right to Compensation After an Accident In Texas

If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the child's medical bills (both past and future), physical impairment, pain and suffering. 

Given the cost of medical care for TBI, it's important that you understand your child's rights as an accident victim in Texas. The child injury lawyers at the Anderson Law Firm offers free case reviews to all accident victims. Call us today or contact us online for more information. 

Learn More About our Child Injury Lawyers

Mark A. Anderson
Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas