There are several ways that a person can get a traumatic brain injury. For instance, some people might have brain injuries from car accidents or work accidents, but other people might have brain injuries because of a gun shot wound. Depending on the severity of damage caused by the traumatic brain injury, there could be a severe impairment to a person’s ability to perform their job. In cases like these, getting the Social Security disability benefits that a person needs is essential to paying bills. These are some of the most important things that a person who is seeking benefits for themselves or a loved one for a traumatic brain injury should know about.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
There are several potential causes of a traumatic brain injury. For instance, a sudden jolt from being physically shoved or a bullet to the skull could cause a traumatic brain injury. Some common reasons that people get a traumatic brain injury include getting hit while playing a sport, falls from a ladder, car crash injuries, and explosive blasts, such as those incurred while in the military.
Certain demographics are more at risk of having a traumatic brain injury. For instance, age is a major determining factor, with infants to four-year-old children in one of the higher risk groups. Adults over the age of 60 and young adults in the age range of 15 to 24 are two other high-risk groups. Finally, gender also plays a role in the risk of getting a traumatic brain injury, with males at a higher risk than females.
Traumatic brain injury can be mild, moderate, or severe, and some activities are more likely than others to cause mild traumatic brain injuries as are moderate and severe brain injuries.
Additionally, people who experience a traumatic brain injury are at greater risk for certain complications, such as coma, development of degenerative brain diseases earlier in life, behavioral problems, emotional changes, and cognitive decline.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
The symptoms of the injury will depend on the severity of the injury and the age of the person. An adult with mild traumatic brain injury, such as one that was caused while playing a sport like football, will likely result in physical, sensory, and cognitive symptoms. Some of the most common physical symptoms include dizziness and poor balance, loss of consciousness, confusion and daze, headache, fatigue and drowsiness, sleep disturbances, and speech problems.
Sensory symptoms could include a ringing sound in the ears, blurred vision, a bad taste in the mouth, and changes in the ability to smell. Some people will also experience an increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Cognitive symptoms could include feelings of anxiety or depression, mood swings, and difficulties remembering things and concentrating.
Some of the moderate to severe physical symptoms include convulsions and seizures, loss of consciousness or an inability to wake up, vomiting, headaches that get worse over time, loss of coordination, numbness in the fingers and toes, pupil dilation, and drainage of clear fluids from the nose and ears. Cognitive symptoms could include severe confusion, slurred speech, coma, and agitation.
Children should be monitored if they experience some kind of event where they hit their head because they’re unable to communicate their feelings and symptoms in the same way that adults or even older children can. Some of the symptoms that a person can watch for include drowsiness, irritability that’s out of character for them, inability to be consoled, seizures, sleep disturbances, changes in eating habits, sadness, and lack of interest in favorite toys and activities.
Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury
The treatment required depends on the severity of the brain injury. Someone with a mild brain injury doesn’t usually need any treatment at all except for pain relievers for a headache, rest, and monitoring by another person to ensure that the symptoms don’t get worse. If there’s any doubt about the severity of the injury, a doctor should be consulted, who might also say that the person shouldn’t sleep if they believe that the person has a concussion.
People with moderate to severe brain trauma should seek emergency medical care immediately. After the traumatic event that caused the head injury, it’s common for people to experience blood loss and a drop in blood pressure. Treatment focuses on ensuring that the patient has adequate blood flow throughout the body and that their blood pressure stays within a particular range. Some people who get a severe traumatic brain injury have other injuries throughout their body that need to be addressed when they go into the emergency room.
Once a person is stabilized, there are several types of treatments that they’ll be given to further stabilize their condition and give them opportunities to recover. In the first week after the injury, diuretics are often given to reduce pressure on the brain, anti-seizure medications are often necessary, and some patients are put into a medically induced coma to help their brains heal.
Surgery might be necessary to repair hematomas in the brain, repair skull fractures, and create an opening in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain.
Most people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries will also need rehabilitation, which can come in several forms. For instance, some people will respond well to getting an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech pathologist, recreational therapist, or neuropsychologist.
Disability Insurance for Traumatic Brain Injury
There are a lot of symptoms that a person who has a moderate to severe brain injury can experience. Most people who have a mild brain injury won’t qualify for disability benefits with the SSA because the length of time that they’ll have symptoms will usually be short. People who have moderate to severe brain injuries could receive disability benefits.
For many types of injuries and illnesses, the applicant needs to be disabled for at least 12 months before they qualify for benefits, but this isn’t always the case for people with traumatic brain injuries. If the injuries are profound, the applicant might be able to get benefits as early as three months after the traumatic event that caused the brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury has it’s own listing within the Blue Book, which is the manual that’s used to assess whether or not someone qualifies for disability benefits. The listing states that in order to qualify, the person must meet one of two sets of criteria. The first one that a person could meet is having the inability to control at least two limbs. For example, the inability to use one arm and one leg would qualify someone.
The other set of criteria that a person could gain benefits through is a marked limitation in a person’s ability to think, interact with others, finish tasks, or regulate emotions.
If, for some reason, the applicant doesn’t meet the criteria for a traumatic brain injury but are still having difficulties working, they might meet the criteria benefits by doing the residual functional capacity test, which will look at the applicant’s abilities and compare them to previous jobs that they’ve done to determine whether or not there are any jobs that they can do.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Traumatic Brain Injury, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.