When North Carolina parents send their children out to ride their bikes, they insist that the youngsters wear protective helmets to shield them from falls. A helmet is designed to take the brunt of an impact and protect the wearer’s head from serious injury. Without a helmet a person could suffer a serious head injury if they lose control or are in an accident.

Head injuries happen in other contexts, however, and it is not always normal or appropriate for victims to have helmets on when they happen. For example, some victims of motor vehicle accidents sustain serious traumatic brain injuries when they are hurt by careless and negligent drivers. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur from impact injuries as well as penetration injuries.

A TBI should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, and this post does not provide any medical or legal advice. Victims of negligence-based traumatic brain injuries, though, should know some important facts about their losses so that they may better understand their rights and options.

1. Not All TBI Are Equal

Like bruises, sprains, and other forms of injury, TBI can range from mild to severe. The victim of a mild TBI may not lose consciousness when they suffer their harm and they may feel relatively normal in the minutes and hours after they sustain trauma to their head. Conversely, the victim of a severe TBI may suffer side-effects that affect their entire system. They may lose their balance, struggle to regulate their moods, and may suffer serious pain. Some TBI victims go into coma and others lose their lives.

2. TBI Can Look Different in Children and Adults

One of the reasons that children are not always diagnosed with TBI is the fact that they cannot always tell adults about their pain and medical problems. Whereas an adult can identify and verbalize their discomfort and disorientation, a child’s symptoms may be difficult to read. Children may exhibit changes in their moods, alterations in the sleep patterns, and other symptoms.

3. TBI Can Have Long-Term Effects

Different TBI cases may have different resolutions and different complications. For some, TBI may contribute to degenerative diseases of the brain later in life. For example, individuals who suffer TBI may be more likely to develop diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as they age.

4. TBI Can Be Caused by Different Types of Accidents

As noted above, car accidents and bike falls are two ways that TBI can occur. However, TBI can result from many different forms of harm. Slip and fall accidents can cause TBI, as can pedestrian and motorcycle collisions. Incidents of violence and even sporting accidents can cause TBI accidents to develop.

5. The Costs of Living with TBI Can Be Significant

Different severities of TBI may require different medical and therapeutic interventions that may have varying costs. However, one article estimates that TBI may cost a victim millions of dollars over the course of their lifetime. When a TBI accident is caused by an irresponsible party, litigation may be an option for a victim to recoup their financial losses.

Any accident involving TBI should be discussed with a personal injury attorney to help the victim and their loved ones understand what rights and options they have for pursuing their losses. An accident that results in TBI can change the course of a person’s life and their opportunities for the future.