While anyone can end up in a situation where they sustain a head injury, certain individuals are more likely to be affected by repeated head injuries. If you play sports or follow any sports teams, you’re likely aware of how serious of an issue concussions are. Even with protective headgear, the brain can still sustain an injury if the impact is forceful enough.
Scientists and doctors are seeing an increase in CTE, which is caused by repeated head injuries. Because it can only be diagnosed after death, not a lot is known about it; however, it seems professional athletes are most at risk for this disease. If you have suffered multiple concussions or have a family member who was suspected of having or was diagnosed with CTE, you may have grounds for legal action. Before we get into brain injury claims, let’s take a look at the effects of traumatic brain injuries and CTE.
The Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which may range from mild to severe, can have a number of potential effects. While a mild brain injury may result in a brief change in mental status or consciousness, severe injuries can cause extended periods of unconsciousness or amnesia.
Overall, a TBI can cause short- or long-term changes to thinking, sensation, language, and emotion. It’s estimated that 75% of the TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other mild forms of TBU. Repeated mild TBIs occurring over an extended period of time, however, can result in more serious neurological and cognitive effects.
What Is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain injury that is only diagnosable after death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research suggests CTE is caused by repeated hits to the head—or subconcussive head impacts. Overall information about CTE, however, is still fairly limited.
Currently, there are certain groups of people believed to be most at risk for developing CTE. Those groups include athletes with a history of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury, military veterans with a history of repeated head trauma, and people with a history of repeated head injuries—self-inflicted or otherwise.
To diagnose CTE, an autopsy has to reveal whether the known brain changes of CTE are present. When the disease is suspected, a thorough medical history, mental status testing, neurological exams, brain imaging, and other tests can be used to rule out other causes. CTE involves a protein in the nerve cells called tau. This is also associated with dementia, but CTE has a unique pattern of abnormal tau buildup in the tissues around the blood vessels that is different from other brain diseases.
Researchers are not currently certain which symptoms are directly linked to CTE. Still, family members of those who have had loved ones be diagnosed with CTE after death have reported noticing changes in thinking, feeling, behavior, and movement. Links have also been found to depression and anxiety. In recent media, attention has been drawn to instances of former professional athletes committing suicide, but the connection between CTE and suicide is still unclear.
Legal Actions for Victims of Repeated Head Injuries
The majority of those who have taken action for CTE have been family members of deceased professional athletes. While the National Football League (NFL) agreed to payout more than $1 billion in settlement for victims of chronic brain trauma, many who have received compensation have been left with significantly less than they were originally told.
In the event you have sustained repeated head injuries as a college football player or a professional football player, our attorneys can determine if you are owed compensation and if pursuing a lawsuit would be in your best interest.
In the event your loved one was diagnosed with CTE post-mortem, we can also explain your legal rights and options to you and help you decide how best to proceed to honor your loved one and secure your future. If pursuing a lawsuit is the way to go, we will guide you through the process and ensure the highest amount possible is awarded for the pain and suffering your family has dealt with.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
If you have experienced traumatic brain injuries or someone you know was diagnosed with CTE after death as a result of repeated head injuries and you believe compensation is due, a personal injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices is prepared to help. We understand the challenges that come with treating traumatic brain injuries. If you’re struggling financially, pursuing a claim could help. Contact us today to learn more.