Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be devastating for the victim, seriously impacting their quality of life, as well as their ability to work and care for themselves. If the TBI was the result of someone else’s negligence, the victim may be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. But how does an attorney build a case? First, the extent of the damage must be documented. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is a cutting-edge diagnostic tool that allows doctors to examine the brain after a suspected TBI.
In the recent past, doctors relied on CT scans and MRIs to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. However, mild to moderate injuries might be overlooked by these tools, and return a result of “negative” or “normal” when the person has indeed suffered a TBI. This is where DTI is useful. DTI examines the microstructure of the brain, including white matter tracts, and can detect diffuse axonal injury, one of the most severe and under-diagnosed forms of brain damage.
How Does a Doctor Determine Whether Their Patient Should Receive a DTI?
TBI Imaging Associates, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas, published a questionnaire for patients to answer before being referred for DTI. Obviously, a CT scan that reported positive findings would warrant a referral. But other, often overlooked symptoms—such as losing consciousness immediately after the head trauma, or experiencing ongoing symptoms like memory loss, depression and anxiety, personality changes, difficulty with decision-making and planning, speech abnormalities, and sleep problems—also warrant a referral.
Patients who have one or more of these symptoms should ask their physician to refer them for DTI, especially if the patient is in the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. While most traumatic brain injury diagnoses are based on subjective criteria, and therefore can be easily challenged by the defendant’s attorneys in court, DTI scans are considered an objective diagnostic tool. DTIs are diagnosing traumatic brain injuries that would have gone undiagnosed in the past—and the results of the DTI are harder to undermine in court.
The Cost of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Whether the result of a fall or a motor vehicle accident, traumatic brain injuries are not something to take lightly. According to TBI Imaging Associates, there are three million cases of TBI in the United States every year, and many more go undiagnosed. The cost to society is a whopping $17 billion, in the form of Medicare and Medicaid bills, missed work days, and other expenses. The victim of a TBI might be left with high medical bills and months or years of lost wages. Therefore, the victim should be adamant about receiving a correct diagnosis, even if a CT scan or MRI returned a “negative/normal” result. Diffusion Tensor Imaging can return more accurate results.
Discuss Your TBI Case with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit after suffering a suspected TBI, ask your physician to refer you for DTI. And if you suffered a head injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, consider contacting a caring and experienced personal injury attorney to review your case. Tittle & Perlmuter is here to help you recover damages related to your brain injury and bring the responsible parties to justice.