As traumatic brain injury lawyers, we are often retained to represent individuals who have sustained brain injury trauma or closed head injury. A traumatic brain injury can simply be defined as an injury to the brain caused by trauma to the head.
Certain traumatic brain injuries are easy to identify. For instance, a fractured skull, a brain bleed, or if an individual is in a coma due to an impact to the head, we can be certain they have suffered a traumatic brain injury or trauma to the brain. However, oftentimes an individual will suffer what is termed a “mild” or “moderate” brain injury (as if trauma to the brain could be considered “mild”) as a result of an automobile or motorcycle accident. The term “mild brain injury” often leads to misconceptions that the symptoms are not serious or that the injury is only temporary. This is a very dangerous error as brain injury symptoms can often increase or intensify as time goes on. Such injuries are often more difficult to identify as they involve subtle problems with emotions, memory, thinking, and concentration among others. In fact the Center for Disease Control identifies a myriad of factors and issues that are often associated with a traumatic brain injury. Obviously, the more factors an individual suffers from the greater the likelihood that he/she clinically presents with an injury to the brain that must be correlated with diagnostic study.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Physical Symptoms of a brain injury include
Loss of vision
Cognitive symptoms of a brain injury
Short term memory loss
Emotional symptoms of a brain injury
Personality changes in general
Changes in appetite
Why The Sudden Attention to Brain Trauma?
Closed head injuries have received increased media attention over the last two years due to the rash of concussion suffered by professional athletes (particularly football players in the NFL). These injuries can be very subtle and often go undiagnosed. NHL superstar Sidney Crosby’s injury in January of 2011 is an example of what can happen if a brain injury goes undiagnosed. Improper treatment and diagnosis lead to an exacerbation of the Pittsburgh hockey star’s injury just days later in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This also displays another issue with head trauma; the fact that the amount of impact necessary to result in a brain injury is not as much as one would imagine. I have referenced the website braininjury.com for the following excerpt:
“How much force is necessary to cause permanent brain damage is under study, and hence still unclear. Over the years, professional boxers have suffered permanent brain damage. The force of a professional boxer’s fist is equivalent to being hit with a 13 pound bowling ball traveling 20 miles per hour, about 52 g’s. Plopping down into an easy chair can generate up to 10 g’s. So, it seems that somewhere between 10 and 50 g’s is the threshold to permanent brain injury. This does not mean that accelerations over 50 g’s have to cause permanent brain damage. Football players are subjected to 200 g’s, and Indy race car drivers have been subjected to 80 g’s without permanent injury, but they were wearing helmets.
Football players and racecar drivers also protect their heads from being whiplashed. Whiplash seems to be particularly damaging to the brain. Woodpeckers smack their heads against trees with 1200 g’s of force without suffering brain damage. Part of the reason is that they keep their heads in the plane of their body; the head does not rotate in a “yes-no” manner during the pecking. If there were some way to stabilize the head when driving – akin to wearing a mail suit from the Middle Ages – more people would walk away from automobile accidents without serious brain injury.”
What Are The Causes Of A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
There are two methods for which a brain is susceptible to significant trauma. If an individual’s head strikes an object the cerebral cortex can become contused/bruised; or, in the event where the head is whiplashed, it is very possible that the deep white matter may suffer an axonal tear known as a diffuse axonal injury. When the axons are stretched or torn they can be damaged for good. Many attorneys fail to recognize that their clients may have indeed suffered a diffuse axonal brain injury and instead focus on the more obvious general orthopedic ailments. This often occurs in cases in which the client did not suffer a significant closed head injury (i.e. their head did not strike an object and they did not lose consciousness). A diffuse axonal injury is among the most serious forms of brain trauma that can be sustained.
Attorneys are not the only professionals that sometimes fail to recognize the signs of TBI. Emergency responders and even some medical personnel often forget to check for the “hidden” signs of head trauma that can result even from minimal impacts. After an accident, it’s important that you are aware of any injuries that you might have sustained by seeking the advice of a physician experienced and educated in the subject matter concerning brain injury. This is the best way to ensure you are properly screened for brain injury and the extent of trauma to the brain.
It is essential to rule out the possibility that a traumatic brain injury occurred.
It is well known that the average automobile crash of 5 miles per hour exerts 50,000 pounds of force. We believe 50,000 pounds of force to be significant. In my experience, we have encountered many clients who sustained significant head injuries in what the applicable insurance carrier labeled as a very minor impact. In fact, a number of my clients who sustained a brain injury did not lose consciousness or impact their head due to the wreck.
Myths About Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are a number of myths associated with traumatic brain injuries. The largest misconception is that one needs to be struck in or on the head and be rendered unconscious, yet there are a number of other myths that are also propagated regarding the subject.
The first myth is that mild traumatic brain injuries are not serious.
The second common myth is that a loss of consciousness is necessary to sustain a traumatic brain injury.
The third myth is that one must trike their head in order to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Myth number four is that negative MRIs, CT scans and EEGs absolutely rule out brain injuries.
Another myth is that the effects of a traumatic brain injury are immediate.
The sixth myth is that is that neurological testing is subjective in diagnosing a brain injury.
People also falsely believe that cognitive impairments on neuropsychological testing are required to fit a predictable pattern.
The eighth common myth about traumatic brain injury is that children with traumatic brain injuries all get better.
There is also a false belief that mild traumatic injuries are not permanent.
The last myth is that mild traumatic brain injuries are not disabling.
Traumatic Brain Injury Can Be Caused By Whiplash
The biggest misconception or misnomer that we often deal with as Florida brain injury attorneys is the insurance industry’s typical defense of whiplash cases. Insurance adjusters are trained to scrutinize and aggressively defend rear end collisions with minor or moderate property damage. However, some of the most significant and debilitating injuries we see in Florida are often the result of these purportedly lower speed collisions. As injury law attorneys, we see insurance carriers repeatedly rely on the same tired defenses and bunk science that has been disproven time and again.
A recent article in the July 2011 issues of the Journal aptly named Brain Injury illustrates the causal relationship between whiplash and traumatic brain injury. The article written by Ezriel Kornel, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Michael Freeman, Ph.D, entitled Chiari and Whiplash Injury; evidences that whiplash may result in anatomical changes that cause very serious and permanent injuries to the brain. In fact, the authors conducted a study of over 1200 cervical MRI scans and were able to show a definitive correlation between whiplash and brain injury. The authors were able to conclude that whiplash victims are far more likely to exhibit anatomical changes to the brain resulting in a permanent trauma to the brain. The brain injury often manifests as a herniation of the brain known as a Chiari malformation in which the bottom part of the brain protrudes through the base of the skull. In 23% of the whiplash MRI’s studied, evidence was found indicating a brain injury.
The acceleration and deceleration of the neck and head immediately following the impact of the collision often results in the brain literally moving within the skull. For instance in many accidents, a car is impacted from behind by a fast moving vehicle. As a result, the victim’s entire body with the exception of the skull is quickly accelerated/pushed forward while the head remains behind for a moment. The head will rock up and back, which will cause the stretching and/or tearing of ligaments, tendons and the muscles of the neck.
Importance of Retaining an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one, are experiencing any of the physical, cognitive or emotional symptoms discussed below; it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Florida traumatic brain injury attorney. If you or a loved one has sustained a blow to the head or a whiplash injury as a result of the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, it is important to be treated by a physician familiar with traumatic brain injury to determine whether an injury to the brain has actually occurred. Your injury law attorney should also be well versed on current medical procedures and advancements in the treatment and diagnosis of closed had injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI). All of the injury law attorneys at the Dolman Law Group take pride in remaining informed concerning brain injuries and other issues affecting their clients.
A traumatic brain injury can have a pronounced effect on your quality of life including the ability to interact with loved ones and friends as well as the ability to work. Please contact a Florida traumatic brain injury lawyer for a free, no obligation, and confidential evaluation of your case. As a personal injury attorney, I consistently deal with insurance adjusters, Florida insurance defense lawyers and even physicians who are unfamiliar with the mechanisms behind a TBI and the relationship between a potential closed head injury and whiplash. Many practitioners are mistakenly under the assumption that the head must strike an object to cause trauma to the brain. It is essential to retain a Florida injury law attorney who is not only familiar with TBI’s but also the latest science in this rapidly evolving area of medicine. The brain injury law attorneys at Dolman Law Group are experienced in handling closed head injury cases and keep up to date with the latest scientific developments as well as the tactics employed by insurance carriers and defense lawyers in combatting such claims.
Dolman Law Group is a Pinellas County and Manatee County personal injury law firm that routinely handles claims and litigates cases involving closed head injuries as a result of an automobile accident or motorcycle accident. We actively litigate auto accident and motorcycle accident related cases in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, Manatee County and Pasco County. Located in central Pinellas County (Clearwater), Dolman Law Group is easily accessible to injury victims in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, New Port Richey, Pinellas Park, Largo and Kenneth City. Our satellite office in Bradenton is easily accessible to all consumers located in both Manatee and Sarasota County. The injury law attorneys at Dolman Law Group represent only plaintiffs and have never nor will they ever represent an insurance carrier.
For more information on the relationship between a brain injury and an automobile accident or motorcycle accident, please contact: email@example.com or call Dolman Law Group at: (727) 451-6900. Matthew A. Dolman, Esq., Christian Myer, Esq., and Bryan C. Hannan, Esq., are experienced and aggressive Florida traumatic brain injury attorneys who are often called upon by their colleagues to co-counsel head injury cases throughout the State of Florida. If our injury law attorneys can be of any further assistance, do not hesitate to call us immediately for a free case evaluation and consultation.
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