Brain Stem Injury – What Happens if You Suffer Brain Stem Damage?

March 3, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Brain Stem Injury – What Happens if You Suffer Brain Stem Damage?

Injuries to the brain stem can be catastrophic, causing loss of motor or cognitive function, severe pain, and even death. Unfortunately, those are rarely the only costs. A brain stem injury can negatively impact your finances, as well as your physical and mental health. If you or a loved one sustained a brain stem injury due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible to sue for damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

When an act of carelessness causes severe brain stem damage, the prospect of taking legal action can seem daunting. Brain stem injuries may be sustained in a variety of situations, like car accidents, unsafe working conditions, or as a result of using a defective product. The dedicated brain injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group have successfully negotiated for maximum compensation and work to hold negligent parties accountable in a variety of personal injury claims. Our award-winning team is available for a free consultation.

What is a Brain Stem Injury?

Your brain stem is a group of nerves that link your brain to your spinal cord. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the brain stem performs a variety of critical functions, such as regulating your circadian rhythm, balance, breathing, and heart rhythms. The brain stem is also tied to other functions, like the ability to swallow or control facial movements. While some brain stem damage victims recover, others require a full-time caretaker and may never fully recover.

In many cases, brain stem damage is caused by a traumatic brain injury, even though the brain stem may not be injured in the initial accident.  Traumatic brain injuries range in severity from mild injuries like a concussion to severe, life-threatening damage inflicted by a diffuse axonal injury. A brain stem injury can also occur when the brain swells and puts pressure on or otherwise damages the brain stem. For example, a penetrating head injury sustained on a job site or a coup contrecoup head injury suffered in a rear-end collision can ultimately lead to brain stem damage.

When the damage to the brain stem is extensive or blood and oxygen are prevented from reaching the brain, this can result in "brain death." If you have lost a loved one as a result of a brain stem injury, you may still be able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit if their injury was caused by someone else's negligence. Contact a spinal cord injury lawyer today.

Common Causes of Brain Stem Injuries

A brain stem head injury can be sustained under many types of circumstances. For your damages to be eligible for compensation, the injury must come from an act of negligence committed by a party that owed a duty of care. For example, an accusation of negligence may be brought against a drunk driver who caused a head-on collision or an employer who failed to provide the proper safety equipment needed to scale a building. A skilled brain injury lawyer will be able to determine who may be liable in your specific situation.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Are a Top Contributing Cause of Brain Stem Injuries

Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of brain stem injuries. Brain stem damage can occur when a driver or passenger slams their head against a hard surface or gets violently jerked back and forth. These accidents affect people of all ages and walks of life, with the potential to occur anywhere.

Wearing seatbelts in cars and helmets on bikes has been shown to protect motorists from these injuries. This protection comes from lessened chances of neck hyper-flexion, frontward and backward, and reduced twisting. These are two extreme motions that can lead to a brain stem injury.

Common Recreational Activities Can Result in Injury to the Brain Stem

Many people enjoy activities that involve spending time in or out on the water, such as boating or diving. Unfortunately, many of these activities are associated with a risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI). For example, in a boating accident, a reckless boat operator may be forced to stop suddenly to avoid a collision, launching their passengers into the water or against hard surfaces, causing trauma to the brain.

Even recreational activities on dry land present a brain stem injury risk. Children are prone to these types of injuries during different forms of sports and recreation. Falls from playground equipment, skateboarding accidents, bike riding, horseback riding, as well as playing contact sports can lead to brain stem injury. Serious head injuries can be prevented or lessened in youths and adults with protective headgear.

Workplace Falls Can Cause Serious Brain Injuries

In many industries, employees are at a higher risk of being injured in a workplace accident. This is especially true in fields like construction or occupations like firefighting. Brain stem injuries may occur from falls from high places such as scaffolding, windows, ladders, or rooftops. Of course, white-collar workers are also susceptible to brain stem injuries, although they are less common.  If you sustained a brain stem injury at your workplace, you are likely entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits from your employer's insurance carrier. In the case of severe brain damage that prevents you from working or living independently, you may be eligible for more extensive disability benefits.

Common Symptoms of Brain Stem Damage

Depending on how the accident occurred, brain stem injury victims may show a variety of symptoms. Some of the symptoms of brain stem damage may include:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Trouble breathing or erratic breathing
  • Balance problems
  • Unusual, repetitive eye movements
  • Loss of vision or sense of smell
  • Irregular sleeping habits
  • Heart rate changes
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

If any of these symptoms appear, seek medical treatment immediately.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Brain Stem Injury Claim?

A brain stem injury can impact every facet of your life, from your finances to your mental and physical health. These challenges can last for a long duration, even a lifetime, depending upon the severity of the injury. If your brain stem damage was caused by someone else's negligent or careless act, you can likely pursue a brain stem injury claim against them to recover your losses.

In a personal injury lawsuit, your brain injury attorney will likely advise you to request economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages, such as a medical bill or the price of a wheelchair, have an established price tag. Non-economic damages are often more difficult to quantify because they involve emotional or other non-tangible losses like a loss of independence or body function. Both types of damages are valid. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you calculate the value of these losses with respect to your unique health, lifestyle, and occupational circumstances.

Examples of Monetary Damages Available in a Brain Stem Injury Lawsuit

  • Medical bills
    • Medication
    • Surgery
    • Therapy and rehabilitation
    • Mobility aids
    • Hospital stay
    • Home modifications
    • Home healthcare aide
  • Job-related losses
    • Lost wages
    • Reduced earning capacity
    • Missed promotions
    • Loss of career
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability
  • Wrongful death
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • Loss of companionship or parental guidance

After a brain stem injury, you may be unable to perform the most basic functions, like swallowing. Some brain stem injury victims even become dependent on others to regain anything close to a normal life. In many cases, the injury that caused such devastation was the fault of another party. You should always seek prompt medical attention, first to protect your health and also to ensure the viability of a future personal injury claim. After that, we recommend reaching out to a reputable brain stem injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Why You Should Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent You in a Brain Stem Injury Claim 

If you have suffered a brain stem injury in a car accident, slip and fall, work accident, or some other situation caused by the negligence of another party, it's imperative to work with an experienced brain injury attorney. A compassionate and tenacious personal injury lawyer can calculate your damages, collect evidence to demonstrate liability, and negotiate a fair settlement offer on your behalf. Unlike a settlement mill or general practice law firm, Dolman Law Group offers our brain stem damage clients exceptional legal insight and personal attention based on decades of settling claims for maximum compensation.

We are familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to diminish settlements. At Dolman Law Group, we pride ourselves on going the extra mile to protect our injured clients' rights to seek compensation for damages. We won't pressure you to accept a smaller settlement than your claim is truly worth.

As skilled brain injury attorneys, we know the lifetime costs you may be facing. In many cases, injuries like yours may include a high degree of pain and suffering and potentially a diminished quality of life. Our clients know that they can trust us to look out for their best interests with proven quality legal insight and compassionate service.

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Brain Stem Injury Case

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, is ready to relentlessly negotiate for the maximum compensation for victims of any traumatic brain injury. Our dedicated team has the experience and tenacity that it takes to handle powerful insurance companies and aggressive opposing counsel.

If you or a loved one were injured through the negligence or malice of another, you may be entitled to monetary damages. Instead of risking your settlement, you should enlist the resources and expertise of a trusted brain injury lawyer. Dolman Law Group will work tirelessly to recover the costs of present and future medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Rest assured, the skilled brain injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group will champion your claim in negotiations or in court. Contact us for a free consultation with one of our experienced brain injury attorneys today. You can reach us at (727) 451-6900 or through our website contact page. Our team is here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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