As a personal injury attorney, I am often retained to represent individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain 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.
However, oftentimes an individual will suffer what is termed a “mild” or “moderate” brain injury. Such injuries are more difficult to identify and 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 may relate to suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Obviously, the more factors an individual suffers from the greater the likelihood that he/she clinically presents with a traumatic brain injury that must be correlated with a diagnostic study.
After you file a brain injury lawsuit, insurers will begin to discredit your injury. Let us fight them for you. We know how to push back and gather the necessary evidence to show the severity of your injury. We won’t back down until you receive the money you deserve.
Insurers May Claim You Don’t Have a TBI
Insurance adjusters often claim that the medical testing did not conclusively establish a TBI. Our lawyers counter this fallacy pushed by insurance adjusters immediately. While diagnostic testing has dramatically advanced over the past twenty years, microscopic lesions in the brain and damage to the neurons are often missed on an MRI.
Neurologists will rely on the medical history of the patient and their clinical presentation when diagnosing TBI. It is pretty common to have a negative MRI yet manifest with cognitive or functional impairment during neurological or neuropsychological testing.
Our brain injury attorneys work with neurologists to provide evidence of your brain injury even when MRIs and other diagnostic testing are inconclusive.
Insurers May Claim Your TBI Is Minor
Claims adjusters and insurance defense lawyers often attempt to minimize the extent of a brain injury by alleging that the injury is minor and that you will quickly recover. Some symptoms of brain injury are minor and subtle such as memory issues. However, 10-15% of mild TBI patients have not healed after one year. Many are more symptomatic than even immediately after the injury. Some suffer from persistent headaches, neck pain, or dizziness.
Our lawyers push back on this tactic because we know that even minor brain injuries can result in severe and long-term suffering. We have seen firsthand the chronic disabilities endured by TBI survivors even after low-impact accidents.
After a TBI, our brain injury attorneys can help you file the necessary claims or lawsuits and fight insurance company tactics. We make sure all brain injury survivors have the money they need to pay for the considerable damages that they suffer.
Why Should I Choose a Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injury victims, especially, benefit from having a lawyer with experience and expertise with their particular condition. As we described above, brain injuries have tremendously wide variations in how they occur, what harms they inflict, and the prospects for (and costs of) recovery. Here are the ways choosing a brain injury lawyer—not just any old personal injury lawyer—can help you in the aftermath of a brain injury.
Assessing the Scope of Your Brain Injury
Doctors and other health care professionals, obviously, will treat your brain injury. But they are not the only people who need to understand and evaluate the nature and extent of your TBI or anoxic/hypoxic injury. Your lawyer’s job is to ensure you have the financial resources and support you need to make a full recovery and to compensate you for the difficulty you face. To do that job well, your lawyer needs to have a detailed working knowledge of brain injury terminology and diagnosis, so that your lawyer can understand and fully appreciate the contents of medical records and the opinions and assessments of your condition delivered by your medical team.
Evaluating Whose Actions Caused Your Brain Injury
A lawyer with experience in and knowledge about brain injuries also serves your interests when it comes to finding out who may have legal liability to you for damages. As we described above, brain injuries happen in all kinds of ways, for all kinds of reasons. A lawyer who understands the mechanics of how you sustained a blow to your head, or were deprived of oxygen, or contracted a dangerous infection, is one who can pinpoint whose decisions and/or actions led to the harm you have suffered. And, the more precisely a lawyer can pinpoint the party or parties whose conduct led to your injury, the higher the likelihood you will recover the compensation you deserve.
Calculating the Full Scope of Your Brain Injury Damages
Because brain injuries have complicated diagnoses and recovery prospects, it is not easy to determine exactly what costs they might inflict on their victims. The longer a lawyer’s track record in representing brain injury victims and their families, the more knowledge and resources that lawyer has to draw upon to help calculate what a brain injury might “cost” in terms of medical and therapeutic care, assistive services, lost wages and earning opportunities, and pain and suffering. One danger of hiring an inexperienced lawyer is that he or she will not appreciate the countless ways a brain injury affects a person’s day-to-day life and wellbeing, each of which constitutes a data point on which to base a damages calculation. By choosing an attorney with a brain injury specialty, you ensure every difficulty you endure as you recover from your brain injury will get counted and compensated.
Explaining Your Brain Injury Damages to Others
Lawyers advocate for their clients. They aim to recover compensation from people who harmed their clients. That advocacy happens in two principle settings: settlement negotiation and jury trial. In both settings, the job of advocating for a brain-injured client is sometimes complicated by the fact that the people sitting “across the table” or “in the jury box” have limited experience and expertise with brain injuries. It is up to the lawyer to help them understand and appreciate the important details of a brain injury and its costs, while not overwhelming them with technical detail or medical/legal jargon. That is no easy task. It takes a lawyer with top-notch communication and analytical skills, and deep, broad knowledge of brain injury science, medicine, and recovery, to pull it off effectively.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are several types of traumatic brain injuries for which you can claim compensation.
The most common type of brain trauma, both closed and open head injuries, can result in concussions. They are often caused by impacts to the head, violent shaking of the head, or whiplash-type movements. Trauma often results in post-concussion syndrome, a severe disorder that can last for months or even a year.
Concussions are often referred to as mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:
- difficulty sleeping
- inability to concentrate
- memory loss
A concussion must never be ignored and warrants immediate medical attention. Post-concussion syndrome can significantly inhibit your ability to perform tasks and may interfere with your job functions. We often see the incidence of concussion either ignored or overlooked by attorneys and physicians who opt to focus on the more obvious and readily apparent orthopedic injuries.
Most individuals with concussions recover after a short to moderate time, aided by rest. Neurologists often play a crucial role in assisting a patient with post-concussive syndrome in evaluating and treating minor mental health and cognitive issues.
Diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome is based on the patient’s history of head trauma, results of both a physical and neurological examination, and perhaps other diagnostic tests to rule out the presence of a more severe brain injury. The patient’s age and history of prior concussions increase the risk factors for the post-concussive syndrome.
What If You Suffer a Second Concussion?
An occurrence of second impact syndrome; is marked by rapid swelling of the brain, which may prove fatal. Second impact syndrome (SIS) can occur if a second concussion occurs before the symptoms resolve from the initial trauma; second impact syndrome (SIS) can occur. Even a minor concussion can cause secondary impact syndrome. Secondary impact syndrome often proves to be deadly and will result in a debilitating condition at a minimum.
Football players and other athletes often suffer multiple concussions during their careers. Repeated concussions can have severe and prolonged effects on the body. Sadly, these repeated injuries have resulted in dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and severe depression.
A contusion results from an impact to the head resulting in severe bruising or bleeding of the brain. A cerebral contusion is a bruise to the brain tissue. Extensive contusions require surgery. A cerebral contusion can be related to blood vessel leaks and microhemorrhages. Contusions occur in the cortical tissue under the site where the impact occurred.
Contusions with edema (swelling) often require surgery to reduce intracranial pressure, which can be life-threatening or permanent brain damage. Contusion-related symptoms depend on the pathology’s location (sphere of the brain) and the severity. The swelling is usually most significant in moderate to severe contusions five to six days following the trauma. This is due to swelling of the brain tissue surrounding the impact site. Additionally, toxins are released due to the discoloration increasing the rate of the node.
Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries
Coup-contrecoup is a result of two contusions on both sides of the brain. The first contusion is a result of the initial impact on the head. The second contusion results from the head being hit with such force that the brain slams against the other side of the skull. A coup injury occurs directly under the area of impact. A contrecoup injury occurs on the side directly opposite the impact. In a coup-contrecoup brain injury, both sides of the brain are damaged.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Diffuse Axonal Injury occurs when the brain lags behind the movement of the skull, thus tearing parts of the brain. This is often a result of an intense shaking or twisting of the head, such as a car accident. A diffuse axonal injury to the brain can cause severe problems and even death.
Diffuse axonal injury is caused by shearing forces such as an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of injury akin to whiplash. This occurs when the head moves forward rapidly (acceleration) and then backward or a sudden stop (deceleration). Individuals with diffuse axonal injury typically lose consciousness at the time of trauma. The back and forth movement of the brain disrupts the nerve cells and inhibits the ability of the cells to transmit messages. Individuals with diffuse axonal injury typically lose consciousness at the time of trauma.
Penetrating Brain Injury
An injury that forces matter from the skull into the brain. It results from a gunshot wound, stabbing wound, or any other sharp object. Often these types of brain injuries can result in death.
Hematoma or Blood Clot in the Brain
A mass of blood or pronounced swelling between the skull and the brain. In some cases, the swelling or mass of blood occurs inside the brain.
What Makes Brain Injuries so Unpredictable and Complicated
Brain injuries occur in two broadly distinct ways. As the Brain Injury Association of Florida (BIAF) explains in its invaluable publication Brain Injury: A Family Guide (also available in an español version), brain injuries are generally classified as either “traumatic” (TBI) or “anoxic or hypoxic.” The latter is also sometimes referred to as “non-traumatic” brain injury, according to Tallahassee Memorial Health Care. These classifications refer to how a patient acquires a brain injury. But the apparent simplicity of the terminology hides the vast variations in how brain injuries happen and what types of deficits and disabilities they inflict on their victims. In fact, brain injuries differ widely from one patient to the next in terms of their severity, symptoms, and prospects for recovery. Here is how. (Quotations below originate from the BIAF Family Guide unless otherwise noted.)
Damage Inflicted by Traumatic Brain Injuries
Those who suffer traumatic brain injuries risk dealing with severe damage. Traumatic brain injuries tend to cause permanent damage even in cases where the injury is on the milder side of the spectrum. The brain is an exceptionally complex organ that we still do not fully understand, which makes the options for treating damage to it limited. Damage to the brain affects the body’s tangible and physical processes and leads to debilitating cognitive issues. This does the damages inflicted by traumatic brain injuries somewhat unique.
The economic damages caused by traumatic brain injuries tend to be particularly severe due to the tendency for traumatic brain injuries to cause permanent and debilitating issues. Medical expenses are often some of the economic damages that people experience. The bills associated with treating a traumatic brain injury can add up to vast sums, with recurring costs like prescription drugs, therapy, and checkups driving up prices even more. There are also all the lost wages caused by time off work. Many people end up losing their jobs or careers altogether because of a traumatic brain injury which can have dire financial consequences.
When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, they can deal with intense pain and suffering and several less substantial damages that don’t have a directly calculable dollar value, like economic damages. Some of the most common non-economic damages involved in traumatic brain injury cases include loss of consortium, mental anguish, psychological injuries like depression, and pain and suffering. These non-economic damages can still be significant to claim in a traumatic brain injury claim.
What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head suffers trauma from an external force. This may include being hit by an object, another person, or having a car accident. The result is damage to the brain tissue itself. A TBI can occur without causing any visible signs of injury. However, many symptoms indicate a TBI has occurred. Symptoms of a TBI vary depending upon the severity of the damage. Mild TBIs typically show no signs at all. Moderate TBIs usually involve headaches, dizziness, memory problems, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. Severe TBIs can lead to coma, paralysis, vision loss, and death.
How do You Know If Someone Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The only way to know if you suffered a TBI is to see your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. They may order blood tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic procedures. In addition, they may refer you to specialists who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to TBI to ensure you get the proper medical care you deserve.
If you suspect that you have sustained a TBI, contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid claim against the responsible party.
What Are the Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
There are three main types of traumatic brain injury (TBI): concussion, subdural hematoma, and diffuse axonal injury. Trauma occurs when the head hits something hard. It may cause dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory problems, or drowsiness. A blow to the head can also break bones. If you hit your head, call 911 right away.
Subdural hematoma happens when blood leaks into the skull and brain space. This type of TBI causes headaches, weakness, vision changes, and trouble thinking clearly. The symptoms usually last only a few days, but they can worsen if not treated quickly.
The diffuse axonal injury occurs when the brain gets injured by shaking, twisting, or jolting. They often happen after a car accident, fall, or sports injury. Diffuse axonal injuries can cause paralysis, speech difficulties, memory problems, and difficulty walking.
Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is motor vehicle accidents. Other causes include falls, sports injuries, assaults, and gunshot wounds. TBI may result from direct head trauma or indirect forces applied to the skull, including whiplash. Symptoms of mild TBI may include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, memory problems, and irritability. Severe TBI may lead to coma or death. Brain injury victims often suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including memory loss, slurred speech, blurred vision, blood clots, emotional distress, and other lasting injuries.
Penetrating Head Injury
The most common cause of penetrating head injury is being struck by another person’s fist or hand. This type of injury usually occurs when someone punches or attacks you. It may also happen when you fall downstairs, slip, or hit your head against something hard. In some cases, it may happen if a wild animal attacks you. If you have a loss of consciousness, seek medical treatment immediately!
What Are Symptoms of a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head suffers trauma from a sudden force, like being hit by a car or falling off a ladder. The most common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, memory problems, vision changes, fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, confusion, difficulty thinking, speaking, and balance issues. If you suspect you may have suffered a TBI, it’s essential to seek medical attention.
Who Is Responsible for Brain Injuries?
The most common causes of brain injuries include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, violence, and workplace accidents. If you suffer from brain injury, it’s essential to know who is responsible for paying for treatment and compensation. The experienced traumatic brain injury attorney team at the Dolman Law Group will help you determine who was at fault for your injury. I there was another party responsible, we will help initiate legal action against the negligent party.
How to Choose the Right Brain Injury Attorney
It would help if you chose a traumatic brain injury attorney who will be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. The best way to choose a lawyer is by asking friends, family members, colleagues, and others who have used them before. If they recommend someone, that person has likely done an excellent job for them. One of the most challenging things a traumatic brain injury attorney helps with is ensuring you or your loved ones get help with medical bills and dealing with insurance companies. A TBI requires long-term medical treatment, and insurance companies will often attempt to fight claims for a closed head injury resulting in things like slurred speech.
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