Being at the crossroads of popular commuter routes, North Miami Beach is a place that is easily accessible from virtually all parts of South Florida. However, despite the convenience, someone can become injured in a motor vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, or swimming accident in this tourist and commuter draw, and the city contains many dangerous retail buildings as well.
One of the most serious injuries that can be suffered in North Miami Beach and beyond is a brain injury. If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury, you are likely aware of the devastating impacts this type of injury poses. Contact our North Miami Beach Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers at The Dolman Law Group immediately. Read on for more information about brain injuries and, to learn more about how brain-injured North Miami Beach residents can recover damages.
What Is a Brain Injury?
The brain controls all functions of the body, enabling people to walk, talk, remember, and even to perform involuntary responses such as breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation. There are two types of acquired brain injuries, which are injuries that do not occur during the process of birth, are not hereditary, and are not congenital.
These two types include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: This type of injury is the result of a violent jolt or blow to the brain or body that may include penetration of an object through the protective covering of the skull, or can be a closed injury, meaning damage occurs within the skull. Traffic-related accidents, falls, and sports or recreation-related injuries resulting from high contact sports such as football or activities such as diving cause traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can also result from intentional acts such as assault and gunshot wounds, as well as combat-related activities undertaken by active-duty military personnel.
- Non-traumatic brain injuries, also known as acquired brain injuries: This type of injury occurs due to internal factors such as exposure to toxic substances or lack of oxygen. Some common ways to incur non-traumatic brain injuries by stroke, infectious disease, electrical shock, seizure, exposure to toxic substances or neurotoxic poisoning from carbon monoxide, or lead, near-drowning, or suffocation.
The brain is a complex organ made of several different segments, known as lobes, which each are responsible for various functions in the body. Because the brain has a limited ability to heal itself, when damage occurs within one of the lobes, it often results in permanent deficits.
Here is a look at the different lobes, the functions that they control, and the deficits you can experience due to an injury occurring within that lobe:
- Frontal lobe: Just as the name suggests, the frontal lobe is located in the front (forehead) region of the brain. This area controls functions such as attention, concentration, self-monitoring, the ability to speak, memory, emotions, inhibition of behavior, and judgment. Those suffering injuries in this part of the brain often experience difficulties with recalling events, controlling emotions, impulses, and behavior, or speaking.
- Temporal lobe: Located beneath your temples is the temporal lobe. The functions of this area of the brain include memory, the ability to understand spoken language, sequencing, hearing, and organization. Damage to the temporal lobes can cause deficits in the individual’s ability to communicate and remember.
- Occipital lobe: The occipital lobe, located in the lower back portion of the brain, is the occipital lobe. This part of the brain is responsible for controlling visual function. Injuries to the occipital lobe often result in blindness or the inability to perceive the size and shape of objects.
- Parietal lobe: The parietal lobe, located behind the frontal lobe in the top part of the brain, is responsible for one’s sense of touch, depth perception, and identification of sizes, shapes, and colors. Parietal lobe injuries often result in trouble with the five primary senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
- Cerebellum: Located just above the brain stem, the cerebellum controls balance and coordination as well as skilled motor activity and visual perception. Injuries to this part of the brain usually result in difficulties with balance and movement.
- Brain stem: The brain stem, located at the base of the skull, controls the body’s involuntary responses, such as breathing, heart rate, and sleep/wake cycles. Injuries to the brain stem can result in consciousness disorders. Injuries to this area of the brain often lead to death as the body can’t survive independent of mechanical assistance without the ability to control these important involuntary responses.
Damage to either side of the brain can also have devastating effects.
- The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, as well as traits such as analysis, logic, and precision. Injuries to the left side of the brain can result in a lack of control over the right side of the body, as well as difficulties speaking and understanding spoken language, and catastrophic reactions such as depression or anxiety.
- The right side of the brain is responsible for controlling the left side of the body, as well as traits that include creative expression, figurative thinking, and empathy. Right brain injuries cause loss of control of the left side of the body, in addition to visual memory deficits, and loss of big picture thinking.
In Florida—as with the rest of the U.S.—brain injuries are far more likely to be experienced by males than females. Those over the age of 55 are more likely to die as a result of a brain injury, while hospitalizations are most common for children under the age of one, and individuals in the 15- to 24-year-old and 65 and older demographics.
Complications of Brain Injuries
Early treatment for brain injuries usually includes ensuring that the individual is not deprived of oxygen and preventing other common early-stage complications that can create additional damage to the brain.
- Consciousness disorders, such as coma, persistent vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and brain death.
- Seizures commonly occur shortly after a brain injury, but may continue months or even years after the injury has taken place. Recurring seizures are known as post-traumatic epilepsy.
- Hydrocephalus, which is a term used to describe the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain, can result in increased pressure and further damage to the brain. This condition is generally treated through the placement of a shunt that drains the fluid away from the brain and into other parts of the body.
- Blood vessel damage occurring as a result of the injury can place an individual at higher risk for developing blood clots and other life-threatening conditions.
- Heterotopic ossification is a condition that causes bone material to form in the body, most commonly in jointed areas such as the shoulder or the hip as a result of the injury. This condition leads to pain, inflammation, and loss of movement in the affected limb.
The Cost and Impacts of Living With a Brain Injury in North Miami Beach
Living with a brain injury is extraordinarily expensive, carrying a lifetime price tag of between $85,000 to $3 million for medical treatment alone. Complicating matters is the fact many people who suffer brain injuries cannot return to work after the injury occurs. Among average adults who are living with brain injuries, the unemployment rate is around 60 percent two years after the injury occurs—far above the unemployment rate of the average population.
Between the financial strain of treatment that is placed on households in which there is a brain injured person, the inability to work due to disabilities that can cause difficulties such as remembering or staying on task, the inability to move in a coordinated manner, or difficulty controlling emotions or impulses, and the isolation felt by not only the victim but his or her family members as well, homelessness is a common result of this type of injury.
More than half of the homeless population in the U.S. has suffered a brain injury, with many of those injuries being the catalyst for homelessness, while others are a result of the difficult and often violent conditions that homelessness provides.
Brain injuries do not only create significant impacts at home or work, but in every facet of the injured person’s life, including at school, among social groups, and within the community.
Recovering Damages Related to Your North Miami Beach Brain Injury
If your North Miami Beach brain injury was the result of the careless or reckless actions of someone else, Florida law allows you to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This is an action taken in civil court in which you must prove liability as well as expenses.
Liability in brain injury claims are proven by establishing the following elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. This duty of care depends on the circumstances of your case. For example, in a case where your brain injury was caused by a car accident in which another driver was at fault, the driver’s duty of care toward you would be to operate his or her motor vehicle legally and safely. In an accident involving a fall caused by a dangerous feature on a residential, commercial or public property, the at-fault party’s duty of care would be to ensure that the property was safe and free of hazards.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach is the action that the at-fault party took that was contrary to the duty of care that was owed to you. For example, a car accident case could have involved illegal or unsafe behavior on the part of the other driver such as drinking and driving, texting while driving, or other hazardous actions. In a case involving a fall, the breach could be something such as failing to repair a staircase that the property owner knew was hazardous and not warning you through signage or protecting you by placing barriers that would prevent you from using the staircase.
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in your accident, which caused your brain injury and subsequent costs and impacts.
The state’s personal injury laws allow you to claim both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are expenses you pay for out-of-pocket, including:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency treatment, transportation by ambulance, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, physician and surgical services, prescription medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages due to being too injured to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury requires you to accept a lower-paying job than what you had before or your disabilities render you unable to perform any type of work.
- Property damage relating to your accident. For example, in a car accident case, you can seek compensation for the cost of repairing and replacing your vehicle.
- Modifications made to your home or vehicle to accommodate your disabilities.
Non-economic damages refer to the impacts that your injuries have on your life. Some examples include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Public humiliation or embarrassment.
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage recovered on behalf of the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy or companionship as a result of the injury.
Brain injuries are complex, both in the legal process of pursuing compensation as well as the medical and social difficulties that this type of injury causes. It is important to have an attorney to provide guidance and representation for you who has experience in all aspects of this type of case.
Let Our North Miami Beach Brain Injury Attorneys Help You
If you suffered a brain injury in North Miami Beach due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions, we would like to speak to you about your case. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman for a free case evaluation either online or by calling 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH).
Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162
What Our Clients Have to Say:
“I can’t express enough praise to Brent and his team for the superb results they achieved on my mother’s personal injury case. Brent was very hands on with our case and had a genuine interest in my mother’s well being. He has an amazing ability to explain all of the moving parts in a personal injury case. We were well informed of every aspect of our case and never felt confused for one moment. I would without a doubt recommend his services! Thank you again Brent !”
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