Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a leading cause of injury death in the United States. Tens of thousands of people die each year from TBI and millions more suffer some form of impairment. (1) A traumatic brain injury or head trauma can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. TBI is a term that describes brain dysfunction as a result of a sudden external physical force.
The brain consists of billions of fibers on the microscopic level which are suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. Therefore, impact with the inner surface of the skull, which is made up of pronounced bony structures and ribbing, can cause tearing and/or bruising to the brain resulting in brain damage or dysfunction.
This type of injury can occur from a variety of causes including:
- Slip and fall
- Automobile collisions – including car, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accidents
- Sports injuries
- Combat injuries
- On the job injuries
At the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD., we see our fair share of traumatic brain injuries. We frequently represent clients who have suffered the long-term consequences of head trauma.
Unfortunately, we’ve also heard our fair share of myths. Far too many people believe that traumatic brain injuries always cause immediate and unmistakable effects (e.g., loss of consciousness, visible bleeding). The truth is more complex.
Every brain injury is different. It can be mild or severe. Some people experience few to no physical symptoms. Others suffer a lifetime of disabilities. Some traumatic brain injuries result in a coma. Some cause short-term loss of consciousness (less than 30 minutes).
Other injuries are “silent,” causing disorientation and confusion, but no loss of consciousness. TBI that goes unnoticed can lurk under the surface for years. Left untreated, it can cause permanent damage.
All of which is why it’s important for people to dispel the myths surrounding brain trauma. Take a look at our infographic to learn more about common misconceptions surrounding TBI.
What Are The Symptoms Of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury can often result in long term complications. This can affect your day to day life for weeks, months, or even years after your accident. Furthermore, these injuries can be categorized as mild or moderate to severe and can have physical, sensory, and cognitive effects.
These symptoms can be immediately apparent or it may take days or weeks for symptoms to appear. Here are some symptoms of TBI:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms:
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Depression or anxiety
- Moderate to Severe Brain Injury Symptoms:
- Persistent headache
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Weakness/numbness in fingers or toes
- Slurred speech
- Nausea or vomiting
Why Diagnosis & Documentation Are Key To Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
Concussions resulting from car accidents or falls can have significant long-term health impacts. If you’ve been involved in an accident where a concussion occurred, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor. The second thing you need to do is talk to a lawyer who is experienced in traumatic brain injury cases.
The implications of a concussion are not always immediately apparent. Some people who have sustained concussions as a result of head injuries aren’t even aware that they’ve had a concussion. That’s why seeking medical attention after an accident is so important.
Doctors can diagnose a concussion and monitor any further symptoms that develop later. This paper trail of professional diagnosis is important should the need arise to file a claim. It’s also important to your health, should you develop post-concussion syndrome.
Consequences Of Post-Concussion Syndrome
Post-concussion syndrome is a long-term condition that may develop as a result of a concussion. This condition can have a number of serious symptoms such as loss of concentration, memory lapses, impairment of judgment, insomnia, irritability, hearing loss, and more. These can have a major impact on your life.
For those dealing with the medical consequences of a concussion and post-concussion syndrome can incur significant costs. These brain injury accident victims may need to file a lawsuit to recover just compensation for their injuries and costs.
If you’ve been in an accident and are suffering from symptoms associated with post-concussion syndrome, see a doctor. Then, ensure you see an experienced injury attorney. The accident and medical records regarding your injury can help your attorney build a solid case against the other party and his or her insurer. This will allow you to recover damages.
When choosing a lawyer, be sure to find a head injury lawyer with significant experience in personal injury cases. The more knowledgeable your attorney is concerning head injuries and concussions, the more effective he or she will be in pleading your case.
Why The Effects Of Brain Injury Can Be Traumatic And Permanent
Many types of accidents or injuries can be debilitating in the short-term, but overcome with rehabilitation and time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for the effects of a brain injury, especially if the injury was severe. A brain injury can cause serious and persistent effects that truly change a victim’s life.
Mental and Physical Effects can Linger
People often overlook the fact that many brain injury effects can be physical. Those who have suffered from brain injuries may have trouble seeing, hearing, speaking, and carrying out complex or coordinated motor tasks. A brain injury can also cause persistent feelings of dizziness or vertigo which might make it hard for victims to carry out basic tasks.
Headaches are another common side effect. Victims may learn ways to cope with these symptoms, but the effects may never go away. A decline in cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning ability is one of the better-known effects of a brain injury.
People who have suffered such an injury may be forgetful — whether of past events or new things that they are trying to learn — and may have trouble staying focused or staying attentive. Brain injury victims may be repetitive in their words or actions. Often, a brain injury can also impair judgment. This makes it harder for victims to make decisions, and it can make it harder for them to behave appropriately.
Behavioral Changes May Be Dramatic
Finally, a serious brain injury can truly affect a person’s personality and temperament. This can be one of the worst effects to face. Victims may become continually depressed and exhausted after experiencing an injury. Or, they may become more inclined to have outbursts or act without thinking.
Changes in judgment can make victims more likely to display behavior that is considered inappropriate for certain social situations. Counselors can help victims learn to focus on their behavior, avoid challenging situations, and accept the changes in their lives. However, some effects of brain injury never truly go away. They can affect a victim’s relationships, ability to work, and overall quality of life.
A Brain Injury Can Result In Massive Medical Bills
The effects of brain injury in terms of medical costs are very high. An average hospital stay is over nine days and may include a rehabilitation center to further your recovery. Stays can last as long as three months.
- Initial hospital stay
- Rehabilitation center
- Need for continued medical treatment at home
- Indirect costs due to loss of income
According to estimates, the first year of care for a TBI patient is over $151,000. These costs will normally fall to the victim’s family. A personal injury lawyer can help you or your family when someone you love has suffered or is suffering from TBI.
Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay a sufficient amount to really cover all of the medical expenses and treatment involved with a victim of TBI. Attorneys are experienced in dealing with TBI cases and know the steps you’ll need to take in order to get the compensation you and your family deserve.
Strategies For Finding A Brain Injury Attorney
Whether you’re seeking information on personal injury laws for yourself or a loved one, you may have been baffled by the complexity of these laws. Even when looking for a legal expert, the results are numerous and it can be very difficult to find the right attorney. However, there are ways to narrow your search for finding a brain injury attorney.
1. Try for Specifics
Personal injury cases may involve any of the following:
- Vehicular accidents (car, truck, motorcycle)
- Medical malpractice
- Neglect in a nursing home
- Workers compensation
- Wrongful death
- Injury from a slip and fall
- Traumatic brain injury
- Property damage
All of these types of injuries are different. A good firm may have an experienced brain injury attorney or malpractice attorney. When performing your search, be sure to include your specific type of injury claim to reduce the number of results.
2. Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Your first instinct may be to check for the biggest law firms out there. After all, they wouldn’t be so big if they weren’t very successful. But there’s a flaw in this logic. Large firms tend to look for “big ticket” cases. Most personal injury firms do not charge unless they win a lawsuit, so the larger ones rarely take cases that can’t promise large sums of money from a settlement or trial.
This means that your case may be turned down if it’s a smaller case. Conversely, many firms remain small in spite of their success. Their reasoning for this is to keep their costs lower so that they can help those cases the bigger firms turn away. Small firms also tend to be experienced in one field of law, whereas big firms generally handle multiple fields.
3. Pay Attention to Details
When finding a lawyer, you should pick one that knows more than just the law. A traumatic brain injury attorney must know the symptoms in order to present the best case. Likewise, a good vehicle accident lawyer will be able to recreate the incident accurately before a judge.
When you examine a potential attorney’s website, keep an eye out for signs of knowledge beyond the written law. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Marc. J Shuman & Associates, LTD believe that you deserve the best possible care, both in and out of the courtroom. This requires excellent communication and attention to detail. Let them share their experience with you.
1. Traumatic Brain Injury.com. “What Are the Causes of TBI?”
2. Medline Plus. “Traumatic Brain Injury.”