Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury Claims
When most people think of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), images of high-impact sports like football often come to mind. This is especially true because of all the coverage that brain injuries in the NFL have received over the last few years. But the truth is, brain injuries can happen to anyone, and they are one of the most devastating injuries one can suffer. Approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability that resulted from a traumatic brain injury.
Some of these injuries occurred out of pure happenstance, like when a child falls off a couch. Many other TBIs are a result of negligence that occurred in car crashes, slip and fall incidents, workplace accidents, and other scenarios in which another person’s lack of care created immense pain, suffering, and financial stress for the injured.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. A brain injury can have serious consequences, both short term and long term, and you do not have to face it alone.What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries are a serious health concern in the US. Each year, TBIs lead to approximately 2.87 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths–837,000 of which occur to children.
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a penetrating head injury, that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI, but the ones that do can cause serious issues for those affected.
Traumatic brain injuries are often categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.
Mild TBIs are characterized by a brief loss of consciousness (usually a few seconds or minutes), short term amnesia (less than one hour), and relatively normal brain scan results.
Moderate TBIs are characterized by a loss of consciousness of around one to 24 hours, amnesia that lasts more than an hour but less than a full day, and abnormal brain scan results.
Severe TBIs are characterized by a loss of consciousness and amnesia that last more than 24 hours, and often show significant damage or abnormalities in brain scan results. Severe TBIs may also be marked by a minimally responsive state, where the patient falls into a coma or a vegetative state, which has varying levels of severity.Potential Outcomes of a TBI
Traumatic brain injuries have the potential to turn a person’s life upside down. Some injury victims lose certain cognitive abilities that they relied on for their career, while others become unable to regulate their emotions, which can destroy personal relationships. A TBI may also disrupt a person’s ability to reason or think clearly and it may affect their ability to see or keep their balance. For many, communication and expression can be hindered, and emotions can become difficult to control.
In addition to the physical outcomes of a TBI, there are also other damaging effects, like those on one’s financial situation.
An estimated $48-$56 billion worth of TBI-related costs are incurred on an annual basis in the US. Not only is medical treatment expensive, TBI patients often have no choice but to step away from work due to hospitalizations, recurring doctors’ appointments, and ongoing therapy.
They may also have to pay caregivers to complete routine chores and functions they’re no longer able to do for themselves. Additionally, family members often make personal and financial sacrifices to care for loved ones with TBIs. The effects are wide reaching and devastating.
If you or someone close to you is suffering the repercussions of a TBI because of another’s negligence, that party can be held accountable for a variety of expenses you have incurred. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to evaluate the circumstances surrounding your injury and advocate on your behalf for compensation.Potential Causes of Brain Injuries
Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of TBIs, second only to falls. Motor vehicle accidents between standard-sized vehicles generate more than enough force to result in a serious brain or head injury to those involved. The risks increase even more when a motor vehicle accident occurs between a car and a less-protected person, like a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Similarly, the results can be devastating when the two vehicles involved are a normal passenger car and a massive semi-truck.
The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, as mentioned earlier, are falls. Slip and fall accidents that occur in stores, malls, apartment complexes, or in parking lots often cause the victim to hit their head on the ground or on another hard object. Even minor falls can lead to head injuries that can result in life-long issues.
Another potential cause of TBIs is medical malpractice. The Arizona Medical Board requires physicians to ensure patient safety. However, mistakes do happen during many types of care, such as surgeries, hospitalizations, and births.
Among birth injuries, brain damage is the number one cause of permanent disabilities. A negligent nurse or doctor could overlook signs of oxygen deprivation as well as conditions that add extreme pressure to a newborn infant’s head. These types of birth brain injuries can leave families with devastating trauma, pain and suffering, and a lifetime of medical bills.
Medical malpractice that leads to a TBI may also be caused by nursing home negligence, since residents are supposed to be closely monitored by medical staff to prevent avoidable falls.Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are not a single problem that affects a person. Since the brain controls nearly every function in the human body, there are about as many types of brain injuries as there are functions of the brain. Some common brain injuries from a negligent incident include:
- Diffuse Axonal Injury
- Hematoma or Blood Clot
- Edema (swelling)
Brain injuries can affect almost every part of a person’s life and create almost as many symptoms. The brain is a complicated and powerful structure in the body, so any damage to it can cause a varying number of symptoms.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should report them to your medical care provider right away.Physical Symptoms of a TBI
The human brain manages every single aspect of the human body. From thoughts to coordinating physical movements and subconscious responses, our brain does it all. So, when a brain injury occurs, it can disrupt almost any of our regular bodily functions; things we might even take for granted.
Physical symptoms of a brain injury can include: loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, difficulty sleeping, excess sleeping, loss of balance, ringing in the ears, seizures, swelling of the scalp, dizziness or poor balance, blurry vision, slurred speech, tingling in the extremities, problems with breathing and swallowing, changes in sense of smell, bad taste in the mouth, and sensitivity to light and sound.Thinking and Cognitive Symptoms of a TBI
In addition to physical symptoms from a brain injury, you may also experience cognitive and thinking issues as well. These changes in mood, behavior, and thinking abilities can last for weeks, months, or even be permanent. Some of these symptoms may occur immediately after the injury and others may be delayed.
Some cognitive symptoms a TBI sufferer may experience are an inability to focus or pay attention, restlessness, problems with activities that take patients like long conversations or sitting at work, difficulty understanding and following directions, trouble with short and long term memory, slowed reaction time, difficulty speaking, trouble with non-verbal communication, trouble learning and remembering new information, difficulty analyzing information or solving problems, and many other related problems.
Of course, brain injuries often cause a plethora of symptoms that range from the simple, like headaches, to the extreme, like an indefinite vegetative state. No matter the cause of a TBI, the resulting symptoms can be vast and extremely painful for both the sufferer and their family.Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury
Medical professionals use a range of diagnostic tools to discover and diagnose a traumatic brain injury. Common TBI diagnostics include MRIs, X-Rays, CT scans, and intracranial pressure monitoring. Using these tools, doctors can detect bruising, swelling, and bleeding. Doctors may also use the Glasgow Coma Scale to check a patient’s ability to move, open their eyes, and communicate sensibly.
All these tools are an integral part of understanding one’s condition and proving it to a jury so that a TBI victim is not completely stuck with the medical bills and extensive costs.How can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help my TBI Claim?
Experienced attorneys are fully aware of the tactics defense lawyers and insurance companies will use to try to dismiss your legitimate claims. A personal injury attorney who is on your side will complete a thorough review of your records to anticipate the defense’s response and prepare to challenge it.
A brain injury attorney will also help you through the process of compiling the proper proof and documentation after your accident to help prove the negligent party’s liability. They will do this by establishing:
- Duty of care: This is a legal obligation that requires individuals who are in contact with the public to act responsibly. These individuals must take reasonable measures to ensure safety.
- Breach of that duty: If an individual or establishment doesn’t fulfill its duty of care, it could be considered negligent. For example, if a customer falls because a business did not install required handrails, that business could be in breach of duty.
- Causation - To be eligible for compensation, your head injury has to be a direct result of the other party’s negligence. Your attorney will work with medical experts to prove that the TBI you are experiencing is a direct result of the party’s breach of care.
After suffering a TBI caused by negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for any damages you suffered, like medical bills, hospital bills, cost of therapy, at-home care, and medication.
If your TBI leaves you unable to work, you may also be able to recover lost wages for your time away from work, either while recovering or while going to medical appointments. If a TBI limits your future capacity to earn by, for example, reducing your output or ability to advance professionally, those losses may also be recoverable.
In some cases, you may also be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering. This might include emotional trauma or loss of quality of life. The effects of a TBI can be long reaching and the damages are not always easily calculated, like a medical bill.Contact an Experienced TBI Attorney in Phoenix
The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes have successfully secured compensation for numerous clients with varying types of traumatic brain injuries. We have experience in challenging both negligent parties and insurance companies that want clients to settle for less than they deserve.
If you are suffering from a TBI caused by no fault of your own, the attorneys of Abels & Annes will fight on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery. For a free consultation, call us at 602-819-5191 or contact us online today.