Traumatic Brain Injuries
When an external force damages a person’s brain, it causes a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized to receive treatment for TBIs. In addition to those who survived their injuries, TBI-related injuries claimed over 69,000 lives in the United States died in 2021.
Suppose you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury. You may struggle with long-term symptoms that disrupt your personal life and affect your profession. You may even suffer permanent brain damage.
Dealing with traumatic brain injuries can be frightening and challenging. You may wonder about your prognosis and how you will pay your medical bills and living expenses. Brain injury victims have legal rights, and a traumatic brain injury lawyer can explain your options after sustaining a TBI.
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What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
TBIs can cause behavioral, cognitive, and physical symptoms. TBIs can also impact your senses, preventing you from receiving or processing sensory data. Common symptoms of TBIs include the following:
- Anxiety: Some people struggle with anxiety after a TBI
- Balance issues: TBIs can make people dizzy, and some find it hard to balance
- Behavioral issues: TBIs can change people’s behavior. Some may act out or struggle with irritability and impatience.
- Blurred vision: Some TBIs make it hard for people to see or process visual sensory data
- Communication issues: TBIs can affect your ability to understand language. Some people may also struggle to speak or write after a TBI.
- Confusion: Some people feel disoriented and confused after a head trauma
- Depression: TBI victims may feel depressed after their injury
- Drowsiness: People may struggle with fatigue after suffering a TBI.
- Headaches: Head trauma can trigger headaches
- Impaired hearing: TBIs can cause hearing loss or cause people to hear a ringing sound in their ears
- Loss of consciousness: TBIs include injuries causing the victim to lose consciousness
- Loss of smell: Some TBI victims may lose their sense of smell, or not process smells correctly
- Loss of taste: TBIs can affect a person’s ability to taste foods
- Memory issues: A TBI can affect your ability to recover short-term or long-term memories
- Mood swings: TBI victims may find it challenging to regulate their moods
- Nausea: TBIs can make people feel nauseous or cause vomiting
- Sensory input issues: TBIs can make people sensitive to loud noises or bright lights
- Sleep disruption: TBI victims may have difficulty sleeping or may sleep more than usual
What causes a traumatic brain injury?
There are many ways a person can suffer a TBI, including the following:
- Assault: TBIs can occur as a result of deliberate actions. Victims of nursing home abuse, assault, and sexual assault can suffer head trauma, resulting in a TBI.
- Birth injuries: Infants can suffer multiple birth injuries, including TBIs. Babies may not receive enough oxygen during the delivery or sustain an injury from excessive force applied to their heads.
- Coup and contrecoup injuries: These injuries involve a person’s head hitting something or something hitting their head. When a person’s head isn’t moving and it’s struck by something that is moving, it’s called a coup injury. Suppose you were loading goods in a warehouse, and a box fell and hit your head. That’s an example of a coup injury. Contrecoup injuries occur when your head moves and hits something that isn’t moving. Suppose you were read-ended, and your body jerked forward, causing your head to hit the steering wheel. That’s a contrecoup injury.
- Medical malpractice: When patients don’t receive appropriate medical care, the medical professional who treated them may be guilty of medical malpractice.
- Motor vehicle accidents: MVAs include car, bike, bus, motorcycle, pedestrian, and truck accidents. Traffic accidents claimed over 38,800 lives in 2020. Another 2.28 million people suffered non-fatal injuries from MVAs.
- Slip-and-fall accidents: Tens of millions of older persons suffer slip-and-fall accidents each year. Slip-and-fall accidents also claim tens of thousands of older adults’ lives annually. In addition to older adults, slip-and-fall injuries affect employees. In 2022, 26.4% of disabling workplace injuries in the U.S. involved falls on the same level or to a lower level, while another 4.34% of disabling injuries involved slipping without falling.
What are the types of traumatic brain injuries?
The most common types of TBIs include the following:
- Concussions: You can suffer a concussion when your head’s knocked or jolted. Concussions can be mild or severe, causing physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
- Contusions, hematomas, and hemorrhages: A brain contusion refers to a brain bruise. Like contusions, hematomas involve ruptured blood cells, but these blood cells bleed. Hemorrhages also involve bleeding ruptured cells. The distinction between a hematoma and a hemorrhage involves the location of the bleeding. With a hematoma, the bleeding stays within the cells. Hemorrhages include bleeding inside and outside of the brain.
- Diffuse axonal injury: Blunt trauma causes diffuse axonal injuries. People with these injuries suffer nerve damage in their brains.
- Penetration: A foreign object can cause a TBI if it penetrates the brain. The severity and symptoms depend on the depth of penetration and location of the injury.
- Skull fractures: The human skull is solid and is one of the brain’s natural defenses. However, when a person suffers a skull fracture, it can cause brain damage.
What should I do after suffering a traumatic brain injury?
If you think you’ve suffered a TBI, seek medical attention first. Medical experts can order the tests needed to determine if you have a TBI and provide appropriate medical care to treat your injury. Since brain injuries can be fatal, you must receive prompt medical care.
After receiving medical care, you should consult a brain injury lawyer. Brain injury lawyers have experience with catastrophic injury cases. They’ll use their legal knowledge to determine if you have legal grounds to file a brain injury lawsuit. Speaking to an experienced injury attorney is the best way to determine how much compensation you could receive from the party responsible for your injury.
Why brain injuries are referred to as “invisible injuries”
Most types of brain injuries involve internal injuries. Unlike a broken leg or a laceration on the arm, you can’t look at a person’s head and see most brain injuries. Although multiple symptoms could suggest a person has a TBI, the only way to accurately diagnose TBIs and their severity involves medical tests, such as CAT scans.
What evidence is needed for a traumatic brain injury lawsuit?
TBI lawsuits are personal injury cases. As such, the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault party was negligent and their negligence caused the TBI. Plaintiffs must also establish the cost of their injuries. This refers to the personal and financial impact of the TBI they suffered.
If you’re struggling with a TBI, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. You’re already coping with symptoms that could require extensive medical treatment for months or even years. It’s understandable for you to question your ability to learn how to file and prepare a lawsuit. Your personal injury lawyer can gather evidence while they investigate the accident, prepare your case, and handle negotiations with the at-fault party.
Can I sue for a product that caused my traumatic brain injury?
Defective products can cause TBIs. When this occurs, you may have grounds to sue the product manufacturer or the retailer who sold the product.
The product manufacturer may be liable for failing to maintain appropriate safety standards. Suppose your attorney investigates the product manufacturer and discovers they knew they were using defective parts. This information could prove gross negligence, enabling you to sue.
Suppose a manufacturer recalled a defective product. However, a retailer ignored the recall and left the product on store shelves. You purchased the product from that retailer. In that case, you could have grounds to sue the retailer for failing to recall the defective product.
Traumatic brain injuries at birth
As referenced earlier, some individuals suffer traumatic brain injuries during birth. When this occurs, the victim’s parents may have grounds to file a birth injury lawsuit. Birth injuries can be severe injuries, causing health conditions that last a lifetime. A catastrophic birth injury attorney can help determine if you have a legal case against the medical professional who caused your child’s birth injury.
What damages may I recover for a traumatic brain injury lawsuit?
TBI victims can attempt to recover compensation from the party responsible for their injuries. Every victim can seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the expenses you sustained because of the incident causing your injury. Suppose you were in a car accident. Your car was totaled, and you suffered a TBI. Your economic damages could include asking to be reimbursed for multiple expenses, including the following:
- Job retraining
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Property repairs or replacement
- Transit fees
The non-economic damages you can seek are compensation for how the incident and your injuries have affected you personally. These damages include the following:
- Loss of intimacy
- Loss of social opportunities
- Pain and suffering
Victims of cases involving gross negligence can also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages don’t affect the amount of economic and non-economic damages victims receive. Juries award punitive damages to punish defendants guilty of gross negligence.
What can a traumatic brain injury lawyer do for my case?
Catastrophic injury lawyers understand how traumatic and life-altering a severe injury can be. At Bachus & Schanker, we have a Victim’s Advocate Team. Our team works with victims of crimes and catastrophic injuries. This team uses their background in law enforcement and the justice system to investigate cases and find relevant evidence. The team also works directly with our clients, answering questions and helping them get financial aid while waiting for their cases to be resolved.
Suffering a traumatic brain injury is devastating. You shouldn’t be a victim of the legal system as well. Our team is here to explain your rights and fight for you to receive justice after your TBI.
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