Traumatic Brain Injury: What causes it and how can you pursue a legal claim?
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can be a life-changing event. The brain is one of the most vital parts of the body. Any damage sustained to it can be permanent.
A concussion is the most common type of brain injury and generally the most minor. It occurs when there is a blow to the head, or even a violent, snapping motion of the head and neck, as in whiplash, where the two are jerked back and forth due to the force of an impact. This causes the brain to impact the front and then back of the skull causing injury. In part, depending on the violence of the blow or impact, the blood vessels can be caused to stretch or even rupture, and in the worst cases, damage can be done to the soft-tissue of the brain.
Brain injuries and concussions can range from minor to severe. A concussion may only cause temporary complications with medical treatment, but where there is a rupture or damage or tearing of the tissue permanent and serious injury can result. Repeat or severe concussions can be permanent, however.
According to the MayoClinic, the most common symptoms of a concussion and brain injury can include:
- Headaches and/or head pressure
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or brain fog
- Loss of memory
- Ringing in ears or tinnitus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Delays in reaction time
- Slurred speech
Epidural hematomas and subdural hematomas (also called contusions) are more severe than concussions. They often cause bleeding between the brain and the skull, according to "Verywellhealth." Blood clots may form as a result and put pressure on brain tissue. People who sustain serious TBIs are at risk of experiencing seizures, infections such as meningitis (brain inflammation caused by bacteria), and permanent nerve damage.
One may hear the term “Cognition” when discussing brain injuries. Cognition is the ability of the brain or victim to take in and process information and then respond to it; behavior.
What types of events cause traumatic brain injuries?
Negligence is often a factor. Examples include:
- Traffic collisions — rear-end collisions, T-bone crashes, head-on collisions.
- Slips, trips, and falls — falls on business property, icy parking lots, and private property.
- Workplace injuries — falls, contact with machines and equipment, falling objects.
- Violent assaults — violent assaults and robberies in parking lots, parking garages, and on business property.
- Sports injuries — Collisions on the football or sports field; boxing; and/or any activity where blows can be delivered to the head.
How are they treated?
A mild brain injury may only need minimal medical treatment and may heal quickly. Comprehensive medical treatment is required in serious cases. This includes:
- Medication to control pain and seizures
- Surgery to remove hematomas between the skull and brain and to repair a skull fracture
- Long-term rehabilitation ("cognitive therapy") to regain memory and/or relearn skills lost due to the brain injury
What can I do if negligence was a factor?
If you sustained an injury to the head due to someone else's negligence, it's critical that you get immediate medical help. Even if you feel okay, symptoms can set in hours, or even days, later. A medical evaluation may reveal that you have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Friends, family or colleagues may notice differences in behavior, mood or that your ability to complete or respond to tasks has been impacted.
An experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer can help you build a strong legal claim by doing the following:
- Gathering evidence: Your attorney will gather details regarding how the incident occurred and who was responsible. By doing your part, you can help your attorney gather crucial evidence. This may include:
- Examining pictures of the location where your incident occurred
- Documenting the time, date, and location
- Speaking to witnesses
- Obtaining surveillance camera footage
- Making sure you get to the right medical professionals, who can thoroughly evaluate your trauma and prescribe treatment
- Negotiating with insurance companies: You should never, under any circumstance, speak to the other party's insurance company. Let your attorney do the negotiating. The insurance companies may cave in and do the right thing in some cases. This isn't always the case.
- Take the insurance companies to trial: If the insurance companies refuse to budge, an attorney at The Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC will take them to trial. This is where the evidence will be presented in the courtroom.
A brain injury can result in costly medical expenses and wage loss, which can be financially devastating, not to mention a temporary or permanent impairment to your ability to function and be yourself. You shouldn't have to pay out of your own pocket. To find out how our legal team can help you maximize your compensation, contact us online for a free consultation.