Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is severe physical damage to the brain. The damage can be caused by blunt force trauma to the head, like a hard blow to the head, or by an object passing through the skull and impacting the brain, like a bullet wound. If damage to the brain was caused without penetrating the skull then the resulting trauma is a closed head injury; if the damage causes penetration of skull and brain matter then the resulting trauma is an open head injury, or a penetrating head injury. The leading causes of head trauma are car accidents, slip and fall accidents, high-impact sports injuries, and violent crimes.Types of Brain Injury
Primary Brain Injury
This occurs when the brain experiences trauma, some effects of this are:
- Bruising in the brain (contusions)
- Tears in brain tissue (lacerations)
- Blood clots (hematomas)
- Uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhages)
- Nerve damage, sometimes so severe it impacts and kills brain cells
Secondary Brain Injury
This happens after the brain injury and includes:
- Swelling in the brain
- High levels of intracranial pressure
- Restriction of blood flow due because of swelling and pressure
Secondary brain injury symptoms are not always evident immediately. These can begin as minor issues and evolve over time. Both primary and secondary brain injuries can result in permanent disability or even death.Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Because injuries are not always immediately apparent after an accident, it is essential to get medical attention right away. Doctors will know what to look for when assessing a potential traumatic brain injury. The following signs and symptoms are important to keep an eye out for and if you experience any of these after an accident do not ignore. Seek immediate medical attention.Brain Injury Symptoms to Watch for
Sometimes, a brain injury can be subtle, and you may not even know that it has occurred. Children and teens who are active in sports often sustain mild brain injuries without even realizing it. However, if left untreated, a brain injury may get worse over time and result in debilitating symptoms.
These symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Unable to focus
- Changes in sleep patterns, either too much or too little
- Mood swings such as depression
- Changes in personality, like increased aggression
- Persistent headaches
- Sensitivity to light
- Intense anxiety
- Onset of seizures
- Blurred vision
- Dilated pupils
- Ringing in ears
- Slurred speech
TBI’s are devastating to both victims and their loved ones. More than just the financial burden, there is also the mental and emotional pain associated with such an incident and the symptoms that can develop, potentially without ever going away. In California, a victim’s pain and suffering damages are considered part of a broader category, referred to as “non-economic” damages.
Non-economic damages are often difficult to prove in a lawsuit. Non-economic damages also take into account how the traumatic brain injury has changed a person, and if the victim lost any enjoyment in life. Statistically, brain injuries cause significant episodes of depression in the majority of cases.
Depression for traumatic brain injury victims can be a result of how their lives change and how the resulting disabilities can reduce movement, independence, and interpersonal interaction. These all contribute to a loss of enjoyment as compared to the lives they had before. There are many treatment options available for people experiencing depression, like therapy and prescription medication. What gets more complicated is calculating this loss of enjoyment into a fair settlement.
A qualified team of legal experts can help you prove loss of enjoyment damages and how the traumatic brain injury keeps you from doing the things you once loved to do, but no longer can.Case Law
The type of case filed will depend on various factors. For example, how the injury was sustained will affect exactly what type of case or what other concurrent cases are brought against the at-fault party or parties. A brain injury sustained during medical treatment would fall under medical malpractice, while a brain injury sustained at work would fall under worker’s compensation claims. An experienced lawyer will be able to properly advise you on what legal action to take in the aftermath of your injury.Important Things to Consider
Expert testimony is a great help in cases such as traumatic brain injury lawsuits. Finding expert witnesses and medical doctors to testify in your case will help bolster your documentation. These testimonies help to further relate how the injury affects your life, impacts your work, and the treatments needed in order to manage functionally.
The goal of a lawsuit is to help you maintain life the way you would have without the injury. Monetary damages are awarded in order to provide the same standard of living after the accident as you had before the accident.
Your timeline to file a lawsuit is dependent upon the factors surrounding your case. Consult with an expert attorney today to find out the time you have available to file your case.Important Legislation
Traumatic brain injuries are subject to awards in: economic damages, noneconomic damages, and punitive damages. This means that monetary value can be assigned for financial losses, nonfinancial losses, and extra compensation awarded as punishment to the at-fault parties.
Legislation in California regulates ways in which various sectors are supposed to try to prevent, and make proper compensations for, any traumatic brain injury. The California Education Code, Section 49475, requires schools to remove athletes suspected of sustaining a head injury from the athletic activity until cleared by a licensed medical provider. The California Penal Code, Section 13515.36, requires standardized training to be offered to officers of the law regarding the effects of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Under the California Welfare and Institutions Code (multiple sections), the Department of Rehabilitation assumes responsibility for offering programs and services for those living with traumatic brain injuries.Frequently Asked Questions
How do Most Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur?
The most common cause of traumatic brain injury today comes from car accidents, though this is closely followed by sport accidents and accidents in the workplace.
What are the Most Common Side Effects and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Symptoms and side effects can vary widely. Only a medical professional can fully diagnose a traumatic brain injury, but some of the common symptoms and side effects include: loss of consciousness, headaches that occur frequently or grow worse over time, impulsive behavior, mood swings, increased aggression, cognitive disabilities, seizures, and memory loss.
What Treatments Exist for Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Both short-term and long-term care is required for traumatic brain injuries. Treatments may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. A medical professional will consult on the appropriate care for the level of severity of the trauma.How We can Help You
Insurance companies will often want to make it “go away.” By contrast, we advocate for our clients to get the best settlement possible, not the quickest settlement possible. At Bridgewater Law Group, we know how to fight the tactics these companies will use. We know when a fair settlement is on the table and when there is more to be won. We will fight for your best outcome.
We will work on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you.
Give us a call today for a free consultation and within 30 minutes we will know if we can win your case with you.