Brain injuries are very common causes of disability and death in both adults and children and can be caused by something as mild as a bump or contusion, can be moderate to severe in nature due to a serious concussion, open wound, a fractured skull bone, or from internal bleeding and damage to the brain.Traumatic brain injuries are among the most severe injuries and are in large part caused in slip and falls, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, car accidents and trucking accidents. Serious brain injuries may result from anywhere between a simple blow to the head to a penetrating injury to the brain. Frontal and temporal areas of the brain are the main areas involved in serious car accidents – which often cause immediate complaints like:
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury caused by someone else, it is important to understand your legal right to pursue financial compensation to replace your lost wages and for your pain and suffering. The person or company who caused your injury may be responsible for your future health care needs, lost wages, housekeeping, home maintenance, attendant care needs, and pain and suffering compensation among other things.
The following are some of the different types of head injuries:
Concussion – which is an injury to the head area that may cause instant loss of awareness or alertness for a few minutes up to a few hours after the traumatic event.
Skull fracture – There are 4 major of common skull fractures, including the following:
Intracranial hematomas (ICH) – These are otherwise known as blood clots in or around the brain. The different types are classified by their location in the brain and can range from mild quite serious and potentially life-threatening type brain injuries injuries. The different types of ICH are:
Serious brain injuries can no doubt cause problems that are life-changing and incapacitating. The brain is the major control network for the body’s functions and abilities, and it enables conscious communication with our body. It ensures automatic operation of vital organs; the ability to think and reason; and enables functions such as memory, speech, the senses, emotional responses, and more.
Losing even a portion of one of these capabilities can be significant—if not devastating—for the victim and his or her family. Brain injuries can cause lifelong medical complications and require an experienced injury lawyer who can assist the victim and family with obtaining the necessary long-term help and care.
If your loved one is experiencing such things as difficulty processing information, expressing thoughts, concentrating, making decisions, memory loss, balance issues, headaches, or slurring speech, then he or she should be immediately evaluated for brain damage following a traumatic event.
Proving a brain injury can be challenging and expensive. In order to ensure that your legal rights are protected, you will need to speak to a Hamilton brain injury lawyer who is experienced in handling the complex legal area of personal injury claims involving head and brain trauma.
After a serious accidents, CT head and MRI are normally used to measure changes in anatomical or physiological parameters of TBI. These include hemorrhage, edema, vascular injury, and intracranial pressure. There are different kinds of brain injuries – with the two most common being traumatic and acquired. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force, such as a hard impact or hit to the head. The impact causes the brain to move inside the skull, which in turn can damage the brain.
Comparatively, an acquired brain injury (ABI) is a brain injury that happens at the cellular level and is associated with pressure inside the brain caused by things such as a stroke. The Mayo Clinic tells us that with a TBI, a person may experience the following symptoms:
• Loss of consciousness
• Confusion and disorientation
• Fatigue or drowsiness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Sleeping more than usual
• Dizziness or loss of balance
• Word-finding problems and concentration difficulties
• Sensory problems, such as blurred vision and ringing in the ears
• Sensitivity to light or sound
• Memory or concentration problems
• Mood changes or mood swings
• Feeling depressed or anxious
• Confusion, agitation, or unusual behavior
• Change in eating habits
• Persistent crying
• Unusual or easy irritability
• Changes in sleep habits
• Sad or depressed mood
• Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
If you have suffered a life-changing brain injury, it’s important to speak to a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to ensure that your (or your loved one’s) treatment is properly set up and funded after you are discharged from the hospital or brain injury-rehabilitation unit. You may require such assistance as:
Attendant Care and Rehabilitation Therapy – you may require assistance with your day to day activities or re-establishing positive every day routines and transportation on a supervised basis. Rehabilitation therapy can also help suffering individuals relearn skills such as walking, list-making, communicating or self-care. Rehabilitation therapy for a brain injured individual can include different kinds of therapy for cognitive difficulties. Depending on the injury, these treatments may be needed only briefly after the injury, occasionally throughout a person’s life, or permanently.
Psychotherapy – you or your loved one may require ongoing funding for group support, education or long-term support. Not surprisingly, the consequences of head injury often can also have affect on the individual’s family as well. It is not uncommon for family members to need and receive information for the best involvement, counseling and emotional support as well as help with recognition of the family’s needs, adjustment and eventually, a good functional outcome.
Physical Therapy – often not thought on within a life-care plan, physical therapy is a more often than not a necessary requirement for an individual that suffers a traumatic brain injury. Individual with cognitive injury may not appreciate the need for exercise and care for health. Personal support or rehabilitation workers are often necessary since individuals with brain injuries do not make exercise a priority, are unable to drive after their injury (thus they have difficulty getting to a gym or place to exercise). Physical limitations also impact the kinds of exercises and types of exercise machines that can be used safely – which can place them at risk of injuring themselves while exercising.
Medication – brain injured individuals may require the monitored intake of medications such as anti-convulsants, analgesics for pain, anti-psychotic (for hostility, nervousness and severe agitation), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxants or stimulants to increase levels of responsiveness or alertness.
Management of Sleep Dysfunction – Immediately following a traumatic brain injury, the difficulty in falling asleep and frequent waking is very a common occurrence. If chronic sleep disturbances develops, medication or cognitive behavioral therapy focused on sleep may be necessary.
Speech Therapy – severe accidents may damage portions of the brain that are responsible for language. More often than not, individuals that suffer a severe brain injury can be left with stuttering and word finding issues, making it very difficult or impossible to communicate effectively.
Vocational Therapy – often occupational therapists are retained on a temporary or life-long basis to assist with vocational therapy to assist with finding solutions to appropriate job opportunities, help with work place challenges, ergonomic requirements, or with general everyday transportation. Occupational therapists can make a positive difference in a brain individual’s life.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic brain injury you may be entitled to compensation, which is subdivided into economic and non-economic claims.
Economic Claims – or special damage, are calculable and are awarded to compensate injured victims for: i) incurred expenses (i.e. prescription medication, physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc.), ii) loss of earning capacity and/or income – wage – loss (i.e. early retirement, loss of RSP and/or CPP contributions, loss of competitive advantage, loss of earnings, etc.), iii) future care costs (i.e. projected expenses for medical treatment, attendant care, housekeeping/home maintenance, etc.) iv) housekeeping losses, if you no longer have the capacity to care for your home, or you do but at a reduced level. iv) future management fees (i.e. corporate and/or non-corporate guardians hired to administer a damages award). Unlike non-economic damages, economic damages do not have a monetary cap or upper limit—rather they are assessed by comparing the injured person’s pre-accident versus post-accident circumstances, and providing monetary compensation for post-accident economic losses the injured claimant has sustained and/or incurred.
Non-Economic claims – are claims such as compensation for damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities ect. Pain and suffering damages are awarded to compensate a brain injury victim for pain and suffering stemming from his or her injuries sustained as a result of another’s negligent action(s). Pain and suffering, in short, are one’s physical, social, emotional and/or psychological accident-induced impairments which adversely affect one’s enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering awards are not objectively calculable, but rather courts will review your brain injury lawyer’s case that is presented when arriving at an amount to award you. Such factors include, however are not limited to: one’s age, pre-accident versus post-accident lifestyle, degree of the sustained injury and impairment, duration of the sustained injury and impairment, the victim’s function and reliance on others, etc.
The trial of a case involving an individual with a brain injury involves significant and often unique forensic challenges. The challenge to a brain injury lawyer in presenting these cases and obtaining proper compensation for a person that suffered a brain injury is the misunderstandings concerning the consequences of an acquired brain injury. Not only do victims typically look “normal,” but judges and juries, defense lawyers and claims adjusters, mistakenly believe that there cannot be a permanent brain injury unless there is objective evidence (meaning that you an see) such as a blow to the head, loss of consciousness, and positive imaging on an MRI or CT scan—though none of these commonly-accepted “facts” is true.
In order to successfully overcome these misconceptions, a multi-pronged approach consisting of appropriate experts, lay witnesses, analogies based on jurors’ real-world experiences, and demonstrative evidence is necessary, such as:
Establishing That the Force Was Sufficient to Cause a Significant Brain Injury: In the case of a traumatic brain injury, in order to establish entitlement to recovery, it is important, and sometimes critical, to establish that the force of the impact to the brain (not necessarily the head) is sufficient to cause a significant brain injury. Many Brain injury victims often look uninjured, may not have lost consciousness, and has normal imaging studies. A jury must be convinced that the nature and location of the injury claimed by the plaintiff could be the result of the force involved.
Demonstrating the injury through Friends, Co-Workers and Family Testimony – It is vital that testimony from family members, coworkers, and other observers provide examples of how the plaintiff has changed since the injury.
Demonstrating the injury through imaging: often times, a brian injury case presentation is better when the jury can see a “picture” of the brain injury. There are various forms of imaging, and this field is evolving rapidly.CT Scans and MRIs. A traditional CT or MRI of the brain is an image in which images are taken in multiple slices to study the structure of the brain. These images can be presented in many planes of orientation, though most often they are presented as if the brain were sliced perpendicular to the face. There are three keys, however, to understanding the significance of these the images:
Thus, in many, if not most cases of traumatic brain injury, the initial imaging studies are abnormal. If there are abnormalities on CT or MRI, so much the better to establish an injury— especially in correlation with impact vectors, neuropsychologic evaluation, and functional imaging. But if these studies are normal, other accepted techniques may help to demonstrate the brain injury.
Neuropsychological Testing: neuropsychological testing can reveal the nature and extent of cognitive deficits and the victim’s ability to function. If neuro-psychologic testing results showing impairments to a particular area or global function of the brain can be correlated with the imaging results, the testimony of lay witnesses, and the nature of the force involved, the circle of demonstrating an injury to the brain will be closed.
Other Demontrative Evidence: using visual exhibits makes the case more interesting to a jury and helps them to understand what happened and how it has affected the plaintiff.
If you or your loved one has suffered a serious brain injury, contact us 24/7 by submitting an online inquiry or by calling us directly at 903-333-8888. Our Hamilton brain injury lawyers will be more than happy to discuss your legal options with you at your convenience.