Symptoms from a mild traumatic brain injury may last days, weeks, months, or even be permanent, and many effects from the injury could emerge later in life. Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries likely leave you with long-term or even permanent effects that make life challenging for you and your family.
It is important to understand the the qualifiers “mild,” “moderate,” and “severe” do not necessarily correlate with the severity of ongoing symptoms, but refer to symptoms in the acute setting immediately after injury. all brain injury symptoms and brain injury causes are different. Anyone who suffers a TBI may have lifelong symptoms. Dealing with the reality of chronic and disabling symptoms is difficult for anyone.
The adjustment is usually difficult for the patient and the caregivers. If you or a loved one is suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to a recent accident, contact a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible for help getting the compensation and help you need to care for yourself or your loved one.
In many cases, traumatic brain injury is not the only injury you may have from an accident. For example, if you are in an accident with a big rig, you may suffer from additional catastrophic injuries. Polytrauma is used to describe more than one catastrophic injury. In many cases, one of those injuries is moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Both injuries could cause long-term or permanent mental and physical disabilities. Even those that seem to recover from a mild traumatic brain injury could present with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) much later in life. Symptoms may include:
- Cognitive impairment;
- Short-term memory loss;
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Impulsive or even aggressive behavior;
- Depression; and
- Suffering from unstable emotions.
Even injuries that appear later in life—long after you recover from your other injuries—could affect you and your family. When you suffer from more than one traumatic injury, you should have the compensation you need to have all of the injuries adequately cared for, regardless of how long it takes you to recover or even partially recover.
Challenges in Determining a Fair Settlement
Despite tons of research on the brain, it is still hard to predict how a brain injury will affect a person and how long those effects will last. Studies have shown that even a mild concussion, such as those suffered by football players, could lead to problems, usually CTE, much later in life. Likewise, people who have seemingly mild concussive symptoms after a car accident could have chronic, lifelong symptoms develop weeks later. Thus, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer after an accident.
The attorney will enlist the help of expert witnesses and medical professionals that study and treat traumatic brain injuries. The expert witnesses have seen many cases over many years, and are better equipped to determine the possibilities of long-term or permanent damage. The expert witnesses prepare a report that may be used in negotiating a settlement for enough compensation to cover medical bills, other expenses, injuries, and losses that are long-term or permanent.
If the insurance company does not come to a fair settlement, or the limits of the policy are far less than the compensation you require, the attorney will likely take the case to court in an attempt to get a fair amount from the insurance company or to sue the defendants for additional compensation. In some cases, you may be going after more than the defendant that caused the accident. For example, if you were injured in a truck accident, the driver, the owner of the truck, the company that leased the truck, or even the dispatcher may be liable for your injuries and losses.
Additionally, if you do settle with the insurance company, you cannot go back later to ask for more money. A traumatic brain injury is never a simple thing, even if it seems so at the time. If you settle with the insurance company without the advice of an experienced attorney, you could short-change yourself the compensation you need to care for your traumatic brain injury and the issues that may show up much later in life.
Using the concussion as an example, medical research has found that even those who suffered a mild concussions could develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy in their later years. Your attorney’s expert witnesses will look at your medical records for clues that show injuries and disabilities that could show up months or even years later.
Living With a Traumatic Brain Injury
Because traumatic brain injuries affect people in different ways, there are many issues with living with a traumatic brain injury. Even if you don’t see your issue here, if a brain injury caused it, seek medical care if you haven’t already and contact experienced brain injury trial attorneys.
Depression and Anxiety
These psychological issues may be the result of the brain injury or may be the result of your feelings of adjusting to your new reality with the injury. These are normal feelings to have. Depression and anxiety are treatable with the proper medical care. However, that care may take weeks, months or even years. It could even be permanent. Part of your settlement or the money you receive at trial could be to assist in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Physical and Cognitive Therapies
A brain injury could cause you to be physically or mentally disabled. Physical therapy may help you overcome the physical limitations caused by the brain injury. Just as with emotional issues, you may need physical therapy for a short or long term, or even permanently.
Cognitive therapy helps you with thinking tasks. If the part of your brain that is injured affects how you think, you may not be able to concentrate, you may forget things or may even suffer from dementia. Even something as simple as counting the correct change or reading an analog clock may be impossible for you to do after a brain injury.
A brain injury that affects your physical and mental well-being also affect your family and friends. You may have to rely on family members or professional caregivers to get you through the day. They may have to help you dress, bathe, eat, or even use the bathroom. Being dependent on someone, especially for someone that was fiercely independent is a major change that could cause emotional issues for you and your family.
The last thing you or your family needs is to worry about how to pay for housing, food, medical bills, and other necessities. While the money you receive from the defendant will not make you whole again, it will go a long way in relieving the financial stress of not working.
Disabling Effects of a Brain Injury
Additional physical effects of a brain injury include:
- The inability to sleep;
- Being tired all of the time;
- A change in your appetite;
- Having a hard time swallowing;
- Chronic pain;
- The inability for your body to regulate its temperature;
- The inability to control your bladder and/or bowel functions; and
- Changes in your hormones
- Light sensitivity
Any of these changes may require that someone is around to help you through the day. If a family member works or does not have the physical ability to help you with these physical functions, you may have to hire in-home health care. These injuries may also prevent you from doing simple things such as going grocery shopping or even having a nice dinner in a restaurant. A brain injury attorney will consider this when calculating a fair amount for settlement or to ask for at trial,.
Some cognitive functions may also require constant care. If you have memory problems, are constantly confused or even have problems planning your day or are not able to prevent yourself from inappropriate actions, you may need constant care for your safety.
Effects of a Brain Injury on Your Speech and Senses
Brain injuries could affect more than your physical and thinking processes. It could also affect your speech and your senses. Aphasia is when you have problems with writing, reading and getting words from your brain out of your mouth. It may cause you to have trouble understanding what someone is saying to you.
If you’ve ever been in the middle of a sentence and just couldn’t get the word out—a word you know you know and have used many times—a brain injury could cause that to happen much more frequently. Your once perfect speech may be slurry or you may talk too fast or too slow without even realizing it.
Senses that may be affected include taste, vision, hearing, smell, and touch. You may have a bad taste in your mouth all the time. You could smell something that isn’t there. Or, your sense of smell may be confused. For example, if you sniff bacon cooking, you might smell an unpleasant scent instead.
Your sight could be blurry sporadically or all the time, even with corrective lenses. You may have trouble hearing low conversations or even specific tones. You may not be able to feel pressure or whether something is hot or cold. You could also become sensitive to light and noise, or develop tinnitus.
Brain Injuries and Your Behavior
A brain injury could also affect your behavior. Emotions may go off the charts. Your motivation may have flown out the window. You might become irritated at the smallest thing. You could even become aggressive, depressed, or permanently anxious. If you or your family members do not recognize this as part of a brain injury, it will put even more stress on everyone, including you. If you have other disabilities caused by a brain injury, you or your family members may realize that these changes are probably due to the brain injury. However, if you have no other symptoms, no one may realize these changes are because of the brain injury.
While you might not feel you are injured after an accident, it is always advisable to get checked out. Brain scans could pinpoint damage that you didn’t think you had. You and your family would then know that your behavior is a side effect of a traumatic brain injury, and you will be able to take steps to correct it.
That scan could alert you to the fact that even though you do feel fine, that you were hurt during the accident, and that the defendant may owe you compensation for your injuries.
For More Legal Assistance Contact Jessica Sizemore at Gomez Trial Attorneys
While you should contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer is a good idea for many reasons, the most important reason is that personal injury cases, including TBI cases, have a statute of limitations. This means that you have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against the defendants. Once that time passes, you will not be able to bring your lawsuit no matter how severe or moderate your injuries are.
Another important reason to contact a brain injury attorney is that the insurance company is in business to make a profit. It does not care about you or your injuries—just their bottom line. If you try to settle with the insurance company on your own, you are unlikely to obtain as much as you would should an attorney help you. Many attorneys agree that when you settle your own case, you get about a third of what an attorney would pursue.
Additionally, if you are entitled to punitive damages because the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or the defendant tried to purposely injure you, you may need to bring your case to court to get paid the amount you are entitled to. It is up to you, as the plaintiff, to prove that the defendant was grossly negligent. To be successful at that, you must understand how the law works and the litigation process required to seek and prove punitive damages. Retaining a traumatic brain injury lawyer gives you a fighting chance to get the compensation you deserve.