Brain injuries are often misdiagnosed or simply not diagnosed at all. However, brain injuries can be as catastrophic for the victims regardless of whether they are diagnosed appropriately. Early treatment is the best way to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of a brain injury.
In the United States, more than 150 people die each day from brain injuries. Brain injuries are problematic and common. If you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury, you deserve to make a complete recovery. An experienced brain injury lawyer can help maximize your financial recovery so that you can focus on your recovery.
Types of Brain Injuries
There are many types of brain injuries. All brain injuries, whether mild or severe, require medical attention and should not be taken lightly. Your brain is a well-protected but fragile and essential component of your body. Any damage to your brain can have life-altering consequences.
A hematoma is a bleed on the brain and can be life threatening. Increased blood in the skull increases pressure on the brain, which can cause loss of consciousness. A hematoma in the brain can result in permanent brain damage. Early treatment is necessary.
A hemorrhage is uncontrolled bleeding in the brain. Bleeding can happen inside your brain or in the area surrounding it inside the skull. A brain hemorrhage can cause any number of insults to the brain including death.
Concussions are the most common type of brain injury. A concussion happens when the body or the head suffers an impact so strong that it causes damage to the brain. Between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions happen each year as a result of sporting injuries. However, concussions can happen in a variety of circumstances. Motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall accidents are also common causes of concussions.
Edema is a term used to refer to swelling in the brain. Because your skull lacks flexibility, it is unable to stretch. Any swelling of the brain puts extra pressure on the skull. A buildup of pressure on the skull can lead to additional brain damage.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) involves damage to the brain’s cells themselves in multiple areas of the brain. Any damage to your brain cells makes them unable to function properly. Diffuse axonal injury can also result in swelling, causing additional damage to the brain. Specifically, an axonal injury, is an injury to the axon which are the long connective fibers in the brain that allow the cells to send messages to each other.
Accidents That Cause Brain Injuries
Many different types of accidents have the potential to cause a brain injury. Common examples include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Blunt force to the head
No matter what caused your brain injury, your sole focus should be on your physical recovery. Working with a skilled and experienced brain injury lawyer can take the legal stress off your plate. Suffering a brain injury can be traumatic. You will increase your chances of a full recovery by decreasing any additional stress.
Brain Injury Symptoms
Not all brain injury symptoms appear immediately after an accident or impact to the body or head. This makes diagnosing brain injuries more challenging than other injuries which are apparent right away.
Awareness of the possible symptoms of a brain injury will increase your chances of healing quickly and even save your life. Common symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of consciousness
- Balance issues
- Inability to focus
Some of these symptoms are easy to recognize than others. If you experience any of the symptoms above, you should seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Over 50,000 people die each year from brain injuries. Don’t ignore your symptoms.
A medical professional will perform a physical examination and may order further diagnostic testing. To properly diagnose your injuries, your doctor will need to know the cause of your injury. If you suffer a severe injury, memory loss may make it difficult to recall the cause of your injury. If you have impaired cognitive functioning, it is important to bring a trusted family member or friend with you to the doctor. They can help to fill in some of the gaps to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis.
Your doctor may order a CT scan or an MRI. Both may help to show if there are fractures in the skull, swelling in the brain, or evidence of bleeding. These diagnostic tests are not invasive and may assist the doctor in providing an accurate diagnosis, though they don’t always reveal the extent of the damage. However, CT scans and MRIs usually will not catch most brain injuries, specifically injuries to the brain cells, such as diffuse axonal injuries described above.
Ensuring you provide the doctor with accurate and honest information is critical to securing the correct diagnosis. Your diagnosis will allow the doctor to predict the prognosis of your recovery. You can help your doctor by keeping a detailed record of your day to day recovery. Noting your daily symptoms, how you’re feeling, and what steps you’re taking to get better can assist with diagnosis. Your doctor needs accurate information about your injury and how it happened to maximize recovery.
Keeping notes will also help your California brain injury lawyer maximize your financial recovery. Our goal is to take the legal stress off your shoulders. We want you to be able to focus on making a full physical recovery. Any injury to the brain has the potential to be severe.
Treating a Brain Injury
Your doctor will provide you with a treatment plan for recovery. Depending on the severity and type of brain injury you received, your prescribed treatment plan will vary. Common treatments include:
After a brain injury, some victims may be more susceptible to seizures. Often, to prevent seizures and any further brain damage, your healthcare provider may prescribe anti-seizure medication. In addition, diuretics are often part of the treatment plan. Diuretics help your brain excrete fluid to relieve cranial pressure. In the more severe cases, victims are placed in a medically-induced coma. If blood vessels are damaged or there are other serious issues in your brain, a coma will temporarily slow your brain’s functioning to promote healing. In this state, your brain does not require as much oxygen or nutrients as it normally would.
If you’ve suffered a serious brain injury, surgery may be required to prevent further damage to your brain. Surgical procedures can reduce swelling, repair your skull, or remove a hematoma.
When you suffer a serious brain injury, you’ll likely need extensive rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might require rehabilitation to help restore mobility and cognitive functioning. You may need to relearn how to speak or move your limbs.
The long-term outlook after your brain injury depends on several factors. The two most influential factors are the type of brain injury and the length of time between the accident and diagnosis.
Most victims of brain injuries do not suffer lifelong consequences. Other victims with more severe injuries may face permanent damage and disability. More severe brain injuries typically require a lifetime of medical care and treatment.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The steps you take after you recognize you’re a victim of a brain injury may affect your ability to recover compensation. Most importantly, you should seek immediate medical attention. If emergency medical technicians respond to the scene of the accident, you’ll likely receive medical care right away. However, you may be unaware you have suffered a brain injury until symptoms appear hours or days later. At the first sign of symptoms that could signal a brain injury, seek a medical evaluation.
The next step is to make sure you have documentation of the accident which caused your injury. If your symptoms developed after the initial injury, you may not know exactly what caused your brain injury. On the other hand, if your brain injury is severe, you may have memory loss and be unable to recall the accident. It is important to speak with family and loved ones who can help you recall what happened. Medical records can also play an important role in refreshing your memory.
The final step is to speak with an experienced brain injury lawyer. A skilled brain injury lawyer will:
- Investigate your injury and its cause
- Make sure you receive proper medical care
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Represent you in trial if necessary
With a competent brain injury lawyer on your side, you don’t have to worry about the legal complexities of your case. Let an attorney worry for you, so you can focus on your recovery.
Proving a Brain Injury
To prove your brain injury is the fault of another person, you must show the following:
- A duty of care – A duty of care is an obligation to exercise a reasonable level of care to prevent injury or harm to another person. A driver owes a duty of care to other drivers and passengers on the road. Drivers must drive as a reasonable driver would and not put other people at risk of injury.
- A breach of duty – A breach of duty occurs when a person obligated to act with a duty of care acts unreasonably. For example, driving recklessly is a breach of a duty of care to other drivers and passengers on the road.
- Causation – To prove causation, you must show that the unreasonable act caused injury or harm to another person. For example, when reckless driving causes a collision, if you are injured in that collision, the driver’s breach of their duty of care caused your injuries.
- Damages – To recover compensation, you must be able to show your injury caused damages. Damages may be lost wages and medical expenses from a brain injury suffered by a reckless driver.
While these elements may seem straightforward, brain injury cases usually require the testimony and advice of medical experts. Brain injury experts are expensive and require a legal team with knowledge of the process to prepare. A competent and accurate expert can influence an insurance company to offer you a reasonable settlement.
Most brain injury cases settle out of court. However, we will only settle your case if it’s right for you and your specific situation. A stubborn insurance company may never offer a reasonable settlement. In that case, you need a law firm with the resources necessary to build a strong case for trial. Then you can relax, knowing your brain injury lawyer will handle your legal needs so you may focus on your recovery.
Damages to Seek
After your brain injury, identifying the responsible parties is the most important step to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. After identifying the party, you must show their actions caused your injury. You must also show that as a result of that injury, you suffered damages, such as lost time at work and medical bills.
Brain injury recovery entails a complex legal process that should not be taken lightly. Your brain injury lawyer will need to review medical records, negotiate with insurance companies, and investigate your accident and injury. You need a competent and experienced brain injury lawyer with results you can trust.
A brain injury lawyer can advocate on your behalf and fight for your compensation. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
You will want to accurately assess your future medical needs. Brain injuries often require lifelong medical care. It is important to accurately predict the costs of future medical care to ensure you are not the one paying for those costs.
Speak With a Brain Injury Lawyer
When you are the victim of a brain injury, your sole focus should be on your recovery. Brain injury cases are complex legal procedures. Claims may require a review of medical records, investigations into accidents, speaking with experts, negotiating with insurance companies, and standing beside you in court. Let an experienced legal team handle the legal complexities of your brain injury claim.