A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause long-lasting negative effects for injury victims. A TBI has many causes but the result looks the same. Over 30 percent of people who suffered a TBI experience headaches long after recovering from their injury.
While some headaches cause only minor disruption, many can last for days or more and make it nearly impossible for the victim to go about daily life. Getting out of bed feels like climbing Mount Everest. Concentrating at work or school seems impossible. Enjoying happy moments becomes an overwhelming challenge.
Never discount a headache as just a minor nuisance after suffering a TBI. Headaches could signal there is still something wrong. At a bare minimum, on their own, they constitute debilitating health conditions that interfere with a TBI victim’s life in profound ways.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI or lingering headaches after a TBI, then contact a skilled, experienced TBI lawyer today for a free consultation. You may have valuable legal rights to receive compensation.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI can cause debilitating injuries that leave victims with an altered life or, even worse, that end in fatality.More than 13 million Americans currently live with a TBI. So, while it is certainly possible to adapt your life to the physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges a TBI can cause, it comes at a significant cost.
Traumatic brain injuries usually result from violent blows or jolts to a victim’s head or body.
They have many causes, which commonly include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Violent crime;
- Sports injuries; and
A common misconception about a TBI is that you have to sustain a direct impact to your head to suffer a TBI. That is not true. While direct impacts do commonly cause TBIs, people can, and do, commonly suffer TBIs merely from a strong bump, blow, or jolt to their bodies.
For example, consider the whipping motion of a person’s body and head in a car accident. A vehicle occupant wearing a seatbelt may not come into contact with any part of the car in the crash. And yet the force of the impact can travel through the person’s body, whipping the head forward and back with enough strength to cause the brain to twist, deform, or shift inside the skull, resulting in the damage to brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerves that constitute a TBI.
Causes and Complications of Post-TBI Headaches
Headaches that arise after suffering a TBI, often called post-traumatic headaches, have many causes. They can result from a change in the brain caused by the TBI. Neck or skull injuries that happened alongside your TBI could also cause them. They could also result from medication or tension related to your TBI.
These multiple potential causes make TBI-related headaches difficult to diagnose. They also come at a terrible time. After your doctor declares you recovered from your TBI, you think you have healed and are in the clear, ready to get back to your regular life. Then, without warning, a pounding headache strikes you and does not go away.
Post-traumatic headaches can signify a dangerous health condition.
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- A post-TBI headache persists for a week;
- A post-TBI headache gets worse each day;
- Nausea, vomiting, or sudden, unexpected sleepiness accompanies your post-TBI headache;
- You develop sudden weakness in your arms or legs along with the headache; or
- During the headache, you have trouble speaking or understanding language.
Together with a post-TBI headache, each of these symptoms could indicate a serious, and potentially life-threatening, medical concern.
Debilitating Post-TBI Headaches
TBI victims may experience headaches for up to five years following the event that caused their injury. Headaches lasting any period of time, much less five years, can make it nearly impossible to go about daily life. At a minimum, headaches have the potential to interfere with an individual’s ability to work, study, or participate in (much less enjoy) everyday activities.
Some post-traumatic headaches can be diagnosed and treated to help a victim recover faster. Let’s take a look at a few of the common forms of post-TBI headaches for which victims may seek treatment.
When a certain area of the brain becomes hypersensitive, it can trigger a pain signal that ripples through the brain. Migraines feel like a dull, throbbing sensation that usually occurs on just one side of the head. Extreme light sensitivity often accompanies migraines, which is why many migraine sufferers feel the need to stay in a dark room, avoiding their daily responsibilities, until the headache passes. Victims often describe the pain level for migraines as severe.
When muscles are overly tense or spasm, tension headaches can occur. Victims may feel a tight, squeezing sensation all around the head. While this sounds uncomfortable and it is, the discomfort is usually on the lower end of the pain spectrum. Instead, it is the long-lingering duration of these headaches that can make life difficult for TBI victims.
Cervicogenic headaches often accompany injuries to soft tissues in the neck and the back of the head. These headaches commonly start in the neck and spread to the shoulders and back of the head. They are known to range from mild to severe, pain-wise, depending on the TBI victim’s lifestyle and activity level. Neck movement can make pain from these headaches worse.
TBI victims should always try to take medication for headaches as prescribed. Missing a dose can sometimes result in a rebound headache. If you have ever cut out or cut back drastically on your morning coffee for a day or more, you have experienced a rebound headache. For TBI victims, however, a rebound headache can also signify the continued presence of significant TBI-related impairments.
How a Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help
People who have technically “healed” from TBI, but who still suffer from debilitating post-traumatic headaches, often have the right to seek compensation through legal action. Virtually any challenge or difficulty a TBI victim suffers, including post-traumatic headaches, can qualify as damages for which victims can hold others legally and financially accountable.
With the help of an experienced brain injury lawyer, TBI victims can often identify and take legal action for damages against anyone who:
- Owed them a duty of care not to act, or fail to act, in a way that put them in harm’s way;
- Breached that duty of care through unreasonably dangerous actions or decisions; and
- Through those decisions or actions, caused an accident or incident that left the victim with a TBI.
The party meeting these three criteria can be an individual, a business, an organization, or even a government agency. Oftentimes, more than one party might fit the description, in which case each of them may owe the victim money damages as compensation for a TBI and the debilitating headaches it has caused.
Proving these facts—duty, breach, and harm—might seem simple enough in theory, but in practice, it can get complicated. That is why TBI victims should always seek legal representation from an experienced brain injury and post-traumatic headache lawyer who understands the science, medicine, and law related to traumatic brain injuries.
After all, TBI victims struggling with post-traumatic headaches can find it difficult just to get out of bed in the morning. The last thing they need is to worry about whether their lawyer understands enough about the challenges they face every day to get them the compensation they need and deserve. By working with a skilled, experienced TBI lawyer, victims can take comfort in the peace of mind that comes from knowing their lawyers get it and have the know-how and resources to build and prove a case on their behalf.
Compensation for Post-TBI Headache Sufferers
Once skilled brain injury and post-traumatic headache attorneys have pinpointed who has legal liability for the harm difficulty clients continue to endure, attorneys can then pursue compensation from those parties.
Every TBI case is unique, of course. No two injuries are the same, and no two TBI victims suffer precisely the same constellation of post-traumatic symptoms. For that reason, the types and amounts of compensation a TBI victim might hope to recover through legal action can vary widely.
Still, as a general matter, experienced TBI attorneys can often build and prove legal claims seeking compensation for their clients’:
- Medical expenses related to the initial and ongoing treatment of a TBI and its lingering aftereffects, including costs of emergency and ongoing treatment, hospitalization, traditional and alternative pain therapies, and medication.
- Non-medical expenses related to living with TBI symptoms and their aftermath, such as the cost of paying for help around the house when post-TBI headaches make daily tasks too difficult to handle alone;
- Lost income, past and future, due to the debilitating work limitations caused by the TBI and subsequent headaches;
- Pain, suffering, harm to relationships, and diminished quality of life resulting from the struggle of living with persistent post-traumatic headaches and other long-lasting TBI symptoms; and
- In some cases, punitive damages punish and deter extreme or outrageous conduct that caused the victim’s TBI in the first place.
Lawyers cannot guarantee that a TBI victim will necessarily recover compensation in each, or any, of these categories, nor how much compensation a victim can expect to recover. Every case is different, and the severity of the victim’s symptoms, their impact on the victim’s life, and the financial resources of the party (or parties) with legal liability to pay damages to the victim can all affect the outcome of a claim. Victims can give themselves the best possible chance of recovering maximum compensation, however, by trusting their legal claims to the care of a skilled, experienced, resourceful brain injury attorney.
Take Quick Action on Post-TBI Symptoms
In California,TBI victims only have two years from the date of their injury to take legal action against the at-fault party, in most cases. However, that time window may expand if a person does not discover the link between their TBI and post-traumatic symptoms. To be sure to protect their rights to the maximum extent possible, however, TBI victims should always seek legal advice as soon as possible after their injury or when post-TBI symptoms first emerge.
By consulting with an experienced brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury or emergence of symptoms, TBI victims can put themselves in the most advantageous position possible to recover compensation for their injuries and losses. This gives a lawyer the most favorable opportunity to collect relevant evidence and to speak with witnesses before important items go missing or memories begin to fade.
It also gives the lawyer the flexibility to plan an effective legal strategy specifically designed to meet the TBI victim’s needs and goals, which may include (for example) trying to negotiate a reasonable settlement of a claim with parties and their insurance companies, before filing a lawsuit.
Trust a Brain Injury Lawyer When Post-TBI Headaches Interfere With Your Life
A TBI is no ordinary injury, and seeking compensation for the varied, severe symptoms of a TBI requires the services of no ordinary attorney. The right lawyer for a TBI victim who suffers from debilitating headaches is one who has a firm grounding in the science, medicine, and law of traumatic brain injuries, who has the strength and resources to face down even the most well-funded defense lawyers and insurance companies, and who has the skill and know-how to explain complicated TBI-related medical and legal issues to judges and juries.
If you suffered a TBI and now find your life derailed by debilitating, post-TBI headaches, then you may have rights to recover significant financial compensation to help you pay for remedies and therapies, and to assist you in adapting to life in recovery from a TBI.
Do not wait to seek smart, compassionate legal assistance. Contact a trusted TBI lawyer today for a free case consultation about your legal rights.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101