If you or a loved one believes you may have sustained a head or brain injury, due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Most head or brain injuries are caused by auto accidents or slip and falls, as well as other causes. We charge no fee until you obtain a settlement or award so feel free to call us toll free 24/7 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our head or brain injury attorneys.
Each year, nearly 400,000 Americans are hospitalized with some type of head injury. Of these victims, approximately 75% – 300,000 – individuals are diagnosed with mild to moderate brain damage. These traumatic brain injuries can be subtle, persistent, and potentially long term.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma damages the brain. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death and severe disability in people under 45 years of age (i). In the U.S., approximately 1.6 million people sustain TBIs each year. Additionally, about 52,000 deaths and 80,000 permanent severe neurological disabilities result each year from these TBIs (ii). A TBI can often occur when there is impact to the head in a motor vehicle collision. Brain injuries are unlike injuries to other parts of the body because they permanently change an individual’s cognitive and mental abilities and can even alter a person’s personality. No two brain injuries are alike, except for the fact that they all have devastating consequences to the injured person and their family.
Brain injuries are classified as either mild or severe, but all brain injuries can have catastrophic effects on a person’s life. A mild brain injury can cause headaches, difficulty thinking, confusion, dizziness, memory loss, and changes in mood and behavior. These symptoms can be present even if a MRI or CAT scan yields normal results. A severe brain injury can range from cognitive impairment to a long-term unresponsive state.
Leading Causes of Head/Brain Injury
- Auto accident-related injury
- Unintentionally being struck by or against an obstacle
- Playing sports
An individual who has suffered a TBI will need experienced and dedicated legal representation. The effects of a TBI are not always immediately apparent, but are irreversible. Furthermore, the financial toll of caring for a person with a TBI is extremely burdensome. Early identification of severe TBI at an accident scene, with proper assessment, treatment, and transport destinations can decrease both the risk of additional injury and long-term care costs to follow. If you or a loved one experienced traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident due to another driver’s negligence, an attorney may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Types of Head Injuries
A head injury or traumatic brain injury can be caused by a car accident. Brain injuries are classified as either mild or severe, and they occur in different ways.
A MILD brain injury can still be present even if a MRI or CAT scan has a normal result. Even though some injuries are classified as “mild,” they are still devastating injuries. A mild brain injury occurs when the loss of consciousness or disorientation lasts for less than a half hour.
A SEVERE brain injury can still be present even if a MRI or CAT scan yields a normal result. Even though some injuries are classified as “mild,” they are still devastating injuries. A mild brain injury occurs when the loss of consciousness or disorientation lasts for less than a half hour. Mild TBI is, in most cases, a concussion and the individual will be able to make a full neurological recovery; however may have short-term memory and concentration difficulties, as a result.
A SEVERE brain injury can render the individual comatose long-term. A severe brain injury occurs when the loss of consciousness extends beyond half an hour and the loss of memory after the injury lasts for 24 hours or longer. An individual with these injuries will be comatose, and possibly unable to open his or her eyes or follow commands.
There are different ways that a brain injury can occur:
- OPEN HEAD INJURY – An open head injury is caused by a penetration of the skull. These injuries can be very serious and are caused by things like bullet or puncture wounds.
- CLOSED HEAD INJURY – A closed head injury is an injury caused from an impact to the head where there is no penetration of the skull. This type of head injury can be caused by an auto accident, slip and fall, or any other impact to the head.
- DECELERATION INJURY – A deceleration injury occurs when the brain moves within the skull. When the brain is slammed back and forth within the skull, contusion and brain swelling can occur.
Symptoms of Head Injuries
Symptoms of a brain injury can be difficult to pinpoint because every brain injury is different. However, there are some general symptoms that can be identified to determine whether or not you have suffered a brain injury.
A mild brain injury can cause any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness for up to several minutes
- Confusion or a state of being disoriented
- Memory loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision or ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood swings
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Change in sleep patterns
A severe brain injury can begin with the following symptoms, and can range in severity up to the individual being in a long-term comatose state.
- Loss of consciousness ranging from several minutes to several hours
- Extreme confusion and disorientation
- Agitation or other unusual behavior
- Numbness in limbs and extremities
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Persistent headache or a headache that worsens
- Persistent vomiting or nausea
- Dilation of pupils
Tips for Individuals Who Have Suffered a TBI
- Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day
- Avoid physically demanding activities (i.e. sports, heavy housecleaning, working out)
- Avoid activities requiring intense concentration (i.e. prolonged computer use, video games)
- When your doctor says you are well enough to return to your normal activities, do so gradually instead of attempting to do so all at once
- Ask your doctor about how you can help your employer understand your injury better
- Consider talking with your employer about returning to work gradually and about modifying your work activities or schedule until you recover (i.e. working a half day)
- Take only those drugs that have been approved by your doctor
- Refrain from drinking alcohol – drugs and alcohol may slow your recovery and put you at risk of further injury
Tips for Preventing TBI
- Buckle up when driving or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Always wear a helmet when engaging in activities where it is wise to do so (i.e. bike riding, playing contact sports such as football or hockey, horseback riding, etc…)
- Remove tripping hazards in living areas
- Use nonslip mats or install hand rails around surfaces that may be slippery (showers, bathtubs…)
Contact the Law Offices of d’Oliveira & Associates, P.C.
If you believe that you or one of your loved ones has experienced traumatic brain injury from an accident, you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney regarding a potential claim. A lawyer familiar with these types of cases may be able to help you make important personal and legal decisions.
Call d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for your free legal consultation.
- (i) Veterinary Pathology. 2002.
- (ii) The Lancet. 2000.