When you or a loved one suffers a brain injury in an accident, it can have both a short and long-term impact on life. Not only will the injury affect your ability to work, but it will also keep the injured person from living and enjoying their life.
Some of the effects of a brain injury can include:
- Cognitive deficiencies
- Loss of memory
- Increased chance of dementia
- Changes in emotions
After an incident or accident, many brain injuries end up being permanent. The victim may endure physical rehabilitation, but they still may not fully recover after one of these injuries. The result can be a lifetime of difficulty. In many cases, the person responsible for the injury would need to pay for the damage that they caused, and the financial compensation could be considerable.
The number of brain injuries in the U.S. is increasing. In one recent year, there were over 50,000 deaths in this country from traumatic brain injuries. There was also a 53 percent increase in TBI-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations. While this increase may seem at first to indicate an uptick in brain injuries, it actually proves there is now a greater awareness of brain injuries and has caused more people to seek out medical treatment. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above after an accident, you should also immediately see a doctor.
Here are some common ways that people can suffer brain damage from accidents. If any of these happened to you or a loved one, look out for the symptoms described above. The moment you experience any one of them, you should seek immediate medical help. Delaying help can cause you even further injury because these symptoms can get worse without treatment. The good news is that, for each of these categories of accidents, you can recover financial compensation for your injuries or those of a loved one.
Brain Injuries From Car Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries. Those hurt in accidents can suffer different types of brain injuries. Most are consistent with impact when the head strikes something like the dashboard or ground. The can also cause a brain injury.
One common type of brain injury in a car accident happens when the victim’s head violently moves forward after the impact. However, the brain does not move as fast as the head and ends up shaken inside the skull. This brain trauma is called a diffuse axonal injury, and it often happens in accidents on the highway or when you are otherwise traveling at high speed. In severe cases, diffuse axonal injuries can cause permanent injury.
Four other types of brain injuries can also result from a car accident:
- Concussions occur when your brain hits the inside of your skull.
- Contusions are also known as brain bruises and can lead to hematomas.
- Penetration injuries take place when a foreign object (such as a shard of glass or metal) penetrates your skull and pierces your brain. Individuals with penetration injuries always receive immediate emergency treatment for this life-threatening injury.
- Coup-contrecoup is the term that refers to the brain striking both sides of the skull, causing extensive damage.
Brain Injuries From Falls
Falls from a ladder or bed are the most common causes of a TBI, and they affect older adults and young children the most (since they have more difficulty with their balance). Deaths from traumatic brain injuries from falls have increased by 17 percent over ten years.
Falls in different settings can cause TBIs, such as:
- Slipping on the ice and hitting your head
- Falling off a ladder at work and landing on your head or striking it during your fall
- Slipping while getting out of the bathtub and banging your head against the tub
- Tripping in a grocery store because of a slippery surface and crashing against the hard floor
One of the most common places where falls occur is in the nursing home setting. The facilities are supposed to keep watch over your loved one, but many of them fail to do their job. If your loved one is a risk of falling, the nursing home needs to have a fall prevention plan in place. Instead, some nursing homes leave their residents unsupervised or force them to try to get up by not giving them the help that they need.
Half of nursing home residents will fall in any given year. Some fall more than once. When such a fall occurs, your loved one is at risk of suffering a brain injury. The most common way that they are injured is when they hit their head on a surface or the floor. Even though it was your loved one who may have fallen, the nursing home that was supposed to watch them and prevent the fall could be held responsible.
Birth Injuries Causing Brain Damage
Another common cause of brain injuries is one that could stay with the victim for a lifetime. Up to six children out of every thousand suffer a birth injury. Many of these are due to the doctor’s negligence and form the basis for a birth injury lawsuit. The doctor may have failed to monitor the situation or act properly when there are clear risks present. Alternatively, the baby’s head could have suffered trauma during labor and delivery.
Brain injuries during birth occur mostly because the baby was deprived of oxygen for a prolonged time. A cutoff of oxygen to the brain can cause the baby can suffer hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Also known as a fetal stroke, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can happen during gestation and up to 28 days after birth.
HIE can cause many injuries. For example, six to eight percent of all cases of cerebral palsy result from asphyxia at birth.
HIE can also lead to:
- Breathing problems
- Developmental delays
- Poor muscle tone
- Lack of alertness
Brain Injuries From Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrians and bicyclists often suffer severe blows to their heads after a motor vehicle has struck them.
The infliction of such injuries can occur in different ways, including:
- The accident victim was thrown either to the ground or in the air because of an impact, resulting in their head striking the ground and causing severe brain injuries.
- The victim can get thrown through the car’s windshield, the trauma of which can jerk their head violently or penetrate the skull with broken glass.
- Nearly all the TBIs from pedestrian and bicycle accidents are consistent with force or impact. Victims will often suffer from both a skull fracture and a TBI.
Brain injuries in these types of accidents tend to be severe. A pedestrian or bicyclist is relatively unprotected from impact. Even when a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, it is often not enough to protect them from impact when their head violently hits the ground.
Why You Should Always Get Treatment for Brain Injuries
Symptoms of a brain injury would usually appear right after the accident, but that is not always the case. You should always seek treatment at the scene of the accident. First, prompt treatment can influence how much you recover and whether you recover at all from a brain injury. Some injuries can involve bleeding on the brain, which needs to be brought under control quickly, or else the victim risks long-term damage.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms after an accident, you should seek immediate help:
- Persistent headache
- Vomiting and nausea
- Inability to wake up from sleep
- Agitation and mood changes
- Seizures and convulsions
See a Doctor Immediately When Experiencing Brain Injury Symptoms
If you are reading this, and a loved one shows signs of a brain injury after an accident, convince them to see a doctor immediately. Not only will that help get them the treatment that they need, but it can also help document the legal case for financial compensation. Any delay in getting treatment could give a possible defendant an excuse as to why they should not be held responsible.
In addition, getting medical treatment as soon as possible can help establish that someone has suffered a brain injury and the severity of it. You may be having headaches and trouble sleeping after an accident and not know why. Seeing a doctor can lead to a diagnosis and a course of treatment.
Medical Treatment Helps Document Your Brain Injury Lawsuit
One of the first things that an insurance company or a jury will want to see is that the claimant has actually sustained an injury. Suffering an injury is one of the prerequisites of a negligence claim. Once your brain injury lawyer has established the injury, they will need your treatment record to quantify your compensation value.
Another reason why you need medical treatment quickly is that the statute of limitations may impact your case. You could lose valuable time that you need to file a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations starts the run from when you knew or should have known that you were injured. If someone delays going to the doctor after a brain injury, a court could very well say that they should have known that they were injured. In the worst-case scenario, you could lose your right to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Responsible Defendants in Your Brain Injury Case
When you have suffered an injury from any accident, the person responsible for the accident would need to pay your damages.
Accidents that can lead to brain injuries include:
- Assaults – If your brain injury occurred because of an assault, a lawsuit could name either the assailant or the business responsible for providing security at which the attack took place as liable and responsible for providing compensation for your injuries.
- Car accidents – In a car crash, you could obtain compensation from the other driver. If the accident was due to poor road conditions, you could sue the government. Finally, a lawsuit can name the carmaker or auto part maker as responsible if the crash happened because of a product defect.
- Falls – The responsible party for the fall accident depends on where the injury happened. Falls are usually a part of a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner who did not address a dangerous condition. Many falls occur at nursing homes and assisted living facilities because of neglect. Finally, some falls occur at work. When that happens, you will file a workers’ compensation claim unless your employer was grossly negligent.
Damages in Your Brain Injury Claim
Once you establish the legal right to compensation, you could receive financial payment for:
- Pain and suffering (frequently the largest part of a brain injury settlement)
- Lost wages from time missed from work, a resultant reduction in your earning capacity, or the inability to work ever again
- Medical bills and the cost of any other nursing care that you may need
- The cost of your rehabilitation treatment
Why You Need a Brain Injury Attorney
As you can see, having a brain injury lawyer on your side is an absolute must. First, it takes some work to show that someone else was responsible for your injury. Second, our attorneys could work for you to get you the most possible money for your injuries. Securing a fair settlement requires a brain injury attorney who knows how much your claim is worth and how to negotiate on your behalf.
A brain injury lawyer can help you from the moment that you contact them, establish who was at fault for the brain injury, work to document its severity, and secure compensation for your accident-related expenses.