Traumatic brain injuries are sudden injuries to the brain that affect its function. Depending on the injury, the injuries can range from mild to severe. Nonetheless, any traumatic brain injury presents significant consequences that may only last a short time or remain with you for the rest of your life. The causes of a traumatic brain injury vary widely and can be caused accidentally or by negligent or intentional conduct. This article will discuss what traumatic brain injuries are, how they are caused, and what you can do if you have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury Representation In West Virginia
When you have a personal injury claim, it is vital that you hire an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to assist you. The legal process to obtain compensation for a traumatic brain injury can be complicated. An experienced attorney can help you avoid pitfalls and defense tactics to succeed on your claims. Salango Law personal injury attorneys have extensive traumatic brain injury claims experience and are ready to represent you. To learn more or schedule your initial case consultation, call (304) 342-0512 or visit us on our website today.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are sudden injuries that cause damage to the brain. These injuries can range from mild to severe, presenting various identifiable symptoms.
A typical example of a mild TBI is a concussion. A concussion is when your head is struck suddenly, causing the brain to collide with the skull, resulting in bruising or contusions. As a result of the trauma, you may lose consciousness for a brief period. Other symptoms include:
- Issues with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Unusual tastes in the mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Behavioral and/or mood changes
If you have a mild TBI, you will have many of the same symptoms as above. However, if more serious, you might experience:
- Loss of coordination, agitation, or confusion
- Vomiting or nausea
- Inability to wake from sleep
- Pupil dilation in one or both eyes
- Persistent worsening headache
- Slurred speech
- Numbness or loss of feeling in limbs/extremities
Forms Of TBI
Closed Head Injury
Closed head injuries occur without the skull being pierced or fractured. The most common type of closed head injury is a concussion which can result in a contusion or brain swelling. Brain bleeds pose a significant risk because the brain may not get sufficient oxygen causing further injury. Swelling poses another risk because areas of the brain may become constricted as it expands, cutting off circulation to other parts of the brain.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Diffuse Axonal injuries are when connecting fibers of the brain to tear or shear because of trauma. These tears occur when the brain is shaken or rotated inside the skull. Tearing axons in the brain can result in injuries affecting mobility and other brain functions and often lead to comas or fatalities.
Contusions are injuries where the brain has been bruised, resulting in brain bleeding. Contusions are often consistent with concussions and can present mild to severe symptoms depending on the nature of the injury.
Coup-Contrecoup injuries result when the brain bounces off the inside of the skull after an impact. Although it may seem like the brain is tightly against the skull, head impacts cause the brain to move inside the skull, causing bruises or contusions. When the brain sustains a significant impact, it will often sustain contusions on one side and on the opposite side because the brain bounced against the other side of the skull.
Penetrating/Open Head Injury
Penetrating injuries occur when an object pierces the skull and impacts brain tissue. Depending on the incident, impacting objects can be pieces of bone, skull, or other objects involved in the TBI incident.
Anyone presenting with mild or severe TBI symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treatment must happen quickly after injury because injuries to the brain are difficult to reverse or treat, even in the best of circumstances. Immediate TBI concerns are ensuring adequate blood flow to the brain and controlling blood pressure.
For mild TBIs, little treatment is necessary to recover. Mild to severe TBIs may require surgery to repair blood vessels, hematomas, or contusions resulting from the TBI. Even after surgery and stabilization, you may experience persistent symptoms like behavior or mental health issues, issues with memory, sensory processing, and more. More severe cases may require physical or occupational therapy to regain speech and motor skills.
Persistent TBI Symptoms
The symptoms described above can help you identify whether you have a brain injury or not, but even with treatment, these symptoms could last your entire life. Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, you may not fully recover from your injury. In particularly severe cases, you may require additional care and supervision for the rest of your life. This can be incredibly disruptive not only to you but to your family and other loved ones. Lasting TBI effects may include:
- Sleep disorders
- Hormonal changes
- Chronic pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Memory and concentration problems
- Trouble with social interactions
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Loss of taste and smell
- Issues speaking
- Aphasia (trouble understanding language in reading, speaking, or writing)
- Issues regulating temperature
- Uncontrolled muscle movements
TBIs can occur following a variety of different accidents or incidents. Common TBI causes include:
- Car accidents
- Sports accidents (primarily contact sports like football or soccer
- Gunshot wounds or stabbing wounds
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Bicycle accidents
Damages For TBI
As with many medical procedures and conditions, TBI treatments and accommodations are expensive. The cost of medical treatments like rehabilitation or therapy, care and supervision, and daily accommodations can seem impossible. Additionally, you may no longer be able to work or enjoy life as you once did before your injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and the difficulties you experience resulting from that injury. There are two types of damage: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are the amount of money paid by a defendant responsible for your injury. The purpose of compensatory damages is to help compensate you for costs associated with your injury and the remaining effects on your life.
Economic damages are those damages for cost as related to the injury you have suffered from the TBI. The most common economic damages include compensation for medical bills, loss of earning capacity, lost income, and out-of-pocket costs. The purpose of economic damages is to compensate you for what you have to pay or the earning potential you have lost resulting from your injury.
Noneconomic damages are compensation for damages you have suffered but do not have readily determinable monetary amounts. Common noneconomic damages include loss of enjoyment, worsening of prior injuries, and pain and suffering. Determining noneconomic damages is problematic because these types of damages are not ones that generally have a tangible monetary value. While the damages are essential, determining how much they are can be difficult. It is crucial to have an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to help you calculate these damages to help you maximize the compensation you receive.
Punitive damages are those awarded by the jury or the court for particularly reckless or intentional behavior resulting in your injury. To prove punitive damages, you must show that the defendant acted with malicious intent or outrageous indifference resulting in your injury. It is often difficult to prove malicious intent or outrageous indifference, so punitive damages are rarely imposed.
Why An Experienced TBI Attorney Can Help With Your Claims
As with many legal issues, obtaining compensation for a TBI can be complicated. Much of the law surrounding personal injury is complicated and easily manipulated by opposing counsel. When seeking compensation for an injury such as a TBI, opposing counsel will attempt to deny you the compensation you need. Having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side can help thwart attempts to deny you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Additionally, as discussed above, calculating damages for your injury requires complex calculations. While economic damages are easier to determine because they have already been resolved via previous calculation or market value, others like noneconomic damages and punitive damages are less tangible—attorneys and the court use guidelines to determine what is reasonable when determining noneconomic and punitive damages. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to apply and interpret those guidelines to your case to help you maximize the damages you seek.
West Virginia TBI Lawyer
If you have been diagnosed with a TBI, you know how vital it is to have the resources necessary for treatment. When you need to speak with experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers in West Virginia, look no further than Salango Law. To learn more about a traumatic brain injury claim with an insurance company or a traumatic brain injury lawsuit, call (304) 342-0512 or visit us on our website today.