Approximately 5.3 million Americans live with some form of brain injury. The symptoms of a brain injury can be subtle, yet brain injuries are catastrophic injuries that require immediate medical attention and often require ongoing support.
The recovery from a serious brain injury can be long, and it can be challenging. It is important to know what to expect and where you can get the help that you need to move forward if you or a loved one have been hurt.
How Brain Injuries Commonly Occur
A catastrophic brain injury can occur any time there is enough force for a person’s brain to slam against the skull or any time something penetrates the skull and touches the brain. Some accidents that can result in brain injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Accidents involving cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles can result in catastrophic injuries. A person may suffer a brain injury because the force of an impact causes the brain to crash against the skull, or a person may suffer a brain injury because an object hits or penetrates the skull.
- Fall accidents. Slip and falls and falls from heights are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. More than one-quarter of all brain injuries occur because of a fall.
- Sports accidents. Sports often result in head injuries because of falls or because a participant’s head is hit by an object. Any sport may result in an injury, including bicycling, football, hockey, wrestling, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics, dancing, cheerleading, snow sports, water sports, horseback riding, and others.
- Violence. More than 10% of traumatic brain injuries occur because of violence. An assault can result in a direct blow to the head or it can cause the victim to fall and hurt his head.
Despite these common causes of brain injuries, not all brain injuries are the same.
Different Kinds of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can cause a temporary or permanent change in physical ability, cognitive ability, or behavior. The consequences of your brain injury depend, in part of on the nature of your brain injury. Different brain injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Any time there is damage to brain tissue because of an external factor, a traumatic brain injury may occur. A traumatic brain injury may be a closed head injury where the skull is intact, or an open head injury where something penetrates the skull and the brain.
- Concussions. A concussion occurs when the brain is affected by an impact or by sudden movement. The blood vessels in the brain may stretch and the nerves may be hurt. While this is the most common type of brain injury, every concussion heals differently and at a different pace.
- Diffuse axonal injuries. Diffuse axonal injuries occur when the brain is shaken. This can be the result of intentional shaking, such as in Shaken Baby Syndrome, or because of the force of a motor vehicle accident, for example. This condition is marked by a tearing of brain tissue because the brain did not move as fast as the skull when the brain was shaken.
- Contusions. A contusion is a bruise or bleeding on the brain. It is often the result of direct impact.
- Coup-contrecoup injuries. A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when the force of the injury was so great that a contusion developed at the site of impact and also on the opposite side of the brain where the brain collided with the skull.
The treatment of these injuries may require medical intervention, such as craniotomies. A craniotomy is the surgical removal of the skull in order for the medical team to access the brain. Ongoing rehabilitation therapies—including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy—may also be necessary.
The specific treatment that you need depends on how the brain was hurt and the part of the brain that was hurt. Some of the difficulties that you may experience that require immediate or ongoing medical attention include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Memory loss.
- Speech impairments.
- Balance problems or physical disabilities..
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Cognitive problems.
- Emotional problems.
In some cases, a traumatic brain injury can result in death.
What About the Children?
All children—like all adults—are at risk of suffering brain injuries. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, more than half a million children visit emergency rooms in the United States each year because of traumatic brain injuries.
Often, these injuries are caused by:
- Child abuse.
- Motor vehicle crashes.
It may be difficult to know if your child has suffered a brain injury. However, if your child experiences any changes in physical or cognitive ability, then you should seek emergency medical attention for your child. You should also seek emergency medical care if your child is crying excessively or experiences changes in sleeping or eating routines.
Brain injuries can be particularly catastrophic when they occur in children. Their brains are still developing and the result of the injury can remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Brain Injury Recoveries
You or your child may not be the same person that you were prior to a brain accident. You may be unable to work or go to school, you may need extensive medical treatment, and you may be mourning the life that you had prior to your injury.
A lawsuit can help you recover for the specific injuries that you have suffered. You may be able to recover compensation for all of your past, current, and future:
- Medical expenses. This includes everything from the emergency care that you needed immediately after the accident to the ongoing physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy that you may need indefinitely.
- Lost income. Any income from self-employment, wages, or benefits that you were able to earn prior to the accident and that you can no longer earn may be included in your recovery.
- Pain and suffering. Your physical pain and your emotional suffering may be the most significant damages that you suffer from your brain injury. While no amount of money can make the pain and suffering end, it is available to compensate you for these catastrophic damages.
You may also recover damages for any miscellaneous damages that you can prove were the direct result of your brain injury.
How to Get the Recovery That You Deserve
Even though you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, your recovery is not automatic. You will need to take specific steps in order to make a legal recovery, but you don’t have to do it alone.
We want to hear exactly what happened to you, we want to understand precisely how your brain injury is impacting your life, and we want to get to know you personally. With this information, our legal team can work for your unique recovery.
This is your recovery, and we will work hard to make sure that it is a fair one for you. We will gather the evidence and prepare the arguments to convince the insurance company to settle your claim. However, if the insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim for a fair amount, then we will not hesitate to go to trial. Throughout this whole process, our team will keep you informed at every step of the way.
Please contact us today to learn more about what we can do together to get you the fair and just recovery that you deserve.