Injuries like broken bones are visible and treatable. But what about the wounds you can’t see?
Every year 3 million+ people are hospitalized for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the cases are rising. According to the CDC the number of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths increased by 53% from 2006 to 2014. Despite how common it is,TBI can be difficult to diagnose because signs and symptoms don’t always appear right after an accident.
Later on if symptoms arise it can be challenging to directly link them to an incident that might have occurred years before. The delay in symptom onset makes it extremely difficult for TBI victims to take legal action against parties that may have caused their injury.
That’s why it’s so important to be aware of TBI, so you can get proper treatment immediately and pursue the compensation you deserve.
How TBI Occurs
TBI usually results from a bump, blow, or penetrating injury to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. However, the head doesn’t need to come into contact with an object for TBI to occur. The brain can also become damaged from injuries like whiplash, where the head violently swings back and forth but does not collide with an object. As the head jolts during whiplash, the brain bounces inside the skull and can become damaged during the process.
What Accidents Cause TBI?
Car accidents are the most common cause of TBI, but they’re far from the only culprit. At KL, we’ve helped TBI victims as a result of:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Sports activities and recreational activities
- Assaults and violence
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Penetrating head wounds
What are the Symptoms of TBI?
Before we review the signs and symptoms, it’s important to remember that TBI manifests differently for everyone. For example, you can be bruise-free and symptom-free for weeks after an incident and still develop chronic issues that plague you for months or years to come. According to the National Data and Statistical Center, nearly 50% of people with TBI will experience further health decline in their daily lives within five years.
Moreover, you do not have to lose consciousness or even hit your head against an object to be at risk for TBI. That’s why it’s so difficult for doctors to correctly diagnose such brain injuries, and why insurance companies are reluctant to partially or fully compensate deserving accident victims for this debilitating injury.
Some symptoms can be as subtle as friends and family noticing that you’re acting a little off. Other symptoms are a bit more obvious. If you’re feeling not-quite-right or are experiencing any of the symptoms below, it’s vital to call a doctor to perform diagnostic tests immediately. Then call KL for a complimentary review of your case.
- Physical symptoms, including headaches, vomiting, loss of consciousness, fatigue, nausea, speech problems, sleeping problems, dizziness, or loss of balance
- Sensory problems, including ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light or sound
- Memory problems or problems concentrating
- Changes in mood, or feeling anxious or depressed
- Seizures or convulsions
- Weakness in the limbs or extremities
- Inability to awaken from sleep
TBI in Children
TBI symptoms may appear slightly different in children. If your child recently suffered an injury, he or she may not know how to express what they feel. That’s why it’s so important to vigilantly monitor them and look for the following non-verbal cues.
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleep habits
- Extreme fussiness
- Loss of interest in playing
- Persistent crying
What To Do If You Suspect TBI?
Seek medical treatment from a general physician and neuro psychologist immediately. This is not only vital for your health; it significantly improves your chances of winning a personal injury claim or suit.
Make sure to seek treatment from a specialist who performs thorough tests, such as cutting-edge DTI imaging. DTI tests were developed specifically to diagnose minor to severe brain injuries. They are so advanced; they can pick up on different magnitudes of injuries that prior technology might have missed.
And let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a “minor” brain injury. Even micro trauma like whiplash can have serious effects. That’s why ER doctors admit people with head injuries right away. They know the brain is the most vital organ, and any impact can affect your physical and mental wellbeing.
Can You Sue for Damages from TBI?
Brain injuries can have debilitating cognitive and physical effects that prevent you from working and performing basic tasks. That’s why you may be entitled to compensation If you sustain a brain injury in an accident or because of another person’s negligence. In most personal injury claims, you must prove the four elements of negligence before recovering compensation.
- Duty: You must prove the party owed you a duty of care, such as how drivers owe others on the road a duty to drive safely and avoid accidents.
- Breach of duty: You must prove the party breached the duty of care owed to you, such as if a driver fails to yield the right of way and causes an accident.
- Causation: You must prove the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your injury. In other words, because of the party’s actions or inactions, you were injured.
- Damages: You must prove you sustained damages and losses as a result of your injury.
Getting Compensation for Your Brain Injury
Proving the legal elements of negligence for TBIs can be difficult, especially when the case involves an elusive brain injury. Oftentimes, personal injury attorneys must work with experts to assist in investigations to prove that a party’s actions led directly to a brain injury.
That’s why it’s imperative to seek help from experienced TBI lawyers like KL Injury Attorneys. We have a track record helping clients receive fair compensation. There are typically two types of damages that we consider when pursuing TBI cases:
- Special damages: These include financial damages such as lost wages (past and future), costs of current and future medical treatment, lost earning capacity, and damages to property.
- General damages: These refer to more abstract losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of familial and friendship ties, and emotional suffering. These damages rely on a jury to assign a value.
Although no two cases are the same, we weigh the most common factors to determine the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive for your damages. For example, we seek experts who are qualified to testify about the costs of your medical treatment as well as long-term life care. We also investigate the extent to which the accident directly caused your symptoms, so we can rule out natural degeneration as a cause. Then we formulate a 100-page report to help win the maximum settlement possible.
Recently, our team of personal injury experts fought for a driver whose car flipped on its side in a traumatic crash. Immediately, the driver’s behavior started to change and people around him took notice. As a result, the driver visited a neuropsychologist who tested, documented and diagnosed his TBI. Because of this proof, our team negotiated a fair settlement from the insurance company that helped to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
In another case, we worked with an elderly passenger who was rear ended. He immediately showed signs of post-concussion syndrome, as well as speech problems, headaches, and mood irregularities. We referred this client to a neurologist, who conducted a thorough workup, including an electroencephalogram (EEG). The tests diagnosed him with TBI and created a book of proof for KL to present to his insurance company With that, we were able to win the full extent of coverage, which was a six-figure settlement. This was a well-deserved outcome but, unfortunately, not every victim gets the compensation he or she deserves because they don’t have the proof or an experienced brain injury law firm they need.
Time Is of the Essence
A delay in treatment can make it difficult to prove the cause of your brain injury, which can diminish the value of your claim. An extreme delay may even make it impossible to bring the case to court. According to the Florida Senate, the statute of limitations to file claims for “actions due to negligence,” which may include brain injuries is four years from the date of the accident.
If you or a loved one has received or may need medical attention for a traumatic brain injury, call KL Injury Attorneys today. We’re here to assist you through every step of your claim and make it as easy as possible, so you can focus on your bright future ahead.