What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a prevalent, disabling, and treatment-resistant condition due to focal impact to the head and sudden acceleration/deceleration of the brain within the skull. TBI is exceptionally commonplace in the U.S. and is associated with substantial morbidity and functional impairment.
Brain injuries occur in motor vehicle or bicycle crashes, in sports and industrial accidents. They may be sustained from whiplash, falls, assaults, or loud blasts. If not fatal, they are often life-changing and require the same kind of aggressive diagnosis and proper treatment that occurs with heart attacks and strokes.
Therefore, the first step in treating brain injury is to recognize when it happened. In the following protocol, we list the symptoms a brain injury typically shows, first those that are likely to appear at the time of the damage, then those that may arise later.
It should be noted that brain injuries are highly individualized. As such, the symptoms will vary widely from person to person.
The newly injured person can often have difficulty recognizing their symptoms, and being aware of them is the first significant step. Beginning in the Emergency Room or Physician’s office, decisions about your treatment must be orderly. If necessary measures are ignored, much time and expense can be wasted, and you can suffer from significant delays in your treatment.
What are the symptoms of TBI?
- Loss of consciousness
- Neck Pain
- Fatigue, lethargy
- Slurred speech
- Loss of balance or Lack of coordination
- Amnesia for recent events
- Difficulty putting words to thoughts
- Slowness in processing what people are saying to you
Vision and Hearing:
- Blurred or double vision
- Trouble focusing
- Sensitivity to light
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- Sensitivity to noise
Who Might be Involved with My Medical Care?
Neurologist, Neurosurgeon (M.D. or DO)~Physicians trained in disorders of the nervous system and brain
Neuropsychologist (Ph.D.) ~Psychologists trained in the evaluation and diagnosis of cognitive impairment and emotional problems. May offer specialized treatment for these impairments and for the emotional symptoms that often accompany brain injury.
Physiatrist (M.D. or DO) ~ Physician who is trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine
Psychiatrist (M.D. or DO) ~ Physicians specializing in medications for emotional problems.
Clinical Psychologist (Ph.D.) ~ Trained in counseling for emotional problems.
Social Worker (MSW, LCSW) ~ Trained in counseling for emotional problems.
Mental Health Counselor (MHC) ~ Trained in counseling for emotional problems.
Chiropractor (D.C.) ~ Trained in spinal adjustments to relieve pain. May specialize in treatment for the Neck injuries that often accompany brain injuries.
Physical Therapist (P.T.) ~ Trained in diagnosing and treating physical problems.
Otolaryngologist (ENT) (M.D. or DO) ~ Physicians trained in hearing and balance disorders
Ophthalmologist (M.D. and/or DO) ~ Physicians trained in diseases of the eye
Behavioral Optometrist (O.D.) ~ Physicians trained in visual disturbances caused by brain injury
Audiologist (AuD.) ~Trained in hearing and balance disorders
Occupational Medicine (M.D. or DO) ~ Physician who evaluates work-related injuries
Caseworker ~A nurse, social worker, or other individual who helps coordinate care and treatment
How Do You Diagnose and Determine the Extent of Damage for a TBI?
Evaluation of TBIs can involve many different kinds of tests, including but not limited to imaging, measuring of electrical potentials, blood tests, and tests of the cerebral spinal fluid.
Some imaging techniques are:
X-rays are used to determine if the skull is intact.
CAT scans are used to detect fractures, edema, hemorrhage, or foreign bodies
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images soft tissues and can reveal contusions, white matter shearing, and smaller hemorrhages.
Functional MRI or spectrometry are used to measure altered cortical responses to controlled stimuli.
Diffusion tensor imaging shows pathway damage by using magnetic resonance detected differences in water diffusions in the brain parenchyma.
A few tests of electrical activity at electroencephalogram (EEG) or electromyogram (EMG).
EEG measures gross changes in summated electrical activity across the scalp.
EMG measures the speed of nerve conduction in limbs.
When Do I Need a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer?
Minor brain injuries can affect your brain for a short period of time. More severe complications, however, can be pretty terrifying.
These include seizures, fluid buildup on the brain, infections, and vertigo.
Brain injuries can really tax a person physically and emotionally. And don’t forget about the financial burden your new medical conditions are causing.
Your insurance or that of the person who caused your injury may be able to cover some of the costs of your recovery. Yet the payments you’re getting may not be enough to help with all of your needs. Ongoing treatments, prescriptions, and lost wages are just some new expenses you’ll have to consider.
That’s when you need to get a qualified attorney on your side to recover some of what you need to get back on your feet.
Look For Experience
There are many qualified attorneys, but not all have the expertise to represent you in a traumatic brain injury lawsuit.
When you are considering a particular attorney, scan the website for “practice areas” and find out if “brain injury” is one of them.
Many attorneys offer free consultations, which allow you to determine whether they’re the right one to represent you.
Ask your prospective attorney if they have gone to trial and their experience with that. How often do they win these cases? What is the expected outcome for the client?
You can also ask potential attorneys to give you an example of a case similar to yours that they won. What was their strategy? The right attorney will be able to provide you with a model that proves they’re the right one for the job.
Look For Recommendations
You may or may not know someone with experience with a brain injury who can recommend a qualified attorney. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their experience.
Was the lawyer knowledgeable and professional? Did they win their case? Were there any unexpected fees?
In the end, talking with the attorney to learn about them and your case is your best avenue to moving forward.
Look For the Right Attorney
All personal injury attorneys charge a flat contingency fee, which is a percentage of what you’re awarded if your case is won. This fee means you pay nothing unless your case is won.
When you talk with a lawyer, ask them what their contingency fee structure is for a settlement and for a trial.
The exact fee for your case could vary greatly depending on the amount of research your case requires and if the case goes to trial. If a settlement offer is not in your best interest, going to trial may be your only option.
Often, an attorney will accept a settlement to close the case and get paid. However, if the settlement amount is not adequate compensation, then it should not be accepted, and you should go to trial.
Your attorney should always do what is in your best interest.
It’s also essential to ask your lawyer to put your expected fees in writing before you hire them. The right attorney will be willing to explain any fees you don’t understand. Don’t hire someone who isn’t patient enough to help you make sense of the fine print in your agreement.
Getting Ahead of the Game
Sustaining a brain injury can be an overwhelming physical and emotional time for you and your family. However, the right traumatic brain injury lawyer may help you get the funds you need to get the medical and emotional assistance you deserve. With careful planning, you could be on your way to recovery in no time.
Few Delaware resources exist to help consumers fight against illegal pressure and harassment from creditors and debt collectors. Through defending these cases, we often observe abusive collections practices with personal injury clients (in addition to the insurance hassles/fights that transpire in many personal injury cases). Our law firm has this extra experience to add to the years of personal injury cases we have won.