Types of Brain Injuries that Can Lead to a Claim
A mild concussion, while still a serious injury, may not warrant significant legal action on behalf of an accident victim, other than an insurance claim to recover treatment costs and other damages after your accident. On the other hand, a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) – whether caused by a closed-head injury or a penetrating injury – may give rise to significant legal action seeking compensation for long-term care, significant medical costs, and other serious damages. Damages may be available in cases where someone else’s reckless or careless behavior has caused you or your loved one’s traumatic brain injury, whether in a car accident or another type of accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
“A severe TBI can affect multiple functions you rely on every day.”
The following functions can be affected by a serious brain injury:
- Cognitive Function – attention, memory, and related functions.
- Motor Function – coordination, balance, strength.
- Sensory Function – senses like hearing, sight, touch.
- Emotional Function – anxiety, changes in personality, aggression, depression.
As a result of the loss of function in one or more of the above areas, a victim’s quality of life can change drastically. It might become difficult to maintain steady employment or pursue other interests. It can even become impossible to perform normal daily tasks as a TBI survivor. The extremely high costs associated with treating a brain injury can cause further devastation for you and your family.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Nearly 2.4 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention. The most severe TBI’s are very common in car and motorcycle accidents, and in falls from ladders or scaffolding while on the job. The head being struck by an object or struck against something along with assaults that involve head injuries are also leading causes of TBIs.
Injuries Resulting From TBIs
Many people who sustain traumatic brain injuries will require lifelong care as a result. One such lasting effect that has no cure is the loss of memory after a TBI. Even when a mild brain injury occurs, memory loss is still very common. The more severe the loss of memory after the injury, the more significant the brain damage will likely be.
Temporary Memory Loss
Some victims of TBIs get amnesia and are unable to recall what happened just before, during and after the head injury. This loss can be temporary, caused by the swelling of the brain in response to the damage that occurred. When the brain swells and is pressed against the skull, even parts that were not directly injured are unable to work properly. The victim’s memory usually returns as the swelling goes down, but this can take weeks and sometimes months. Memory loss can also be an emotional response, or the body’s defense mechanism, to the stress caused by the events that led to the TBI.
When damage occurs to the nerves and axons (the connections between the nerves), permanent memory loss can occur. The brain can’t heal itself like a broken arm or leg can. Therefore, any function that is damaged during a TBI is usually a permanent impairment, unless the brain learns how to compensate and perform the lost function in a different way. A result of this type of amnesia may include the loss of meanings of certain common, everyday objects or words, or a person may not remember skills he had before the TBI. Many times this level of brain injury will prevent a victim from being able to return to the life and job they had before the damage occurred.
Another type of memory loss is called anteretrograde amnesia. This is characterized by the inability to form memories of events that happen after the injury. Research shows that when a TBI occurs, the levels of protein in the brain, which help to balance brain activity, are reduced. Without enough protein, the brain can easily overload and memory formation is affected. At the moment, there is no treatment or cure for memory loss following TBI. The memory that doesn’t return on its own is usually lost permanently.
The High Cost of Treating a Brain Injuries
Financial compensation may be used to address factors like lost wages, diminished quality of life, medical bills, and other losses. Every brain injury is different, with factors that vary depending on the victim’s age, health, type of accident, and severity of the injury. We cannot put a price on the emotional and physical trauma that can accompany a TBI, but we can put a monetary value on the burden that exists after the injury. The cost of caring for a person with a traumatic brain injury varies widely, but it is estimated that…
- A mild head injury costs approximately $85,000.
- A moderate injury costs about $941,000.
- A severe injury costs around $3 million.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), while costs will vary according to the extent of the injury and its long-term effects, the estimated cost of caring for a TBI survivor of severe traumatic brain injury is between $600,000 and $1,875,000 over a lifetime.
Types of Care Available For Brain Injury Victims
Part of what makes a brain injury so costly to treat is the level of care required to stabilize a patient and minimize the long-term impact of the injury. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, some of the types of care that might be used to address a traumatic brain injury include:
- Emergency care and evaluation in a trauma unit and/or intensive care unit;
- Specialty neurotrauma or other specialty trauma center;
- Comprehensive integrated inpatient brain injury rehabilitation;
- Long-term acute care;
- Outpatient care (with live-in treatment or daily at-home treatment);
- Transitional rehabilitation;
- Group home; and/or
- Nursing home care or assisted living facility.
During the often-lengthy recovery process, a patient may require the services of a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech pathologist, a physiatrist, a recreational therapist, and other specialized medical professionals. A variety of medications and medical devices exist to help ease the victim’s day-to-day life and provide comfort and stability. We will work with your medical team to determine how much compensation is necessary to provide you or your loved one with the best level of care possible.
How Hiring the Right Attorney Can Help Your Case
Approximately 1.4 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year that results in disability or death. It is critical that you hire a top-notch attorney who is strong and experienced with TBI cases. It is extremely important to inquire about past experiences the lawyer has had with cases involving serious TBI injuries and deaths. TBI cases are very complex and tough to prove in court. The injuries are labeled mild, moderate and severe. With moderate and severe TBIs, CT scans and MRIs will typically show them. But, with mild TBIs, structural imaging doesn’t always show the injury. This means you have to rely on clinical findings of the treating physician, subjective reports of the injured person, and neuro-psychological testing. It takes experience to get through complex issues like this. Van Wey Law has that experience, the knowledge, and the compassion to help you with your case. Contact us today for a free evaluation of you or your loved one’s traumatic brain injury case so we can help you recover the compensation your deserve.