A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause permanent debilitation and harm to an individual, as well as require tens of thousands of dollars for ongoing treatment. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, it is important that you take legal action before any statutes of limitation expire and prevent you from filing a lawsuit in pursuit of compensation. Contact a Charleston brain injury lawyer to learn more.
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC has protected the rights of West Virginia citizens for many years. We understand how devastating head trauma can be and how it can completely upend your life. When someone harms you due to negligence, you may not know what to do next. But that’s why we’re here to help you.
Severe brain trauma is more common than many believe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries lead to more than 280,000 hospitalizations, 2.2 million emergency room visits, and 50,000 deaths every year in the U.S. This means that approximately 1.4 million Americans suffer from a TBI right now.
Injuries to the brain are also incredibly complex. In sports medicine, for example, it’s common for team doctors and nurses to state that most head injuries are non-severe. Concussions have been thought to be minor injuries for years now, but recent studies suggest otherwise. A buildup of any type of head trauma can cause serious, permanent brain damage. It’s crucial for anyone who suffers from a head injury of any type to get medical attention immediately due to this fact.
Types of Brain Injuries
There are two broad categories of brain injuries—traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic brain injuries occur because of a traumatic blow, fall, or object that directly hits the head. These types of injuries are almost always traumatic in nature even if the victim does not feel any pain right away. Non-traumatic brain injuries are sometimes referred to as acquired brain injuries and include circumstances like stroke-induced brain damage or damage caused by oxygen deprivation or neurotoxins.
Concussions are the most common type of minor traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and result when an external force such as a fall to the floor or a forceful blow causes the brain to make contact with the skull. People can get concussions when their head is impacted by force or is jolted back and forth. Concussions can occur in a wide variety of situations. Some of the most common include whiplash and contact sports. The CDC reported that it’s estimated that 3.8 million concussions, on average, happen every year between all levels of sport in the U.S.
Despite the previous belief that concussions are minor, new research now suggests that concussions, when left untreated, can cause serious implications, brain disease, and lifelong brain damage when athletes suffer from numerous concussions over a consecutive period. The most dangerous aspect of a concussion is the fact that victims do not often feel pain after suffering from one. Regardless of the immediate effects, however, these injuries can still have massively serious consequences if untreated. Those that suffer from a concussion need medical treatment. Concussions can take from months to years to fully heal.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries in West Virginia
Head injuries tend to be more common after certain types of accidents or incidents than others. Here are several of the most common causes of brain injury in our state:
- Car accidents
- Sports accidents, especially contact sports
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace or industrial accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Falling accidents, often referred to as “slip and fall” accidents, or premises liability accidents
- Violent trauma wounds like gunshot wounds or stabbing wounds
Your lawyer in Charleston will investigate your case and find out what happened. We’ll look into what kind of accident occurred and how the other party acted negligently. We will look for eyewitnesses if they will help your case. Then, we can look at how the party injured you and affected your life.
It’s possible that your accident caused a specific kind of brain injury. Let’s take a look at the kinds of brain injuries.
Other Forms of Brain Injuries
You may be wondering what kind of brain injury you have so you know how it could affect you and what you can expect in terms of healing and treatment. Here are a few examples of brain injuries:
This is an injury where the brain has a bruise and is bleeding. One may feel headaches, lose consciousness, be foggy, dizzy, or having ringing in their ears. If the contusion is large, the patient may need to undergo surgery to remove it.
When a head sustains a great force, it can cause contusions at the impact site and also on the other side of the brain. This is because the force moved the brain to hit the skull.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
This injury occurs when the head is strongly rotated or shaken. Brain structures can tear, which affects how the brain functions. A motor vehicle accident can cause a diffuse axonal injury. Brain damage can occur. Severe injuries can cause comas or fatalities.
Penetrating/Open Head Injury
A penetrating injury occurs when a sharp object gets through to the brain. Fragments like bone or skin can reach the brain.
Closed Head Injury
While the brain still suffers from an outside force, the skull is not penetrated. However, brain swelling can occur. Since the skull is intact, the brain is trying to expand but it cannot. People may feel pressure because of this.
Knowing the kind of injury you have will also help your attorneys as well. We’ll review copies of your medical records and see what kind of tests or any medical procedures you’ve had to undergo as a result of the injury. We’ll also see what kind of treatment you’ve needed and possibly will need in the future. Your compensation should help cover the cost of future expenses as well.
Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
When damage to the head or brain is severe, the consequences are often immediate. The victim may become paralyzed, comatose, unable to stand, and possibly even pass away. Not all traumatic brain injuries are readily apparent or happen directly after an accident or incident. Some may begin as slight problems caused by a minor blow to the head, infection, or high fever. It is only when they go undiagnosed and untreated that they become truly problematic, permanent, or life-threatening.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, please see a medical physician as soon as you can:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Hearing loss or tinnitus
- Blindness or blurred vision
- Chronic migraines
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Amnesia and difficulty remembering faces
- Inability to concentrate
- Inability to sleep or sleeping an excessive amount
- Mood changes
- Weakness in the extremities such as the fingers or toes
Another form of TBI is second impact syndrome, which is when someone gets another traumatic brain injury when their first one didn’t heal. A person can incur another TBI within days or weeks from the first. This is dangerous and can cause swelling and more overall damage.
Because of how serious this type of injury is, fatalities can ensue if there isn’t immediate medical treatment. Those that do get treatment may deal with issues with learning, thinking, or experience muscle spasms for the rest of their life.
A skilled Charleston lawyer will take into account what you’ve suffered because of someone else’s irresponsible actions. It’s not fair for you to deal with recovering from a difficult injury all on your own. We’ll make sure that your rights are defended.
Lasting Effects of a Brain Injury
The symptoms listed above can help you determine whether or not you have a brain injury, but some of those symptoms could potentially last longer than just to identify your injury—they could last the rest of your life. Since traumatic brain injuries affect the part of your body that controls all functions, a severe enough brain injury could leave you with permanent damages.
No matter how hard you work to recover from your injury, a full recovery might not be possible. You could be left with permanent damage that leaves you unable to perform daily tasks, with limited motor function, or even brain dead in a serious case. You might require a level of care for the rest of your life, which would mean even more costs that you could accrue. You also might be unable to return to work indefinitely and unable to earn wages.
Some long-term effects that you might experience after your injury are trouble with thinking tasks, trouble or loss of movement, and changes in your relationships. Some thinking tasks that you might have trouble with could be making change, reading, or processing information. When it comes to movement, it might be harder to write, use a fork, or walk. Your relationships could change because your brain might not process emotions the same way, or because you are now dependent on family members as caretakers.
Other lasting effects include:
- Depression or anxiety
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sleep disorders
- Trouble with social interactions
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Loss of taste and smell
- Speaking problems
- Aphasia, or having trouble with everyday language in speaking, reading, and writing
- Trouble regulating and perceiving temperature
- Hormonal changes
- Chronic pain
- Uncontrolled muscle movements
Brain injuries can have a debilitating effect on the rest of your life. That’s why you’ll want a Charleston brain injury lawyer on your side so that we can help you get justice for your injuries and the new way of life that you will have to adapt to either during your recovery or for the rest of your life.
Coping Mechanisms for Your Brain Injury
After a brain injury, recovery could be a long road. It’s important not to push yourself too hard to recover because that could end up making your recovery process take even longer and cause more damage to your brain. While you focus on healing your brain and recovering from your injury, there are some coping mechanisms that could help the healing process.
Some accommodations that could make recovery go more smoothly are:
- Using medical and assistive devices, like walkers and wheelchairs to ease movement
- Creating lists for tasks and needs to more easily remember what needs to be accomplished that day
- Using post-it notes or other visual cues to remember important information or other tasks
- Adjusting household items and fixtures so that they are more easily accessible
Making everyday tasks more accommodating will not only make your life easier but could also make your recovery process easier as well. You and your loved ones could have a tough road ahead of you. By adapting your way of life and always learning new ways to do daily tasks big and small, you and your family could improve your quality of life and lead you down the path to better recovery.
While accommodations can make your life easier, they can also cost money. When the trauma you suffered to your brain changes your life and forces you to change your way of life, there are many costs that you could incur while changing and relearning how to live. Some of those costs could be for physical therapy, emotional therapy, renovations to your home for accessibility, or in-home nurses for constant care. A brain injury lawyer from our firm can help you recover from those costs so that you can focus on healing and adapting to your new way of life.
DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC Will Fight for You
The sooner you can identify a condition caused by a brain injury, the sooner you can begin addressing it. In many cases, the harm is permanent and cannot be undone. To this extent, many TBIs require lifelong treatments and cause enduring discomfort or debilitation.
It’s estimated that only 20 percent of patients with brain injuries can receive the treatment options and rehabilitation required to make a full recovery. This is due to the high costs of most brain injury treatment options and the fact that most insurance companies will not cover all costs.
Our Charleston traumatic brain injury lawyers have the resources and experience to fight for compensation that can pay for:
- Initial medical treatments
- Ongoing therapy or rehabilitation
- Wages lost and career opportunities denied
- Emotional trauma and loss of standard of living
You should not expect to be handed a fair settlement amount from the parties liable for your brain injury. In most circumstances, people consider themselves lucky if they are offered a settlement amount at all. Instead of relying on the generosity of a guilty party, take matters into your own hands and contact our dedicated team. With our help, you can begin the pursuit of compensation with confidence that your best interests are being respected and your rights are being upheld.