Roanoke Brain Injury Attorney
When a person is involved in an accident, such a motor vehicle crash or a workplace fall, that results in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is critical they seek immediate medical attention. An MRI or CT scan can help identify any brain swelling or internal bleeding. Even without those complications, a brain injury needs quick attention and treatment. If the trauma was caused by someone else’s negligence, it will be important for the victim to file a personal injury claim with the liable party’s insurance. However, that is a major undertaking at a time when rest is critical to recovery. A skilled Roanoke traumatic brain injury attorney can take the weight of a personal injury case off of the victim and their caregivers, ensuring the case gets the attention it deserves and that maximum compensation is received.\
Signs of a Brain Injury
According to The Brain Injury Association of Virginia, there were 5,078 traumatic brain injury hospitalizations across the state in 2016. Brain injuries are frequently called silent injuries because they are not readily visible to other people. If someone has been in a traumatic accident, other injuries may require an ambulance trip to the emergency room and surgery. In the midst of treating the visible wounds, a brain injury can be overlooked. One of the challenges to making a successful recovery from a brain injury is simply recognizing the signs and getting it diagnosed it early. If your brain injury was caused by a negligent party, you should speak with a knowledgeable Roanoke personal injury attorney who can help you through the legal steps to seeking compensation.
About the Brain
According to Live Science, the brain has 86 billion nerve cells, which make the gray matter of the brain, and billions of nerve fibers, which make up the white matter of the brain. The brain is separated into different areas including:
- Cerebrum—The cerebrum is further split into four lobes. The frontal lobe coordinates high-level thinking, the parietal lobe helps with sensory processing, the temporal lobes assist with skills such as visual memory and processing others’ emotions, and the occipital lobe helps with reading written words.
- Cerebellum—This area helps with balance, coordination, posture, and fine motor skills.
- Diencephalon—This area helps with many functions of the body that are unconscious such as maintaining homeostasis, sleep, long-term memory, and more.
- Brain stem—The brain stem controls the function of our hearts and lungs. It also helps with tasks such as eye movements and facial movements.
Signs of Brain Trauma
Each brain injury victim will experience different symptoms depending on what area of their brain has been most impacted from the trauma. Symptoms may also appear at different times. Initially, there may be a headache while emotional reactivity may become an issue in the days that follow. Signs of a brain trauma that an individual and their loved ones should watch for include:
- Loss of consciousness;
- Blindness, blurred vision, double vision, or light sensitivity;
- Spinal fluid escaping the nose or ears;
- Dizziness or problems balancing;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Dilated pupils;
- Vomiting or stomach ache;
- Confusions or issues with memory;
- Trouble maintaining attention;
- Trouble moving a body part;
- Breathing problems;
- Trouble processing thoughts or emotions;
- Anxiety, irritability, frustration, or inappropriate emotional reactions;
- Numbness in the body; and
- Trouble controlling the bladder.
The Costs of a Brain Injury
Brain injuries are costly. This is partially because of the lengthy recovery time, but also because recovery frequently involves seeing medical specialists and if a person is unable to fully recover, they will incur the financial burden of requiring long-term care. During acute care alone, a victim may require life-saving surgery or treatment that puts them into financial hardship. For instance, CBS News reports that a decompressive craniotomy, which may be necessary to relieve pressure in the skull of a TBI patient while in the hospital, costs an average of $112,984. In addition to medical bills, brain injury patients may not be capable of returning to their previously held job. According to Next Avenue, the unemployment rate two years after diagnosis of a brain injury in an adult is 60 percent, which is significantly higher than the national unemployment rate.
What Damages are Considered in a Personal Injury Claim
- Medical expenses;
- Future medical care including therapy or long-term care services;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning potential;
- Loss of joy of life;
- Property damage; and
- Pain and suffering.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
When a person sustains a jolt or blow to the head, there is potential for a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs and their milder version, concussions, signify a person’s brain function has been impaired. The symptoms and severity of each brain injury depends on the cause of the force to the head. The cause can also be very important in determining if there is a legal case. Brain injury victims are able to file a personal injury claim if their injuries were caused by another negligent party. Compensation can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of a caregiver, the loss of joy in life, and more. Reach out to a Roanoke brain injury attorney to determine if you or a loved one has the ability to file an insurance claim after a brain trauma.
- Falls—According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls were the leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits for children up to the age of 17 and adults over the age of 55. Sometimes there is another party responsible for the fall. For instance, if a grocery store fails to clean-up a spill that causes a person to slip and fall and hit their head on the way down, the grocery store could be liable. Nursing homes can be held liable if they do not create a safe environment for the elderly to walk around and a private property owner can be held liable if you fall off a staircase that is in disrepair.
- Motor Vehicle Collisions—According to AboutBrainInjury.org, motor vehicle crashes are responsible for about 28 percent of all TBIs. If another driver caused the crash, their insurance company is accountable for the damages you sustained, including a concussion or TBI. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are the most likely to sustain a TBI after a collision because they lack the safety protections of a vehicle such as seatbelts and airbags.
- Violence—When a person is being attacked, a perpetrator may throw the victim’s head violently against a wall or the floor and cause a brain injury. Some attacks include a knife or gun, which also inflict significant penetrating head wounds. Even a strong punch to the face can cause trauma to the brain.
- Explosive Blasts—If a person is around explosive blasts because of their work environment, they could suffer a TBI. The brain injury can result from the blast pressure itself or from a penetrating head wound from debris caused by the blast.
Care & Treatment of Brain Injury
If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury during an accident, it is critical that you seek medical attention and let the brain properly heal to avoid cognitive issues later on in life. Each brain injury will be unique depending on the severity of the trauma and what regions of the brain were most impacted. Luckily, there has been significant progress in understanding brain trauma in the last decade, which has led to more successful treatment and recovery for those who suffer a blow to the head.
The Brain’s Four Stages of Healing
According to Psychology Today, the brain heals in four distinct stages. First, dormant neurons are activated with a supply of oxygen and energy. Then new synapses begin to form in the days to weeks after a trauma. After a month with brain-focused treatment such as neurofeedback and brain exercises, the neurons themselves will change and make new proteins. The final step is for the brain, in the months and years that follow, to create solid new firing patterns in what is referred to as systematic neuroplasticity.
Potential Care and Treatment Paths For Brain Injury Patients
Treatment after a brain injury can be separated into two categories of acute care and post-acute care. According to The Mayo Clinic, acute care may include a medical professional administering the 15-point test called the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the severity of the injury or sending the patient to get a CT scan or an MRI. Acute care can also include medication or surgery to keep good blood flow and oxygen to the brain tissue.
During post-acute care, a brain injury patient will frequently work with specialists to focus on their specific symptoms. For instance, a patient may be struggling to manage their emotions after a brain injury and need to visit with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Meanwhile, another person may have breathing issues and impaired speech from the brain trauma, so their route to recovery will look different. Depending on the severity, a patient may return home to lead a normal life. However, in the most traumatic brain injury cases, patients require lifelong care in a nursing home facility.
Specialists Who May Help After a Brain Trauma
- Case Manager or Social Worker;
- Occupational Therapist;
- Orthopedic Surgeon;
- Physical Therapist;
- Rehabilitation Nurse;
- Recreational Therapist;
- Respiratory Therapist;
- Speech/Language Pathologist; and
Supporting a Family Member with Brain Injury
According to Caregiver.org, two percent of the U.S. population lives with disabilities related to a brain trauma. Brain injuries do not just affect an individual, but rather they impact their entire family and community. If you are taking care of a loved one who has suffered a brain injury it is important that you not only learn how to best care for them, but that you look out for your own health during this time too. Help includes receiving outside support at times. If your case involved an accident that should be handled with a personal injury claim, the compassionate Roanoke attorneys at MichieHamlett are here to assist you with the legal work necessary to seek compensation.
Ways to Support a Family Member After a Brain Injury
After a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a person’s ability to care for themselves can drastically change and they may struggle with memory, emotions, and depression. Some ways you can support them include:
- Help them find proper medical care and attend doctor’ appointments with them;
- Pay attention for any sudden changes in their behavior as it may signify a worsening of their condition, such as a blood clot;
- Gently remind them of medication they need to take, appointments they need to go for, or physical therapy that should be completed;
- Remain positive and even-tempered if they are more emotional;
- Be patient with changes in your relationship. A TBI can impact relationships in many ways. For instance The Brain Injury Association of America states that most couples experience a change in their sexual relationship after a brain injury; and
- Remind them of all the ways you are noticing improvement in their recovery so that they see progress in what can be a long, slow journey.
Ways to Care for Yourself When you are Primary Caregiver to a Brain Injury Victim
Primary caregivers can experience burnout if they do not properly care for their own needs as well. This means asking for help from others when you need a rest and accepting help when it is offered. During this stressful period, taking up meditation, exercise, or other stress-reducing practices can ensure that you feel ready to handle the challenges of caregiving. Other ways to take care of yourself include getting adequate sleep, focusing on good nutrition, and continuing with enjoyable hobbies that fill you up emotionally. Caregiving can take a toll on one’s physical and emotional well-being, so it is important to not only talk to the doctors regarding your loved one’s brain injury, but to speak to your primary care doctor or a psychologist if you feel your health decline.
Why a Skilled Attorney Should Handle Your Case
Brain injuries are frequently referred to as invisible or silent injuries because they are not always readily detected and the symptoms, such as emotional changes, may only be recognizable to the victim or close family. An insurance company will try to deny the claim or negotiate down their liability. While some expenses associated with a brain injury may be more apparent, such as an emergency room bill, other expenses may require more documentation for the insurance company to accept. Furthermore, many of the impacts of a brain injury cannot be summed up with a medical bill and only a skilled attorney who understands how insurance companies work will be able to properly advocate for compensation.
Contact a Knowledgeable Roanoke Brain Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has a personal injury case involving a brain injury, look no further for legal help than the skilled Roanoke attorneys at MichieHamlett. We understand the impact a brain injury can have on your life and will compile a comprehensive personal injury claim so that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.