Brain Injury Lawyer & Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
Talk to a Lawyer for Free 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 :: Almost half of all reported TBI’s, Traumatic Brain Injuries, are the result of a car accident.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are responsible for many deaths and permanent disability cases each year. Over half of these traumatic brain injury cases are attributed to car accidents. Many TBIs are mild, causing concussions. Other TBI survivors face life-changing effects that leave them disabled for life.
Brain injury lawyers are crucial for victims of brain injuries to recover compensation for the damages caused by physical, cognitive, and emotional impairments. They can investigate the cause of the injury, collect evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that the victim receives fair compensation. Additionally, brain injury lawyers understand the complexities of brain injuries and can help victims obtain compensation for future medical care and ongoing support. Without legal representation, victims may be left to cover the high costs of medical care and other expenses on their own, which can be financially devastating.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, our experienced brain injury lawyers can provide the legal support and guidance you need.
What is a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury is a head injury that disrupts the brain’s normal function. TBI is caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head and can also result from a penetrating head injury.
In a car accident, trauma to the brain can occur if the skull hits something inside the car, such as a windshield or steering wheel. There may or may not be an open wound to the skull. In other auto accident cases, the sheer force of the vehicle being hit can cause the brain to strike the inside of the skull. This can happen if a head that is moving stops too quickly. This type of car accident injury can cause a contusion or bruising of the brain, brain hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. When injuries like this occur, there may or may not be visible signs at the time of injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a wide range of physical and psychological effects of a traumatic brain injury. There may be immediate signs and symptoms, while others may take days or weeks to appear. TBI’s can be placed into two categories, mild traumatic brain injuries and moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness for up to a few minutes
- Dazed, confused, disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- A headache
- A feeling of drowsiness or fatigue
- A difficult time sleeping
- Sleeping more than normal
- Loss of balance or dizziness
In addition, a person may experience sensory symptoms such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, bad taste in the mouth, or changes in smell. Mental or cognitive symptoms can include memory or concentration problems, mood changes, and depression or anxiety.
If a car accident victim suffers a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, they may have any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, as well as the following. Again, some of these may take a few hours or even days to appear.
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness for many hours
- Definite vomiting and nausea
- One or both pupils dilated
- Clear fluid draining from ears or nose
- Numbness or weakness in fingers and toes
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
Common physical indicators of TBI include:
- Any type of seizure
- Spasticity in the muscles
- Low, double, or blurred vision, as well as blindness
- No sense of taste or smell
- Speech problems such as slurred or slow speech
- Serious headaches
- Fatigue and low energy
- Having trouble balancing
Common cognitive indicators include:
- Temporary or permanent amnesia
- Difficulties in processing information
- Lack of concentration or attention
- Communication problems or disorders
- Disorganized and faulty judgment
- Incapable of doing two things at the same time
- Incapable of starting or completing jobs without any reminder
Common emotional indicators of TBI include:
- Heightened apprehension
- Rapid mood changes and melancholy
- Ego-centric attitude and difficulty in seeing the effect of the attitude on other people
Although memory problems are a common symptom of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), they are often temporary and can be easily dismissed. In the aftermath of a car accident, the emotional toll of the event may cause a person to forget certain details, leading them to believe that their memory loss is not a significant issue. However, a TBI can also impact a person’s ability to form new memories, specifically those after the accident. Therefore, it is crucial to be vigilant for signs of memory loss and seek medical attention if necessary to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Out of Character Emotional Response
An individual’s emotional response to their surroundings can also be significantly affected by a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In some cases, those who have experienced a TBI may exhibit a complete lack of emotional response, such as laughing, crying, smiling, or showing enthusiasm, even in situations that typically elicit these reactions. This can be a worrying sign, as it may indicate ongoing issues even after the TBI has been diagnosed and treated. Additionally, from an outside perspective, those with TBIs may appear to lack empathy due to their inability to express emotions, further underscoring the importance of seeking appropriate medical attention and support for those who have experienced these types of injuries.
Extreme Mood Swings
The emotional instability that often accompanies a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can manifest unpredictably. Those who have experienced a TBI may undergo rapid and drastic shifts in mood, seemingly without any provocation. This can result in a person appearing joyful one moment and in uncontrollable sobs the next, which can be confusing and distressing for those around them. It is important to recognize that these emotional fluctuations are a common symptom of TBI and require specialized care and support to manage effectively.
Behavioral issues are a distinct symptom of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and differ from mood swings in their nature and severity. Rather than short-lived emotional outbursts, behavioral changes can dramatically alter an individual’s personality, causing them to behave in uncharacteristic ways. For example, someone with TBI may stop showing affection to family and friends and become cold and distant towards them. These changes often occur suddenly and without any apparent cause or trigger. It is not uncommon for an individual with TBI to display a behavioral shift, even if no specific event could explain this new behavior. Proper diagnosis and treatment of these symptoms are essential to support individuals in their recovery from TBI.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can also trigger aggressive behavior, which can manifest verbally or physically and profoundly impact those close to the individual. These sudden outbursts of aggression can occur regardless of the person’s prior temperament, leaving loved ones confused and overwhelmed. It is essential to recognize that this behavioral change is a common symptom of TBI and should be addressed with specialized care and support. Proper management of these symptoms can help individuals with TBI regain control of their emotions and maintain positive relationships with those around them.
Individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may experience difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus, making it challenging to follow conversations or complete tasks requiring sustained attention. They may appear disengaged, distracted, or even ask the same questions multiple times. These symptoms can be frustrating for both the person with TBI and those interacting with them. Recognizing that these cognitive difficulties are a common symptom of TBI and require specialized support and treatment to manage effectively is crucial. With appropriate care and support, individuals with TBI can regain their cognitive abilities and resume their daily activities with greater ease.
Depression or Anxiety
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result in a chemical imbalance in the brain, increasing the risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. The challenge is that the car accident itself can be a traumatic event that triggers these disorders, and a person may experience symptoms of depression or anxiety even in the absence of a TBI. It is essential to be vigilant for signs of mental health disorders following a car crash and seek medical attention promptly. Individuals who experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues after a car accident should be evaluated for TBI to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. By addressing both the physical and psychological impact of car accidents, individuals can achieve better outcomes and improve their overall well-being.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have long-lasting effects, including emotional and behavioral changes that can impact a person’s quality of life. As such, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial if you sustain any head injury in an auto accident, no matter how mild it may seem. Delaying medical care could lead to further damage to the brain and worsen symptoms, making it essential to seek immediate evaluation and treatment. By taking swift action, individuals can increase their chances of recovering fully from a TBI and improve their overall outcome.
Traumatic Brain Injury Car Accident
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a significant public health concern, with an estimated 50,000 fatalities and 230,000 hospitalizations resulting from TBIs each year. Moreover, about 90,000 survivors experience long-term disabilities from their injuries. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. While not all TBIs are equally severe, a medical professional should evaluate any head injury. It is essential to recognize that TBIs are not always immediately diagnosed, so it is crucial to seek medical attention if you or a loved one experiences any TBI symptoms following a car accident.
What can you do to help a loved one who has gone through such a trauma?
When a victim suffers a TBI in a car crash, they may be unable to defend themselves or initiate a personal injury suit due to their condition. This is where the victim’s loved ones or family members may step in to take on these responsibilities. Depending on their relationship with the victim, they may be able to help with legal actions and provide support during recovery. It is crucial to have a strong support system in place for someone who has suffered a TBI. A knowledgeable and experienced brain injury lawyer can help ensure the victim and their family receive the compensation they deserve.
Recognize the Signs of TBI
Car accidents can result in many injuries, some of which may not be immediately visible. A TBI is a type of injury that may or may not be associated with an open injury to the head. It is critical to be aware of the following symptoms that may indicate a TBI:
- Slurred speech
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Unusual tiredness
- Limb weakness or numbness
- Headache and/or neck pain
If you notice any of these symptoms in a friend or family member involved in a car accident, it is important to take them to a doctor and explain the situation. Even if there are no apparent injuries, it is recommended to get checked by a doctor to ensure everything is okay.
Helping Them Through Recovery
If a loved one suffers a TBI, seeking immediate medical treatment and monitoring is essential. This may include transportation to and from medical appointments. If you must miss work or incur transportation expenses, these costs should be included in the personal injury claim.
Additionally, regular check-ups at six months and twelve months after the accident can help monitor the progress of the injury and estimate future medical expenses and other damages caused by the TBI. It is important to keep track of all medical expenses and records to ensure the best possible outcome for the victim.
Even a minor car accident can cause serious head injuries.
Car accidents are notorious for causing a wide range of injuries, but the head and neck are particularly vulnerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car accidents are responsible for over 14% of all brain injuries in the United States. Brain trauma is one of the most challenging injuries to treat, and victims often face an extended recovery period, with some never being able to return to their pre-injury active lifestyle.
Unlike other types of injuries, brain injuries sustained in car accidents can have far more significant consequences and long-term repercussions, ranging from mild to severe. Due to the force of inertia, when a car suddenly stops but passengers do not, they can easily collide with the dashboard or window, resulting in a brain injury that can cause a lifetime of disability.
Complicating matters in car accident compensation cases is the fact that sometimes, the damage from a brain injury related to a car accident may not be immediately apparent. It can take time for the full consequences of a brain injury to show. Without proper medical attention and testing after an accident, it may be impossible to anticipate the type of medical treatment needed or the potential consequences that may surface later on. It’s crucial to be vigilant and get the necessary medical tests done to identify and treat any injuries promptly.
Seek Medical Attention ASAP
Seeking medical attention is imperative – not just to know the extent of your brain injury but also to prove a chain of causation for your car accident case. Your St. Louis car accident attorney will need the documentation when negotiating for a settlement with the insurance company, or if the case should proceed to court, to get you the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Unfortunately, treatment for a brain injury can be incredibly costly, and it often requires extensive medical procedures and months of rehabilitation. The financial burden of this type of injury can be overwhelming, so it is crucial to pursue full compensation for all your losses and expenses.
Signs That You May Have a Brain Injury
- Foggy brain
- Feeling nauseous
- Being sensitive to sounds and lights
- Having difficulty with your balance
- Extreme fatigue
- Not appropriately dealing with your emotions
- Uneven or dilated pupils
- Being confused
- Having a slow response time
If you notice any of these signs after a car accident, even if you weren’t aware that you hit your head, you should seek treatment and get the appropriate tests done to rule out the possibility of a TBI.
What is Cognitive Ability?
Cognition refers to our ability to think clearly and understand the world around us. Cognition allows us to function normally in our everyday lives. A traumatic brain injury can cause a loss of cognitive ability, which may dramatically change the course of your future. Cognitive ability includes:
- Attention and concentration
- Being able to process and then understand information
- Your memory – both short and long-term
- How you can communicate
- Skills for planning and organizing
- Your ability to reason, solve problems and make decisions
- Impulse control
These skills are used daily, and the sudden loss of one or more from a car accident is devastating. You may be left unable to go to work, raise your family, or even live alone without assistance. The level of injury to the brain and the cognitive ability lost will determine how much therapeutic and living assistance you will need in the future.
Common brain injuries resulting from car crashes
- Contusion – These are bruises on the brain that, in some cases, require surgical treatment. A powerful impact on the head can cause a contusion. In a car accident, the head is prone to contact with the side window, windshield, or steering wheel, so the victim may suffer a contusion.
- Concussion – While many people think concussions are not too serious, these can be a sign of severe brain damage. A victim can suffer a concussion from a sharp blow to the head. There is often no open wound when a person suffers a concussion, so people tend to think they are fine. A concussion can cause blood vessels in the brain to stretch, and this can cause nerve damage. Most concussions do not cause long-term problems; however, brain damage may become permanent if the symptoms worsen. You should immediately see a doctor if you experience persistent dizziness or disorientation after a car accident.
- Penetrating injuries – In a car crash, broken pieces of metal, plastic projectiles, and glass shards can cause serious injuries. The victim will likely require immediate surgery if a foreign object penetrates the brain. The surgeon will remove the object from the brain and stop the bleeding. Severe brain penetration injuries can cause permanent disability or paralysis.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury – These injuries occur due to sudden acceleration and deceleration. This can cause the brain to jerk forward and backward within the skull and can cause nerves and blood vessels inside the brain to tear. It can also cause internal bleeding and loss of certain brain functions.
Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries
Advancements in medical technology have made it easier for doctors to evaluate and detect the severity of TBIs. In 2015 researchers discovered a type of blood test that can gauge the severity of TBI and predict the best treatment method to be used. These blood tests measure brain-derived neurotrophic factor proteins (BDNF), which helps determine if the patient requires a higher level of treatment. These newly developed blood tests may prove extremely helpful to doctors by enabling them to quickly diagnose brain injuries and the severity of the damage.
Blood Testing to Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury
The test involves taking BDNF protein from the patient within 24 hours of the injury and then measuring it to predict the severity of the injury. Healthy individuals normally have 60 nanograms/ml of BDNF protein. However, a patient with a brain injury will have 20 nanograms/ml or less. If the patient has sustained severe brain damage, he or she will have extremely low levels of BDNF protein, typically in the range of 4 nanograms/ml. When the tests are performed around 6 months after the injury, the BDNF levels may have restored to the normal 60 nanograms/ml levels. However, if the patient still registers low levels of BDNF protein, the patient may complain of symptoms and other problems that have developed over time.
The Long-Term Cost to Treat TBI
A mild head injury can cost more than $85,000 in medical and treatment costs, while a severe brain injury may result in over $3 million for treatment. According to the CDC, the lifetime economic cost of TBI, including direct and indirect medical costs, was estimated to be approximately $76.5 billion (in 2010 dollars). The amount can be much larger when you factor in other consequences and their treatment.
Some potential costs to take into account include:
- Emergency care
- Medical bills for subsequent treatment
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Counseling or psychological therapy
- Medication to treat emotional distress or mental disorder
Additionally, TBIs can cause various types of disabilities. In the best-case scenario, victims suffer from a temporary disability and recover completely following therapy. However, not everyone is so lucky; TBIs could permanently leave you disabled.
According to the CDC, there are reportedly 5.3 million Americans currently living with permanent TBI-related disabilities:
- Cognitive impairment
- Coordination issues
- Vision or hearing loss
- Severe changes in personality
This can have a negative impact on the quality of your life, as TBIs could cost you your job or prevent you from taking part in activities that previously brought comfort or pleasure.
Illnesses Related to TBI
TBI can lead to several short-term and long-term illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy. These diseases bring along their own set of complications. For example, TBI patients become more prone to Parkinson’s due to the loss of a specific neuron, affecting the patient’s motor skills and causing symptoms such as stiffness, trembling, slowed movement, poor and unsteady gait, and shuffled walking. Research has also established a link between patients who have previously suffered a traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s.
Who Calculates the Cost?
In your car accident claim, the other driver’s insurance company will review the case and make an initial offer based on your medical bills, the severity of injuries, and any other costs the accident may have caused.
TBIs don’t only have immediate costs, and your final settlement should also account for future medical expenses relating to your injury or its complications. The insurance company will always push for the lowest compensation amount possible, but your lawyer can fight to get you the compensation you are legally entitled to.
What About Situations Involving Life Support?
Life support is when a normal bodily function is being directed by a machine. This may just be a temporary solution as the wounds from a car accident heal, or it could be necessary to sustain life if grave injuries have harmed the brain beyond repair.
Tragic car accidents often cause brain trauma, preventing the brain from controlling the body the way it is designed to do. When this happens, heart and lung function often ceases. Mechanical ventilation is a process in which a machine will force air into the lungs, allowing oxygen to infuse cells and hopefully keep the other organs functioning while the brain is given time to heal. Artificial nutrition may also be administered via an IV. These solutions contain water, sugar, and nutrients that the body needs to stay alive.
How Long Will Life Support Be Continued?
The brain can go into a number of different states after the trauma of a car accident, including coma, vegetative state, and brain death. How long life support is given to sustain other body functions depends on the family and any known wishes of their injured loved one. In cases where there is no detected brain activity, the family may choose to cease life support as there is no chance of recovery. This is a painstakingly difficult decision for any family to have to face.
What Happens If the Life Support Was Necessitated By a Brain Injury After a Car Accident?
If a car accident results in brain death, the family is given the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their family member. Not only is maintaining life support financially draining, but it is also emotionally damaging to the family. An attorney will work with the family to ensure that the financial burden is accounted for, including the loss of companionship and support.
Contact our St. Louis Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one have suffered a TBI in a car accident due to another’s reckless or negligent behavior, this may result in medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, and long-term medical treatment. At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C., our attorneys will help you understand your legal options and the best strategies for full and fair compensation from an auto accident or truck accident claim.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
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