A traumatic brain injury often results from a direct blow to the head; however, it can also happen from a jarring (whiplash-like) movement that causes the brain to smash into the skull. When this happens, the brain can bleed and swell, nerves can be damaged and torn, and the brain may no longer receive the oxygen it needs to perform at normal levels. This can disrupt the brain’s normal functions and result in many disabilities. What makes this ordeal even more devastating is depending on the injury-causing event, these brain injuries can lead to long-term effects that can forever impact how a person will live their life. To better help you understand these long-term effects and what they can mean for you and your family, we have prepared the following blog post. In it, we will detail what these long-term effects entail, whether you can pursue legal action following a traumatic brain injury incident, and how an experienced brain injury attorney can help you fight for maximum and fair financial recovery.
The Different Sources of Traumatic Brain InjuriesWhile a traumatic brain injury can occur in many ways, some of the most common causes of these debilitating accidents include:
- Car crashes.
- Motorcycle crashes.
- Pedestrians being hit by vehicles.
- Slips or trips and falls.
- Acts of violence.
- Bike, scooter, One-Wheel crashes.
- Construction accidents.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain InjuryDue to the severity of these injuries, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can be wide-ranging. However, in general, a traumatic brain injury often results in physical, mental, and cognitive symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness or dazed sensation;
- Seizures or convulsions;
- An inability to wake up from sleep;
- Numbness or weakness in the extremities;
- Profound confusion;
- Agitation or frequent mood changes;
- Slurred speech;
Long-Term Complications of a Traumatic Brain InjuryAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50 percent of individuals with a traumatic brain injury will experience further decline in their lives or die within five years of their injury. Even when individuals receive inpatient rehabilitation services, their life expectancy can decrease because a traumatic brain injury increases the risk of a person dying from:
- Drug poisoning: 11 times more likely
- Infections: Nine times more likely
- Pneumonia: Six times more likely
- Seizures: 50 times more likely
Physical IssuesThe long-term physical effects of a traumatic brain injury include:
- A buildup of fluid in the brain, which can lead lead to higher skull pressure and swelling of the brain;
- Severe headaches;
- Damage to blood vessels;
- Damage to neurons;
Sensory IssuesA traumatic brain injury can lead to long-term sensory issues that include:
- Facial paralysis;
- Swallowing issues;
- Loss of taste, smell, or vision;
- Trouble maintaining balance;
- Hearing loss.
Cognitive and Intellectual IssuesA traumatic brain injury may also impact a person’s ability to think and can result in individuals having issues with:
- Remembering things (immediate, short term and long term memories);
- Learning new things;
- Paying attention;
- Their ability to make decisions.
Communication IssuesA traumatic brain injury can impact how a person communicates with others, their speech, and their language skills. More specifically, communication issues can manifest as:
- Problems with expressing thoughts clearly;
- Difficulty recognizing or understanding others;
- Difficulty talking;
- An inability to understand certain language or concepts.
Emotional IssuesThe long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury can also include emotional issues, which tend to include:
- Sudden changes in mood;
- Feeling agitated;
- Aggressive behavior;
- Problems with sleeping;
- Feelings of isolation and being misunderstood.
Relationship ProblemsWhen an individual suffers from a traumatic brain injury, they often do not feel like themselves anymore. As a result, this behavior change can significantly impact relationships with partners and loved ones. Additionally, these traumatic brain injuries can often interfere with a person’s ability to remember events, conversations, and certain bonds they had made, which can impact established relationships and prevent new relationships from developing.
Employment IssuesIndividuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury will often have to miss work because they are seeking treatment for their injuries. However, when these individuals suffer from the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury, they may not return to work due to their loss of essential motor and cognitive skills. These losses can impact a person’s financial future, sense of purpose, and ability to care for their loved ones.
Financial IssuesIndividuals who suffer from the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury may end up struggling financially as they may face a lifetime of specialized medical treatments which can cost them and their families millions of dollars. These treatments can include:
- Occupational, physical and rehabilitative therapy;
- Assistive medical devices;
- Living modifications;
- Prescription medications;
- In-home assistive care.
Degenerative Brain DiseasesFinally, repeated traumatic brain injuries can also increase a person’s risk of developing several degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other forms of dementia.
What Compensation Can You Pursue Following a Traumatic Brain Injury?Depending on the circumstances which caused your traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to certain types of damages to cover your losses. These damages are often broken into the following categories:
Economic DamagesEconomic damages refer to payment for the “pocketbook” losses that can be accounted for or invoiced that result from a brain injury causing event, including:
- Medical bills, past and future;
- Lost income, past and future;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Replacement domestic services (child-care services, grocery shopping services, cleaning services);
- Personal property loss or damage.
Non-Economic DamagesThese damages refer to payment for the “human” losses that can arise when someone else is responsible for wrongfully causing your traumatic brain injury. Unlike an inanimate object, the law recognizes people have experiences and our lives have inherent value based on those. They include losses related to:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life;
- Loss of reputation;
- Inconvenience related to not being able to live the life you had planned for yourself.
Wrongful Death DamagesIf a loved one passes away from a traumatic brain injury, certain loved ones may pursue wrongful death damages to compensate for the losses suffered after losing a family member. This may include compensation for:
- Medical expenses;
- Funeral and burial costs;
- The loss of the decedent’s financial contributions;
- Loss of love, support, guidance, companionship and the relationship.
How Much Compensation Can You Secure Following a Brain Injury?Due to the complexities of a brain injury, and the fact that no two cases are the same, no legal professional can tell you exactly how much money you can obtain following a brain injury event. In truth, there are just too many factors that can impact this recovery, including:
- The severity of the brain injury;
- The type of treatments that you need in the future;
- Whether the brain injury is permanent;
- The ability to work following the injury;
- The extent of lost income;
- The ability to take part in everyday activities following the injury;
- The wrongdoer’s culpability;
- The type of evidence presented and the trustworthiness of the witnesses;
- The need for replacement services.
Which Parties Can You Hold Responsible for Causing a Traumatic Brain Injury?Because brain injuries can be caused by many different events, those who are injured can hold many parties responsible, including:
- Motorists who cause collisions;
- Property owners who fail to keep their property in reasonably safe condition;
- Companies which make and/or sell dangerous products.
How Can an Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Help You Fight for the Damages You DeserveIf you or a loved one suffered from a traumatic brain injury or are experiencing any of the long-term effects of this brain injury, reach out to a skilled traumatic brain injury attorney as soon as you can. Depending on what caused the injury or who was at fault, you may have legal options and remedies you can pursue, and working with these attorneys can help you go after the damage you deserve. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer. Once retained, these attorneys can:
- Determine whether you have a viable legal claim and your possible legal options;
- Go over your questions and concerns and offer you the answers and clarification you need;
- Keep you updated on your case throughout the legal process;
- Gather evidence that can help validate your legal claim and establish liability;
- Hire experts to substantiate your case;
- Handle settlement negotiations and fight for a fair settlement offer;
- Take your case in front of a judge or jury if the other side is not willing to provide you the money you need and work tirelessly to get you every last dollar you to which you are entitled.