Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are so named, not because they are emotionally traumatic, but because they are caused by some kind of physical trauma to the brain: a sharp blow, a shock wave from an explosion, a bullet or other projectile, etc. TBIs disrupt the normal functioning of the brain for at least a short time—like a concussion—and sometimes permanently. A serious TBI is a catastrophic injury that may require the victim to adapt to a disability, relearn certain basic life skills, and change their normal daily activities.
The most common brain injuries are concussions, which can range from mild to serious — but even a mild concussion can be very disruptive.
Helping brain injury victims
As experienced Duluth personal injury lawyers, we know brain injuries are far more common than most people realize, with about 1.7 million Americans sustaining a brain injury each year. Over 5 million Americans live with a disability caused by TBI in the U.S. alone, meaning they need lifelong or long-term care.
When a TBI is caused by someone else’s bad decision, you can and should hold that person legally responsible for the results. Scholle Law has more than 20 years of experience helping injured Georgians recover compensation for this kind of complex personal injury. If you’d like to tell us your story and learn more about your legal options, call us today for your free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced Duluth traumatic brain injury lawyers.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catastrophic injury that disrupts normal brain function and is caused by an outside force, rather than an internal problem like a stroke. Unlike most other tissues of the body, brain tissue does not grow back, which means that any tissue damaged or destroyed by the injury is gone forever. Because the brain controls everything we do — physical movement, emotion, senses, personality, logic, etc. — a TBI can have a devastating and lifelong effect on victims.
Contact a Duluth Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Charles Scholle is a preeminent Duluth brain injury attorney. He leads a team of excellent lawyers, paralegals and legal professionals. With our deep knowledge and expertise, the Scholle Law team can skillfully navigate the uniquely challenging medical and legal issues involved with a TBI or traumatic head injury of any kind.
As proven Georgia brain injury lawyers, we have fought against many insurance companies who view a delayed diagnosis as a sign that the plaintiff is being dishonest about their injuries.
These companies often try to avoid coverage. Even when your doctor diagnoses a brain injury, insurers may use any delay in treatment as an excuse to deny coverage for an expensive-to-treat brain injury. This is why the legal team at Scholle Law advises clients with a potential head injury to seek medical and legal advice right away, even if they feel fine.
Serious brain injury cases are legally and medically complex. Scholle Law understands not only the science involved but also how to calculate the value of damages in these cases, such as a lifetime of long-term care and a lost career. Perhaps most importantly, we understand what accident victims experience and work to ease their burdens by communicating closely and explaining things clearly and thoroughly, freeing them to get back to their jobs, their families and their lives.
What To Do After A Brain Injury
The decisions you make even in the first few minutes after suffering a TBI can save your life and have a profound effect on your future. If you have suffered a blow to the head and suspect you may have a TBI, take the following steps as quickly as possible:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if you believe the impact was minor, or you don’t experience any symptoms, there may be internal damage that doesn’t show up right away. People who suffered a seemingly mild blow to the head have sometimes died within days because they didn’t seek help in time or believed they were fine.
- Submit to prescribed treatment, both short and long-term. This may include bed rest, medication, time off work, and possibly physical therapy and other rehabilitation therapies.
- Keep documentation of the entire incident, from the point of injury through your recovery. This includes accident/police reports, medical records, hospital bills, photographic evidence, witness testimony, etc. This documentation may help if you need to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Contact a brain injury lawyer immediately. Many TBIs occur due to someone else’s actions or negligence, and you may be eligible for compensation you didn’t even realize was due to you. Evidence tends to fade with time, so the sooner you hire an attorney experienced with TBI cases, the better your chances to receive the full settlement you deserve.
What are the symptoms of brain trauma?
Because the brain is the most complex organ in the body, victims of brain trauma may experience a wide range of symptoms depending on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and even what part of the brain has been impacted. Mild cases of TBI may be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Feelings of fatigue or drowsiness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Blurry vision
- Unusual sensory changes (e.g., sensitivity to light or sound, bad taste in the mouth)
- Unusual changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in sleep habits
- Difficulties with concentration, focus, and/or memory
In addition to the symptoms listed above, incidents involving moderate or severe brain trauma might come with more significant symptoms, including:
- Severe and/or persistent headache
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Restlessness or agitation
- Severe or extended disorientation
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of vision
- Dilated pupils
- Extended loss of consciousness
- Convulsions or seizures
- Slurred speech
- Numbness or tingling in the limbs
The important thing to remember is that none of these symptoms should be ignored, especially if they occur after a blow to the head. It’s also important to note that these symptoms may not emerge right away after a brain trauma. Sometimes after an accident, victims either decline treatment or don’t seek treatment because they don’t recognize the danger signs. If you or someone you love has experienced any of these symptoms following a traumatic event, it is vital that you see a doctor immediately and consult with a legal expert as soon as possible. This cannot be overemphasized.
Elements of a Brain Injury Lawsuit
TBIs frequently occur as a result of someone else’s negligence–for example, if you are involved in truck or motorcycle collision with a careless driver or if you are hurt on the job due to unsafe conditions. In these cases, brain injury lawsuits come under the umbrella of personal injury, and our goal in filing the lawsuit is to demonstrate that the other party’s negligence played a key role in your brain injury. To prove negligence, we must show:
- That the other party had a reasonable duty of care toward you, and they failed to exercise that reasonable duty of care;
- That this act of negligence played a key role in your injury; and
- That you have suffered loss a result of that injury.
What damages can I claim in a TBI case?
Since a traumatic brain injury can impact your life and the lives of your loved ones for many years to come, the compensation you’re entitled to can be significant, especially in cases of severe injury. TBI lawsuits may ask for three specific types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Let’s go into each of these in a little more detail.
With economic damages, you’re asking the defendant or insurance company to cover the specific costs associated with your TBI, including the cost of medical care (past and future), loss of income/wages, and any loss of future earnings due to your changed situation. Economic damages are fairly easy to estimate and measure, so they are the easiest to collect.
Non-economic damages refer to financial compensation for the impacts of your injury that are not associated with an actual loss of money. These types of damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (e.g., if the injury affects the quality of your relationships)
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of quality of life
We use a variety of formulas to translate non-economic damages into dollar amounts, but because the insurance companies like to dispute these amounts, it often requires skilled negotiation (and frequently litigation) to win sufficient non-economic damages to cover your loss. Having a skilled brain injury attorney in your corner greatly increases your chances of winning the maximum allowable settlement.
If your brain injury was caused by especially egregious actions or extreme negligence, your attorney may also ask the court to award punitive damages. These damages are specifically intended to punish the offending party rather than compensate you for a specific loss, but if the situation calls for it, punitive damages can greatly increase the amount of your settlement.
What is it like to have a traumatic brain injury?
Every victim’s experience with a traumatic brain injury may be unique. Since the brain controls almost every body and life function we have, the part of the brain affected and severity of the injury will play a part in any ongoing symptoms. That being said, it is nearly impossible to have a significant TBI and not have it change your life, how you function, or even how you think. You might not be able to work at the same type of job you once did–or possibly even work at all. You might experience debilitating physical symptoms or emotional problems. Your personality may change, including your likes, dislikes, and your overall temperament. Over time, you may recover from a TBI, but sometimes the damage is permanent–and so are the changes that go along with it.
Living with a traumatic brain injury may mean dealing with any or all of the following issues on an ongoing basis:
- Physical limitations–including recurring headaches, chronic pain, loss of motor skills, fatigue, sleep disorders, bowel or bladder control issues, paralysis, etc.
- Cognitive limitations–including disorientation, inability to concentrate, memory problems, impulsive behaviors, confused logic, etc.
- Sensory limitations–including reduced eyesight, hearing, sense of smell/taste, tinnitus, sensitivity to light, difficulties perceiving things like temperature, distance, etc.
- Emotional issues–including depression, irritability, lack of empathy, paranoia, mood swings, etc.
- Behavioral issues–including impulsive behaviors, aggression, dismissiveness, withdrawal, lowered inhibitions, etc.
In short, when you have a traumatic brain injury, there are many possible ways in which your quality of life may be diminished, either temporarily or permanently. Many TBI patients cannot live or function safely without ongoing care and/or supervision. These are issues which must be taken into account when determining the amount and types of damages to ask for.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury (future sub practice area pages)
TBIs can occur in many different ways depending on the damage inflicted and which part of the brain is affected by it. Let’s look at a few of the most common types of traumatic brain injury.
A concussion occurs when a blow or jolt to the head basically causes the brain to “shake” or jostle inside the skull, which may cause bruising, nerve damage, damage to blood vessels, etc. Concussions are the most common type of TBI, and many are not serious or life-threatening–but they can still be dangerous if not diagnosed and treated.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is poisonous because it displaces oxygen in the body, effectively depriving the body of oxygen. Too much exposure to carbon monoxide can kill critical brain cells by oxygen deprivation, sometimes causing permanent damage.
A brain aneurysm is a bulging or swelling of a blood vessel in the brain, sometimes caused by trauma. A brain aneurysm can put pressure on the brain tissues and nerves, sometimes causing symptoms like blurred vision, numbness, etc. If a brain aneurysm ruptures, it can be immediately life-threatening.
A brain hemorrhage is essentially a stroke, occurring when an artery in the brain ruptures and causes bleeding in the brain, killing the cells. Brain hemorrhages can cause permanent damage or death.
A blast injury is a blunt force trauma caused by an explosion. Blast injuries can cause both external and internal damage to many parts of the body, including the brain.
Closed Head Injury
A closed head injury occurs when blunt force trauma from a sudden impact (like a collision or a fall) causes injury to the brain inside the skull without penetrating the skull.
Penetrating Head Injury
As the name suggests, a penetrating injury occurs when an object cracks or penetrates the skull (such as a bullet or a piece of shrapnel from an accident). Penetrating head injuries can be instantly life-threatening and/or cause permanent brain damage.
Causes of Brain Injuries in Duluth
In our two decades of experience, we have handled many personal injury cases involving brain injuries–and while the specific causes differ from case to case, we’ve seen that TBIs are almost always caused by an accident or attack resulting in excessive force to the head. Some of the most common causes of brain injuries in Duluth include:
- Car, truck or motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Inadequate security leading to violent crime
- Slip and falls
- Sports injuries
- Falls from a height
- Assault and violent attacks
- Being struck by or against a hard object
- Exposure to blast waves (especially during military service)
Among the list of causes above, the most frequent incidents of TBI occur because of some type of vehicular accident–especially those where the victim is relatively unprotected, such as in a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident.
How An Duluth Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone in your family suffered a traumatic brain injury because of another person’s negligence, you should contact Scholle Law immediately. We have more than 20 years of experience helping Georgia residents secure the money they need to obtain appropriate medical care, financially support themselves and be fairly compensated for life-changing injuries.
Don’t just take our word for it. We have a strong record of results to prove it. To tell us your story and learn more about your legal options, give us a call today or contact us through our website. Your first consultation is 100% free. We simply want to provide you with answers.
Traumatic Brain Injury Questions and Answers
Does traumatic brain injury qualify for disability?
In some cases, yes. If you have suffered a moderate to severe TBI that prevents you from working a job, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. For purposes of compensation, the SSA currently only recognizes qualifying TBI cases as brain damage caused by a skull fracture, closed head injury, or penetrating head injury, and they determine your eligibility by certain criteria based on specified physical or mental limitations. To meet the requirements to receive disability benefits for TBI, your medical records will have to show that you have had these limitations for at least three consecutive months after your injury occurred and that these limitations prevent you from working. You will also need to show that your income falls below a minimum threshold to qualify for disability.
How do you help someone with traumatic brain injury?
People suffering from a TBI may have widely varying needs based on how the injury has affected them. Some TBI victims may be able to lead fairly normal lives with limited restrictions, while others may need constant care. If someone you know and love has suffered a TBI, the following general guidelines should help you know how best to help them:
- Let them do what they can do on their own. Avoid doing things for a TBI victim that they can do for themselves just because you can do it faster or more easily, or because you feel sorry for them. Don’t patronize; just help when help is needed.
- Be patient with their limitations. It can be especially trying to deal with a TBI patient whose injury causes them to be disagreeable or aggressive, for example. Learn to take their issues in stride and give them permission to be frustrated.
- Make accommodations for their disabilities to give them as much independence as possible. Examples might include making alterations in their home to help them get a wheelchair through the door or ascend stairs without falling.
Are traumatic brain injuries permanent?
It depends on the injury and the severity. For mild TBIs like a concussion, the effects of the injury may be temporary as the bruising eventually heals. In more severe cases, the damage may be permanent because the brain doesn’t heal like the rest of the body.
Can someone fully recover from traumatic brain injury?
Traumatic brain injuries can be very serious, and unlike other organs in the body, the brain cannot repair itself or restore cells that have been killed by an injury. The human brain may be able to learn different ways to perform the same functions and to compensate for the injury. This resilience may result in at least a partial recovery, but in many cases it won’t be a complete recovery. Millions of Americans are left with at least some disability after a TBI–which may impair their ability to work and their quality of life.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online