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Brain Injury Lawyer Richmond VA
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is sometimes referred to as a silent epidemic because, following an accident, a brain injury can be hard to diagnose. Symptoms may stay hidden for an extended period, particularly those suffering from a brain injury in the “mild” category.
Traumatic brain injuries can occur in several ways, including motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, assaults, and unintentional blunt traumas, such as accidentally being hit in the head with an object, like a baseball bat, hammer, or golf club.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 223,000 traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations in 2018. In 2019, 15% of all U.S. high-school students self-reported one or more sports or recreation-related concussions. Traumatic brain injuries caused about 166 Americans to die from a TBI-related injury each day in 2019, increasing the need for a personal injury lawyer with this type of injury experience.
Because brain injuries can affect anyone at any time, the ability to obtain adequate compensation for the damage is in doubt.
Although you, your family, and your friends may know something is not quite right, it can be enormously challenging to prove to insurance adjusters and juries that you experienced a traumatic brain injury at someone else’s hands.
If you suffered traumatic brain injuries caused by the negligence of another party, contact a Richmond brain injury lawyer with Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci. We can gather the evidence needed to help ensure you obtain fair compensation.
What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury can be caused by any jolt, sudden start-stop movement, or blunt force trauma to the head. In these cases, the head whips quickly from front to back or side to side or comes to a sudden stop; when this happens, the delicate brain is jolted around inside the skull, causing irreparable damage to its soft tissues.
Slip and fall accidents, where the victim falls and hits the head on a hard surface, are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Another common form of traumatic brain injury from these accidents is penetrating injuries. The head is punctured or fractured, sometimes even pushing bone fragments into the soft brain tissue. These accidents can also cause bleeding inside the skull, which causes pressure to build near the brain and exacerbate the existing damage.
While our skulls form a thick, protective layer for our brains, they’re still sensitive and complex organs, which means brain injuries can affect anyone.
The various causes of a brain injury can make severe brain and spine injuries even more complicated for juries to understand and reward.
Many people believe you must have blunt force trauma to the head to receive a brain injury, but Richmond brain injury lawyers will know this is incorrect.
Some of the most common brain injury accidents include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Truck collisions
- Workplace accidents
- Slip, trip, and fall incidents
- Acts of violence
- Medical malpractice
What are the Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries that result from a “non-penetrating” event to the skull are grouped into three classifications of increasing severity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. These classifications are mild, moderate, and severe.
The three categories essentially determine the extent and duration of change in a victim’s brain function. Their range of symptoms includes loss of consciousness, post-traumatic amnesia, and varying degrees on the Glasgow Coma Scale.
Determining the classification and type of brain injury you’re experiencing will help you when your brain injury lawyer pursues a personal injury case on your behalf.
Three Classifications of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Commonly referred to as a concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury involves a loss of consciousness that ranges in length from 0 to 30 minutes. Most commonly caused by head injuries, a victim’s consciousness/mental state alteration will last up to 24 hours. They may have a period of amnesia following the trauma that lasts 0 to 1 day.
Mild traumatic brain injury victims will have a GCS in the 13 to 15 range.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
A moderate traumatic brain injury consists of a loss of consciousness between 30 minutes and 24 hours. A person suffering from a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury will have a period of altered consciousness that lasts more significantly than 24 hours, and post-traumatic amnesia will last anywhere from 1 to 7 days.
Moderate traumatic brain injury patients will have a GCS of 9 to 12.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most traumatic brain injuries result in a greater than 24 hours loss of consciousness. Brain injury victims suffering from severe traumatic brain injuries will have greater than seven days of post-traumatic amnesia and a GCS of 3 to 8.
This is only a brief description of what a traumatic brain injury can entail, the brain is our most complex and delicate organ, and its injuries can be deceptively indiscernible.
No matter the classification of the brain injury, it is essential to seek medical attention and understand what type of brain injury you may be experiencing so that brain injury attorneys can help you recover compensation for any damages.
The Four Most Common Types of Brain Injuries
The primary types of traumatic brain injuries within the three classifications include:
- Concussion: Concussion occurs due to a head impact and may immediately result in a loss of consciousness, dizziness, sleepiness, blurred vision, headache, and nausea. A concussion may be a mild form of a traumatic brain injury. Still, they can make you more susceptible to future concussions, and repeated concussions may cause permanent brain damage.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury: A diffuse axonal injury, or DAI, is one of the most common yet incapacitating types of brain injuries. DAI occurs when there is a rotation or disturbance of the brain following a rapid acceleration or deceleration, resulting in abnormal tissue damage to the brain. DAIs often result in a vegetative state or coma; ninety percent of coma patients never wake, and those who do are usually permanently and significantly impaired.
- Hematoma: When bleeding occurs in the brain, a hematoma, or blood clot, can form. The buildup of blood and the resulting pressure can lead to severe brain damage. Immediate symptoms include headaches, seizures, and a loss of consciousness.
- Edema: Swelling around the head or brain injury site is edema. In some cases, the skull—designed to protect the brain—works against it, as it does not expand to accommodate the swelling or allow fluids to circulate, causing pressure to build. Headaches, neck pain, seizures, dizziness, and memory loss are all symptoms of edema that may result in severe brain damage.
- Hemorrhage: If uncontrolled bleeding, or a hemorrhage, occurs in the brain due to external or internal head trauma, it can lead to irreversible brain damage. Nausea, vomiting, and severe headaches indicate a brain hemorrhage, and you should seek medical treatment immediately.
- Skull Fracture: When the skull is penetrated by an external object broken or cracked due to a severe impact, it cannot absorb the impact. As a result, a skull fracture can lead to a severe brain injury.
While every head or brain injury merits immediate medical attention, severe brain injuries can require extensive, ongoing treatment that can last a lifetime and cost millions of dollars.
With the help of an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer, you can secure a brighter future for yourself and your family.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury?
Like the accidents that cause them, no two brain injuries are the same. Each traumatic brain injury comes with a unique range of side effects. Some symptoms are immediate, and others develop over time.
This means that some traumatic brain injury victims quickly recover, while others contend with side effects for years to come.
Various factors can influence your ability to recover quickly, or at all, from a traumatic brain injury. You might not realize how severely your cognitive functions have been impacted until you return to work, or the symptoms of slow internal bleeding, or a hemorrhage, may not develop for days.
Adverse effects can last for weeks, months, years, or even develop into lifelong challenges.
Suppose you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a head injury. In that case, it is first essential to understand these symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and then seek medical attention if any of these symptoms arise, no matter how mild.
Immediate Side Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
The side effects of a head injury can be physical, emotional, mental, or a combination of all three. Some of these symptoms are inconvenient, while others are debilitating, restricting the patient from living everyday life.
Immediate side effects of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Visual impairments
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration or attention
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Irritability and emotional changes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Difficulty thinking
Long Term Side Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
Long-term side effects of a traumatic brain injury are more severe, increase medical costs, and severely impact how a brain injury victim lives. Such injuries may even cause permanent disability.
Long-term side effects may include:
Some of the most recognizable moderate to severe traumatic brain injury symptoms involve impaired consciousness.
Immediate and long-term consciousness prevents the victim from operating in a normal state of awareness. These side effects include:
- Coma: A person will slip into complete unconsciousness or coma after widespread brain damage. They may awake after a few days or weeks, but they enter a vegetative state if not.
- Vegetative State: In a vegetative state, the entire brain has been injured, and the victim is unconscious, though they may respond to reflexes and make sounds. A vegetative state may be permanent, although some people regain some consciousness.
- Minimally Conscious: Some patients regain awareness of themselves and the environment when recovering from a coma or a vegetative state.
- Brain Death: Some of the most traumatic brain injuries result in brain death, in which there is no activity in the brain or brainstem, is permanent, and without breathing devices, the patient will not survive. If this effect is due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney will help you prove wrongful death.
Physical Complications of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain controls the actions of the body. Some side effects of brain injury can manifest in different areas of the body, sometimes even spinal cord injuries. Many victims fail to recognize symptoms as side effects of such an injury because they may seem unconnected to the brain injury, but these may include:
- Seizures: A seizure is caused by a burst of spontaneous electrical activity between brain cells, which causes sudden abnormalities in muscles, behaviors, and awareness. Some traumatic brain injury patients only have seizures during their early recovery, but others have seizures for years to follow, referred to as post-traumatic epilepsy.
- Edema: Swelling, or edema, is your body’s response to injury. Brain edema is very dangerous because the skull leaves little room for the brain to expand, leading to permanent damage or death.
- Headaches: Migraine-level headaches are a common side effect of TBI, lasting from days after the incident to several months.
- Vertigo: Vertigo, the sensation of feeling suddenly off-balance or dizzy, is another common and disorienting symptom of traumatic brain injuries.
- Hypotension: Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can result from TBI. If the blood pressure drops too low, oxygen and essential nutrients aren’t delivered to the brain, which can cause dizziness, fainting, and more severe injuries.
Effects on the Senses
It is not uncommon for patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury to have full or partial loss of smell and taste. Such dysfunction can be devastating to the patient. In many cases, traumatic brain injuries cause a patient not to smell gas or smoke.
This results from cranial nerve damage or damage to the nerves at the skull base that descends directly from the brain. Symptoms of cranial nerve damage can include:
- Paralysis of parts of the face
- Loss of or reduction of the sense of smell or taste
- Loss of vision or double vision
- Difficulties swallowing
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
Typically, the loss will be permanent if the patient does not regain their ability to smell or taste within six months to one year following a serious injury.
A thorough understanding of traumatic brain injury, its symptoms, and its impacts are necessary for Richmond personal injury lawyers to defend their traumatic brain injury clients.
Experienced personal injury lawyers have extensive experience in traumatic brain injury cases and understand the magnitude of the side effects of these injuries, which is why clients turn to them for help seeking the compensation they deserve to rebuild their lives.
Rehabilitation from a Traumatic Brain Injury
While recovering from the side effects of a brain injury is unpredictable, you’ll likely face challenges like high medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, and maybe even a new life as you know it. This can be a long, expensive process, which is why Richmond traumatic brain injury lawyers are dedicated to helping traumatic brain injury victims move forward.
When handling a traumatic brain injury case in which a client has suffered from various side effects, personal injury attorneys will develop evidence to demonstrate the impacts of this personal injury for the jury and the devastation it causes. They will show the connection between the traumatic brain injury and the side effects it caused, as well as the negative impact those effects have had on your life.
Seek a free consultation from a personal injury attorney to help you determine your future earning capacity from submitting a personal injury claim.
How Much Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Cost?
Depending on the severity of the traumatic brain injury and the abilities it has affected, the appropriate treatment may include occupational, speech, or physical therapy. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient regain as much of the function they have lost, including the following:
- Gross motor skills, including walking, balancing, throwing a ball, and exercising
- Fine motor skills, such as picking up objects, holding utensils, writing, and crafting
- Speech and communication skills may include speech therapy or learning alternative forms of communication
- Occupational skills, including relearning work tasks or learning new skills to get a job and prevent more lost wages
- Counseling to cope with the emotional and psychological effects of the accident and personal injury
These therapies may be needed for months or even years to make up for the effects caused by the injury and are very expensive. If the accident that left you injured was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences.
After such an injury, a Richmond personal injury lawyer with Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci will help you obtain fair compensation for your medical expenses and emotional suffering.
How Do You Prove Brain Damage?
Traumatic brain injury victims may bring personal injury cases against any parties that contributed to the injury through negligent actions.
However, the last thing you and your family should have to worry about after suffering this traumatic injury is proving this negligence so that you get fair compensation.
This is why seeking legal advice and starting your personal injury case as soon as possible is essential. A Richmond personal injury attorney with Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci will provide legal assistance by handling every step of the case, allowing you to stay focused on your physical condition and medical treatment plan, lessening your stress.
To prove liability for your accident and injuries, your attorney will need to present enough evidence to prove that another party or parties are liable under the law. At Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci, we have a great deal of experience doing just that.
Right after the accident, memories are fresh, parties likely have necessary records, and video footage can be relatively simple to obtain.
Personal injury lawyers will help you obtain:
- Photographs of the scene where the injury occurred
- Police reports
- Video evidence if the accident was filmed
- Diagnosis from an emergency room doctor or neurologist
- Medical documentation of the injuries and damage
- Cognitive evaluation from a neuropsychologist
However, the longer you wait to have a brain injury lawyer start putting together your claim, the greater the risk that crucial evidence will no longer be as strong as it once was.
Witnesses’ memories can fade and become unclear, or witnesses can become unreachable or unwilling to help after a while. Companies might get rid of essential records you need to show liability, or property owners might record over video footage of the accident.
People can repair vehicles and clean up accident scenes. It is best to get a legal team working on your case to gather witness testimony and physical evidence as soon as possible.
That said, if you have already waited to call an attorney, never assume it is too late. Always discuss your situation with a Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci personal injury lawyer to learn your options.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Pursue After a Traumatic Brain Injury in Richmond?
The main component to keep in mind when you seek financial compensation is the severity of the brain injury and its impact on your daily life.
For instance, most personal injury cases that involve a mild traumatic brain injury with a short period of unconsciousness followed by lingering headaches typically result in less compensation than a more severe injury with lifelong repercussions.
Because every accident and injury is unique, a personal injury lawyer cannot precisely predict the damages one may expect to receive. The specific facts and circumstances of the case will influence the money that an injured party may recover.
These are the main factors that will be considered when determining the value of your traumatic brain injury case:
- Medical treatment costs from the initial accident may include ambulance services, hospital stays, surgery, X-rays, medication, physical therapy, assistive devices for rehabilitation, and therapy. In cases that cause chronic conditions or long-term disabilities, victims may also claim damages for future medical expenses and care.
- Pain and suffering beyond the original injury if you experience a loss of quality of life. The court may award damages for this after considering the nature and severity of the injuries, the victim’s age and quality of life, and the non-economic losses incurred from the injury.
- Lost income from time away from work or the inability to return to work in the same capacity because of an injury. A victim who cannot return to work and must reduce hours or change professions because of an injury may also claim compensation for losing future wages or lost future earning capacity.
- Mental trauma. In some cases, traumatic brain injuries cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental disorders that require therapy and other treatment. Victims can claim losses for treatment of mental injuries and physical injuries.
- Permanent disability. Some catastrophic brain injuries result in impairments, disability, or disfigurement that last a lifetime. Victims with permanent effects of their injuries that impact their lives can seek damages for this permanency.
The reality is that brain injuries impact all areas of life. The damages victims deserve vary, and brain injury attorneys determine these on a case-by-case basis.
Seeking Full Compensation from Brain Injury Damages
Any accidents causing brain injuries are almost always unexpected and can have devastating consequences for victims. When an injury is caused by another’s careless, reckless, or aggressive behavior, the impacts can be even more overwhelming.
Brain injury victims deserve to be justly compensated so they can start a new chapter and regain the confidence to rebuild their lives. Remember that the amount of money you can recover may differ from what you should fully recover, depending on the responsible party’s financial resources or insurance coverage.
To discuss how to estimate the value of your injury claim at no cost to you, seek a free consultation with an experienced Richmond personal injury attorney with Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci.
We know that insurance companies routinely refuse personal injury claims. If this has happened to you, we’ll be more than ready to take on your insurer in a court of law.
Contact us as soon as you can for a free evaluation of your case.