Traumatic Brain InjuryWe have successfully represented plaintiffs in civil matters for more than three decades.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is typically caused by three things:
- A blow to the head
- A penetrating head injury that interferes with brain functioning
- A jolt that causes the brain to hit the front or back of the skull that causes bruising
The human brain consists of billions of microscopic fibers suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. The brain itself, in the cerebral fluid, is like Jello in a bowl. While the exterior of the skull is smooth, the inner surface contains ribbing and pronounced bony structures. The brain is also like a mountain range with jagged peaks and valleys. Impact within these inner surfaces of the cranial cavity causes tearing and bruising that results in brain damage.
Brain injuries occur when momentum of the brain causes it to impact against a skull that has been decelerated.
Typically, TBI is caused by the impact of the head with an object, such as the windshield or dashboard of a car and is considered to be a closed head injury. Closed head injuries may also occur when the brain undergoes a severe forward or backward shaking, as in cases involving whiplash suffered during an automobile accident or with infants who are mishandled. Injuries occur when the brain is bounced back and forth against the sharp, jagged edges of the inside of the skull or cranial cavity. Microscopic tears or bruising occurs to the brain itself, leading to a variety of problems.
Closed head injuries present unique challenges in litigation since they often demonstrate no obvious external symptoms of injury, even though the damage to the brain can be severe. Other, more obvious causes of TBI, are penetrating head injuries, whereby objects, such as bullets, pass through the cranial cavity and damage the brain.
TBI does not refer to brain injuries or defects that are hereditary, congential or degenerative, or induced by birth trauma, toxic substances, or disease producing organisms.
Do I have a case?
A vast array of psychological, physical, and mental tests are available which can determine the location, extent and severity of impairments/deficits within each brain function caused by a head injury. Neuropsychological testing, clinical physiologists, PET scans, SPECT scans and MRIs also provide valuable information about brain injuries. Unfortunately, hospitals usually limit the exam to CT scans and/or X-rays which are not sophisticated enough to detect the injury to the brain.
Those who suffer skull fractures, loss of consciousness and/or coma typically are diagnosed as severe injuries, with obvious physical impairments that are easily verified. Because they have suffered objective physical injuries, their resulting impairments are readily accepted as having been caused by the initial impact. Other cases can be more difficult to prove as symptoms may not be as readily apparent to a jury or insurance company that is unfamiliar with a plaintiff’s normal functioning prior to an accident. An attorney must have a thorough understanding of the symptoms of TBI in order to adequately present a case for damages to a judge, jury and/or insurance company.
Some of the physical consequences that may result due to TBI include:
- Decreased muscle control, paralysis or weakness
- Seizures, occurring immediately after impact or that are latent for months or even years after the initial trauma
- Sensory losses, including difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Loss of motor control or weakness of one arm or leg
- Changes in intellectual functioning
- Memory loss
- Personality changes- moods and emotions (** anger, short temper or even lack of caring at all)
- Loss of functioning on one side of the body, known as hemi-paresis
- Poor balance and decreased endurance
- Loss of ability to plan movements of arms or legs and poor coordination
- Poor or little sleep
- Lack of attention
One significant hurdle after traumatic brain injury is memory loss. The mind’s capacity to receive, store and retrieve information is affected. Loss of short-term memory is more common than the loss of recall for older information. One may remember a birthday or childhood event, but can’t remember what happened in a T.V. show that they have been watching or what happened a few pages earlier in a book they are reading.
In addition to physical consequences of TBI, the ability to understand feelings and the ability to control emotions are impacted. A whole range of behavioral symptoms can occur with TBI: agitation, depression, frustration, rapid changes in emotion and severe mood changes, insensitivity to others, self-centeredness, rage tantrums, poor impulse control, loss of inhibition, decreased libido, inappropriate sexual expression and loss of self-esteem. Pre-existing conditions may also be amplified following TBI.
It is not just the victims of traumatic brain injury that suffer; their families suffer as well. Families must learn to adjust to the cognitive and personality changes in their loved ones. Children are usually confused and upset by the differences in behavior, personality and the inability to function normally. Victims and their families have so many issues to deal with; they should not have to worry about financial trouble as well.
What can I do?
In Traumatic Brain Injury cases it is essential that measures be taken to promptly preserve evidence, prove the nature and extent of your injuries, and enable expert medical witnesses to support the cause of your injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury
If so, please contact Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty at 614-222-4444 / 877-706-6446. Our initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on your behalf. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.