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Ultimate Guide to Brain Injuries

A brain injury can occur when an object strikes a person’s head or when their head hits a surface, such as during a fall. Besides bruising and bleeding, the patient can also suffer from nerve damage, leading to a lifelong medical condition. These are known as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Another type of brain injury occurs when someone does not get any or enough oxygen to the brain. This is known as hypoxia or anoxia, and can occur when someone has a heart attack, is deprived of oxygen during childbirth, in surgery or some other medical setting, from choking, from carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution, severe blood loss, or from a mechanical blockage.

According to the Falling Forward Foundation, 425,000 people annually suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Many of these patients are victims of negligence at the hands of other parties, who can be held liable for these injuries. A brain injury lawyer can assist victims in filing claims.

The same organization reported that two-thirds of disabled individuals never work again, which makes compensation even more critical. Patients who return to work may have reduced working abilities, negatively affecting their career and quality of life.

The family of a brain injury patient may have to support them physically and financially until they recover. Personality changes can happen due to brain injuries and hurting relationships. Medical expenses can include charges for rehabilitation and lifelong assistance at home.

A victim’s family can also recover compensation for a wrongful death caused by another party’s negligence. It can include medical expenses, lost wages, funeral service charges, income loss, companionship awards, and more.

What are brain injuries?

The brain is a delicate organ encased in a hard skull for protection, but sometimes the brain can suffer severe damage due to impact. The symptoms of TBI can appear early on or later, leading some caregivers and health care providers to believe that the patient is fine.

It’s best to look out for mild and severe symptoms of TBI if your head has been hit by an object or your head against a surface. Brief loss of consciousness, disorientation, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, headache and sleep problems are among mild TBI symptoms.  Sometimes you can sustain a TBI even without hitting your head.  If the g-forces become intense enough, just the fast stop of the head while the brain is still moving forward can cause bruising, tearing and swelling inside the brain even without the skull striking anything.  Most often this is seen in a car crash where someone’s head is violently thrown forward then backward.  The effect of the violent movement of the brain can cause diffuse axonal shearing inside the brain, and result in mild or moderate TBI.

Make sure to visit the emergency room if you notice severe TBI symptoms like prolonged loss of consciousness, seizures, persistent nausea, poor coordination, pupil dilation, numbness in digits, memory problems, and clear fluids draining from your nose or ears.

Establishing a brain injury case

You can file a brain injury claim if another party is responsible for causing or contributing to the accident that resulted in your brain injury. A TBI case can involve sudden head movement due to an external force or damage due to impact.

It may have been the duty of another party to care for your safety within reason. Failure to care for your safety would make the other party liable for causing you damage or contributing to it. This also includes property owners who are negligent towards hazards.

Proving negligence in brain injuries

Even if you aren’t experiencing TBI symptoms after an impact, seek medical care for diagnosis and treatment. Tell your doctor about your accident so they can specifically test for signs of TBI. MRI or CT scans may not be adequate for diagnosing specific brain injuries.

Despite than many mild and moderate traumatic brain injuries may not show up on traditional CT and MRI scans, there are sophisticated new imaging tools to assist physicians and attorneys in evaluating and assessing brain injuries.  These include DTI (diffuse tensor imaging) and other  techniques.

Failure to follow your doctor’s instructions while treating your brain injury can decrease your chances of success. The other party can claim that your negligence worsened your condition. Your claim might be denied or your compensation reduced.

Relevant medical documentation and your doctor’s testimony have a significant part to play in your brain injury case. Besides proving negligence, medical evidence can also help estimate the damage caused by negligence, leading to the demand for fair compensation.

Eligibility for a brain injury claim

There must be a good reason to file a claim for brain injury due to negligence. Motor vehicle, boating, and pedestrian accidents can result in TBI. While slips and falls also cause brain injury, assault is also a cause of TBI that can lead to a claim.

Indirect assault, such as animal attacks and criminal assaults, are among the causes of brain injury.  You can also file a claim against property owners who ignored hazards and violated safety guidelines, resulting in brain injuries.

Hiring a brain injury lawyer

Before committing to a brain injury lawyer, you can seek no-obligation consultations that help you understand your legal options. Once you’ve made your decision, the consultant will update you on your case proceedings while the lawyer handles your case.

Police reports, witness accounts, and expert testimonies can be part of the evidence collected for a brain injury claim. This official documentation calculates your damage and fair compensation for your brain injuries.

Your brain injury lawyer will take care of the paperwork required for your case. They will talk to the parties involved, such as the insurers and defense attorneys. You can rely on your brain injury lawyer to negotiate compensation and assess the value of settlement offers.

It is important to act promptly.  Not only are there statutes of limitation (deadlines to bring the case under the law) to meet, but skilled lawyers know that time is of the essence.  The sooner you have a top notch attorney, the sooner you will get good legal advice on how to proceed. Your attorney can then begin assembling evidence before it is destroyed or lost, have an investigation begun, contact and get statements from witnesses, and prepare your case so that the eventual outcome is in your favor.  Very often there is evidence that will be destroyed or overwritten (for example security video).  If you do not preserve the evidence very quickly, it is often lost for good.  And most of the time only an experienced lawyer will know where that evidence is and how to obtain or preserve it.

How to choose a brain injury lawyer

Due to multiple factors, there are no guarantees in brain injury claims, so stay clear of brain injury lawyers who make such grand claims. Book a consultation with us to ensure we have adequate expertise for your case.

  • Look for a brain injury lawyer who is  Board Certified, setting them apart from many others who don’t have it. It is the highest formal recognition by the Florida Bar that a certified lawyer has the experience and training to handle your case. Board certified lawyers must have substantial years of practice in the field and have passed a rigorous examination, and keep their certification current every five years.
  • Select a brain injury lawyer who has gone to trial with similar cases in your state and other parts of the country.  Find out what kinds of verdicts and settlements they have obtained on behalf of other clients.
  • Check the track records of your shortlisted brain injury lawyers to measure the level of success they’ve had with cases like yours.
  • Consider the ranking of your brain injury lawyer in well-known publications like The Best Lawyers in America, Florida SuperLawyers, Florida Trend “Florida Legal Elite” and the South Florida Legal Guide “Top Lawyers”.
  • Besides checking out their publications, look to see if they have an “AV” rating (highest they award) with Martindale-Hubbell and a 10.0 rating with AVVO.com.
  • Go for a brain injury lawyer with authority to be called “elite” and experience educating others on brain injury claims.

Brain injury cases a very complex.  The attorney you choose must understand both the medicine underlying the cause and extent of your injury, but also the complexities of working with clients who have suffered brain injuries.  These are not cookie cutter cases or clients.  Everyone needs to be treated individually, and with the understanding of TBIs and hypoxic brain injuries.

It’s also important to know whether the lawyer you choose has worked with experts in the field of brain injury from around the country.  Because it is a complex medical issue, your attorney should understand the need for and be familiar with experts in neurology, neuropsychology, neuroradiology, rehabilitative medicine, neurosurgery, interventional radiatiology, physiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, life care planning, psychiatry, and economic analysis.

As experienced brain injury lawyers, we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Compensation can support you in getting back on your feet. We can handle your case while you grieve or recover.

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