Any time someone receives a blow to the head and neck, there’s a chance their brain will be permanently injured. Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when there is a sudden blow or jolt to the head that that disrupts the function of the brain. Often, the victim is knocked out and loses consciousness. However, Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) can still occur even if a person isn’t knocked unconscious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of all TBI’s arise from accidents including:
- truck and car crashes
- pedestrian accidents
- motorcycle and bike crashes
- traffic collisions
- on the job or work injuries
Generally, a TBI is classified as being “mild” (a brief change in mental status or consciousness), “moderate” (loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes and symptoms like memory loss lasting less than 24 hours) or “severe” (an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury). The most severe TBI is a coma.
How can you tell if someone has suffered a TBI? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a TBI often results in the following symptoms: headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or rapid mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. Additionally, the Brain Injury Association of Georgia (of which KGW is a member) lists the following as typical symptoms of a TBI: difficulty understanding language (receptive language), difficulty speaking (expressive language), depression, anxiety, confusion, less control over body movement, altered perception of music, and inability to pay attention.
These symptoms make it difficult for many doctors to accurately diagnosis a TBI. As a result, it is particularly confusing and difficult for a person who has suffered a TBI to understand the changes that have so dramatically impacted their lives. Family members sometimes want the injured person to just get over it, or they start to wonder if there is some type of mental illness.
Caring for a person with a TBI can be a challenge. No two brains are exactly the same, and there is no roadmap for how to treat or manage the care of a TBI patient. Oftentimes specialized therapy and support services are needed. TBI’s are often misdiagnosed or missed.
Family members are usually the main caregivers for TBI patients, and the life of a caregiver can be very challenging. The TBI family member may have to be re-taught how to do simple things like tie their shoelaces, or feed themselves. They may forget today what was “learned” yesterday. Fortunately, there are many organizations and resources that offer help, like www.biausa.org, BrainandSpinalCord.org, and http://www.braininjurygeorgia.org. Here, caregivers can get valuable support and resources.
Filing a lawsuit in which a brain injury is the central claim is particularly challenging. Proving a TBI can be difficult, because of the lack of objective evidence of the injury. “Objective evidence” is something that can be observed and measured, such as with an MRI, or an x-ray. However, often the only evidence in TBI cases are the “subjective” symptoms the patient complains of, such as headaches, changes in mood, anxiety, etc. Thus, oftentimes these cases require the use of an expert neuropsychologist to perform various psychological tests, which may be viewed as objective evidence and may be easier for a jury to understand and believe. Attorney Roger Krause has specialized training in psychological testing and neurophysiology, having earned a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University.
A skilled attorney can develop evidence beyond the medical records. After all, an insurance company has enough money and resources that they can find some expert to testify that the treating doctors are somehow wrong or mistaken. For example, The Krause Law Firm works to develop additional evidence of the injury, developing testimony from family members and friends. Even more powerful evidence may come from employers and co-workers, who can testify about the impact of the brain injury to the victim’s work. Not only can such testimony include the number of days lost, but, more importantly, the decrease in efficiency or a change from the usual work patterns.
If you or someone you know has a brain injury caused by trauma, please call The Krause Law Firm for a free consultation.