A concussion or closed head injury may have a permanent impact on the quality of the victim's life, as well as family members' lives. Medical science is always progressing, however, and medical care and rehabilitative services can make a positive difference in the lives of many people who suffer brain injuries.
At my law practice, The Maurer Law Firm, PLLC, I represent victims of all types of head injuries, ranging from Grade 1 concussions to traumatic brain injury. I work tirelessly to help my clients get full compensation for their losses, and needed medical care and services. For a free consultation about your case, call 845-896-5295.
How Do Brain Injuries Happen?
External impact to the head during motor vehicle accidents is the leading cause of brain injuries in the U.S. Other major causes include falls, assaults, sporting accidents, strokes and events that restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain, such as drowning or obstetric malpractice.
When preparing a legal case involving a negligent brain injury, it is very important to establish the liability of the responsible party. I have extensive resources, including accident investigators and experts in various medical specialties who can aid in this effort. As a trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience, I will work diligently to build a strong and successful case for you.
Applying Medical Science to the Law
An impact to the head can cause a gross structural injury to the brain (the primary injury). That injury can also lead to one or more secondary injuries (particularly in traumatic brain injury cases) such as cerebral hypoxia, cerebral ischemia, cerebral edema, hydrocephalus and brain herniation. Primary and secondary injuries can adversely affect memory, cognitive abilities and physical functions of the patient. Bedside cognitive testing or tests performed in other settings can provide important information in this regard.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.
A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include:
- Blurred vision or tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Change in sleep patterns
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
Is There Treatment for TBI?
Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient.
Patients with mild to moderate injuries may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability. For moderate to severe cases, the imaging test is a computed axial tomogram (CAT) scan.
Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.
What Is the Prognosis?
Disabilities from a traumatic brain injury depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with thinking memory and, reasoning. Other problems include sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness). More serious head injuries may result in an unresponsive state in which an individual is totally unconscious, unresponsive, unaware, and unarousable.
My firm works with brain specialists to determine the extent of brain damage and the medical care and services my clients will need. This is especially important in closed head injury cases, because the effects of an impact to the head may only reveal themselves over time. For this reason, you should not rush to accept an insurance settlement before sufficient time has passed and the victim has been thoroughly examined by one or more specialists.
As your lawyer, I will build a comprehensive case designed to obtain the resources you need to rebuild your life. My firm will seek full compensation for all losses, seeking the best possible result for you.
If you have suffered a catastrophic brain injury because of someone else's negligence, please call The Maurer Law Firm at 845-896-5295 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyer. We serve clients in Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Newburgh, Wappingers Falls and other communities in and around Fishkill.