Brain injuries are serious medical conditions that often require long term intensive care or permanent accommodations. No two brain injuries are exactly alike – one person may experience difficulty in breathing, swallowing, or movement, while others may have difficulty with cognition and memory. Our Fort Lauderdale brain injury lawyers at Chalik & Chalik are here to help you receive the compensation you may be entitled to for you or a loved ones brain injuries. Contact our offices today to speak with one of our experiemced brain injury lawyers.
Legal Options for Brain Injury Victims
Every year, about 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the majority of which are the result of falls and motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brain injuries are extremely complex in nature, range from mild to severe, and cause a host of short-term and long-term symptoms.
The Physical Effects of TBI
A relatively small impact to the head may not cause a serious traumatic brain injury and may just result in temporary and mild symptoms, like a slight concussion. Severe injuries, on the other hand, can cause:
- major brain dysfunction;
- unconsciousness and coma;
- long-term memory and behavioral complications; and
- increased risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The location of the injury on the brain factors into what types of symptoms a victim may have. For instance:
- if the injury occurred on parietal lobe, the person’s sense of touch and vision may be affected;
- if the injury occurred on the temporal lobe, language problems might occur; and
- if the injury occurred on the frontal lobe, it may affect concentration, organization and more.
Understanding the Ripple Effect of a TBI
Brain injuries don’t just affect sufferers physically and mentally; they affect their entire lives, including relationships, finances and the future. People who suffer TBIs sometimes sustain changes in their personalities, suffer from anger and depression, and may find it difficult to cope. Family members of victims with TBI may report that their loved one “just isn’t the same” and may have to seek counseling of their own to learn how to deal with the changes in their loved one.
A person who suffers a TBI may be permanently disabled or no longer able to work in the same capacity as they once did. And unfortunately, disability combined with exorbitant medical bills cause way more than a ripple in the financial well-being of family dealing with a TBI injury.
Seeking Compensation for TBI Injuries
TBI victims who suffered an injury due to another party’s negligence can seek financial recompense for their damages via personal injury claims. If you or your family member suffered such an injury in an auto accident, slip and fall, or any other type of negligence-related incident, consult a local attorney to help you with the next stage of your claim.
Your attorney will help you collect evidence, demonstrate the severity of your injuries as well as the other party’s fault, and push for a fair amount of compensation under Florida law.
These injuries are wide-ranging and, unfortunately, common. In Florida:
- There are an estimated 210,000 citizens living with a brain injury.
- Traumatic brain injuries alone are responsible for around 4,000 deaths and an additional 18,000 injuries in Florida each year.
- Total economic costs from TBI is $1.5 billion in the Sunshine State alone.
- The median charge for a TBI leading to hospital admission is almost $41,000.
- Floridians aged 55 and older are the most likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury, usually from falls.
- Men are more than twice as likely to incur a brain injury leading to hospitalization or death.
Fort Lauderdale has unique considerations when it comes to brain injuries. For example, our high proportion of elderly citizens means that residents are much more likely to incur head injuries. Elderly brain injuries may be the result of nursing home negligence, premises liability, or negligent supervision.
Some kinds of brain injuries are more common than others, but anyone could be affected by this devastating affliction. Motor vehicle crashes or motorcycle accidents are another common reason for head injuries, and these may result from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you or a loved one suffers the daily consequences of brain injury, you may be able to collect compensation. Talk to a brain injury attorney about your legal options and see if a personal injury settlement is right for you.
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Types of Brain Damage
There are several different types of brain injuries, and they all vary in severity. In general terms, doctors categorize brain injuries as traumatic or acquired. While a traumatic brain injury results from external force (such as a blow to the head), an acquired brain injury usually follows a condition such as stroke or toxic substance exposure.
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Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs result from external force and may be “closed” (an intracranial wound) or “open” (a skull fracture). These may arise from slips and falls, car crashes, workplace accidents, or even assault and battery.
Concussions are the most common type of TBI and occur when a direct impact to the head causes your brain to bump up against your skull. The most common types of trauma include falls, motor vehicle crashes, and recreational sports. Though it’s common to lose consciousness, it’s not a necessary symptom of a concussion. In fact, people with minor concussions may only experience mind fog, headache, dizziness, or confusion.
If you experience any blow to the head, it’s essential to seek immediate medical treatment. Sometimes, the full impact of a concussion can take hours or even days to completely manifest. If victims don’t seek treatment, concussions can lead to severe and permanent brain damage.
Brain contusions are another common form of TBI and are essentially a source of localized bleeding in the brain. These often require surgical removal, as blood clots can form, leading to stroke or death.
Finally, a diffuse axonal injury is a form of TBI resulting from shaking or rotation, which causes brain tissue tearing. A common example of this injury is “shaken baby syndrome.” Diffuse axonal injuries can create disruption in motor functions, memory loss, motor sensation problems, and more.
Acquired Brain Injuries
Acquired brain injuries don’t require the application of external force. Instead, these brain injuries result from medical conditions such as stroke, exposure to toxic elements, tumors, oxygen deprivation, and certain types of disease.
There are two common types of brain injury – anoxia and hypoxic brain injury.
Anoxia is the result of oxygen deprivation. The brain needs a steady supply of sufficient oxygen to prevent cell death and perform the body’s essential function. If it goes without air, even for a few minutes, serious functional damage may occur. There are several subtypes of anoxia. For example, toxic anoxia occurs when a noxious substance blocks oxygen use, and anemic anoxia occurs when an underlying issue prevents your blood from carrying enough oxygen.
Hypoxic brain injury is similar to anoxic brain injury but occurs when the brain receives some oxygen but not enough to thrive. A common example of hypoxic brain injury would be failure to administer supplemental oxygen to an infant with low APGAR scores after birth. Left untreated, hypoxic brain injury can lead to serious injury or even death.
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The Most Common Causes of Brain Injury
Some causes of brain injury are more common than others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s leading health agency, compiles data on brain injuries and their causes. According to their most recent report, these make up the majority of TBI and other forms of head injury:
- Falls (35%). Falls are the leading cause of brain injury, both in the nation and in Fort Lauderdale. Our large proportion of retirees and senior citizens make these injuries more common, but they are also more likely to cause serious injury. In fact, falls make up 62% of all TBIs in citizens over 65.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents (17%). Car crashes continue to be a leading cause of serious injury, especially brain injuries. This applies across all age groups. While falls are more likely to cause TBI, motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of death from brain injury.
- Striking or being struck by an object (17%). Blunt force trauma is the third leading cause of all head injuries across all age groups, and the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury in children 14 and under.
- Assault (10%). Physical assault is another common form of brain injury, mostly in adults 18-65. Brain traumas from assault are extremely rare in children and the elderly.
Other/Unknown (21%). Sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a brain injury. Possible causes in this category could be playing recreational sports or preexisting conditions exacerbated by trauma.
Signs of a TBI
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that nearly half a million emergency room visits for head injury involve kids from infants to 14 years old. Teens aged 15 to 19 years are among the most likely populations to suffer a traumatic brain injury. The CDC has created a training program, Heads Up, for parents, coaches, teachers and athletes to recognize when someone may have a head injury. Awareness is the key to saving lives!
Below are some of the most commonly reported signs of traumatic brain injury:
- The initial point of injury – The CDC reports that parents and coaches should be alert for the occurrence of injury, such as a forceful blow to the child’s head that causes the head to move rapidly. If this occurs, parents, coaches or training staff should remove the child from play immediately and closely monitor the child for signs of injury.
- Changes in the child’s behavior – This may include signs of confusion (examples: “Where are we?”, “What position am I supposed to be playing again?”, or “Who are we playing tonight?”). It may also include answering questions more slowly than usual, or acting sluggish and “hazy.”
- Loss of consciousness – Even a brief loss of consciousness after the injury is cause for concern.
- Memory problems – A child who has trouble recalling any event directly before or after the injury may have suffered a concussion.
- Vomiting – A child who reports feeling sick to his or her stomach or who experiences nausea may have sustained a concussion.
- Sensitivity to noise and sound – Your child may mention feeling irritated by bright lights or loud noises if he or she has suffered a head injury. Watch for things like squinting, covering the ears or shielding the eyes.
- Vision problems – A child with a concussion or traumatic brain injury may talk about having double vision or other unusual vision problems.
- Pain – A serious head injury can cause a severe headache and even pain in the neck.
- Physical signs of injury – This includes blood or clear fluids coming from the nose or ears, bruising or swelling of the head and pupils that are uneven in size.
- Slurred speech – Listen for changes in your child’s speech patterns — this may be a sign of serious trauma.
- Convulsions or tremors – A severe head injury may result in seizures or other involuntary movements.
Unfortunately, not all concussions are immediately recognizable. The signs and symptoms may not manifest until several days after the point of injury. If your child exhibits any signs of concussion, immediately remove him or her from play and seek prompt medical attention.
Living With Brain Damage: Your Next Steps
The days and weeks following a brain injury can be confusing. You may be wondering how to pay for your medical bills and therapy expenses or compensate for lost wages and any loss in earning capacity. Brain injuries often require long-term care and assistance and may even necessitate accommodations to your home.
If you believe you or a loved one’s injuries were the result of someone else’s legal fault, you may be able to file a brain injury lawsuit. These claims provide a necessary sense of financial relief to those who struggle with the everyday consequences of a brain injury. They provide compensation:
- For economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, a loss in earning capacity, and the cost of ongoing care and rehabilitation, and;
- For non-monetary damages such as pain, suffering, and a loss in life quality.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
To see if a personal injury settlement in Fort Lauderdale is right for you, reach out to our Fort Lauderdale brain injury attorneys at Chalik and Chalik for a free initial consultation. We will review the specifics of your case and help you in any way we can, whether it’s securing a settlement on your behalf or taking a case to trial. One of our partners oversees the entire process. We also offer our services on a contingency-fee basis, so you only pay if we win. To take advantage of our risk-free process today, contact us.