Brain injuries are complex and can have a widespread effect on multiple aspects of a person's life. The intricate network of neurons and connections that make up our brains govern everything about our bodies, such as our basic bodily functions, memory, behavior, and sense of self.
An injury to this vital organ, the consequences can destroy or significantly change all of these things that make us who we are, while saddling us with burdensome medical costs.
Understanding brain injuries can help you understand the lifelong consequences you may face, and what to expect in terms of future costs and losses to you. Recognizing the extent of your injury can ensure you seek the maximum damages available to you under the law. Contact Zephyrhills Brain injury lawyers for legal assistance and guidance in your case.
Understanding Brain Injuries
Just like an intriguing puzzle, the human brain is complex, intricate, and mysterious. It weighs just about three pounds, yet it carries out an array of vital functions that keep us alive and well every single day.
The brain is one of the biggest and most powerful organs in our body, and each region of the brain has a unique set of responsibilities. It comprises three primary parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem. The brain is essentially our body's command center, controlling physical movements, memory, speech, and sensory perception. It also regulates other things, including our emotions, hunger, and sleep.
Any injury to the brain can wreak havoc on our body, as it influences all of our body's functions and abilities, including our overall health, well-being, and behaviors.
Proper functioning of the brain is essential for our physical abilities, emotional stability, social interactions, and cognitive functions. It also plays a significant role in maintaining homeostasis, which is the state of equilibrium in our bodies.
An injury to the brain can disrupt these functions and significantly derail a person's life. Brain injuries are also notoriously challenging to heal from, and the recovery is a slow and daunting process for many who suffer a brain injury. The long-term effects can last a lifetime.
Classification of Brain Injuries
The human brain is a complex organ, so the injuries it can sustain are equally diverse. Brain injuries can range from mild to severe, and the category of injury can depend on their cause and location and the level of force exerted on the brain at the time of the accident. Understanding the different classifications of brain injuries can empower victims and their families to better navigate their medical journey and legal options after an accident.
The two broad categories for brain injuries are traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result from trauma to the head, usually caused by accidents or violence. Non-traumatic brain injuries occur because of internal factors, such as a stroke, tumor, or lack of oxygen supply to the brain (anoxia).
The most common injury in an accident is a TBI. Within the category of TBI is the subset of a primary or secondary brain injury.
TBIs usually occur by a sudden and violent blow or jolt to the head, which disrupts normal brain function.
The following are three main types that divide this injury:
- Concussions: This is the most common type of TBI and results from a direct blow to the head or a sudden acceleration or deceleration movement, such as in a car accident. Symptoms may be mild and temporary, but repetitive concussions can lead to lasting damage.
- Contusions: This refers to a bruise on the brain caused by an impact on the head. Contusions can lead to localized brain swelling and may require surgical removal if they cause significant pressure on the brain.
- Penetrating injuries: These occur when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain. These injuries can be catastrophic, depending on the severity and location of the injury, and lead to permanent impairment or death.
Primary and Secondary Brain Injuries
Primary brain injuries are the immediate result of the trauma and occur at the moment of impact. These injuries would include concussions, contusions, and penetrating brain injuries.
Secondary brain injuries do not appear immediately after the incident. They develop with time because of complications from the primary injury, such as swelling, bleeding, or increased intracranial pressure. These injuries can be equally or more damaging than primary injuries, highlighting the importance of ongoing medical attention and treatment post-accident for brain injury victims.
Symptoms and Effects of Brain Injuries
Recognizing the signs of a brain injury early on can assist you in getting timely medical attention, potentially mitigating the severity of the injury's effects and improving the prognosis. Symptoms can attribute physical, cognitive, and emotional declines to the accident, which can strengthen a negligence claim.
Physical symptoms are often the most immediate and noticeable effects of a brain injury and include headaches, loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, sleep disturbances, and seizures. Specific symptoms depend on the area of the brain injured.
An injury to the frontal lobes, for example, may cause problems with motor skills, whereas damage to the temporal lobes could cause challenges with speech and hearing.
Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms
Brain injuries can also result in cognitive and emotional symptoms. These may be more subtle and take longer to manifest than physical symptoms, but they can be just as devastating for a victim to experience.
Cognitive symptoms can include difficulties with memory, attention, and problem-solving. Emotional symptoms could involve mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, and personality changes. These symptoms can reduce a person's ability to lead a normal life.
Long-Term Effects and Potential Complications
Some brain injuries may lead to lifelong disability, requiring long-term medical care and support. Complications can include physical disability, cognitive impairment, behavioral changes, and mental health disorders.
Serious brain injuries can also increase the risk of conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain disorders. In some instances, a victim of a severe brain injury will require assistance to live their day-to-day life and take care of their basic needs, which means they could lose their independence.
How a Brain Injury Diminishes a Victim's Overall Life and Well-being
The effects of a brain injury extend beyond the person's physical health, changing all aspects of the victim's life, including their ability to work, their relationships, their enjoyment of activities, and their overall quality of life.
Your brain injury lawyer will examine all these effects when seeking compensation for a brain injury caused by another party's negligence. Damage calculations must also take into account both the immediate and longer-term effects to ensure a fair and comprehensive settlement.
What Are Your Rights if You Are a Victim of a Brain Injury?
People who suffer a brain injury due to another person's negligence should be aware of their rights. They may pursue compensation for the damages they face due to their injury.
Brain injuries can lead to extensive medical bills for emergency treatment, ongoing care, therapy, and medication. Victims may also face loss of income due to their inability to work or their long-term reduced earning potential if they are unable to return to their previous employment in the future.
The financial strain can also extend to family members who may need to reduce their work hours or quit their jobs entirely to care for the injured person.
What Damages Can You Pursue if You Are a Victim of Negligence
Victims of brain injuries can claim both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover tangible financial losses, such as medical bills and loss of income.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, punitive damages are also possible in certain rare instances where the court acts to punish the defendant and deter egregious similar behavior in the future.
The most contentious aspect of a brain injury case often relates to the calculation of damages relating to the injury. Insurance companies and the parties at fault may minimize the settlement and attempt to devalue the worth of your claim.
An unfair settlement offer can create stressful challenges for a victim in the future, as it can leave them and their families having to bear the burden of expensive medical treatment and living expenses. Hiring a lawyer from the outset of a brain injury case gives you a better chance at fighting for the maximum compensation possible that reflects the true extent of your losses.
How a Lawyer Obtains Compensation Following a Brain Injury
A skilled brain injury attorney can navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence to prove negligence, and calculate the just amount of compensation after reviewing all the facts of your case. They can negotiate with insurance companies, represent you in court if necessary, and protect your rights and interests during each step of the process.
Understanding brain injuries is essential for the accurate determination of their influence on your life and to ensure that you fight for the maximum compensation that you deserve.
If you or a loved one suffers a brain injury due to someone else's negligence, you must hire an experienced Zephyrhills personal injury attorney as soon as possible to represent you.