A brain injury can turn your life upside down. The medical community considers many traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to be catastrophic. A mild TBI can disrupt brain function in the short-term. A severe TBI can cause permanent damage that results in long-term impairment or death.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI happens when “an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.” Learn more about traumatic brain injuries and their symptoms. One of the most common situations in which brain injuries occur is in motor vehicle accidents, but you can sustain this type of injury whenever your head or body experiences a violent blow or jolt. Call our firm today at 404-842-7838 to learn more about how a brain injury can affect a person and to set up your free consultation.
Consequences of a Brain Injury
After a person suffers a brain injury, how it affects a person often continues after the initial pain subsides. Depending on the severity of the injury and the area of the brain that sustains damage, a person with a brain injury can experience these issues, either short-term or long-term:
- Cranial nerve damage can rob a person of vision and the sense of smell. These nerves also control facial movement, so damage to these nerves can paralyze the face. You can experience double vision or have difficulty swallowing.
- Communication difficulty can result from brain injury. Depending on the region of the brain affected, a person can struggle to understand speech, read, write, or speak.
- Impaired communication can cause the collateral damage of social challenges when a person can no longer understand nonverbal communication, or follow or participate appropriately in conversations.
- Many people experience emotional changes after a brain injury. A previously easy-going person can become angry and depressed. He can have mood swings or be unable to sleep. These personality changes can take their toll on relationships, resulting in divorce and being fired from jobs, as spouses and co-workers say that the victim is like another person after the brain injury.
- It is not uncommon for people to experience cognitive challenges after a brain injury. People often struggle to remember things, keep their attention on subjects, solve problems, learn, and perform other brain functions.
- Within days of a brain injury, the patient can start having seizures. Sometimes the seizures stop on their own, but if they continue for the long-term, the person has post-traumatic seizure disorder. These seizures can be fatal, even years after the injury.
Altered States of Consciousness With a Brain Injury
When a person has a moderate to severe brain injury, she can experience an altered state of consciousness for a few days or much longer. The altered states of consciousness that can accompany a brain injury include:
- Minimally conscious state. This is when a person has some awareness of her surroundings but is far from a state of normal consciousness. Imagine something in between being in a coma and having some amount of recovery.
- Locked-in syndrome. This condition is when someone cannot move or talk but is awake and aware of what is going on in his surroundings. Sometimes a person experiencing locked-in syndrome can communicate by blinking his eyes or giving other clues through his eyes. But many people in this situation cannot communicate at all.
- Vegetative state. This condition is the flip-side of locked-in syndrome. A patient in a vegetative state is not aware of her environment. She can move, make sounds, and open her eyes, which can give the false impression that she is recovering.
- Coma. When a person is unconscious but in a transitional state, he is comatose. The patient will either regain consciousness or fall into a vegetative state.
- Brain death. All the other altered states of consciousness that can follow a brain injury are potentially reversible, but that is not the case with brain death. Brain death occurs when the patient has no measurable brain activity. Usually, the doctor will remove life support at this point to allow the patient to stop breathing and die.
Liability for a Brain Injury
A brain injury can change your life as you knew it. The plans and aspirations you had might be out of reach. Many people need daily assistance after a significant brain injury. The medical and long-term care expenses can reach huge proportions.
The person who caused you or a loved one to sustain a brain injury can be liable for the resulting damages, including:
- Initial medical expenses
- Brain injury rehabilitation, which can take many months
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Decreased future earnings
- Long-term care
- Ongoing medical treatments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Your spouse’s loss of consortium (damages to your relationship)
- Wrongful death – find out how you prove wrongful death and what constitutes a wrongful death lawsuit.
Getting Legal Help for a Brain Injury
If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury and your life was negatively impacted, you have likely amassed significant losses. At S. Burke Law, we can sit down with you and talk about your injury and damages. We will not charge legal fees until you get the compensation you deserve. Call 404-842-7838 to learn more information about brain injuries and how they affect people and to arrange your free consultation and protect your legal rights. There is no obligation.