Brain Injury Case Values Can Vary Greatly
Brain Injury Case Values Can Vary Greatly
Predicting the possible settlement value of a head or brain injury case is extremely complicated since most clients experience many unique sets of problems. However, once our law firm has had the chance to review a client’s medical records and billings, we’re in a much better position to try and assign a potential value to a case – assuming there is ample proof of liability of one or more defendants named in the lawsuit.
As many clients know, immediate treatment after suffering a head injury is crucial. This holds true whether someone has been injured due to a construction site fall, a major vehicle (or pedestrian) accident – or even following a very basic slip and fall incident.
While mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may only affect you temporarily – more serious head injuries can lead to torn tissues, bruising and bleeding in the brain. Long-term complications are common for brain injury victims – too many of them die annually. Statistics shared by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) indicate that about 155 people perish daily due to accidents that involve a serious head injury. In fact, over 56,000 people pass away each year due to TBIs.
What follows is a definition of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a look at the most common types of these injuries and a review of the medical tests often used to diagnose them. There’s also a discussion of the general types of rehabilitative services that patients often require.
All this material should help readers gain a better understanding of the vast number of factors that often play a role in our firm’s attempts to provide an educated guess regarding the settlement value for each client’s traumatic brain injury case.
What exactly constitutes a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
People incur this type of injury when their head receives a sudden blow, jolt or bump from another person or object. Although lighter hits to the head don’t always cause a brain injury – it’s always wise to carefully observe anyone who reports this type of event. Should there be any doubt about the severity of a brain injury, it’s best to immediately visit an emergency room.
Frequently occurring head or brain injuries
A concussion may occur after a person’s head or body is hit, causing the brain to rapidly move up and down or back and forth. This can cause chemical changes in the brain and various cells can be damaged. While some people may only feel a bit confused, others can develop far more serious conditions that may require immediate attention.
A list of other common head or brain injuries are set forth below. All of them require immediate medical attention.
- A hemorrhage. This can occur after a person’s head is hit hard or shaken. There may be uncontrolled bleeding around the brain – referred to as a subarachnoid hemorrhage – and bleeding within the brain tissue, known as an intracerebral hemorrhage. Immediate efforts must be taken to prevent harmful pressure to build up in the brain;
- A hematoma. After receiving a blow to the head, many people may suffer this type of clotting or collection of blood outside the brain’s blood vessels. This can cause pressure to build up inside the skull – sometimes causing a person to lose consciousness or suffer permanent damage to the brain;
- Skull fracture. This is a common injury for people who have suffered a bad fall, banged their head against something during a vehicle accident — or been hurt while playing sports;
- Edema or swelling in the brain. Nearly every brain injury can cause this problem. While the tissues surrounding the brain may swell, this condition becomes much more serious when it occurs inside the brain itself. The swelling brain can cause great pain as it pushes against the skull;
- A diffuse axonal injury. This type of brain damage directly harms the cells in the brain, making it impossible for them to function properly. While a diffuse axonal injury can cause swelling, it’s not always visible to others. It can quickly prove very harmful to the victim – and possibly cause sudden death.
Since plaintiffs often suffer two or more of these injuries due to the same accident – and often incur other serious bodily damage, it’s very challenging for doctors to determine which injuries require the most immediate treatment. After assessing a patient’s mental status with the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs are often required. After fully examining these test results, immediate treatment decisions can be made that may include surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation program.
Treating doctors cannot always readily provide your lawyer with a complete, long-term prognosis for your brain injury condition. They must often wait to see how well (or poorly) you’ll respond to all the treatments and rehabilitation care provided.
Extensive treatment and care may be required from many rehabilitation specialists
- Your rehabilitation doctor, a physiatrist, will usually coordinate all your rehabilitation care. This person will normally prescribe all your required medications and coordinate the different specialized services provided to you;
- Your occupational therapist will help you relearn tasks you can no longer perform. These can include properly feeding and bathing yourself – as well as using your fingers and hands to perform simple tasks like writing, doing dishes or handling other common daily chores;
- A speech or language pathologist may need to work with you. Depending on which parts of your brain received the most injury, you may require considerable help relearning how to pronounce many words — so you can once again easily place them in sentences and pronounce them with clarity;
- A physical therapist is often required by every traumatic brain injury patient. Your current mobility skills will be evaluated and a treatment plan put together so you can relearn both simple and more complex tasks involved with walking — or using an assistive device like a wheelchair or walker;
- A neuropsychologist may need to play a key role in your full recovery. This person knows how to evaluate all your cognitive impairments. Many patients may discover they simply cannot think as clearly as they once did and will need to try and regain certain cognitive skills that they lost. If the skills cannot be relearned, then the neuropsychologist can provide useful talking therapy to help a patient adjust to his/her “new normal” mental status. Many patients benefit from bringing family members to sessions so they can learn how to better interact with the loved one struggling with TBI limitations;
- A social worker will usually need to carefully monitor your progress, along with your physiatrist. Your social workers will often play a key role in helping you locate critical resources like housing and ongoing medical care if you’re no longer able to care for yourself – and when there are no family members available to help;
- Other specialists like a vocational counselor, a recreational therapist and different nurses may also be a part of your rehabilitation team. They will all work together to help you manage each stage of returning to as independent a life as you can handle.
As you can now see more clearly, each traumatic brain injury patient may require highly individualized care – either for many months – or for the remainder of their lives. Once our firm receives a long-term prognosis for all the care you may continue needing, we’ll be in a much better position to provide you with a well-reasoned, educated guess regarding your personal case’s settlement value.
If we cannot negotiate what we believe is a large enough sum of money to cover all of your past and future medical needs, we’ll work diligently to present a strong case in court on your behalf.
If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of someone else, you should immediately contact our New York City brain injury accident law firm. After thoroughly investigating the facts of your case, you can trust us to fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to cover all your lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and other losses.