Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Attorneys
James rushed to the hospital after hearing his son Ben was in the ER. Ben worked in a restaurant washing dishes. It was Ben’s first real job. Someone spilled grease on the floor and didn’t clean it up properly. Ben slipped and hit his head on the corner of the counter on the way down.
The manager called 911 when they couldn’t wake Ben after the fall. The ambulance carried him to the ER, where they did scans that showed an intracranial bleed creating too much pressure.
James sat in the ICU after the surgery, praying Ben would live and wondering what his son would face when he woke up. The doctor warned that brain damage can have widely varied and lasting consequences, depending on the location of the damage from the initial impact and the resulting swelling.
James worried about the necessary but unexpected medical bills. The ambulance ride, ER visit, hospitalization, medicines, surgery, anesthesia, physical therapy, and medical equipment would add up quickly. He wondered if he should hire a traumatic brain injury lawyer to help his son file a worker’s compensation claim.
Ben did nothing wrong. The negligent actions of another coworker in not cleaning up the spill caused Ben’s injuries. Ben shouldn’t have to pay the medical bills when he wasn’t at fault, should he?
What Causes a TBI?
The brain, weighing about 3 pounds in the average adult, is 60% fat. The other 40% is water, proteins, carbohydrates, salt, blood vessels, and nerves. It’s soft like Jello and easily damaged. It floats in spinal cerebral fluid surrounded by three membranes and connective tissue called meninges to protect it from everyday life’s minor bumps and injuries. There are two types of traumatic brain injury, blunt force trauma, and penetrating.
Blunt Force Trauma: The skull may be damaged, but nothing external enters the brain to cause injury. The brain collides with the inside of the head, bruising brain tissue and possibly tearing the connective tissue of the meninges that holds the brain in place. Common causes are bad falls, sports injuries, car accidents, work injuries, and violence, like shaken baby syndrome, abuse, or assault. Ben’s accident is an example of blunt-force trauma.
One of the more dangerous aspects of blunt force trauma is there is nowhere for the blood to go if the injury causes the victim to bleed. Blood enters the skull cavity through blood vessels feeding the brain tissues and pushing the brain aside. If the pressure increases, it can crush delicate brain tissue.
Blood irritates and kills brain cells when it comes into direct contact with brain matter outside the circulatory system. An intracranial bleed in an intact skull means no way to flush the blood away from the brain tissue.
A lack of circulation also starves the brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients.
Penetrating Trauma: The skull is compromised, and something breaks through the head and penetrates brain tissues. The foreign object can sever blood vessels and nerve connections and destroy tissue. Common causes are gunshot wounds, motorcycle accidents where the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet, work injuries on dangerous sites like construction jobs, or car accidents.
Penetrating trauma exposes the brain to the environment and debris. While many TBI cerebral fluid leaks resolve themselves once the rest of the damage is repaired, prolonged exposure to the outside world could allow bacteria to infect the fluid and meninges, a condition more commonly known as meningitis, which carries additional risk.
Combination Trauma: It is also possible for the same person to receive both injuries. In a rolled vehicle accident, for example, there may be multiple impacts before the car stops moving.
What Are The Symptoms Of a TBI?
In the case of blunt force trauma, you may experience delayed symptoms as the damage continues to progress inside the skull. An arterial bleed creates more pressure inside the skull, for example. Here are some of the most concerning symptoms.
Symptoms in Adults:
- Blurred Vision
- Inability to Focus
- Trouble Remaining Conscious
- Uneven Pupil Dilation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred Speech
- Loss of Coordination
- Changes in Personality
- Memory loss
- Disproportionate Anger
Symptoms in Small Children:
- Appetite Changes
- Inconsolable Crying
- Loss of Interest in a Favorite Toy
- Focus Issues
- Regression in Childhood Skills like
- Potty Training
What Should You Do If You Suspect a TBI?
At the first hint of concerning symptoms, go to the emergency room. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Doctors will verify whether or not you should be concerned. If there is a problem, they can take steps to mitigate the damage, from giving blood thinners to loosen a clot to surgically relieving pressure and repairing the skull.
How Can Life Change After a TBI?
The answer depends on the damage’s extent and the injury’s location. Your brain is a supercomputer with information encoded into different tissues. One part produces language, another holds your memories, and another part of the brain causes movement.
Your personality, coping skills, relationship connections, problem-solving, reason, and values reside in varying brain sections. If you damage that part of the brain, the information stored there can be lost.
Some victims can’t walk or lift their arms after a brain injury. They may rely on hospital equipment, wheelchairs, and other adaptive devices for the rest of their lives. They may lose balance, strength, or manual dexterity.
People can relearn skills or adapt to their circumstances, but it takes time and patience.
As with any loss or when facing a hard battle for recovery, traumatic brain injury victims will probably grieve what they’ve lost. The five stages of grief are denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance.
Grieving isn’t a linear process. Victims may breeze through one step or get caught up in another. They may repeat stages as new aspects of their condition surface. The grieving process can vary in length from weeks to years.
The victim’s family may also grieve and need time to adjust to a new lifestyle adapting to their loved one’s situation. A licensed therapist may be helpful while navigating emotionally charged stages of adjustment.
A TBI can devastate family finances with medical bills and adaptive equipment costs. The cost may fall to the victim’s family if the injured party can’t work or must work shorter hours. Disability applications can take months to years and won’t cover all your expenses.
If a third party caused the injury, hiring a traumatic brain injury attorney is the best way to recoup medical costs before the bills get out of hand. A decent settlement can prevent desperate financial decisions like mortgaging a house to help pay for critical medical treatments.
If you’re in the Salt Lake City area, traumatic brain injury lawyers are available in multiple offices, but they aren’t all equal in experience and skill. Some of the benefits of choosing LifeLaw include:
- We Listen To Your Story: Our most common reviews say we listen to our clients. It’s such a basic courtesy, yet rare. To some offices, your questions and concerns may be inconvenient, but listening is one of our greatest tools. We need to understand your situation to advocate for you and your family. Our job as your traumatic brain injury lawyer is to fight for your quality of life and safeguard your financial future. It starts by asking key questions and really listening to your responses:
- How do you function from day to day?
- Are you able to return to work or school?
- Are medical bills straining your finances?
- Do doctor and therapy visits endanger your job or cost you money and sick pay?
- Do you need a babysitter or adult caregiver to watch your loved one when you leave the house?
- Do you need permanent in-home care?
- Are you or your loved one receiving appropriate care to give you the best possible outcome?
In cases where a loved one has passed because of an accident, we need to know:
- Do you need help arranging the funeral?
- Are you a single parent trying to cope with losing a spouse and provider?
- Could you or your loved ones benefit from counseling to deal with the trauma?
- How did the accident change your finances?
We listen because every case is unique. You hired us to protect your family from the financial hardships of severe injuries. Your family and future are our top priorities. To serve you honorably, we must understand every aspect of your situation. We will listen without rushing you along and ensure you understand the process.
- We Have Experience Navigating Utah’s Personal Injury Laws: Our traumatic brain injury attorneys are Utah residents, and together they have nearly a century’s worth of experience. For cases that involve car accidents, we are aware of local weather, traffic patterns, and conditions that may affect the circumstances of your case. We also know Utah’s unique personal injury laws backwards and forwards. As your neighbors, we strive for justice in our community.
- We Commit To Fight For Your Future: Every client matters. You weren’t at fault and shouldn’t suffer unnecessarily for someone else’s negligence. Big Insurance may be challenging, but our traumatic brain injury lawyers are tougher. We will fight to the end to get you the settlement you deserve.
- We Keep You In The Loop: It’s your case, your future, and you have every right to expect updates. We’re here if you have any questions or need advice. You can contact our team of Salt Lake City traumatic brain injury lawyers by phone, email, or in person here at the office. If you are unable to travel, we can come to you.
- We Have Amazing Office Staff: Our phenomenal staff helps lift your burden and allows you more freedom to focus on healing.
- We Respect Your Time and Needs: We limit face-to-face meetings where possible so you can focus on recovery. Your time is precious. We know that when you have to miss school or work for meetings, it can jeopardize your schoolwork and job. If you have kids, we know that arranging childcare to attend legal meetings can be a hassle and expensive. We let you know when your presence is needed but don’t call you in over minutia.
- We Look To The Future: Here at LifeLaw, we’ve seen countless cases where injuries lasted far longer than the lawsuit. We recognize that traumatic brain injuries can completely alter the victim’s life. Our goal isn’t just to take care of your immediate medical bills but to safeguard your future to the extent the law will allow so the following services might be available to you:
- Therapy: If you lose the ability to communicate, you will need the money to see a speech therapist. If you experience muscle weakness, a physical therapist can work with you to restore your physical strength. These services, and any other needed therapies, should be yours as a matter of course, and we will fight to see you get them.
- Child Support: While we hope you never lose any of your loved ones, if you do lose a spouse or partner, it can leave you raising your children alone. A single income in this economy limits your children’s opportunities. A decent settlement could fill in the gaps in your resources so they can get an education and have a decent start in life.
- House Modification: Do you need to widen a doorway or install a roll-in shower to accommodate a wheelchair? What about a ramp to the front door?
- Adaptive Equipment: A wheelchair can make it challenging to get around. Do you need a vehicle that allows you to load a wheelchair or lets you drive with hand controls? What about a motorized wheelchair so you aren’t housebound or stuck waiting for rides? Do you need a hospital bed with rails or pulleys?
- Counseling: Sometimes, we need help to process our grief, whether of our own changed circumstances or a loved one’s passing. The one who suffered the traumatic brain injury isn’t the only victim when they have a family.
To Sum It Up
We hope you and your family stay safe and you never need us. However, if you experience a TBI and require the aid of a traumatic brain injury lawyer that will fight for you, contact us today for a free consultation.
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