Any traumatic brain injury (TBI) may involve severe disruption to your life, but some areas of the brain are more susceptible to permanent effects than others. Damage to the brain stem often leads to a drastic impact on the core body functions required to eat, talk, and move. Whether you suffered the injury in an accident or you are caring for a loved one with brain stem damage, an attorney can help with your financial recovery.
How Brain Stem Injuries Occur in Virginia Accidents
Your brain stem is situated at the point where the top of the spinal cord and lower back of the skull meet, bridging the gap between the two parts of the body. Critical information needed by your brain to process your environment and regulate important body processes passes through the stem.
Due to its size and positioning, it can be more difficult to suffer serious damage directly to the stem than to other parts of the brain during an accident like a vehicle collision. When the stem is injured, however, the effects can be devastating. Brain stem injuries can specifically occur when a victim experiences:
- Acts of intentional violence
- Car crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Oxygen deprivation from drowning events
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Slip and fall injuries
- Sports injuries
- Truck accidents
- Workplace accidents, such as falling objects
Swelling in the brain and neck caused by other injuries can also eventually damage the brain stem, which is one reason why it is so important to see a doctor after any head wound. A medical professional can assess the extent of your internal injuries to help avoid problems in the future, as well as establish an official record that your TBI was caused by the accident.
That record, along with other key evidence gathered by an attorney, will be needed to place a value on your injury as you seek to recover damages.
Seeking Compensation for Brain Stem Injuries Caused by Negligence
A brain stem injury is likely to bring catastrophic changes to your day-to-day life that make it difficult or impossible to work a day job or go about normal activities. The brain stem plays a direct role in the natural reflexes generally taken for granted, but that are necessary for normal bodily function. Swallowing, breathing, regulating heart rate, and muscle movements can all be impacted by brain stem harm. That means an accident victim who has suffered a brain stem injury may have to deal with:
- Balance problems
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Language and speaking issues
- Locked-in syndrome (conscious total body paralysis)
- Muscle weakness and numbness in muscles
- Respiratory issues like apnea, hyperventilation, and hypoventilation
- Vegetative state
Obviously, a victim in a long-term coma or suffering from locked-in syndrome will require 24-hour care, which is typically extremely expensive and may prevent the primary caregiver from working. In other cases, ongoing therapy may also be required for re-learning how to properly swallow and regulate breathing.
With no way to pay for treatment costs as bills are piling up, your financial recovery hinges on pursuing a settlement or filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. A skilled Virginia TBI attorney can help whether the accident involved a premises liability issue in a slip and fall, a negligent driver who caused a crash, or an incident where a baby was purposefully and forcefully shaken. Damages in a brain stem injury case can potentially include:
- Costs for around-the-clock care
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
- Non-economic damages like pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
- Past and future medical bills
- Therapy sessions
- Wrongful death