A significant portion of traumatic brain injury victims experience disturbances to their normal sleep patterns. Every component of your life takes a hit when you aren’t getting enough sleep—from your physical recovery to the simple ability to function normally during the day. If the sleep problem started or worsened after your injury, you absolutely need to bring it up with a Richmond personal injury attorney.
Why You Need to Tell Your Attorney About TBI Sleep Disorders
It is crucial to always mention any physical, emotional, or cognitive impacts you experience to your support system, medical team, and legal counsel after a traumatic brain injury. Any effect of the TBI may become a part of your attorney’s investigation into the accident and can be a component of your potential compensation.
The full TBI financial recovery you deserve could include costs for seeking sleep disorder treatments, but also for non-economic considerations like the negative impact on your basic quality of life. You want to specifically talk to both your doctor and your legal counsel if you suffer from any notable sleep conditions like:
Chronic drowsiness or exhaustion
Staying awake during the day may become an extreme struggle, even if you get eight hours of sleep or try to keep yourself going with large quantities of caffeine.
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
This disrupting syndrome causes your sleep schedule to change over time. In many cases, the patient is unable to fall asleep at the normal time and finds they must stay awake later and later each night.
In some cases, trauma to the brain can lead to outright inability to sleep or to a situation where you wake up regularly throughout the night and never feel rested.
Audio and visual hallucinations when you are stuck between waking and sleeping, often referred to as “night terrors” or sleep paralysis, are a possibility after either a closed or penetrating brain injury. Parasomnia can also include any type of extreme confusion for a period after waking, as well as involuntary actions like sleep walking.
Some TBI victims deal with a condition causing involuntary and spontaneous sleep throughout the day.
If the airways in your nose, mouth, and throat are injured in the accident, you may suffer from loud snoring and constant exhaustion as sleep doesn’t make you feel rested.
How Sleep Disorders Interact With Traumatic Brain Injuries
Lack of proper sleep often has negative consequences apart from the other symptoms of your brain injury. Sleep disorders sadly come with an increased risk for heart problems, memory issues, and weight gain. Of course, if you can’t sleep, eventually, you won’t be able to work either.
It only takes a short period of insomnia before it is no longer safe for you to operate equipment or even drive yourself to appointments. Considering the other extreme ways a traumatic brain injury can interfere with your daily life, any of these sleep problems can quickly compound into an unsustainable situation.
Seeking medical help and ensuring all your symptoms are properly documented by your doctor should be a priority after any accident with a brain injury. It’s crucial to start a paper trail on your medical issues, including any TBI related sleep problems, to use in court and when negotiating with the insurance company.
Treatments for disorders that start after an accident may involve sleep studies, medications, behavioral and diet changes, and therapies like using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night. Your attorney can help ensure all your sleep issues are considered in any possible settlement, in addition to other effects from the injury. Personal injury compensation after a serious accident resulting in sleep disruptions may cover damages like:
- Bills for medical costs such as hospital stays, surgeries, sleep studies, etc.
- Out-of-pocket costs while traveling to seek treatment.
- Pain, suffering, and other emotional and cognitive impacts stemming from the brain injury.
- Property damage if your TBI occurred in a vehicle wreck.
- Wages you lost while recovering, and in some cases lost earning capacity if your brain injury symptoms prevent you from working anymore.