Sleep Better at Night With Answers to Your Top Questions on Virginia Brain Injury Claims
Experiencing something as traumatic as an accident in Chesterfield County can leave your head spinning with questions and uncertainty. Get the answers you need fast in this FAQ series from Richmond brain injury attorney Kevin Mottley.
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What factors determine the value of my brain injury case?
From hospital stays to loss of employment, unexpected financial stress is common after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is why you want the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation. Whether the at-fault party agrees to a settlement or the case is successfully litigated in court, the specific monetary value of a TBI case can vary dramatically depending on several important factors.
Calculating Brain Injury Damages
The main component to keep in mind is the severity of the brain injury and the impact it has on your daily life. For instance, mild TBI cases with a short period of unconsciousness followed by lingering headaches typically result in less compensation than a more severe injury with lifelong repercussions.
The value of a brain injury case goes up when significant vision, language, or cognitive difficulties occur that interfere with your ability to hold down a job or perform everyday tasks. In most instances, these are the main factors that will be taken into account when determining the value of your Virginia traumatic brain injury case:
- Medical treatment costs from the initial accident
- Long-term care costs
- Pain and suffering beyond the original injury if you experience a loss of quality of life
- Lost wages and earning potential if you are unable to work after your accident
To accurately establish the value of your case and recover the full amount you are owed, it is critical to see a doctor immediately after the accident to establish a paper trail. You will need documentation to prove the accident caused your brain injury as well as to show the extent of the injury’s impact on your life.
With that information in hand, TBI cases still require dealing with insurance adjusters who have a vested interest in reducing or denying your claim, as well as at-fault parties who often don’t want to admit their responsibility. For the best shot at a successful recovery, you need a local attorney with a track record of positive outcomes for traumatic brain injury victims.
Get the Assistance You Need After a Traumatic Brain Injury
You have a legal right to seek damages after suffering an injury caused by negligence, but you need a skilled attorney to assess the details of your specific injury first. Come in for a consultation and we can help determine the possible value of your case while holding the at-fault party responsible for your pain and suffering.
What is a cerebral laceration?
Despite its importance to the human body, your brain is a fragile organ. Any number of common injuries may lead to a cerebral laceration. These lacerations might result in mild to severe cognitive impairment causing monetary setbacks that go far beyond medical bills, as you may no longer be able to work after a head injury. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of lacerations so you can seek proper treatment and find an attorney to help you recover monetary damages.
How Cerebral Lacerations Occur
A laceration is an actual tearing of brain tissue, rather than a simple contusion or bruise. Any of these accidents can lead to cerebral lacerations:
- Slip and fall
- Vehicle crash
- Workplace accident caused by your employer’s negligence
- Direct violence
The cut itself occurs when a sharp blow to the head causes the skull to fracture and pierce the brain, or when the brain strikes a ridge on the skull. Lacerations can still occur without any actual penetration or fracturing of the skull, however. Tearing may take place if the brain quickly and violently twists and moves inside the head during an accident.
While the laceration itself is dangerous and may create life-long medical issues, it can also lead to devastating secondary effects. In particular, the laceration may cause swelling in the brain due to bleeding.
What to Do After a Cerebral Laceration
Cerebral tears can occur even if you don’t lose consciousness or suffer any immediate cognitive difficulties after the accident. Because of the potential for serious health problems, it is important to see a doctor after any head injury to determine if a laceration has occurred. Cerebral laceration treatment may require an extended hospital stay so you can be monitored for swelling, ensure your brain is receiving enough oxygen, and manage pain.
A doctor visit also establishes a paper trail on your injury so an insurance carrier or at-fault party can’t claim the damage to your brain occurred in a previous incident. If someone else caused your cerebral tear, you should contact an experienced attorney focused on traumatic brain injury cases to determine who is legally at fault for your injury and seek compensation.
Did You Suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury in an Accident?
It is your legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against the person or business responsible for your cerebral laceration. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case and find out if we can help you seek justice after a traumatic brain injury.
Can a traumatic brain injury be cured?
When a head injury causes brain tissue to be damaged, there is no way to reverse the damage. So in that way, traumatic brain injuries cannot be cured. However, the limitations and disabilities imposed on the victim by the damaged brain can be overcome through intensive therapy and rehabilitation. These options can be very expensive and may not be covered by health insurance. If you or a family member sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle crash or slip and fall, you might be able to hold the negligent party responsible for paying for your long-term medical needs.
What Are Treatment Options for Traumatic Brain Injury?
Depending on the severity of the TBI and the abilities it has affected, the appropriate treatment may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient regain as much of the function he or she has lost, including the following:
- Gross motor skills, including walking, balancing, throwing a ball, and exercising
- Fine motor skills, such as picking up objects, holding utensils, writing, and crafting
- Speech and communication skills, which may include speech therapy or learning alternative forms of communication.
- Occupational skills, including relearning work tasks or learning new skills in order to get a job
- Counseling to cope with the emotional and psychological effects of the accident and injury
These therapies may be needed for months or even years in order to make up for the deficits caused by the injury and are very expensive. If the accident that left you injured was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences.
Should Someone Else Be Paying for Your Rehab?
If another driver, property owner, or another negligent party was responsible for causing the accident that left you injured, you might have a claim for compensation from their insurance company. At the Mottley Law Firm, we are experienced with traumatic brain injury claims and understand what kinds of long-term therapies and treatments may be required. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in an accident, reach out to our firm today to find out if we can help. We only accept a few personal injury cases at a time because we want to provide each of our clients with the highest level of service. If we can do your case justice, we will tell you how!
What is the difference between a mild, moderate, and severe brain injury?
Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an accident—or helping a loved one who has been injured—is a frightening and confusing experience. At the time of the injury, doctors often aren’t able to tell you much about the prognosis for recovery. However, you should be given information about the severity of the injury, which will give you an idea of what the road ahead will look like.
Three Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury
Whether you or your loved one has sustained a concussion, contusion, penetrating injury, or diffuse axonal injury, your injury could be considered mild, moderate, or severe. Based on the symptoms and expected recovery, brain injuries are generally rated as follows:
- Mild. When there is no—or a very brief—loss of consciousness and symptoms such as confusion, headaches, and dizziness are brief and minor, the brain injury is considered mild. Mild TBIs are often diagnosed based on the fact that there was an impact to the head rather than on scans showing brain damage or permanent impairments.
- Moderate. If the person was unconscious for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, the TBI would be considered moderate. Long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional effects are possible with a moderate TBI. These impairments could last for several months, and some changes may be permanent.
- Severe. A severe TBI is often permanently debilitating or fatal. An injury that crushes or penetrates the skull and damages brain tissue is considered severe because there is no way to repair the damage. If they survive, victims of a severe TBI cannot expect to return to the life they had before the accident.
No matter what level of brain injury you or your loved one has suffered, if another person’s negligence caused the car accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident that lead to your TBI, you need an attorney to help you fight for damages. Contact the Mottley Law Firm to learn more about our traumatic brain injury legal services.
What is the goal of rehabilitation after a brain injury?
When you were diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your doctor said that you would need intensive rehabilitation to regain some of the motor and cognitive function you lost. If your injury happened in an accident caused by a negligent party, the costs of rehab might be recovered in a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Learn more about what rehab for a TBI may consist of and how our Richmond personal injury team can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Rehabilitation After a Virginia TBI
Whether you sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, slip and fall, or workplace accident, you have a long road ahead to recovery. A big part of your treatment will likely be working with therapists on a rehabilitation program. The goal of your program is to overcome the limitations caused by the injury and to regain as much of your former functioning as possible. Depending on how the TBI has affected you, your rehab might consist of any of the following:
- Neuromuscular brain rehabilitation. Physical therapists will work with you on the motor control and mobility issues caused by the brain injury.
- Cognitive rehabilitation. Improving mental processing, memory, mood, and emotional challenges are the goals of this type of therapy.
- Speech and language therapy. If your brain injury has affected your ability to communicate, working with a speech and language therapist can help you regain skills and learn other ways to communicate.
- Occupational rehabilitation. If your TBI prevents you from returning to the type of work you did before the accident, you may undergo occupational therapy to learn new ways to complete tasks or to learn a new trade altogether.
- Support groups and counseling. People with TBI may experience depression and have other emotional struggles. Group and individual counseling can ease some of the suffering.
Your doctor will recommend the right combination of these rehabilitation services for your specific case.
Worried About Paying for Rehab? Our Richmond Attorney May Be Able to Help!
If a careless driver, negligent property owner, or non-compliant employer contributed to the cause of the accident that left you struggling with a TBI, you might be able to sue for compensation to cover your losses. Our brain injury lawyer can fight the complex battle against an insurance company and the people who caused the injury while you focus on recovering from the injury. Contact us to learn more about the kinds of personal injury cases we take at the Mottley Law Firm.
If I told the EMT that I did not lose consciousness, do I have a case for my traumatic brain injury?
One of the standard questions a first responder (emergency medical technician, or "EMT") will ask a person who has been involved in an accident is whether they "lost consciousness." Depending on the answer, the EMT will put that information in their report. Then, when the injured person gets to the emergency room, they will again be asked whether they lost consciousness. Once again, the answer given by the patient will be put in the emergency room report.
This raises the question: "What if I told the EMT and the emergency room doctor that I did not lose consciousness? Does that mean I have no case for a traumatic brain injury from the accident?"
No, it does not.
A person who loses consciousness is not aware of having lost it. Therefore, they're not able to accurately respond to that question. Only if a third person was there observing what happened (rarely the case) can loss of consciousness be accurately determined by simply asking the question. Loss of consciousness means that the person has a gap in their ability to recall a period of time. That lost period of time may be only a few seconds. If a person responds to a question about loss of consciousness by saying that they "don't know" or "no," that fact does not medically rule out the possibility that a concussion occurred. Determining whether a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, occurred, requires the medical provider to dig a little deeper into investigating what happened.
Another factor that plays into this issue is that emergency personnel, including EMTs and emergency room doctors, are typically more focused on other problems with a patient than they are with investigating whether a concussion occurred. To illustrate the point, let's assume a patient was in a car accident in which they broke their leg and suffered a nasty gash on their hand, which is bleeding profusely. When they arrive at the emergency room, they are fully awake and oriented. They are as conscious as a person can be. But they're bleeding and in a lot of pain. The ER doctors are going to focus, first, on stopping the profusely bleeding hand and, second, on getting down to fixing that broken leg. They'll most certainly ask whether a loss of consciousness occurred. The answer will in most cases be "I don't know" or "no," at which point the medical personnel will check that box off in their report and move on.
This sort of dynamic is why a recent study showed that more than 50% of mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions) are not diagnosed in the emergency room.
Here at The Mottley Law Firm, most of the traumatic brain injury cases we handle involve a person who either responded "no" or "I don't know" to the question, "did you lose consciousness." That is the fact pattern we see most of the time in mild TBI cases.
If you or a loved one have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion due to some sort of accident or mishap, feel free to contact us about the matter. We focus a significant portion of our practice on helping people in this position with their legal needs.
What is post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome, or postconcussive syndrome as it is sometimes referred to ("PCS"), is a diagnostic label applied to a set of symptoms that sometimes arise following a concussion. These symptoms may last days, weeks or months, but a diagnosis of PCS is usually not made until several months following an injury. The symptoms are the same as those for a mild traumatic brain injury ("TBI"). They include headache, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and emotional and behavioral changes.
Is a “concussion” a brain injury?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. It is normally described by health care professionals as a “mild” traumatic brain injury because concussions are normally not life threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious. Symptoms may go on for weeks and may not even appear until an extended time after the accident.
How common are traumatic brain injuries?
A traumatic brain injury (or “TBI”) is a serious public health problem in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. According to the CDC’s research, each year, TBI contributes to a significant number of deaths or permanent disability in the United States. It is estimated that, each year, at least 1.7 million TBI’s occur in the U.S., most of which are considered “mild” traumatic brain injuries caused by a concussion.
How do you, as the lawyer, present my brain injury case to the jury?
Successfully presenting a mild traumatic brain injury case to a jury is all about demonstration and corroboration. What do I mean by that? Well, if a mild brain injury case is going to trial, it is for one of two reasons. First, the insurance company and its lawyers do not believe that the plaintiff actually has a brain injury. Second, the insurance company and its lawyers do not believe the plaintiff should receive money for many of the future rehabilitative expenses that will be necessary to help the plaintiff successfully recover and live a normal life. So that is the battleground in the case.
They say that “seeing is believing.” When it comes to proving that a brain injury occurred, I do believe in that saying. To win, you must demonstrate the injury to the jury. To demonstrate that the plaintiff does have a mild traumatic brain injury, we use numerous demonstrative exhibits and other visual exhibits (such as photographs) to show the severity of the impact. We also use illustrations and models of the skull and brain, and we have the plaintiff’s doctor visually show the jury exactly where and how the plaintiff’s brain was injured. Every case is different but, in every case, the trial lawyer wins by successfully demonstrating the existence of an injury.
Equally important to the plaintiff’s success is having friends, family, coworkers, and physicians come in to court and tell the jury that they have personally witnessed and observed a change in the plaintiff since the accident. This is incredibly important to a successful case.