The effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can vary from a few weeks of downtime to truly devastating and lifelong consequences. Understanding the four main types of TBIs and their characteristics is crucial to your eventual financial recovery.
Main Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Your skull provides incredible physical protection for your brain, but any sudden impact may still cause serious damage. That means just about any type of accident could potentially lead to one of these four most common types of TBIs.
Anoxic brain injuries
Damage occurs when there’s a lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain, such as in pool drowning accidents.
While the word contusion may make you think of minor bruises on your skin, any brain contusion can potentially be a major problem, especially since they often cause swelling and internal bleeding. These injuries are often referred to as coup (damage at the direct point of impact) or coup-contrecoup (damage at both the actual point of impact as well as the opposite side of impact).
Diffuse axonal injury
When the brain is violently shaken—such as if you were suddenly thrown in a different direction in a car wreck—tissue may shear or tear. These injuries are dangerous but aren’t obvious, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as closed brain wounds.
Penetrating brain injuries/skull fracture
The opposite of a closed head wound, this traumatic brain injury involves a fracture to the skull and actual laceration of the brain.
Falling accidents and vehicle collisions make up the majority of reported TBIs. However, they’re by no means the only way to suffer a serious brain injury. In Virginia, TBIs are typically sustained in:
- Car wrecks
- Motorcycle collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall/premises liability incidents
- Sports and outdoor activity injuries
- Truck and big rig crashes
- Violent assaults
- Workplace and job site injuries
Brain Injury Severity Levels and How a TBI Affects Your Life
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident is of paramount importance to your physical and financial recovery. Unfortunately, even if it seems you don’t have a head wound, some brain injury symptoms aren’t always immediately apparent. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can also make a TBI significantly more dangerous.
Why exactly does it matter to know the specific type of brain injury you experienced? First, this information directly impacts your healing process. Second, understanding the scope of your TBI symptoms and how long they’re expected to remain influences the value of your damages. An insurance adjuster—or a jury in a personal injury case—needs to know the extent of your injuries before you can recover compensation.
To begin that process, a physician may utilize the Glasgow Coma Scale during your diagnosis. This scale is used to determine an overall score based on eye movement, motor response, and verbal ability. Depending on your final Glasgow Coma Scale score, a doctor may classify the brain injury as one of these three main levels:
- Mild: In many cases, patient recovery takes place mostly at home and there’s minimal need for support or changes to your daily routine. Whiplash is typically in this category.
- Moderate: An individual loses consciousness during the accident with a moderate brain injury. Behavioral, cognitive, and physical repercussions are expected and may last several months—or become permanent.
- Severe: This highest level usually involves multiple long-term or permanent changes to basic faculties like coordination and speech. The victim will likely need lifelong support for basic daily activities.
Keep in mind, these labels are sometimes misleading and aren’t always the whole story. Symptoms vary depending on whether you suffered damage to the left or right hemisphere of the brain, for instance. The effects of a brain injury classified as “mild” may still completely upend your life and put you on shaky financial ground. A mild TBI is also cause for serious concern if a victim was either a senior citizen or a child whose brain is still in the process of forming.
Pursue Medical and Financial Support for Your TBI Through Legal Action in Virginia
A brain injury lawsuit is often a big and complex case. It’s not the sort of thing you want to pursue on your own, especially with so much riding on your full and fair recovery. Here's how an attorney helps if you’ve suffered any of the four main types of TBI.
A Richmond, VA Attorney Analyzes the evidence
Gathering and sifting through the evidence from your accident is critical to the next two parts of the process. When analyzing the evidence in a Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) case, our attorney will typically begin by reviewing the medical records to gain an understanding of the severity of the injury and any ongoing symptoms or medical needs.
We also review other evidence, such as witness statements and accident reports, to determine the cause of the injury and who may be at fault. They may also consult with medical experts to gather additional information about the injury and its impact on the client's life.
Finally, the attorney will use all of this evidence to build a strong case on behalf of the client, seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the TBI.
Determines the liable party
A thorough investigation of the accident is necessary to find out which specific act of negligence caused your injury. The party liable for your damages could be a driver, an employer, a property owner, or someone you may not expect, such as the manufacturer of a faulty part.
In some cases, liability may lie with the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, a property owner who failed to maintain safe premises, or a product manufacturer whose product caused the injury.
Our attorney may also consult with experts in accident reconstruction, medical professionals, and other relevant fields to build a strong case against the liable party.
Ultimately, the goal is to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation on behalf of the client for their TBI-related damages.
Places a value on your damages
Before you receive a settlement or court judgment, you need to know the fair amount you deserve. Your attorney makes that determination based on your lost income, impact to future earning potential, medical bills from the accident, and so on.
Our attorney typically considers factors such as the severity of the injury, the client's medical expenses, and ongoing care needs, any lost income or earning potential, and the impact of the injury on the client's quality of life.
Once a comprehensive understanding of the damages has been reached after consulting with medical experts and other professionals, the attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the liable party or their insurance company.
In some cases, our attorney will pursue litigation to ensure that the client receives the full and fair compensation they are entitled to for their TBI-related damages.
Reduces pressure during your recovery
It takes time to acclimate to major life changes that often occur with a brain injury. An attorney will take on the responsibility of handling the legal aspects of the case, including negotiations with insurance companies and preparing for litigation if necessary.
This allows the client to focus on their recovery and healing. Additionally, our attorney can connect the client with resources and support services, such as medical professionals and rehabilitation specialists, to aid in their recovery.
We can also provide guidance and advice to the client throughout the process, helping to alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety that often comes with a TBI case. Overall, our attorney strives to play a crucial role in reducing pressure and providing support during a client's TBI recovery in Virginia.
Submits legal filings within limited timeframes
When you already have doctor appointments and therapy sessions to deal with, you don't want to also worry about deadlines or statutes of limitations on legal action. Our attorney plays a crucial role in ensuring that all necessary filings are submitted accurately and on time with an understanding of the legal process and the relevant deadlines.
We will work closely with clients and any other relevant parties to gather the necessary information and prepare the appropriate legal documents and submit them to the appropriate court or agency within the required timeframe.
In addition, the attorney will ensure that all filings comply with relevant legal standards and regulations, reducing the risk of errors or other issues that could delay or complicate the legal process.