Brain injuries, often called “traumatic brain injuries” or “TBI,” happen in a variety of accidents. Falls, car crashes and medical mistakes are among the common causes of TBI.
Severe TBIs may be immediately apparent. Symptoms include loss of senses, loss of speech, seizures, paralysis or a coma. Mild to moderate brain injuries – also called “concussions” – are often harder to diagnose. However, these TBIs can seriously affect a victim’s senses and cognitive ability (thinking).
Any blow to the head or penetrating head wound can cause a TBI and should be taken seriously as a medical problem. If a TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence, it should also be taken seriously as the basis of a personal injury claim.
TBI victims and their families face months or years of recovery and thousands of dollars in medical bills and other related expenses. Those bills can be overwhelming. At Powers & Santola, LLP, our nationally recognized lawyers have helped numerous New York residents who have suffered brain injuries. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.
Some of our verdicts and settlements involving brain injuries include:
- $7.3 million recovery for a young man who sustained several fractures and a permanent brain injury after a department store truck missed a stop sign and struck his car, leaving him with motor and cognitive deficits.
- $4.5 million recovery for an infant who suffered permanent brain injury at the age of 4 weeks when a nurse inadvertently administered heparin, an anticoagulant, to the baby. As a result, the baby began to bleed, which went undetected by the medical staff for several hours. The bleeding was so extensive that the baby’s brain was deprived of oxygen, resulting in permanent brain damage.
- $3.25 million recovery for a 49-year-old man who suffered brain damage as a result of a neurosurgeon’s negligence while performing surgery to drain an arachnoid cyst. When placing the tip of a stent between the basilar artery and the brain stem, he caused a brainstem infarct and permanent brainstem damage.
- $3.16 million recovery for a 16-year-old girl who suffered traumatic brain damage when the car she was operating collided with a motor vehicle at a T-intersection of a county highway and a town road. The county and town failed to provide proper signage to warn motorists unfamiliar with the intersection that they were approaching an intersection where the motorist driving on the town road was required to stop.
- $1.63 million recovery for a 36-year-old man who suffered brain damage and multiple fractures when the intoxicated driver of the motorcycle he was a passenger on lost control and struck a guardrail.
- $1.12 million recovery for a college student from Georgia who sustained traumatic brain injury as the result of a motor vehicle collision while a passenger in a car that had been rented by the college and driven by an employee of the college.
A Closer Look at Brain Injuries
A TBI may be caused by a blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to move and slam against the inside of the skull. Some are caused by a penetrating wound, such as a gunshot, that tears into brain tissue. Either type of TBI may result in bleeding, bruising and swelling of the brain, tearing of brain tissue, shearing of the brain stem and nerve damage.
If oxygen to the brain is cut off (such as during childbirth), while under anesthesia or during a stroke or heart attack, an anoxic (full oxygen loss) or hypoxic (partial loss) brain injury may occur.
Here’s a closer look at the effects of mild, moderate and severe TBI:
- Concussion. A mild blow to the head may cause temporary loss of consciousness, followed by headache and problems with concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination. Suffering a concussion makes a victim more susceptible to additional concussions.
- Post-concussion syndrome. Some concussions do not heal. They may lead to post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which is the persistence of symptoms for months or a year or more. It may lead to anxiety and depression.
- Brain herniation. This is a potentially deadly side effect of high intracranial pressure from part of the brain being squeezed against the skull. Brain herniation can stop or cut off blood flow to various parts of the brain, potentially paralyzing the injured person or interfering with his or her respiration.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage. This TBI involves bleeding in the subarachnoid space of the brain, which is the area between the membranes that protect and cushion the brain (the arachnoid membrane and pia mater). A skull fracture or bruised brain tissue can cause a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which may be fatal or cause severe cognitive or neural impairments. A primary symptom is a severe headache that develops within seconds or minutes. Other symptoms include vomiting, seizures, confusion and decreased levels of consciousness.
- Stroke / cerebrovascular accident (CVA). A disrupted blood supply to the brain can cause the rapid loss of brain function. The two major categories of a stroke are the interruption of the blood supply (ischemic) and a rupture of the blood vessels (hemorrhagic). Strokes are the leading cause of disabilities in U.S. adults and the second leading cause of death. A stroke may be caused by a physician’s failure to diagnose a medical condition or to properly treat it.
- Locked-in syndrome. A person suffering this severe form of TBI is mentally aware but cannot move or communicate verbally. The victim may have complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except the eyes. Locked-in syndrome is caused by damage to the lower brain and brain stem.
Anyone who has suffered a blow to the head should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Emergency medical care should be sought if a person who has been hit in the head suffers convulsions, weakness or numbness in the extremities, repeated vomiting or slurred speech.
How Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI ) Occur
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the most common causes of brain injury are:
- Fall-related accidents. Falls account for about 40 percent of all TBIs in the United States, including about half of brain injuries among children up to age 14 and about 61 percent among adults 65 years old or older. Falls are the leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits for every age group.
- Motor vehicle accidents. Car, motorcycle and truck accidents cause about 14 percent of brain injuries. Traffic accidents cause the largest percentage of TBI-related fatalities (26 percent).
- Blunt trauma (being hit by an object). About 15 percent of TBIs are caused by being hit by or slammed into something. Some 24 percent of TBIs among children up to age 15 are related to blunt trauma, including concussions suffered on playgrounds or in organized sports.
- Assault. Criminal assaults cause about 10 percent of TBIs. Three quarters of assaults associated with TBI occur in people 15 to 44 years old. In children up to age 4, assaults are the leading cause of brain injury, often caused by a form of child abuse known as “shaken-baby syndrome.”
A Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
A serious TBI may lead to hospitalization and cause disabilities that make a victim unable to work or enjoy a decent quality of life. The costs of medical treatment, lost income and pain and suffering are often staggering.
Powers & Santola, LLP, can help you obtain compensation for your losses related to a serious TBI caused by someone else’s negligence or a job-related accident. You will be represented by a traumatic brain injury lawyer who is working for a firm that has won several multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of TBI victims injured by car accidents, medical malpractice and other accidents.
Contact us today by phone or online for a free consultation with a traumatic brain injury lawyer experienced with TBI cases in Albany, Syracuse and throughout Upstate New York.