If another person’s negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) in or around Syracuse, New York, you may have many options for recovering compensation. It will depend on the facts of your case. For that reason, you should get help from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Since 1987, Powers & Santola, LLP, has sought justice for clients and their families in Syracuse and throughout Onondaga County. Our mission is simple: We strive to deliver results that will fundamentally change our clients’ lives for the better. To discuss how we can help you after you have suffered serious brain injury due to the careless or reckless conduct of another, call or reach us online today. We can provide a free consultation through our conveniently located Syracuse office.
Types of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are complex and unique to each person. However, they generally fall into three classes or levels:
- Mild – Concussions are an example of this type of TBI. While there is really no such thing as a “minor” brain injury, in a typical concussion, a person may suffer a loss of consciousness that lasts only a few seconds or minutes.
- Moderate – A person with this level of TBI may suffer from several minutes or even a few hours of altered consciousness. The injury can have dramatic effects on a person’s cognitive abilities. Often, the damage is permanent.
- Severe – With this type of TBI, a person may experience altered mental status and loss of consciousness for days. Many people with severe TBI fall into a coma or die.
Different types of TBI will depend on the nature and extent of the trauma. Among the types of TBI which our attorneys have encountered when working with accident victims in Syracuse are:
- Brain bleed – Blunt force trauma to the head can cause internal bleeding or hemorrhaging within the brain. It occurs when arteries rupture, and it can result in a serious and potentially life-threatening situation.
- Contusions – Even though it may be less severe than a brain bleed, a contusion is a deep bruise. It can be painful and lead to headaches and many of the same symptoms as a brain bleed such as seizures, nausea, lethargy, weakness, dizziness, disorientation and changes in speech.
- Coup-contrecoup – This type of TBI affects both sides of a person’s brain. It is most common in situations where a person is rear-ended in a collision, and the brain strikes one side, injuring both the impacted side and opposing side simultaneously.
- Diffuse axonal injury – Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to suffer TBI is through force or a blow to the head. However, a diffuse axonal injury typically occurs when the brain is violently shaken back and forth within the skull, and tiny nerves in the brain are torn.
- Anoxic brain injury – This type of injury results from a complete loss of oxygen to the brain. It can happen for many different reasons, including due to surgical errors and other trauma which cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply.
- Hypoxic brain injury – Unlike anoxia, where all oxygen is lost, hypoxia is a reduction in oxygen. In both conditions, blood flow remains fine, but there is a block in oxygenation of the cellular tissue to the brain.
Unlike some other types of injury which oxygen deprivation can cause, a TBI involves actual physical trauma to the brain. Insurance companies or jurors may find it difficult to understand the nature of the TBI that a person has suffered and its impact on the person’s life. This is why our attorneys at Powers & Santola, LLP, work closely with industry-leading medical specialists who can help to explain how a TBI occurs and why it is a serious injury.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident in Syracuse – whether it is a fall, motor vehicle accident or some other incident – you should see a doctor as early as possible. You should get checked for potential injuries, especially if you show any common traumatic brain injury symptoms such as:
- Problems with manual dexterity
- Motor function problems
- Speech and vision changes
- Auditory changes
- Tingling or numbness in various parts of the body
- Changes in taste and sensation
- Sensitivity to light
- Anger and irritability.
A more severe form of TBI will usually require emergency medical treatment. Some severe TBI survivors may lapse into a coma or suffer from chronic and life-changing conditions such as:
- Long-term loss of consciousness
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of speech or vision
- Altered moods
- Altered cognitive abilities
- Chronic pain.
A TBI can make it hard to hold a job, do chores around the home and enjoy time with children and other loved ones. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor and start appropriate treatment.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries in New York
If you believe that another person’s negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer TBI, you should also immediately contact the attorneys of Powers & Santola, LLP. We have decades of experience with helping those in Syracuse with TBI who suffered their injuries in a variety of ways. Our background allows us to handle cases involving:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Whether it is a car wreck, motorcycle crash or semi-truck collision, motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of brain injury in New York.
- Falls – Something as simple as a slip and fall accident can lead to a severe brain injury if the victim strikes his or her head. This type of accident happens all too often, especially in nursing homes and other healthcare environments.
- Assaults – Physical attacks are another common cause of brain injury. A property owner who has neglected to adequately address the foreseeable risk of assaults on his or her property may be held liable.
- Construction site accidents – Falling debris, flying tools and falls from heights such as roofs, ladders and scaffolding can all lead to serious head injuries. Construction site owners, contractors or their agents may be liable if the injury results from their failure to provide safety devices in compliance with New York Labor Law § 240(1), or the “Scaffold Law.”
- Medical malpractice – Medical errors can also cause brain injury. For instance, many children suffer trauma to the head due to errors which medical professionals make during the child’s birth.
Do You Have a Traumatic Brain Injury Claim?
One of the most common questions that people ask our Syracuse brain injury lawyers is whether they “have a case.” To answer this question, we will gather and carefully analyze the evidence in your case and assess several important factors, including:
- Is someone else at fault? The key to a personal injury claim is proving that someone else is responsible for it. If you suffered TBI because of the negligent conduct of another, then you may have a case for damages.
- Did the other person’s conduct actually cause your injury? A causal relationship must exist between your brain injury and the other person’s conduct. In other words, but for the other person’s negligence, would your injury have occurred?
- Are your injuries serious? If your injuries are too minimal to require medical care, you likely do not have a personal injury claim that will require a lawyer’s representation. With that said, many people make the mistake of failing to get medical care when they should. A brain injury is different from a broken arm because it is not something you can observe with the naked eye. For this reason, seeing a doctor for an examination and testing is crucial after an accident.
- Is there available insurance? The amount of damages that you can recover typically will depend on the amount of insurance coverage which is available. For instance, in a slip and fall, the property owner’s homeowners’ insurance or a commercial liability policy will cover your damages. In an auto accident that results in TBI, the other driver’s liability insurance or your own uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance may cover your damages.
Contact an Experienced Syracuse Brain Injury Lawyer
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our goal will be to achieve a result that will make a fundamental improvement in your life. We will never settle a case quickly or for less than what it is worth under the law. Insurance companies in the Syracuse area know that every case we handle has merit, and we meticulously prepare each case for trial.
To learn more about how we can help you to pursue full and fair compensation in your brain injury case, contact us today. Our consultations are free, and our law firm will accept a fee only if we secure compensation for you. If we do not obtain compensation, then you will owe us nothing.