Traumatic & Cerebral Hypoxia Brain Injury
Of all the types of injuries that can result from an accident, an injury to the brain is one of the worst possible traumas a person can sustain. Oftentimes, brain injury victims require long-term medical care and treatment. In the most severe situations, the victim may never fully recover and will suffer lifelong disabilities.
Brain injuries are complex and medical professionals will tell you that no two brain injuries are ever the same. Some injuries may only impact one section of the brain, whereas others can damage multiple regions or all areas of the brain. Regardless of the precise location of the injury, life after a brain injury can be very difficult. The brain is slow to heal and recovery can be a very confusing and emotional time for the survivor, family and friends.
If you or someone you love has sustained a brain injury caused by the negligence or carelessness of another, it is important to seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling brain injury cases. The personal injury lawyers at Brais Law Firm have the knowledge and resources to handle these types of complex personal injury cases.
The attorneys within our firm and “Of Counsel” have over 65 years of collective experience trying challenging cases. We know what it takes to get the maximum recoveries for brain injury victims and we will do everything we can to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. We encourage you to take some time to review the information below about brain injuries and we invite you to schedule a consultation with a Miami brain injury lawyer at our firm to discuss your specific situation.
- Two Most Common Types of Brain Injuries: Traumatic Brain Injuries (“TBI”) and Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injuries
- Tests and Procedures Used for Brain Injuries
- Types of Compensation Available to Brain Injury Victims
- How Insurance Companies Handle Brain Injury Claims
- Frequently Asked Questions About Brain Injury Lawsuits
While there are several categories of brain injuries, the two most common forms of brain injuries are traumatic brain injuries and cerebral hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries. Put simply, a traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain caused by trauma, whereas a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury results when the flow of oxygen to the brain is disrupted and the brain does not receive enough oxygen (hypoxia) or any oxygen at all (anoxia).Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) is a sudden, physical damage to the brain that is often caused by the head forcefully hitting an object or by something piercing the skull. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs account for about 30 percent of all injury deaths, and in 2013 alone, there were approximately 2.8 million U.S. hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and deaths related to traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, the CDC reports that every day in the U.S., 153 people die from injuries that include TBI and even those who survive may face many problems that undermine their ability to lead a normal life.
The major causes of head trauma include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Defective products
- Work injuries
- Sporting accidents
- Battery by one person on another
Some of the most common symptoms of a TBI are confusion, disorientation, slurred speech, word finding issues when speaking, inability to focus, periods of loss of consciousness and failed memory. Brain injuries can be recognized by headache, nausea, confusion, depression, irritability, change in personality or other emotional problems.
Immediate treatment should be sought by a physician if any of the above conditions are observed after a trauma. Even if the symptoms appear to be minor, it is important to be seen and treated by medical professionals in order to reduce the risk of serious complications. In the most severe cases, TBI victims can suffer long-term brain damage, including permanent memory loss, reduced mental capacity, diminished cognitive abilities, recurrent seizures, coma, vegetative state or death.Cerebral Hypoxia/Anoxia Brain Injuries
A cerebral hypoxia brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive sufficient oxygen, while an anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is completely deprived of oxygen. Although there are many different causes of hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries, some of the most common causes include:
- Drowning or near drowning
- Cardiac arrest
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Chemical affixation
- Complications of general anesthesia
Symptoms of mild cerebral hypoxia-anoxia include: inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss and a decrease in motor coordination. Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and can begin to die within minutes after the supply of oxygen has been cut off. When hypoxia-anoxia lasts for longer periods of time, it can cause coma, seizures and even brain death. In brain death, basic life functions such as breathing, blood pressure and cardiac function are preserved, but there is no consciousness or response to the world around.Tests and Procedures Used to Diagnose Injuries to the Brain
Injuries to the brain are complex and can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Some of the most common tests and procedures that may be used to evaluate a person who has sustained trauma to the brain include:
- Computerized Tomography (CT or Cat Scan). A CT scan is a computerized x-ray that produces images of the brain from many angles. A CT scan can reveal damaged brain tissue, bleeding within and surrounding the brain and other injuries.
- Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound (TCD). A TCD can be used to detect low cerebral blood flow in patients who have suffered severe trauma to the brain. It is often used in conjunction with other methods to confirm brain death.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG ). An EEG is a medical test used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain. The EEG uses small, flat metal discs (electrodes) attached to the scalp to measure and record brain wave patterns.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnets and radio waves to provide detailed images of the brain. An MRI can detect minute bleeding and small areas of bruising that are often undetectable in a CT scan.
- Intracranial Pressure Monitoring (ICP). ICP involves inserting a probe through the skull to monitor swelling in the brain. Depending upon the case, the medical team may place a shunt into the skull to relieve pressure and swelling inside the skull.
- Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS). An EMG is a medical test used to measure how well your muscles respond to signals from the brain. An NCS can be used to detect nerve damage by measuring the strength and speed of the electrical activity in a nerve.
Regardless of whether a brain injury is due to trauma, cerebral hypoxia, cerebral anoxia or any other cause, the damage can be severe and require extensive medical care and treatment. Ordinary everyday functions can become impossible and victims and families may face a lifetime of suffering. Oftentimes, victims are unable to work for an extended period of time, if not permanently, and their families may never be able to regain the financial stability and peace of mind they once had.
In many situations, serious brain injuries result from the negligent or reckless acts of another. When this happens, an experienced Miami brain injury lawyer can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve for your past and future damages, including:
- Medical expenses, including the costs of ambulance transport, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, surgeries, hospitalizations, neurologists’ visits and other care and treatment.
- Rehabilitation expenses, including therapy, medical equipment and other ongoing services required during your recovery
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental distress
- Permanent or long-lasting disabilities or impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages (in certain limited cases)
Oftentimes, brain injury cases involving slip and falls, workplace injuries, defective products, car collisions and other accidents are covered by an insurance policy. When these types of incidents occur, the responsible parties' insurance companies will try to minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay to the brain injury survivor. These companies will often argue that an injury to the brain is non-existent or far less severe than it appears in an effort to limit their financial liability.
An experienced Miami brain injury lawyer knows the tactics that these powerful companies will use and will fight to ensure that you get the full compensation to which you are entitled. Your legal team will examine your case from every angle and make sure all of your medical records are gathered, needed diagnostic tests are accomplished, all witness testimony is preserved and all other evidence necessary to support your claim is collected. In doing so, your team will focus on building a case that proves liability, the severity of your injury and how your life has been changed by the injury.
Your attorneys will also make certain that you do not make any critical mistakes when dealing with the insurance company. For instance, our firm strongly advises that you speak with a qualified injury lawyer before you do any of the following:
- Talk with an insurance adjuster or other representatives of the insurance company
- Sign insurance company medical releases
- Accept any settlement offers
Keep in mind that the insurance company’s goal is to limit what they must pay out to accident victims. Speaking to an insurance company representative without the advice of legal counsel can seriously hurt your case down the road. You may be baited into making a statement that can be used against you later on. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows what to look out for and can handle conversations with the insurance carrier. Your attorney also knows what a fair settlement offer is and can make sure that you do not agree to any lowball offers.Frequently Asked Questions About Brain Injury Lawsuits
At Brais Law Firm, we know that brain injury survivors and their families have many questions about the legal system and their legal rights. Our attorneys have prepared a list of answers to some of the questions we frequently receive regarding TBIs and other serious brain injuries.
How do I know if I have a brain injury case?
Every brain injury is different and there are a wide range of symptoms that a victim can suffer from when they experience trauma or lack of oxygen to the brain. Some common symptoms include disorientation, headaches, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, memory and concentration problems and mood changes. In very severe cases, symptoms may range from profound confusion, agitation and combativeness to seizures, comas or other consciousness disorders. If a person suffers any symptoms after an accident or other trauma to the brain, they should seek immediate medical treatment. A physician can fully evaluate your injuries and order the proper tests and procedures to properly diagnose your condition. After you or a loved one has received appropriate medical attention, you should consult with a Miami brain injury lawyer who can review your case to discuss the legal courses of action that may be available to you.
What will it cost to hire a lawyer to handle my brain injury case?
Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot afford to hire an attorney to handle their brain injury claim. Our firm handles brain injury claims and other personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This is sometimes referred to as “No Recovery, No Fee.” This means that if we recover money for you, we will charge a percentage of the gross recovery before the deduction of costs and liens, if any. In the event that we are unable to secure a recovery in your case, you will not owe any fees to our firm.
Will I have to go to court if I file a brain injury claim?
Every case is different, and it is impossible to predict whether your case will end up going to trial. At Brais Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience to handle your case at every stage of the process. Our attorneys are tough negotiators who know how to get fair and optimal settlement offers from insurance companies and other responsible parties. We are also well-recognized trial lawyers who can see a case through trial and any appeals that may follow.
Are there any time limits on filing a brain injury lawsuit?
Every state has its own deadlines for filing different types of lawsuits. These time limits are known as the statute of limitations. For instance, if you are injured in Miami, the statute of limitations in Florida for filing a personal injury lawsuit is generally four years from the date of the accident. In cases involving a wrongful death, the time limit for filing a claim is two years from the date of the death. While there are certain limited exceptions to the statutes of limitation - such as where a traumatic brain injury is not immediately detectable - it is always best to speak with an experienced Miami brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury or accident occurs so that you do not miss any critical deadlines.
How a Miami Brain Injury Lawyer at our Firm Can Help
While no amount of compensation can reverse a tragic brain injury, a monetary recovery can help to alleviate the enormous financial burden and disruption that a brain injury can cause. The attorneys at Brais Law Firm are fully prepared to help brain injury survivors and their families recover the financial compensation they need to move forward with their lives. We are highly trained personal injury lawyers who are well equipped to handle TBIs and other complicated brain injury cases. Our team understands that the medical care, rehabilitation costs, loss of income and pain and suffering associated with a serious injury to the brain can last a lifetime. We also know that insurance claims and lawsuits can be very confusing for many people and we work to make the legal process as easy and stress-free as possible.
At Brais Law Firm, we not only focus on getting our clients the compensation they deserve, we also make sure that they have the guidance and support they need every step of the way. We know that you are likely to have many questions about your case and we will provide you with honest, clear and straightforward answers. Our attorneys are highly accessible, and they will carefully go over all courses of action that may be available to you. We want to make certain that you understand your options so that you can be comfortable with every decision you make.Contact the Miami Brain Injury Attorneys at Brais Law Firm
If someone you know has suffered a brain injury and you would like to discuss his or her legal rights, do not hesitate to contact us. The attorneys at Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach a Miami brain injury lawyer, you may email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., or contact us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.Medical Resources & Traumatic Brain Injury Information
At Brais Law Firm, we recognize that TBIs and hypoxic-anoxic brain injuries are complicated and that both survivors and their family members may have many questions about these conditions. Below are just a few of resources that can help you better understand these life-changing injuries.
- The Merck Online Medical Library
- Living with Traumatic Brain Injuries Video, University of Washington
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Family Caregiver Alliance