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Catastrophic Brain Injuries: Why These are Tough Cases

Brain injuries can potentially devastate a person’s quality of life and finances. Although relatively minor injuries might heal without too much disruption, catastrophic injuries will permanently alter a person’s life trajectory.

The brain is involved with almost all human activities. It is the repository of our memories and critically important to speech and other communication. When a person suffers a major brain injury, their lives are never the same.

Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We can meet with you and your family to discuss how a brain injury has impacted your life. We can also explain in detail how we go about obtaining compensation for your past, present, and future damages. Give us a call to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys today.

Types of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries come in different shapes and sizes. The most catastrophic injuries include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

A TBI is caused by an external force, like a blow to the head. A blow to your chest or back might also cause your head to snap back and forth, which “jiggles” the brain inside the skull. TBIs might be open or closed. With an open injury, something penetrates the skull, like a bullet. With closed injuries, the skull is not penetrated but remains in one piece.

Both open and closed injuries are serious, although closed injuries are often harder to diagnose. You should go to the hospital after any accident which possibly caused a TBI.

Hypoxic Injuries

The brain requires oxygen so that tissue does not die. Anything which deprives a person of oxygen can lead to cell death and permanent disability. Hypoxic brain injuries are devastating. Often, any impairment is permanent.

Accidents Which Cause Brain Injuries

Our clients usually suffer brain injuries in:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. Any collision with a car or truck can lead to serious brain injuries. A person might smash their head against the steering wheel or the side of the vehicle. Other serious injuries are caused by violent shaking, which can also cause whiplash.
  • Falls. A person who falls can hammer their head on the ground. Falling backwards is a particular problem because a person can’t brace themselves. Falls often happen due to a hazard on the ground, like ice, trash, liquids, or worn-out carpets. Other people trip on uneven carpets or extension cords crossing the floor.
  • Sporting accidents. Many contact sports cause concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries. Football, soccer, and hockey are popular sports with many head injuries.
  • Violent attacks. A victim could suffer a catastrophic brain injury after being punched or shot.
  • Swimming pool accidents. A near drowning accident can cause a hypoxic brain injury, where oxygen is cut off.

How Catastrophic Injuries Change Lives

Any brain injury is disruptive. A mild concussion, for example, might force you to stay home and out of work for six months or longer before you ultimately get back to normal. But with catastrophic injuries, a victim often never returns to “normal.” Instead, they are left with permanent impairments and disabilities, including:

  • Memory loss—This is a common consequence of brain injuries, especially problems with short-term memory.
  • Physical disabilities—A person could struggle to walk, grasp items, write, or even stand up. Some physical disabilities can improve with intense physical therapy. But more serious injuries will result in permanent disabilities and require a wheelchair or at-home assistance.
  • Speech problems—Certain parts of the brain are involved with speech. If this part is injured, then a person could struggle to talk and need speech therapy.
  • Mood swings and behavioral changes—Depression and anxiety are common. Some studies even show a link between TBI and psychological disorders like schizophrenia.
  • Sleep disruption—Disrupted sleep schedules can leave a person exhausted and make mood imbalances even worse.
  • Coma—This is the most extreme disability. A catastrophic accident can leave someone in a persistent vegetative state. They typically need admission to a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 55% of those who suffer moderate or severe TBIs are unemployed 5 years later, and about the same number have an ongoing disability.

Why These Cases Are Complicated

In the typical personal injury case, we seek damages for:

  • Medical treatment and related expenses
  • Income loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property loss or damage

When an injury is catastrophic, our clients have massive expenses, many of which are ongoing.

For example, someone with a serious brain injury might need years of physical, occupational, or speech therapy. They might need their home redesigned if they are consigned to a wheelchair, or they might need to pay someone to come into their home and help them with daily tasks. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 people who suffer a moderate or severe TBI had at-home help with things like cooking and bathing.

Calculating these expenses is complicated. Georgia law allows us to seek future losses, like future medical expenses, but we need to assign a dollar value with some degree of certainty. We work closely with your physical therapist, vocational specialist, and doctors to fully understand your needs.

Catastrophic brain injuries also lead to a job change for many people. About 1 in 2 TBI victims will be unemployed following a serious accident. Other victims will be able to work but must accept a less demanding schedule. They might only work part-time, for example, so they suffer a loss of earning capacity. We can seek financial compensation for future loss of income as well.

Ongoing disabilities also cause ongoing pain and suffering. The amount we request for those losses will likely be much larger as well, to account for the changes in your life.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Brain injuries present challenges to accident victims and their families. We know how difficult the road ahead will be. For help negotiating a settlement for your accident, please call our law firm. We can analyze whether you can sue a negligent driver, property owner, or a violent criminal. Call (404) 529-3476 or contact us online.

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