Brain Injuries Lawyers in Columbia Can Help You Navigate the Legal System
Being involved in an accident is never a good thing, but when an accident involves a brain injury, it’s especially serious. In brain injury cases, it can be difficult to determine the full extent of the injury and what the future implications could be to quality of life. Brain injuries often take a significant amount of time to heal and can involve needing extended hospital care, all of which needs to be factored into your case. Brain injury lawyers have specific experience dealing with these types of scenarios, so they know the questions to ask and how to present your case to increase the chances of a positive outcome.
When it comes to brain injuries, it’s important to have someone by your side who understands the seriousness of these types of injuries and the long-term impact they can have on your physical and mental health, quality of life, and your finances. Reach out to our firm to talk to a traumatic brain injury attorney and get more information on how our firm may be able to help.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury — also known as a TBI — is a type of head injury that is very serious. A TBI happens when a sudden impact or trauma to the head ends up causing damage to the brain itself. In general, your skull does a good job of protecting the sensitive brain tissue, but if you sustain a direct impact to the head in a car accident or other event, it can actually break or fracture the skull, which is called a concussion. Once the skull has been compromised, there is very little protection for the brain itself. Even a mild traumatic brain injury can be very serious, so it’s important to be aware of the main symptoms, which are covered in more detail in the next section.
There isn’t a lot that can be done to treat a traumatic brain injury other than to take steps to reduce swelling on the brain, protect the brain tissue from further injury, and have the patient rest and heal. Brain injuries can take months and even years to recover from, and sometimes, the damage is permanent. It’s important to talk with a personal injury lawyer about your TBI to ensure that you have an accurate idea of what your ongoing medical costs could be and how the injury may affect your future quality of life. All of these are factors that can be used to help you decide how much to ask for when you file a lawsuit.
What Are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Sometimes, brain trauma is obvious if there is great physical trauma to the skull, such as during a car accident, but traumatic brain injuries can also present with surprising subtlety. Below are some of the common symptoms that traumatic brain injury victims and their loved ones should look out for.
Vomiting and Nausea
Vomiting and nausea are two important symptoms to watch out for after you’ve been in any kind of accident that could have resulted in a head injury. Throwing up can be a sign of a concussion, and if you are experiencing symptoms like this after an accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.
While it makes sense that a brain injury would result in a headache, a surprising number of people don’t pay attention to this symptom because headaches are fairly common just as a normal course of life. However, a persistent headache that can’t be otherwise explained or a headache that is getting progressively worse or interferes with your ability to sleep should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Losing consciousness after hitting your head is a red flag and should result in immediate medical treatment. While it’s possible to be “knocked out” and not sustain a brain injury, it’s also possible to hit your head and not be aware of how serious the injury is until swelling or internal bleeding start putting more pressure on the brain and result in the person passing out.
Erratic Pupil Dilation
Your pupils respond to light by contracting when there is bright light and dilating when there are low levels of light. However, when you have experienced a traumatic brain injury, this process may be disrupted and not work the way it should. This could result in erratic pupil dilation, such as one pupil responding to light but the other not, or your pupils not responding to changes in light conditions at all. This is one of the primary first checks medical providers will do to determine if you might have a concussion.
Fluid Draining From the Ears or Nose
Feeling like something is dripping from your ears or nose after a brain injury is a sign that you need immediate medical attention. If there is a clear fluid coming from your ears or nose, it could indicate that you are leaking cerebrospinal fluid, which can be extremely dangerous. If you have received a blow to the head or been in any kind of accident and start to experience this symptom, go to the hospital immediately.
The swelling that happens as a result of brain trauma puts pressure on the brain. When this occurs, it can cause seizures. Symptoms of a seizure include the eyes rolling back in the head, full body tremors, loss of consciousness, rigidity, and foaming at the mouth. If someone is having a seizure, it’s important to move them to their side and call for emergency help immediately.
Fatigue and Sleepiness
After you experience a brain injury, you may feel very tired or like you are falling asleep. You may have heard after having a concussion that you have to be woken up every couple of hours for the first few days. This is to ensure that you are truly only sleeping and not losing consciousness completely. If you were in an accident where you might have experienced an impact to your head and feel like you are having difficulty staying awake, it could be a sign of a traumatic brain injury.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get for a Brain Injury?
When you file a personal injury lawsuit against another party, it’s important to understand what factors can go into the amount of compensation you are asking the courts to award. In general, this compensation is to cover medical bills that you have incurred as a result of the injury — both past, present, and future. This is why it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your injury and what effect it might have on your future quality of life. Many victims end up settling out of court before they realize what a long-term impact a TBI can have, and as a result, may end up with less money than they could have gotten otherwise.
Another factor that goes into the calculations for potential compensation is the amount of income you have lost as a result of not being able to work. It’s very common to have to take extensive time off of work after a brain injury because it can affect everything from your speech and balance to your energy levels and ability to focus. If you were not able to return to your job at all or had to change jobs to a different industry as a result of the injury, all of this may be able to be factored in.
Pain and suffering is a third possible factor in compensation, and it’s one that’s easy to misunderstand. In general, the courts allow for victims to seek monetary compensation for the emotional and physical pain and suffering their injuries have caused them. However, putting a dollar amount on this can be difficult. Brain injury lawyers can help you get a better idea of how much you can ask for when it comes to compensation for pain and suffering.
What Does a Brain Injury Lawyer Do?
A brain injury lawyer is someone who practices personal injury law and represents clients who are seeking compensation from the party who was at fault for the accident or injury. A traumatic brain injury lawsuit involves filing the correct paperwork within the statute of limitations — which is three years in South Carolina — to bring the lawsuit before the courts.
In some cases, the other party or their insurance company may want to attempt to settle out of court. If an offer is presented to you, it’s important to have it reviewed by your attorney to ensure that it’s an accurate and fair settlement and that you understand what the implications are for accepting it. It’s common for insurance companies to try to get victims to settle for a lower amount than risk going to trial, but you want to make sure that you’re not settling for less than you deserve. An attorney can help negotiate with the other party on your behalf.
If you are planning on filing a lawsuit seeking compensation from the party who caused your brain injury, call our personal injury firm at (803) 888-2200. You can schedule a free consultation with a brain injury lawyer to find out what your options are and to discuss how our firm can help you find a way forward.