One of the most devastating types of injuries a person can suffer in an accident is a traumatic brain injury. Damage to the brain is often permanent and can impact someone’s life in many different ways. A traumatic brain injury can affect your ability to move, your memory, your personality, and more. Treating a traumatic brain injury can also be quite costly, especially if the injury has left the victim unable to work.
St. Louis Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
The St. Louis traumatic brain injury lawyers at Sumner Law Group, LLC, have more than 50 years of combined experience helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries. With help from our dedicated and experienced personal injury attorneys, our clients have recovered millions of dollars in compensation to move forward with their lives after serious accidents.
Get your free initial consultation today by calling our St. Louis office or visiting our contact page. And when you choose our firm to handle your case, you won’t owe us any fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Broadly speaking, a traumatic brain injury is when an external force or object damages the brain and affects its ability to function properly. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by an object breaking through the skull to penetrate brain tissue, or they can occur when the brain sustains a hard blow or jolt.
Traumatic brain injuries often cause severe neurological harm to accident victims, and they’re sadly common. The CDC reports that there were 224,000 hospitalizations related to traumatic brain injuries in one recent year alone. Additional CDC research suggests that there were 61,000 TBI-related deaths nationwide in one year.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injury
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury:
Mild traumatic brain injuries
- Vomiting or nausea
- Difficulty speaking
- Feeling dizzy/vertigo
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in your ears
- Changes to your sense of taste or smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Feeling dazed, confused, or disoriented
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Insomnia or sleeping more than usual
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries
- Losing consciousness for several minutes or longer
- Persistent, intense headache
- Convulsions or seizures
- Intense nausea or vomiting
- Dilated pupils in one or both eyes
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Weakness or numbness in your fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Deep confusion
- Feeling agitated, combative, or other sudden mood or personality changes
- Slurred speech
- Falling into a coma
Young children and infants may have difficulty communicating that they’re injured after a traumatic brain injury. Here are a few warning signs if you have a young child who recently sustained a hard blow to the head:
- A change in the child’s nursing or eating habits
- Persistent crying and an inability to be consoled
- The child is unusually or easily irritated
- Changes in sleep habits
- Drowsiness/inability to focus
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Depressed mood
Types of Brain Injuries
Despite being encased in bone, the brain is a vulnerable organ and can suffer many different types of injuries. Some of the most common types of TBIs include:
- Concussions – Concussions are bruises on the brain that form when the brain collides with the inside of the skull due to a sudden, sharp change in momentum.
- Hemorrhages and hematoma – These are both injuries resulting from internal bleeding as blood seeps into the brain’s tissues or collects in its empty spaces. Hematomas are generally caused by clots, leading to a burst blood vessel. Hemorrhages are more often the result of a hard blow to the head.
- Edema – Brain edema is the swelling of the brain, which can put pressure on the brain as it presses against your skull. This pressure on brain tissues can cause intense harm if it isn’t quickly relieved.
- Skull fractures – The skull may crack or splinter after a hard blow to the head. If the skull splinters, pieces of bone can penetrate the brain and cause injury. Even if the skull only cracks, though, it can put pressure on the brain and lead to further harm.
- Penetration injuries – When external objects break through the skull and penetrate the brain, they can destroy brain tissue as well as blood vessels. Penetration injuries to the brain are often fatal without immediate treatment.
- Shear injuries – Also known as diffuse axonal injuries, these occur when the brain is shaken or experiences a sharp, severe rotation. For example, this commonly occurs in certain kinds of car crashes as your head twists violently after impact.
- Coup-contrecoup injuries – A hard blow to the head can cause the brain to strike the opposite side of the skull, injuring the brain in that location as well as at the original impact point. These multiple impacts can damage brain tissues and break blood vessels within the brain.
Causes of TBI
Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury from negligence include:
- Car crashes
- Large truck wrecks
- Motorcycle crashes
- Physical assaults
- Premises liability accidents (such as slip and falls)
- Construction site accidents
- Falling objects
- Workplace accidents
- Birth injuries
What to Do After a TBI in St. Louis
If you suspect you’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury, your first priority should be to see a doctor. Quick treatment is essential to minimizing the impact of a TBI. Once you’ve seen a doctor, here are your next steps if you believe someone else is responsible for your injury:
- Save all your medical records. They’re crucial to establishing the nature of your injuries and who may be responsible. You’ll also want to save any evidence you have from the accident scene (photos, witness contact information, etc.)
- Avoid discussing the accident and your injuries publicly. Don’t say anything on social media. Don’t give recorded statements to any insurance companies. Anything you say could potentially be used against you.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. This includes instructions to limit physical activities and activities that require intense mental coordination, such as driving.
- Talk to a traumatic brain lawyer. With how expensive treatment for traumatic brain injuries can be, it’s important to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover. An attorney can fight for your best interests in settlement negotiations and at trial, if necessary.
Recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury
The recovery process after a traumatic brain injury can be difficult and time-consuming. For patients with more moderate TBIs, physical therapy and working with cognitive specialists can help them regain some or all of the functionality they may have lost. This process often takes months or years, though, so it’s important to be patient and focus on long-term outcomes.
In some cases, however, the damage may be so severe that the patient suffers a permanent loss of some bodily or cognitive functions. This limits how much their condition can realistically improve after their injury.
Support from family and friends can make a big difference in someone’s recovery after a traumatic brain injury. The victim may need assistance with certain tasks, and they’ll likely be looking for some emotional support as well. While it’s important to be positive, it’s also important to keep expectations realistic for what kind of recovery is possible.
Treatment for TBIs
Getting treatment quickly after a traumatic brain injury is crucial for having the best chance at a full recovery. Depending on the nature of the head injury, your medical team may take some of the following steps to treat you in the short term:
- Surgery – If a person has an object embedded in the brain or pressure on the brain from a fractured skull, these conditions will need to be remedied with careful, precise surgery. Surgery may also be necessary to stop internal bleeding in the brain and repair broken blood vessels.
- Anti-seizure medications – People who’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury are particularly vulnerable to seizures for the first few days after the injury. These seizures can lead to even greater injuries, so the victim may be given anti-seizure medications as a precaution.
- Ventilator or feeding tube – If a traumatic brain injury victim has difficulty breathing or getting necessary nutrients, they may need mechanical assistance to take care of these vital functions. This may also be necessary if a patient is placed into a medically induced coma while they recover from their injury.
- Other medications – Traumatic brain injury victims may require medication for a variety of conditions, from managing pain to preventing infections and keeping internal pressure within the brain low.
Damages Available to Brain Injury Victims in St. Louis
Missouri law allows traumatic brain injury victims to recover substantial compensation for what they’ve suffered, provided you can prove the defendant is liable for your injuries. With help from the right lawyer, you could potentially recover compensation for:
- Your missed wages and reduced ability to work
- Your medical bills, as well as the cost of future care you may need
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Your emotional suffering
- Your damaged personal property, such as if your injury was caused by a car crash
Missouri law gives you five years to file a lawsuit after sustaining a traumatic brain injury, but it is important to take action as soon as possible. Talk to a lawyer today to find out more.
Contact Our St. Louis Brain Injury Lawyers
The brain injury lawyers at Sumner Law Group, LLC, have the skill and experience to help you pursue fair compensation for the losses and suffering you’ve endured. Call our St. Louis office today or visit our contact page to get started with a free case review.