Charleston, West Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injuries can leave victims with lifelong disabilities and injuries, casting a wake of devastation and sending a shiver of terror throughout the public. Medical costs connected with these types of serious injuries can skyrocket as most brain injuries lead to even more complications down the road, often requiring the victim to receive continuous medical care. For these reasons, you should consult a compassionate Charleston, West Virginia brain injury lawyer if you’ve been harmed due to another’s negligence.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The Mayo Clinic describes the cause of traumatic brain injury as the following:
- “Traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain as a result of an injury.”
- “Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. An object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause TBI.”
What happens to the brain when there is a brain injury?
- “Mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long term complications – or death.” (source: Mayo Clinic)
Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries vary widely in scope and severity. However, most brain injuries fall into one of two categories:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) describes an alteration in brain function that is the result of external force. Examples might include a fall, a blow to the head, or a car accident. The operative word in this injury is “trauma.”
- Acquired brain injuries are those injuries to the brain that are neither hereditary or congenital, nor the result of birth trauma. There is often confusion about the difference between traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury, since TBIs are technically acquired. However, acquired brain injuries are typically considered non-traumatic. Examples include stroke, oxygen deprivation, and neurotoxins.
Both types of brain injuries have a wide range of possible effects. These are some of the most common:
As the most common type of TBI, a concussion results when an external force causes the brain to make contact with the skull. Some of the most common causes of concussion are whiplash, violent shaking of the head (such as when playing contact sports), and other forms of direct blows. While a person may experience a loss of consciousness after a concussion, this isn’t always the case. Often, a person experiencing concussion may only report feeling “out of it.”
Even mild concussions can be serious injuries. Left untreated, they can worsen and lead to permanent brain damage.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury occurs through shaking, or other violent movement of the head. A common example is shaken baby syndrome, though similar injuries may result from car accidents and other forms of trauma. When external forces cause the brain to move more slowly than the skull, tearing can result. Sometimes, this tearing can extend to the nerves, which can cause widespread damage to the brain. This may be temporary or permanent and may result in coma or death. The nature of the injury depends on the area of the brain affected by the trauma.
A contusion in the brain is essentially a bruise, or clotted blood in the brain. While smaller brain contusions may heal on their own, larger ones may require surgical removal.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you experienced a brain injury that was caused by negligent conduct, you may wish to speak with a brain injury attorney in Charleston, West Virginia and consider seeking compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Common causes of brain injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Defective and/or dangerous buildings and houses
- Workplace injuries
- Medical malpractice (careless, reckless, or intentional medical treatment)
- Products liability (dangerous or defective products)
How Is TBI Diagnosed?
If you suspect a brain injury, report it to your nearest emergency medical facility, or contact your primary care provider immediately. Common signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Mental confusion
- Vision changes
- Spinal fluid coming from ears or nose
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty moving
- Loss of sensory perception
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of bladder control
Once you arrive at the hospital, your medical provider may order a series of tests to confirm or rule out the presence of a traumatic brain injury. Usually, these are imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI. These will help determine the location and severity of a potential injury.
The Psychological Assessment
A provider may conduct a neuropsychological assessment to ascertain the presence of a brain injury. This is a task-oriented evaluation that tests your basic motor and sensory skills, as well as your powers of higher cognitive functioning.
This evaluation is usually separate from the triage nature of emergency care. Neuropsychological evaluation is not administered by a medical doctor, but rather by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Using hospital records and accounts of how a person was before an injury, they can help determine the extent of damage from a TBI.
How to Prevent Brain Injuries
As with most medical conditions, the most important aspect of traumatic brain injury is knowing how to reduce your risk of them in the first place. Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can prevent TBI.
Traumatic brain injury prevention usually just requires common sense. Since the majority of TBIs involve motor vehicle accidents, falls, and playing recreational sports, it’s essential to apply prevention strategies in these areas.
TBI Prevention in Car Crashes
To reduce your risk of TBI in a motor vehicle accident:
- Always wear a seat belt
- Drive defensively
- Never text, talk on the phone, or drive distracted
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and avoid driving during major events such as New Year’s Eve and Independence Day
- Always keep your child in an appropriate car seat or booster, until they reach the maximum height or weight for the seat
TBI Prevention in Sports
Sports are another common cause of TBI. To reduce your risk of injury:
- Always wear an appropriately sized helmet for contact sports such as football
- Tell a coach if you’re feeling dizzy, faint, or experiencing a headache after a blow to the head
- NEVER attempt to “play through the pain”
- Wear a helmet while riding a bike, snowmobile, skiing, snowboarding, or skating
- Take a safety class before riding a motorcycle or snowmobile
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To reduce your risk:
- Use stairways with adequate lighting, and always use the railings
- Place bars or protective barriers on second story windows to prevent small children from falling.
- Wear boots with deep treads in the winter to avoid falling on ice
- Keep walking pathways clear of obstacles
Gun Safety Basics
Finally, exercise basic gun safety tips to avoid grievous injury and death. This includes:
- Keeping guns locked in a cabinet at all times
- Storing guns unloaded
- Storing ammunition in a separate area, away from firearms
Brain injuries are serious medical conditions with a wide range of signs, symptoms, and eventual outcomes. No two brain injuries are exactly alike. While some victims of brain injury may experience motor deficits such as paralysis, others will experiences problems with sensory perception or cognition.
The weeks and months following a brain injury can be devastating for the entire family. To learn more about your legal options following a brain injury, contact a highly skilled West Virginia brain injury lawyer. A professional can help provide guidance about holding the legally liable parties accountable.
Legal Representation for Traumatic Brain Injuries in West Virginia
The West Virginia brain injury attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC have successfully represented seriously injured clients for decades. We pride ourselves as plaintiff’s rights attorneys. Our goal is to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve – and need – for the injuries that were caused by other’s negligent conduct. Most claims are settled during out of court negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. However, if the insurance company does not offer a reasonable and appropriate settlement offer, our aggressive attorneys will not hesitate to take the case to trial. We have been honored as American Trial Lawyers Association distinguished Top 100 Trial Lawyers for our excellence in trial advocacy. Additionally, Tiano O’Dell, PLLC has attained the venerated Super Lawyer Rating. These accomplishments inspire us to work even harder on behalf of our clients.
Call a West Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured
A personal injury claim is brought by an injured party and seeks compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, property damage, and more. A wrongful death claim is brought by the deceased’s family members and seeks damages that may be similar, as well as funeral and burial expenses. In personal injury and wrongful death cases, there are no fees unless we settle or win your case. To schedule a complimentary, confidential case evaluation, with a Charleston, WV injury lawyer, call our office at (304) 720-6700.