Brain injuries—whether traumatic or the result of stroke or other internal processes– are unlike any other kind of injuries. Every function of the human body depends to some degree on a functioning brain. Even mild brain injuries can have permanent impacts on the victim, while severe injuries may leave the victim virtually helpless, dependent on machines, other devices, and the care of others.
The victim’s family usually suffers as well, with their suffering also tied to the severity of the brain injury. Caring for a severely brain injured family member is exhausting, nerve-wracking, and frequently unappreciated because the injured person no longer has the ability to empathize with others.
All of these consequences occur at the very time that the victim and family face loss of income, massive expenses, and a very uncertain financial and social future. When the injury was caused by someone else’s wrongdoing, the family also faces the additional anxiety of dealing with the legal process that has to precede any recovery of damages that may ease their problems.
Every person who is directly affected by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) needs three things: patience, emotional support, and a good, experienced lawyer who understands both the legal process of getting compensation from the person at fault and the special problems facing the victim and family members.
TBI Affects Many, Many People
Nationally, TBI causes some 50,000 deaths every year. Another 300,000 victims suffer TBIs severe enough that they are hospitalized. Roughly 80,000 of those victims are left with disabilities—physical, intellectual, emotional, behavioral–that remain for the duration of their lives.
TBI victims may live many years after the injury, of course, and the total number of TBI victims in our country is much higher than most people know: several million Americans currently live with some TBI-related disability.
Causes of TBI
Any kind of accident that involves physical impact to the head, or even a whipping motion of the head that causes the brain to move within the skull, can result in a TBI. More than half of all TBIs occur in auto accidents. Roughly another quarter results from the victim falling.
The Consequences of Brain Injury
All of human behavior and every physical action require that some portion of the brain function properly. There is simply no way to exaggerate how devastating serious TBIs can be to the victims and their families. Some functions may be recovered while others are lost or impaired forever. Rehabilitation programs that enhance recovery of lost functions are costly and require deep commitments from both the victim and caregivers.
The disruption of life is severe enough that psychological counseling is often needed by both victims and family members, especially those most involved in caring for the victim.
Medical and technological advances have produced many mechanical and electronic aids that can substitute for lost functions, all of which are expensive and require that the victim learn how to use them.
The part of the brain that is damaged and the severity of the damage determine which physical functions are affected. Functions that may be affected include:
- Limb movement
- Balance and coordination
- Hearing and/or vision
Intellectual & Psychological Consequences
TBIs may dramatically affect the “ability to think” in the broadest sense. Memory is often affected, as are the abilities to focus and to string ideas together coherently. Even logical and coherent thoughts may take longer to form than before the injury. Learning new ideas and tasks may be difficult or even impossible. All of these problems are obstacles to fundamental human activity like socializing, working, and performing basic tasks from dressing to shopping.
TBI often produces basic personality changes, which complicates recovery and puts significant stress on the victim’s personal relationships, causing conflict with family and caregivers.
TBI in Children
After a TBI, children may have problems learning, both in an academic sense and in the sense of discovering how to socialize and to form emotional attachments. Adult TBI victims who once had these skills may be better equipped to overcome the impairments than children who never had the skills at all.
It’s also harder to assess the damages caused by the TBI in a child. Many of the symptoms of TBI—restlessness, impaired learning, and the like—may also be caused by other problems that produce “developmental delay,” or by other disorders like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Get Help in Texas from an Austin Brain Injury Attorney
Everything about TBI is complex, including the process of recovering compensation from the person who caused the injury. Yet your financial burdens start building at the time of the accident and continue to grow as the case for compensation proceeds. Choosing the right attorney to guide you through this process can shorten the time it takes to recover, and lessen the pressure on the victim and family.
At Briggle & Polan, PLLC, in Austin, Texas, we understand both the legal and personal aspects of TBI cases. We know the kinds of expenses and losses that may be encountered by TBI victims, and we have a track record of success in recovering the compensation that injured Texans need to continue treatment and rehabilitation and hold their families together. Often that means a settlement, without going to trial. But if that won’t get you the compensation you deserve, we will see the case through to a jury trial.
Call Briggle & Polan today for a free consultation with our experienced, compassionate Texas brain injury attorneys. You will have no out-of-pocket expenses and will not pay any legal fees until you are awarded money for your injury.