The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
A Brainerd Attorney Looks at the Medical and Legal Aspects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
July 25, 2019
The number of TBI-induced emergency room visits has increased 54 percent since 2006. This increase does not include the substantial number of Acquired Brain Injuries. Chronic medical conditions, such as cancer, along with prolonged alcohol or drug poisoning, causes most ABIs.
Initially, most TBI victims experience symptoms like unconsciousness and vomiting. Without immediate and effective treatment, these symptoms soon lead to things like chronic severe headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and temporary personality changes. Later, these personality changes become permanent. Other long-term symptoms include dementia and loss of mobility.
Later symptoms like these are one of the main reasons that TBIs are some of the most expensive personal injuries, in terms of medical bills and lost wages. So, a Brainerd attorney works hard to obtain compensation in these cases.
Medical Issues in TBI Cases
As mentioned, the number of ER visits has increased significantly over the past ten years. Yet many of these victims do not get the treatment they need at the hospital. As a result, their injuries get worse instead of better.
Not everyone experiences the same signature symptoms. Many victims are dazed instead of completely unconscious. Other victims experience nausea, but they do not vomit. As a result, many doctors misdiagnose TBIs as shock from the vehicle collision or early-onset dementia symptoms.
Furthermore, despite the large body of research to the contrary, many doctors do not believe that TBIs are physical problems. Instead, they mistakenly believe that rest and hydration will “cure” this injury.
A Brainerd attorney usually cannot help with the direct aspects of medical treatment. However, a lawyer can arrange for victims to receive treatment from brain injury specialists. These professionals know the many signs of a TBI. More importantly, they fully understand the serious nature of this injury.
TBIs are permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. However, surgery to reduce swelling and extended physical therapy usually all but eliminates the symptoms over time. So, early treatment is essential.
There is more good news. Your Brainerd attorney sends a letter of protection to the medical provider. This letter guarantees payment when the case is resolved. So, victims pay nothing upfront to receive top-notch medical treatment.
Attorneys send letters of protection to other injury-related providers as well, such as vehicle rental companies and body shops.
How a Brainerd Attorney Evaluates Your Legal Claim
Car crashes cause most of the Traumatic Brain Injuries in Minnesota. These incidents combine all three major TBI causes, which are:
Trauma: When the skull cracks, jagged fragments often push into brain matter. This trauma injury causes permanent damage.
Motion: The brain does not fit snugly against the skull. Instead, the skull is basically a water tank which holds fluid that suspends the brain in space. The violent motion of a car crash causes the brain to slam against the insides of the skull.
Noise: Explosive blasts and other sudden loud noises release shock waves which disrupt brain functions, in much the same way as an Electromagnetic Pulse disables electronic devices.
Vehicle collisions are usually not unavoidable accidents. Instead, a lack of statutory or ordinary care causes most of these incidents. Either one of these things could mean compensation in court.
Distracted driving is a good illustration. In Minnesota, it is illegal to talk or text on a cell phone while driving. Drivers who do so may be liable for damages as a matter of law if they cause car crashes. Other cell phone-related behavior, such as watching a video or surfing the web, is not illegal but still clearly distracting. If the behavior constituted a lack of ordinary care, liability may attach.
Falls cause almost as many TBIs as vehicle collisions. Car crash victims have steel cages and multiple restraint layers to protect them, but fall victims have none of these advantages. Legally, when victims slip and fall on wet spots, uneven stair steps, and other property hazards, they are entitled to damages if:
Legal Duty: In Minnesota, most fall victims are invitees. These people have an express or implied invitation from the landowner, and they provide a tangible or intangible benefit. In these cases, landowners have a duty of reasonable care, which is one of the highest duties in Minnesota.
Knowledge of Defect: Additionally, the victim/plaintiff must establish knowledge. This proof could be direct evidence of actual knowledge, or circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known). This circumstantial evidence usually involves the time-notice rule. The degree of knowledge is linked to the amount of time the hazard existed.
These same rules often apply in assault TBIs. If a defective property condition, such as a burned-out safety light or a lack of security, substantially caused the incident, the owner is responsible for damages.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
Brain injury victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We have several area office locations.