Brain injuries lead to more than 2.8 million emergency room visits a year. Even seemingly minor head injuries usually cause hematomas. After a bump on the head, the injured area swells. The skull is to thick that the swollen matter cannot expand, so it remains in place and creates pressure on other parts of the brain. The combination of direct and indirect damage is a factor in about a third of all the injury-related deaths in the United States.
Since so much is at stake, compensation in brain injury cases is usually substantial. Brainerd personal injury lawyers can obtain compensatory damages for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.
What Causes Brain Injuries?
Head trauma is not the only cause of brain injuries. Research also clearly shows that sudden loud noises may cause these injuries as well. These noises produce shock waves that disrupt brain functions.
Car crashes often involve both trauma and loud noises, so vehicle collisions are the leading cause of brain injuries. Seatbelts and airbags usually absorb much of the impact during car crashes. But these devices can only handle so much force. Furthermore, these gadgets are not really designed to prevent head injuries. Especially in partial front or rear-end collisions, the head and neck are subject to tremendous force. For example, the victim’s head normally slams into the head restraint immediately after a collision.
Most high-speed car crashes also involve sudden loud noises. Many times, witnesses say the sound was like an explosive blast. When scientists studied IED blast victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, they identified the aforementioned shock waves.
Falls often cause head injuries as well. Once the brain begins swelling, a serious brain injury is practically inevitable. It’s like placing a balloon inside a football helmet and then blowing up the balloon. The plastic can only stretch so far before it rips apart.
Diagnosing Head Injuries
The nature of the injury and the nature of most victims makes these injuries difficult to diagnose. Between 2007 and 2013, head injury incidents increased 47 percent but hospitalization rates decreased by 2.5 percent. In other words, more people are sustaining head injuries and many doctors simply send them home.
Many people sustain head injuries and do not even know it. The brain hides its own injuries very well. THat’s the reason concussed athletes tell coaches they “feel fine.” Adrenaline plays a role here as well. Immediately after a trauma injury, adrenaline basically acts as a natural painkiller. Once this effect wears off, the pain sets in. That pain usually includes headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other similar symptoms. On a related note, not all brain injury victims experience the same symptoms. For example, these victims may or may not completely lose consciousness.
However, even at that point, many head injury victims do not get the treatment they need. Many doctors dismiss these symptoms as shock from the incident. Later, when other symptoms develop, doctors may correctly diagnose these injuries. Subsequent symptoms include trouble sleeping and personality changes. Unfortunately, by this time, the damage is often extensive. Recovery is therefore more difficult, as outlined below.
Given these difficulties, it’s important to partner with a Brainerd personal injury lawyer early in the process. Attorneys can connect victims with injury doctors who immediately recognize the symptoms of a brain injury. Prompt diagnosis means better treatment and a faster recovery.
Head Injury Treatment and Brainerd Personal Injury Lawyers
Brain injuries are permanent. When brain cells die, they never regenerate. However, surgery and extensive physical therapy can address the symptoms.
That surgery usually involves relieving the exploding pressure on the brain. This type of procedure is obviously quite delicate and only highly trained and experienced doctors should attempt it. Otherwise, the surgery may just make the problem worse.
Most brain injury recovery takes place during physical therapy. Studies consistently show that the longer this therapy lasts, the more progress victims make. Brain injury physical therapy is really about training uninjured areas of the brain to take over the lost functions. The more practice the victim gets, the better the results. But progress is not always a straight, upward line. There are good weeks and bad weeks. After a brief string of bad weeks, insurance companies often try to pull the financial plug. An aggressive Brainerd personal injury lawyer can fight for the victim and make sure the money keeps flowing. That’s the best way, and maybe only way, for victims to get the help they need.
As an added bonus, most injury doctors and physical therapists delay their fees until the negligence case is resolved. In court, victims usually have multiple legal options in terms of establishing liability for damages.