Head Injury Lawyer
Traumatic brain injuries are common in Long Island. In many instances, these injuries are mild concussions, requiring no treatment beyond rest. However, in too many cases, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have devastating effects, including permanent brain damage or even death.
In 2014, there were 2,171 deaths caused by TBIs throughout New York State. There were also 18,946 hospitalizations and 142,359 other emergency room visits caused by traumatic brain injuries that year. The majority of these cases were men, though thousands of women also suffered the effects of a TBI.
If you have suffered a serious traumatic brain injury through the fault of another, you have legal rights. This includes the right to seek compensation for the losses you suffered because of your TBI. The New York brain injury lawyers at TonaLaw have decades of combined experience helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve.
How Do I Know If I Have a Traumatic Brain Injury?
There are two general types of traumatic brain injury: open and closed. An open TBI occurs when an object penetrates, fractures or shatters the skull, therefore injuring the brain. Though skull fractures and similar injuries are rare because the skull is so strong, these injuries can have lifelong effects, including severe brain damage.
Open TBIs, also known as a penetrating TBI, may be caused by violence, car accidents, falls and other incidents. If you suffer an open traumatic brain injury, it’s vital you seek immediate medical attention. These are always considered severe.
Closed TBIs are much more common. These injuries may range from mild to severe; mild closed TBIs are generally referred to as concussions (though concussions themselves can range from mild to severe).
Symptoms of a mild TBIs include:
- Short loss of consciousness
- Feeling confused, dizzy, dazed or disoriented
- Difficulty sleeping
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Speech issues
- Blurred vision, changes in smell or taste, or ringing in ears
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Mood swings
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Sudden onset of anxiety or depression
Moderate or severe TBIs may require different medication and, in some instances, surgery. In addition to symptoms associated with mild TBIs, symptoms of more serious head trauma include:
- Loss of consciousness that lasts for several minutes (or even hours)
- Worsening or persistent headache
- Persistent nausea
- Pupil dilations
- Seizures or convulsions
- Inability to wake up
- Loss of coordination
- Numbness or weakness in the extremities
- Clear fluids coming from the ears and nose
- Unusual behavior, such as combativeness
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech
While a mild concussion may not require medical attention, moderate or severe TBI should always be evaluated by a doctor. If you suffer any kind of blow to the head, even if you don’t think it’s too serious, seeing a doctor is always a good idea.
What Causes TBIs?
Virtually any blow to the head can cause traumatic brain injuries. There are other factors that can cause a traumatic brain injury as well. However, causes beyond physical damage to the head are much rarer. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Bullet wounds or other penetrating forces
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slips and falls
- Sports injuries
- Construction and industrial accidents
- Neuron damage caused by toxic or harmful chemicals
- Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)
New York law allows for anyone who has been injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence to receive compensation for their losses. In some instances, like car accidents, you must first reach your compensation limit from your no-fault insurance policy before you can sue for further compensation. That said, in almost every instance of brain injury, even mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), your no-fault policy will exhaust.
When you contact one of our Long Island brain injury lawyers, we will evaluate the details of your case to determine how much compensation you are owed. This compensation, or damages, is divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages pertain to the monetary losses you suffered because of your TBI. These damages may include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, property damage, and more. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, relate to the less tangible losses you suffered. These may include pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, disfigurement, and more.
When you work with a Long Island brain injury attorney from TonaLaw, we will consult with medical and other experts and gather evidence to prove you deserve greater compensation. We will try to negotiate with the insurance company out of court to get you the correct amount of compensation you deserve quicker, but if we need to, we have the skills and experience to fight for your rights in the courtroom.
Types of Brain Injuries
While there are numerous types of brain injuries, some of the most common include:
A concussion occurs when the brain impacts the inside of the skull and is generally caused by a blow to the head. Concussions can range from mild to severe. Mild concussions are generally treated with acetaminophen for pain and rest. Moderate or severe concussions may require a more serious regimen of rest, including shortening work or school days and avoiding electronic screens or reading.
Edema is the medical term for swelling. Any TBI can lead to brain swelling or cerebral edema. While edema may not be too serious when it happens in other tissues of your body, it’s a serious issue when it occurs in the brain, since the skull can’t expand to allow for the swelling. As such, edema can cause pressure in your brain. There are a few different options to treat brain swelling, ranging from medication to surgery.
Hemorrhaging is the medical term for uncontrolled bleeding. In terms of brain injuries, hemorrhaging may occur within the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage), or in the space in the skull around the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage). Brain hemorrhages can lead to strokes, edema and other serious issues. Hemorrhages are generally treated with different types of medications.
A hematoma occurs when there is a clot of blood outside the blood vessels. Brain hematomas generally occur when a brain blood vessel ruptures. There are three different types of brain hematomas: subdural hematomas (between the brain and its protective membranes), epidural hematomas (between the protective membranes and the skull), and intraparenchymal hematomas (within the brain). Hematomas can apply pressure within the skull, which can be life-threatening. Surgery is often required to alleviate pressure.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
While the above injuries typically cause some kind of bleeding on the brain, a diffuse axonal injury (or sheer injury) does not. Rather, it directly damages the brain cells. It occurs in about half of all severe TBIs. As the name implies, a diffuse axonal injury doesn’t occur in a specific area, but rather is widespread. When the brain cells are damaged, they are unable to function. In addition, a diffuse axonal injury can cause swelling. Medications are the most common treatment for diffuse axonal injuries, as surgery often isn’t an option. Diffuse axonal injury(DAI) is the most severe of brain injuries often resulting in permanent, residual brain injury and/or brain damage.
Am I At Risk for CTE?
CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been in the news a lot in recent years. You may be worried that you are at risk for this terrible disease. The good news is, most people are not at risk for CTE.
CTE is caused by repetitive head trauma. Such trauma generally occurs in athletes such as football players and boxers, and in military veterans. If you have suffered a few TBIs throughout your life, especially mild concussions, your risk for CTE is practically nonexistent. In every known instance of CTE, the victims of the disease suffered hundreds or thousands of head injuries.
This disease is caused by Tau protein forming and clumping in the brain, which causes the death of brain cells. Not coincidentally, this buildup is also what causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia and CTE have similar symptoms, most notably cognitive disabilities.
How a Long Island Brain Injury Attorney Can Help You
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s actions or negligence, the insurance company may send you a settlement offer. Chances are, this offer will be much lower than what you actually deserve. However, the insurance company will send this low offer because they know you likely need the money to cover your medical bills and other expenses.
Once you accept this offer, you forfeit your right to seek further compensation. So before you accept any kind of settlement offer from the insurance company, give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We’ll review all of the details of your case, including any offer you received, to determine if you deserve greater compensation. Our lawyers are here to help you. If this means seeking greater compensation, we will. However, if we believe the insurance company has offered a fair settlement, we’ll let you know that as well.