Few injuries are as scary as those involving the head and brain. At a time like this, it is essential to seek treatment from your family doctor and other specialists as needed to ensure that you receive appropriate care and monitoring. An experienced brain injury attorney can help protect your right to total compensation if you have suffered an injury that has lasting effects.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, our brain injury lawyers bring more than half a century of experience to represent people in West Virginia, including Charleston, Huntington, Beckley, Parkersburg, Morgantown, and throughout Kanawha County. We help people who have suffered severe personal injury in car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and other types of negligence. No matter how you were injured, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Types of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can present extremely complex difficulties that other types of personal injuries do not. The primary issue is that the total extent of the injury may not be evident and may have slow onsets. The full effects and damages may not be apparent for weeks or even months following an accident.
Further, its effects may be subtle, and the victim may be the last to notice them. Friends, family members, and others close to the victim may start to see emotional, behavioral, or cognitive changes. At a certain point, formerly routine tasks may prove impossible.
Minor Head Injury
A minor head injury happens when your head is bumped or bruised. The tissue between the skull and scalp holds a lot of blood vessels, and an impact on this area can cause bruising or bumps. While it’s always best to seek medical treatment whenever you hit your head, applying an ice pack can typically treat a minor head injury.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when an external force strikes the head so hard that the brain moves back and forth rapidly. A concussion can result from a minor bump to the head.
Concussions are commonly associated with losing consciousnesses, which them challenging to detect when they don’t involve unconsciousness. While concussions are not usually life-threatening, severe symptoms can develop.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries occur after sudden impact or force like a motor vehicle accident. TBI’s are classified as ‘open’ or ‘closed.’ An open injury is when the skull has been fractured from a fall, collision, or other incidents when the head comes into violent contact with a hard object.
A closed head injury can include brain swelling and blood clots and can only be diagnosed by imaging like an MRI or CT Scan. Regardless of what kind of injury, brain trauma can be severe or fatal, even when there are no symptoms.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
An acquired brain injury results from external, physical trauma such as forceful impact in motor vehicle accidents. Sometimes an ABI is referred to as a “silent injury” because the symptoms are subtle. Acquired brain injuries can range from mild to severe, affecting one or more areas of the brain.
If you or someone close to you has suffered a severe brain injury due to what you believe was someone’s negligent or careless conduct, it is crucial to reach out to a team of brain injury attorneys that can fully understand the injuries and advocate for you. Our lawyers handle all types of head and brain injury claims, from those that affect you for a few months to those that are permanent.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Undiagnosed brain injuries, especially serious brain injuries, have the potential to cause lasting damage that drastically changes a victim’s quality of life.
Brain injury symptoms present differently in people and can worsen over time. Early characteristics of a brain injury can be missed if they have not yet fully developed and are still quite subtle. Serious brain injury symptoms can include:
- Persistent headaches
- Changes in vision and light sensitivity
- Attention deficits
- Personality or emotional changes
- Loss of motivation and mood changes
- Issues with finding words or communicating
- Issues with memory
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Frequent fatigue
- Sleep problems
A person with a head injury may have memory loss and may not accurately remember the incident that caused the injury. Family and friends are crucial in identifying personality changes or other cognitive impairments.
Long-Term Effects of Brain Injuries
Long-term physical and mental trauma from a brain injury is common. A person with a head or brain injury may see a decrease in quality of life, and they may be unable to function or work as they used to. Long-term effects of brain injury can include:
- Difficulties with Motor Skills — muscle weakness or tightness (spasticity), paralysis, complications with swallowing or usage of the tongue, poor balance, tremors or seizures, reduced endurance, and an increase in fatigue.
- Cognitive Impairment — short- or long-term memory loss, shortened attention span, loss of problem-solving and judgment skills, temporal (time) and spatial perception, and comas.
- Perceptual and Sensory Impairments — loss or change in sensations, tastes, hearing, touch, smell, and vision problems, trouble with identifying objects
- Communication and Functional Complications — increased difficulty or change in speaking, writing, reading, and handling organizational issues. Problems with daily activities such as routine hygiene.
- Behavioral, Social, & Psychological Changes — increased mood swings, agitation, anxiety, depression, motivation. Changes in behavior in social situations.
Steps to Take Following Any Head Injury
You need to take quick action if you, or someone you know, had a serious head injury. There is a greater chance of mitigating brain damage by getting in front of a medical professional. Often with head injuries, symptoms are subtle and can take time to show up after a head injury. Brain injuries can be progressive, and the symptoms may get worse over time.
Follow these steps following a head injury:
- Have the person sit down and check to see if their breathing is stable.
- Check for any open injury like a wound and apply a compress and pressure to it (if applicable). If it’s a closed injury, you can apply something cold to the bump.
- Calmly talk to the person to keep them alert, coherent, and responsive. Ask the person if they are experiencing dizziness or nausea, headaches, or confusion. Ask a few questions to test memory.
- If symptoms change for the worse, get medical attention.
- Get emergency medical care immediately if the person is unresponsive or has a deteriorating level of responsiveness, or unequal pupil size.
The medical expenses involved in treating a brain injury can be tremendous. Still, there may be compensation options for someone who was wrongly injured.
Compensation for Brain Injuries
A person who suffered a brain injury from an accident or negligence deserves to be fairly compensated for their loss. Johnstone & Gabhart can help you recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and future wages (earning capacity)
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Long-term care
- Permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
We will work closely with investigators and medical professionals to ensure that you are appropriately compensated for your losses. We do not charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you. You won’t pay upfront or out of your pocket.
Contact Our Charleston Brain Injury Lawyers For A Free Consultation
Our goal initially is to ensure you receive the medical care you need to complete a recovery as possible. It is important not to resolve your case financially until you know how the head injury will affect your life. Will you recover fully? What medical or other services will you need in the future as a result of your injury?
We will demand total brain injury compensation claims from the negligent party’s insurance company when we know the answers to these and other questions. Call (304) 343-7100 or contact the firm online to schedule a free initial consultation with our attorneys.