A person who has suffered brain injury due to another person’s negligence may be eligible to seek compensation for all physical, emotional and financial losses the victim has suffered. The amount of compensation that is sought may depend on the type of brain injury.
The following are some of the most common types of brain injuries that arise in personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey and New York:
A traumatic blow to the head may not break one’s skull. However, the force of the blow or a violent jerking motion can cause the brain to slam into the skull. The injured brain may swell within the skull’s confines. This can create pressure that results in additional damage.
A concussion is an example of a closed-head injury. It may cause headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness and problems with concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination.
In most cases, concussions heal within a short period of time with little, if any, long-term damage. However, serious problems can result if a person suffers a second concussion before the initial one heals. This is called second impact syndrome. Also, a progressive degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can develop from suffering multiple concussions.
If the skull is broken, or if an object tears into brain tissue, it can cause extensive brain damage. In some cases, pieces of a broken skull penetrate brain tissue. An open-head injury can lead to excessive bleeding and infection. A significant open-head injury requires surgery to repair the damage and close the wound, and it also typically requires ongoing medication.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Widespread brain damage may be referred to as a diffuse axonal injury (DAI). This is a type of closed-head injury. Diffuse axonal injury affects nerve fibers, which can lead to a disruption in nerve communication and damage a victim’s physical and cognitive abilities. Mild DAI may be a concussion that includes a brief loss of consciousness. If widespread brain damage is severe, it may cause long-term loss of consciousness or a coma.
Focal Brain Injury
A focal brain injury is damage to a single generalized area of the brain. It may be a closed-head injury or an open-head injury such as a gash in the scalp that breaks the skull. The victim of a focal brain injury may suffer a specific loss of function, which will depend on the location of the wound.
A hematoma is the rupture of a blood vessel and the subsequent collection of blood in brain tissues or empty spaces between the brain and skull. The buildup of blood creates pressure on the brain.
A hematoma may be described as epidural (outside the brain and its fibrous covering, or dura, but under the skull), subdural (between the brain and dura), intracerebral (within brain tissue) or subarachnoid (around the surfaces of the brain, between the dura and arachnoid membranes). Surgery is required to remove a hematoma on the brain.
Anoxic / Hypoxic Brain Injury
These injuries result from loss of oxygen to the brain, which causes brain cells to die. Hypoxic brain injury is due to a reduced oxygen level. Anoxic brain injury is caused by a complete lack of oxygen. Oxygen loss can cause permanent physical disabilities, cognitive problems and psychological disorders.
A coma patient is unresponsive and unaware. Generally, a coma does not last longer than three to four weeks. Doctors sometimes use drugs to put people into temporary comas because a comatose brain needs less oxygen to function. A coma patient must receive nutrition through a feeding tube and have a catheter implanted to drain waste.
The injury victim in a vegetative state is unaware of his or her environment. The victim typically displays “vegetative functions,” including normal digestion and sleeping (even though his or her eyes are usually open). Like a coma patient, a person in a vegetative state will need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing and regulation of blood pressure.
Contact a New Jersey / New York Brain Injury Attorney
The victim of a significant brain injury may need rehabilitation therapy in addition to any medication and surgery that is required to address the immediate consequences of the injury.
Physical therapy may be necessary to relearn such basic skills as walking and talking, and psychological therapy may be necessary to help a victim to cope with the lifestyle changes that the injury has caused.
A disabled brain injury victim may work with a variety of specialists, including an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech and language pathologist, nurses specializing in brain injury and a social worker or case manager.
The accident and injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., can help if you or a loved one of yours is dealing with a brain injury that occurred in an accident in New Jersey or New York. We have been helping accident victims and their families to obtain just compensation since 1981. We want to help you, too.
Contact us today at 1-800-LAW-2000 or submit our online form to discuss your case. We provide free consultations and do not charge attorney’s fees until we obtain compensation for you. We can meet with you in our office, in your home or in the hospital – wherever is most convenient for you. We can also review your case with you by phone or through the Internet.