The brain is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a jolt or blow to the head causes the suspended brain to bump against the inside of the skull. More rarely, this kind of injury can also result from an object breaking through the skull and penetrating the brain. The most common causes of TBIs are falls, car accidents, firearm-related injuries, sports injuries, and physical assaults.
The severity of a TBI can range from mild to life-threatening. Short-term and long-term TBI side effects can also vary depending on the severity and location of the injury within the brain. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for maximizing recovery and minimizing long-term risks associated with TBIs.
If you have suffered a brain injury at little to no fault of your own, you should not hesitate to have your case reviewed by an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to significant compensation. The legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C., is ready to get your case started in a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us today to schedule yours.
How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Unfortunately, TBIs are very common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in one recent year alone, which translates to about 190 deaths each day. The CDC further reported another 223,000 TBI-related hospitalizations nationwide in another recent year.
These kinds of injuries are more common among certain age groups. For example, adults age 75 years and older account for 32 percent of TBI-related hospitalizations and 28 percent of TBI-related deaths. Children aged 0-5 are also more susceptible to suffering brain injuries when dropped because the bone plates that make up their skull take time to fuse and harden after birth.
How Are TBIs Classified by Doctors?
There are many ways to classify TBIs. Two widely-used systems of classification are the Rancho Los Amigos Scale and the Glasgow Coma Scale. This section briefly introduces both.
- Rancho Los Amigos Scale – The Rancho Los Amigos Scale (RLAS) is “used to describe the cognitive and behavioral patterns found in brain injury patients as they recover from injury.” This scale includes ten levels and focuses heavily on the patient’s ability to function independently after suffering a brain injury. Patients in the first level exhibit no response to external stimuli and require total assistance. On the other end of the spectrum, patients on the tenth level are highly functional and require only moderate assistance.
- Glasgow Coma Scale – The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is often used alongside the RLAS. It gauges a patient’s level of consciousness and neurological function based on their physical responsiveness to stimuli. In particular, the scale assigns a numerical score to a patient’s ability to open their eyes, respond verbally, and respond physically after a brain injury.
How Can I Tell If I Suffered a TBI?
There are a wide range of short-term TBI side effects that vary in severity and duration depending on the extent and location of the damage. In many cases, symptoms manifest clearly soon after the underlying injury. In others, they may take hours or days to appear. Common signs of TBIs include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Difficulty concentrating and extreme feelings of confusion
- Agitation, erratic behavior, and mood swings
- Unusual anxiety or depression
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Loss of consciousness (ranging from a few seconds to hours)
- Seizures and convulsions
- Unusual or uneven pupil dilation
- Transparent fluid flowing from the nose and/or ears
- Lowered sensation in fingers and toes
- Poor coordination and slurred speech
If you suspect you are a loved one has suffered a brain injury, you should consult with a doctor immediately. The earlier a TBI is diagnosed, the more time there is to prevent long-lasting damage to the brain.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?
If you suffered a TBI due to someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to legal compensation from the at-fault party. Our skilled attorneys are standing by to make sure you do not miss out on any compensation you are entitled to. Among other things, you may be compensated for your:
- Medical expenses – This includes compensation for past and future medical expenses related to the TBI, such as hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, medication, and ongoing care.
- Lost earnings – You could receive compensation for wages lost while recovering from your injury. Further, if your TBI leaves you permanently impaired, you could be compensated for your lowered earning capacity.
- Quality of life – The at-fault party may owe you compensation for less tangible impacts your TBI has on your life as well. For example, you may be entitled to damages for your physical pain, emotional suffering, and reduced quality of life.
- Loss of consortium – Your spouse may also be entitled to damages for loss of consortium. As one New York court explained, “The concept of consortium includes not only loss of support or services, it also embraces such elements as love, companionship, affection, society, sexual relations, solace, and more.”
Is There a Deadline for Filing a TBI Lawsuit in New York?
Yes. In New York, most personal injury lawsuits must be filed before three years have passed after the date of injury. Though this rule has certain exceptions, the deadline is otherwise strictly enforced. Failure to file before it passes normally results in your case being dismissed in court. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney right away after suffering a TBI.
Our TBI Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
For over 35 years, Finz & Finz, P.C. has fought for the rights of injured New Yorkers. Our nationally recognized legal team has obtained record-breaking verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. In every case, we make sure each of our clients receives the personalized attention they deserve.
While you focus on your recovery, let our TBI attorneys defend your right to full and fair compensation. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., today to get started with a free, no-obligation consultation. You pay nothing unless we win your case.