Brain Injury Lawyer Irvine
Brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death across the United States. They can occur when someone suffers a blow to the head in an accident or happen as the result of a birth injury or surgical mistake.
Victims of brain injuries are often left with life-altering impairments that cause financial and emotional distress. If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury due to the negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and more. An experienced personal injury attorney could advocate for your rights and help you get the justice you deserve.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, happen when a blow, bump, or jolt to the head interrupts normal brain function. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2.87 million TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths across the U.S. in 2014.
Some of the most common causes of TBIs include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Sports injuries
- Violent assaults
- Penetrating injuries, such as gunshot wounds
- Explosive blasts from accidents or military combat
Brain injuries can also occur as the result of botched medical procedures or the misdiagnosis of medical conditions. Common medical malpractice-related brain injuries include:
- Birth injuries
- Brain aneurysms
- Subarachnoid hemorrhages
- Subdural hematomas
What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Injury?
Brain injuries can cause mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. Some symptoms can appear immediately after an injury occurs, but others may appear hours, days, or even weeks later.
Signs of a mild injury may include:
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes
- Depression or anxiety
Signs of a moderate or severe injury may include:
- Extended loss of consciousness
- Persistent or worsening headache
- Ongoing nausea or vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Clear fluids draining from ears or nose
- Loss of coordination
- Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
- Cognitive difficulties
- Profound confusion
- Slurring of words
- Agitated or combative behavior
Determining the Severity of a Brain Injury
If you suffer a head injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can lessen the risk of permanent brain damage and reduce the time it takes to recover. Visiting the emergency department can also ensure you have medical records proving your injury for insurance and legal purposes.
If you suspect you have a head injury, you should not drive, operate heavy equipment or engage in activities that might cause another head injury until you have been assessed by a medical professional.
Doctors use several tests to determine the severity of head injuries, including:
The Glasgow Coma Scale
This test uses a point scale to assess a patient’s level of consciousness and cognitive functioning following a head injury. Low scores indicate a severe injury. Scores are calculated by measuring a patient’s responses in the following categories:
Eye Opening Response
- Spontaneously opens eyes (4 points)
- Obeys verbal command to open eyes (3 points)
- Opens eyes in response to pain (2 points)
- No response (1 point)
- Normal (5 points)
- Confused (4 points)
- Inappropriate words (3 points)
- Incoherent sounds (2 points)
- No response (1 point)
- Obeys verbal commands (6 points)
- Deliberately moves away from painful stimulus (5 points)
- Withdraws in response to pain (4 points)
- Abnormal flexion in response to pain (3 points)
- Extension in response to pain (2 points)
- No response (1 point)
Loss of Consciousness Time
The length of time a patient remains unconscious following a head injury can indicate the severity of his or her brain damage. Patients who lose consciousness for 30 minutes or less are classified as having a mild head injury, those who lose consciousness for 30 minutes to six hours are classified as moderate, and those who lose consciousness for more than six hours are classified as severe.
A patient’s ability to recall recent events can also determine the severity of his or her head injury. The longer it takes for a patient to be continuously aware of his or her surroundings, the more severe the injury.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Victims who suffer brain damage due to the negligent actions of another party have the legal right to seek compensation for their losses. However, personal injury lawsuits – especially brain injury claims – are complex, difficult to prove, and subject to strict filing rules and time limits. Because of this, it is important to work with qualified brain injury attorneys who have proven experience in successfully handling head injury cases.
A skilled head injury lawyer could thoroughly investigate your case and help gather evidence proving your injuries were caused by the negligence of another person or entity. The types of evidence your lawyer might collect include police reports, accident investigation results, and medical records. In addition, your lawyer may contact expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, including:
- Respiratory, occupational, physical, and cognitive therapists
- Life-care planners
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future loss of income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability