TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY LAWYER IN PHOENIX
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The CDC estimates that the overall costs for traumatic brain injuries are more than $76.5 billion annually. Additionally, the CDC reported approximately 2.87 million traumatic brain injuries among Americans in 2014. 837,000 of those cases were among children. Whether you’re suffering from a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or a pedestrian accident, an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer wants to help you. Give Ybarra Maldonado Law Group a call at 602-910-4040, or fill out our online intake form.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The most common types of brain injuries are concussions, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries, and penetration injuries. TBI is a broad term that encompasses a variety of brain injuries. The damage could just be in one area of the brain or multiple areas.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Closed brain injuries happen when there is a nonpenetrating injury to the brain that doesn’t break the skull. This type of injury is usually caused by rapid forward or backward movement which shakes the brain inside the skull. As a result, there are usually tears in the brain tissue and blood vessels as well as bruising. Typical causes of closed brain injuries are:
- Car accidents
- Sports accidents
- Shaking a baby, which is often called “shaken baby syndrome”
This type of brain injury — often called an open head injury — is when something penetrates the skull and the brain. The most common cause of penetrating brain injuries are bullets.
A concussion is one of the most common types of brain injuries with approximately three million cases annually in the U.S. A concussion is considered a mild TBI caused by a blow to the head and can lead to temporary cognitive symptoms such as headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, dizziness, and more. Concussions are not life-threatening, nor do they cause permanent damage to the brain. Symptoms can resolve within a few weeks to a few months.
In short, a contusion is just a medical term for a bruise. A brain contusion is another mild TBI and is caused by a blow to the head. A bruised and swollen brain can be life-threatening and can present similar symptoms to a concussion. Patients with brain contusions typically recover within a few weeks to a few months.
A diffuse axonal injury is the tearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers (axons). This severe type of TBI happens when the brain shifts and rotates inside the skull. A diffuse axonal injury can be fatal and often causes the patient to fall into a coma. If a patient happens to wake up from the coma, they will need intensive rehabilitation.
This type of brain injury isn’t caused by an accident or assault. The most common causes are:
- Alcohol or drugs poisoning the brain. In fact, fetal alcohol syndrome can result in an acquired brain injury.
- Diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease.
- Lack of oxygen which is typically called “anoxic brain injury.” An example of lack of oxygen to the brain is a near drowning.
- Stroke, which is when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or gets blocked. This destroys brain tissue.
What is the Difference Between a Primary and Secondary Brain Injury?
A primary brain injury is considered “complete” at the time of impact. This means cellular or chemical changes, as well as tissue or blood vessel changes, typically don’t evolve after the accident.
Meanwhile, the damage from a secondary brain injury continues changing after the initial accident. The changes in cellular, chemical, tissue, or blood vessels will create more brain damage over time.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
A person with a TBI will have a variety of physical, sensory, cognitive, and psychological symptoms depending on the severity of their brain injury. Some symptoms appear immediately after an accident, while others may appear weeks later.
Mild TBI Symptoms
Physical symptoms of a mild TBI include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance
Sensory symptoms of a mild TBI include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in sense of smell
Cognitive, behavioral, or mental symptoms of a mild TBI include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- Dazed, confused, disoriented state
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms
Physical symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI may include:
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes to hours
- Constant headache that may worsen
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Dilation of one or more pupils
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Inability to wake up from sleeping
- Weakness, numbness in fingers or toes, or paralysis
- Loss of coordination
- Swallowing problems
- Inability to plan motor movements
Cognitive, behavioral, or mental symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI may include:
- Profound confusion
- Agitation or unusual behavior
- Slurred speech or difficulty understanding speech
- Difficulty in choosing the right words to say
- Difficulty reading or writing
- Coma or other consciousness disorders
- Difficulty in knowing how to perform basic activities, like brushing teeth
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
from a bed, ladder, bathtub, or even falling down the stairs.
involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians.
including gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse, or other assaults.
from boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, or other high-impact sports.
from explosions are common among active-duty military members. Researchers and doctors are still trying to understand how explosions cause TBI, but the theory is that the pressure wave significantly disrupts brain function when it passes through.
Types of Brain Injury Lawsuits
TBI is typically the focus in personal injury cases (slip and fall, car accidents), criminal defense cases (assault and battery), and workplace accident cases. Most TBI lawsuits are based on negligence and require the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) to prove that the defendant (the party they’re suing) is at fault for the injury.
Proving Negligence in Brain Injury Claims
To potentially win a lawsuit based on negligence, the plaintiff must show:
- That the defendant was required by law to be careful. In other words, the defendant owed the plaintiff a certain “duty of care.”
- That the defendant failed to act with reasonable care towards the plaintiff.
- A TBI was the direct result of the defendant’s action or inaction.
- Losses and symptoms of a TBI are measurable under the law.
A classic example of a TBI lawsuit based on negligence is a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Let’s say driver John, who is drunk, swerves out of his lane and hits driver Jane. As a result of the impact, Jane hits her head against her windshield and suffers long-term physical and cognitive disabilities from a TBI. In this case, Jane would hire a traumatic brain injury lawyer and sue John for his negligence which caused her TBI.
Product Liability in Brain Injury Claims
Another common type of a TBI lawsuit is one based on a defective product liability claim. This means that a plaintiff believes their TBI happened because they used a defective product. In this type of lawsuit, a plaintiff would sue the company for the defective product they used.
For example, let’s say Tara’s three year old daughter Sophia is experiencing severe developmental delays and learning difficulties. Sophia undergoes a series of tests which show sky high lead levels. Tara begins to believe that Sophia’s plastic dolls, that she frequently puts in her mouth, are tainted with lead paint and have been causing Sophia’s brain injury. Tara would then hire a traumatic brain injury lawyer and sue the company of the plastic dolls for its dangerous product.
Getting a Medical Expert in Brain Injury Claims
For the best shot at winning a TBI lawsuit, it’s important to have a medical expert on your side, as well as a traumatic brain injury lawyer. Even experienced lawyers are not knowledgeable about the data and details surrounding TBI. For this reason, it’s important for neurologists treating the plaintiff to acknowledge these truths:
- Do you agree that a trauma victim doesn’t need to lose consciousness in order to have a concussion?
- Is a concussion considered a mild form of a TBI?
- Does a trauma victim need to strike their head on an object to suffer from a TBI?
- Is it true that a brain injury can happen without a blow to the head? For example, if a trauma victim experiences a whiplash-type injury.
- Is it true that mild TBI doesn’t always show up on X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, or EEG’s?
- Do you agree that mild TBI victims can’t always remember whether or not they lost consciousness after their accident?
How Long Do I Have to File a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations related to TBI lawsuits varies from state to state. However in Arizona, a trauma victim has two years from the date of their injury to file a claim with a traumatic brain injury lawyer. There is an exception to this statute, known as the “rule of discovery.” In this case, if a trauma victim was unaware of their injury, they have two years from the date they discovered their TBI to file a claim.
How Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Help?
A traumatic brain injury lawyer from Ybarra Maldonado Law Group can help a trauma victim recover financial compensation for their suffering. A TBI lawyer will also establish the damages in a victim’s case, depending on the accident and symptoms suffered.
Establishing damages isn’t as simple as adding up a victim’s medical bills and then adding on compensation from there. Damages in a TBI lawsuit include:
- Past and future medical treatment
- Lost wages and lost future earning potential due to potential disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation services
- Loss of companionship
A traumatic brain injury lawyer will help a trauma victim by establishing those damages.
Contact Ybarra Maldonado Law Group Today
If you’re the trauma victim in question, we want to give you the justice you deserve. Ybarra Maldonado Law Group has a reputation of experience, excellence, and results to give you the best shot possible in a court of law. Call 602-910-4040 to get in touch with one of our traumatic brain injury lawyers.