Brain Injury Lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL
Serving You and The State of Florida
There are few medical phrases shrouded in more fear and uncertainty than the words traumatic brain injury or TBI. A traumatic brain injury can range from minor to severe and life-altering. Recovery time depends on the severity of the injury, and the brain heals differently in every individual. A minor TBI might resolve in a few weeks, but more serious cases can result in lifetime impairments or even death.
Traumatic brain injuries are frighteningly common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.5 million Americans suffer a TBI each year. That breaks down to a traumatic brain injury occurring every 21 seconds from causes that include:
- Slip and fall injuries
- Work-related accidents
- Sports-related injuries
- Any other accident that causes a blow to the head or the head to be violently shaken side to side or back and forth
The difficult thing about TBIs is that no matter the circumstances, all traumatic brain injuries, even those considered mild, still have the potential to cause serious symptoms. TBIs affect the ability of the central nervous system to function. It is crucial that you seek immediate medical attention for any head injury. A delay in treatment can result in lasting cognitive impairments.
If you, or someone you know, have sustained a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident where another party was at least partly at fault, you need the assistance of a Florida personal injury attorney knowledgeable about TBIs and the potential long-lasting consequences. We at The Lopez Law Group have experience in helping those who have sustained brain injuries recover the damages they deserve.
The Common Types of Head Injuries Seen in Auto Accidents
Head injuries are far too common in auto accidents. The force of the crash can cause the head to slam side to side violently, or impact the seat rest, steering wheel, or be struck by flying debris in the accident. The most common types of head injuries include:
- Concussion—A form of TBI that is usually mild and does not result in prolonged medical treatment. However, severe concussions can be threatening and require immediate medical attention. If you experience a headache, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, or confusion, you may have sustained a concussion during the accident. A scan of the brain will reveal if there is bruising, bleeding, or swelling of the brain.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury—These injuries are caused by the brain being “bounced” around inside the skull. When extreme forces cause the brain to bounce into the skull, it can cause damage to connective tissues between the brain and other parts of the body. If the fibers connecting the brain to the body become damaged, the condition can deteriorate quickly and can result in a coma. Patients with this type of injury frequently have multiple neurological deficits and are at an increased risk of mortality.
- Contusion—A contusion is a bruise of the brain. During an accident, contusions of the brain occur most commonly when you hit your head on something inside the vehicle. It can result in swelling of the brain along with bruising. The bruising can be on the surface of the brain, or deep inside the structures of the brain. If there is swelling involved, surgery may be required. A hole may be drilled, or a flap of skull removed, to give the brain room to swell without herniating.
- Coup-Contrecoup—An injury to both sides of the brain. It occurs when an impact causes extreme movement of the brain inside the skull, which causes damage to the brain.
- Open Head Injury—Open head injuries occur when something causes the skull itself to crack or when an object penetrates the skull and potentially injures the brain.
- Acquired Brain Injury—These injuries to the brain are not caused by external forces on the brain or skull. Instead, they are caused by something happening inside the body. The brain may not receive enough oxygen or an adequate supply of blood flow due to other injuries sustained during the accident. This type of injury can cause brain cells to begin to die quickly. The death of the brain cells is permanent; a could result in lasting damage that can never be undone.
Brain injuries have many unknowns in the first hours, days, and sometimes even longer after the accident. People have made remarkable recoveries from catastrophic brain injuries, but others have succumbed to injuries that seemed far less severe. Neurosurgeons often speak of how little is known about the recovery process of brain injuries. Only time can determine how much function a person will recover after a severe brain injury.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Most traumatic brain injuries are mild or moderate. Mild to moderate injuries typically resolve entirely within a few weeks, and symptoms start to decrease in a few days. These injuries are usually not life-threatening, but they have a significant impact on the central nervous system. Symptoms of a mild to moderate TBI include:
- Amnesia is an inability to remember things. Unlike the movies, amnesia is rarely complete, where the person wakes up with no recall of who they are or any part of their life before the accident. When it does happen, it is called transient global amnesia, and it is exceedingly rare.
Amnesia can mean not remembering the time immediately prior to the accident, the accident itself, or the immediate aftermath. A person can also have amnesia that makes it difficult to remember information learned after the accident.
- Blurred vision
- Speech impairments
- Mild changes in personality
- Inability to concentrate
The Symptoms of a Serious or Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
The symptoms will usually match the severity of the injury to the brain. Serious traumatic brain injuries can leave a person with significant lasting impairments. Symptoms of this type of TBI include:
- Slurred speech
- Inability to speak
- Severe memory problems
- Loss of the ability to taste or smell
- Confusion and disorientation that does not resolve on its own
- Changes in personality such as extreme mood swings and angry outbursts—many TBI’s impacts the frontal lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for the regulation of emotions, and when it is damaged, the person may lose the ability to regulate their mood. Those closest to people with serious frontal lobe damage often refer to them as “completely different people, “or say things like “it is like living with a stranger.”
- Extended loss of consciousness
- Permanent coma or persistent vegetative state
The Impact a Serious Traumatic Brain Injury Can Have on Your Life
A severe TBI will most likely leave life challenges that will require you and your loved ones, to adapt to a new reality. You, or someone you love, might be left with a permanent mental or physical disability, which puts an immense amount of pressure on both the person who suffered the injury and the family.
The need for ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and perhaps even caretaking either at home or in a facility are all possibilities. Even patients who experience a remarkable recovery can have long-term symptoms that never fully resolve.
Physical and Emotional Impacts of a Serious TBI
Lifelong mental, emotional and physical disabilities are common after a traumatic brain injury. Motor deficits are the effect of the damage on fine and gross motor skills and movement. Examples of motor deficits caused by a TBI include:
- Spasticity, which means muscle stiffness
- Uncontrolled movements
- Paralysis that affects certain regions of the body
- Difficulty with walking, talking or swallowing
- Loss of fine motor skills, such as holding a pen or buttoning a shirt
- Vision problems
- Chronic pain
- Sexual dysfunction
Common Mental and Emotional Difficulties After a TBI
Traumatic brain injuries also have a profound impact on both the cognitive capabilities and the emotional state of those with a serious TBI. These can manifest in different ways, but some of the most common include:
- Difficulty with thinking
- Difficulty with understanding and adhering to social norms
- Problems in controlling emotions
- Explosive anger and difficulty managing frustration
- Problems in making and maintaining personal relationships
Employment Issues and Lost Wages
Those who suffer a serious traumatic brain injury must often face the fact that they will never be able to return to the type of work they did prior to the accident if they are able to work at all. The lost income, and subsequent financial problems, is a substantial stressor on both the injured individual and the family.
The costs associated with rehabilitation and retraining for another line of work can make such care cost-prohibitive for some people. The inability to take care of oneself and one’s family can lead to severe depression.
The Impact on Loved Ones
A serious traumatic brain injury can result in a person acting in ways they would never have acted before the injury. Family relationships are forced to change and adapt, and many relationships do not survive. In extreme cases, the patient will find themselves entirely dependent on family members.
Family members feel robbed and cheated of the life they had planned with the person who experienced the TBI. Spouses feel the strain of going from a life partner to a caretaker. Children, especially, can find it hard to understand the changes in a parent who suffered a traumatic brain injury. They will struggle to understand the impairments experienced by the person who is supposed to take care of them.
The hardest part for families, friends, and loved ones is coming to terms with the fact that the changes the person has undergone are likely permanent. Though improvement is possible and the victim can relearn different coping skills, fundamentally, they may never be the person they were before the accident. It is hard to comprehend the impact that can have on a family.
What Should You Do if You or a Loved One Sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury In an Accident in Florida?
If you, or someone you know, was injured in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you need the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. If you sustained a brain injury with lasting consequences, you are entitled to compensation for the injury. The St Petersburg brain injury attorneys at The Lopez Law Group are prepared to help you win the compensation you deserve.
We know that no amount of money can make up for the pain, suffering, and life changes a brain injury can cause. However, a monetary award can make sure you receive the proper care for all your needs. It will also assure that the loss of income is not financially devastating for your family. For some people, the most important part of filing a lawsuit is to assure that the party responsible for the accident that changed your life is held responsible.
The Lopez Law Group will evaluate your claim, whether it resulted from a slip and fall, car accident, or an assault, and help you decide the best way to proceed with your case. Our attorneys will treat you with respect and dignity, and listen to your story and how the injury has changed your life. We will always give you an honest assessment of the strength of the case you have.
We are standing by and ready to talk to you. Fill out the contact us form on our website, or give us a call at (727)-933-0015 to schedule a consultation, and we will tell you then if we believe you have a potential case. If we take your case, you can rely on our legal professionals to handle everything regarding investigating and pursuing your claim. We know that your focus should be on caring for yourself, or your loved one, while we fight the legal battle to get the compensation you deserve.
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What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!