Houston Brain Injury Lawyer
As the command center for the central nervous system, the human brain is a remarkably complex organ. Any injury to the brain can have profound effects on a person, possibly affecting their ability to move, communicate or perform many other functions. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually refers to a brain injury that was caused by a sudden and violent blow to the head. Bruising, torn tissue, and bleeding can cause serious and lasting harm, while other TBIs may involve objects penetrating the skull and damaging the brain.
If you or your loved one suffered a TBI in an accident caused by another party’s negligence in Houston or a surrounding area, the personal injury attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., want to help you. We take brain injury cases seriously, and we have the experience and resources you need on your side to hold the party who harmed you responsible. Michael P. Fleming is Board Certified as a specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He can review your case when you call or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a TBI as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” To diagnose TBI, health care providers often use tests such as the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS).
GCS is a neurological scale used to assess the impairment of the conscious state of a person with a brain injury. Eye opening, best motor response and best verbal response are the three measures used to score responses. A total patient score of 3 indicates deep unconsciousness, while a score of 14 (on the original scale) or 15 (on the modified schedule) indicates a healthy individual.
Physical symptoms of TBI often include:
- Blurred vision
- Migraine headaches
- Loss of coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Loss of consciousness
- Fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
Mental or cognitive symptoms of TBI can also include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Changes in appetite
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech.
A TBI diagnosis also takes into account other factors such as periods in which a person was unconscious and/or experienced memory loss.
Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
A TBI typically takes one of five forms:
- Concussion — Long considered to be simply a temporary ailment largely limited to athletes, concussions are now recognized as being potentially serious brain injuries. The most common causes include direct blows to a person’s head or any violent shaking of the head. With some concussions, blood vessels in the brain can be stretched, and cranial nerves sustain damage. It is important to note that concussions do not always appear in diagnostic imaging tests, and a concussion could cause diffuse axonal type injury leading to temporary or permanent damage.
- Contusion — Most often the result of direct impact to the head, a contusion is a bruise of the brain causing bleeding. Large contusions may require surgical removal.
- Coup-contrecoup — This type of TBI involves contusions on both the original point of impact and the opposite side of the brain. The first blow causes a contusion, while another contusion forms when the brain slams into the skull.
- Diffuse axonal — Diffuse axonal injuries are the result of brain structures tearing as the result of shaking or strong rotational forces in which the brain does not move as fast as a skull.
- Penetration — A penetrating injury involves an object forcing its way into the brain.
TBIs are not the same as acquired brain injuries. TBIs involve external trauma, while acquired brain injuries are usually the result of medical conditions such as hypoxia, strokes, or tumors.
Common Causes of Head injuries
The most common cause of a TBI is a sudden blow to a person’s head. The symptoms are not always immediately apparent. Some of the most frequent causes of TBIs that we have seen over the years at Michael P. Fleming & Associates include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dangerous or defective products
- Sexual assault.
Again, the symptoms of a TBI are not always immediate. Some people may not begin to feel the effects for several days or weeks, and they may not know what caused their condition. The often-misunderstood symptoms of TBIs underscores the importance of getting medical attention following any accident. A TBI is an injury you want to have identified and properly treated right away.
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
All TBI cases are different. In many cases, victims deal with physical, cognitive and psychological consequences to these types of injuries. Some TBI victims cannot return to their former jobs because of the effects of their injuries, and some never maintain gainful employment again after suffering their injuries. Other victims require constant, 24-hour care and assistance with daily activities and various needs.
TBI treatment typically encompasses multiple different approaches, some of which can be very costly. Possible rehabilitation for TBI victims includes, but is not limited to:
- Acute rehabilitation — Hospital or another inpatient setting with a focus on daily living activities
- Post-acute rehabilitation — Residential rehabilitation or transitional living facility with more comprehensive rehabilitation that focuses on intensive therapy
- Sub-acute rehabilitation — Nursing home facility programs for victims who are struggling to make functional gains or need less intensive rehabilitation
- Day treatment — Group setting rehabilitation during daytime hours, so that a victim can return home for the evening
- Outpatient therapy — Continuing treatment provided following any type of acute rehabilitation.
TBI treatment services also focus on self-care, mobility and socialization skills, communication and cognitive functions and psychological care in addition to physical care and pain management. Specific programs also offer speech and vocational training for victims.
What Steps Should You Take After You or a Loved One Suffers TBI?
The initial symptoms of head and brain injuries are often minor. So, many people do not take medical care precautions until the symptoms become more persistent or severe. If you are involved in an accident, you should seek medical attention right away. Go to a hospital even if you do not think that you were hurt. It is always best to play it safe and let a medical professional perform a proper evaluation. When you suspect that somebody has suffered a head injury, do what you can to keep the person still. If the person was wearing a helmet, do not remove it.
If it is possible, you should try to take pictures of the scene of your accident. Get photographs of everything involved in the accident, including the people, and take pictures from different angles and distances. If any people saw the accident, ask them for their names and phone numbers. These individuals could end becoming beneficial witnesses later on.
If a person is bleeding, you should apply pressure to the wound. However, you should not apply direct pressure if you suspect a skull fracture. CPR may be required in some circumstances.
What Compensation Can TBI Victims Recover?
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, we understand the life-changing impact of TBIs on victims and their families. If you or a loved one suffered TBI due to someone else’s careless or reckless conduct, we will aggressively pursue all compensation that you are due, which may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminishment of future earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages.
We will preserve, gather and analyze evidence to establish your right to compensation. We may also consult with knowledgeable experts about the cause of the TBI in your case and/or its effect on your health and ability to work and enjoy life as you did before. We will demand full and fair compensation for you during settlement negotiations and, if necessary, we will be ready to fight for you in the courtroom.
Contact Our Houston Brain Injury Attorneys Today
A TBI is an injury that can have a dramatic effect not just on victims but on their entire family as well. Victims could suffer memory loss, and some people become incapable of creating new memories. These frequent and recurring problems complicate daily life and make many daily tasks difficult. The results can be frustrating and challenging to deal with.
During the adjustment to a TBI diagnosis, many families are struggling to pay for the continuing costs of medical care. Their concerns about medical bills are on top of stress created by the victim’s inability to work.
If you or a loved one suffered TBI, you should not be forced to deal with these circumstances because of someone else’s misconduct. You deserve justice. Contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., today. We can provide a timely and free consultation and help you to understand and explore all of your legal options.