Brain Injury Attorneys in Houston
Brain injuries are often the result of truck accidents, car accidents and work injury. It is a fact that the majority of brain injuries are misdiagnosed in the emergency room as primary attention is often paid to more obvious injuries. Yet even mild TBI (traumatic brain injury) can leave a patient with long-lasting problems.
When brain injuries are missed by the accident victim or even emergency personnel, there can be grave consequences. Symptoms can often be subtle and you must watch for them and seek treatment as soon as possible.
After your accident, it is critical that you are properly evaluated to avoid serious long-term effects.
Contact our Houston personal injury lawyers if you have any questions about what to do.
What is TBI?
Traumatic brain injury or TBI is one of the most common, yet misdiagnosed injuries sustained by a person in a car accident, workplace injury or other accidents.
In emergency rooms, personnel routinely evaluate a patient based on the Glasgow Coma Scale or “GCS” which is a test to assess the degree of consciousness after a head injury. GCS is a fast way to determine if there is severe brain damage but it does not positively rule out brain injury. This is one reason that a brain injury may be missed by medical professionals.
Additionally, a CAT or CT (Computerized Tomography) scan can be read as “normal” when in fact there has been a mild traumatic brain injury.
If you suffered a head injury from an accident, your tests and treatment may have been negative while you are still suffering from symptoms of headaches, dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. If this is the case, you need to contact our brain injury lawyers for a free conversation about your options.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), including concussions, can cause difficulties for victims that can last a lifetime. Direct blows to the head, or rigorous shaking of the head typically cause concussions. Concussions resulting from car accidents are sometimes caused by the whiplash of the neck upon impact.
What actually causes a concussion? It is caused by the brain receiving trauma from an impact or sudden violent change in movement. Symptoms of a concussion include feeling dazed and, depending on the severity, may or not include loss of consciousness. As mentioned, a Mild TBI will often result in a normal CT scan.
The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine defines mild traumatic brain injury as a person experienced at least one of the following:
- Any period of loss of consciousness not exceeding 30 minutes
- Any loss of memory for events before or after the accident
- Any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident such as feeling dazed, disoriented or confused
- Focal neurological deficits
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury does appear on a CT Scan and generally involves a loss of consciousness for a period of less than 24 hours. The patient remains in the hospital usually for several weeks and may not regain the function they had before the accident.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when the patient is in a coma. There is usually severe structural damage such as skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and swelling. There may also be spinal cord injuries.
Certainly, traumatic brain injuries can be some of the most long-lasting and devastating a person can sustain in an accident. They result in greatly reduced earning capacity and physical impairment. Generally, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) falls into one of two classifications — open and closed head injuries.
- Open head injuries occur when a foreign object penetrates the skull. This can happen with a gunshot, knife or even when an accident victim hits the windshield in a car accident.
- A closed head injury is one in which there is no penetration of the skull. However, these can be severe and often result in death. They can be caused by any type of trauma to the head and are often seen in motor vehicle accidents. A concussion is a form of closed head traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
The most common and recognizable symptom of a traumatic brain injury is loss of consciousness. Other symptoms can include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Unable to remember the accident, what occurred just before the accident and after
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Headache or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision loss
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble speaking
Cerebral personal injuries are always difficult to endure because of the long adjustment periods involved. Medical expenses can easily pile up with prescription medications, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and doctor visits.
Does a Negative Test Result Mean That I Do Not Have a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be one of the most confusing and frustrating effects of a car accident. Unlike broken bones and lacerations, a TBI is invisible and can only be diagnosed through testing. These tests can range from a simple set of instructions and observations by a primary care doctor to brain scans done at imaging centers. But sometimes these tests can fail to reveal results indicating an injury that the patient is almost sure is there.
If your brain scans or other test results came back normal after a car accident, but you are still experiencing symptoms, you could still have a TBI. Understanding the process of testing for a TBI can help you to make informed decisions and get the care, and eventually compensation, that you need.
If you are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries, the Houston car accident lawyers of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. are here to help.
Should I See a Brain Doctor after a Head Injury in a Car Accident?
Whether or not you feel the need to be rushed to the emergency room, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Even if it is your primary care doctor rather than a neurologist, you can always talk to them about your possible brain injuries.
Many car accident victims suffer a TBI without knowing it. Even if you do not directly hit your head on anything, you can still suffer from a type of injury that occurs when your head swings forward and your brain hits the inside of your skull.
While you do not necessarily need to rush to see a neurologist right away, you should definitely talk to your doctor about the possibility of a brain injury if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after your accident:
- Vision problems
- Seeing spots
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble balancing
- Amnesia or confusion
- Loss of consciousness
All of these and other symptoms could be signs of a mild TBI, also known as a concussion, or of a more serious TBI, although those are typically accompanied by a longer loss of consciousness. If your doctor suspects a concussion, they may ask you to do some simple tasks to test your balance, reflexes, awareness, and vision. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may suggest that you get an MRI to check for a moderate-to-severe TBI. More serious TBIs may be beyond the capacity of your primary care physician to treat, so at that point, you may be referred to a neurologist.
How Soon Should I See a Brain Doctor After a Car Accident?
In general, when you are dealing with injuries after a car accident, it is always best to seek the care you need as soon as possible. Getting diagnosed and treated early can help with both your recovery and the claims process when you are seeking compensation. Even mild Traumatic Brain Injuries can cause dizziness and affect your awareness of your surroundings. If you are feeling dizzy or disoriented, ask someone to take you to the doctor.
When you see your doctor, describe your symptoms in detail. If your symptoms are mild and your doctor suspects a concussion, there may be little to be done other than to rest while you heal. However, if your doctor believes that you may have a more serious TBI, you should seek a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you have experienced any loss of consciousness. If you have been unconscious for any length of time, whether you are seeing your primary care doctor or a neurologist, they will likely send you to get a brain scan.
Does a Negative Test Result Mean I Do Not Have a TBI?
If you have symptoms of a TBI, but the MRI or other brain scan came back normal, that does not necessarily mean that you do not have a TBI. Some TBIs, especially the mild-to-moderate varieties, will never show up on an MRI. That does not mean that they are not there.
These TBIs can still have a huge impact on your ability to work and perform everyday tasks. Even a mild concussion can cause dizziness, headaches, and other symptoms for weeks after an accident, all without ever showing up on a brain scan.
Should I Seek a Second Opinion?
It is possible to be diagnosed with a TBI without an abnormal brain scan. If you are experiencing TBI symptoms but your doctor has dismissed your concerns after seeing a normal brain scan, you may want to seek a second opinion.
Having a properly documented diagnosis in your hands will help immensely if you want to seek compensation for your injuries in a personal injury claim. This is especially true if you want to seek damages for the pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of your brain injury, and if you need to recover lost wages if your injuries have kept you from working. Regardless of how many doctors you see, remember to save all documentation and receipts so that you can seek compensation.
Contact Our TBI Law Firm in Houston Today
Seek compensation now through a traumatic brain injury lawsuit to help you pay these bills along with damages for pain, disability, physical and emotional suffering and lost income. If you have any suspicion that your loved one suffered a brain injury, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
If you have questions regarding recovering damages for a TBI, please contact the Houston attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates at 713-221-6800 at any time.