Spokane Brain Injury Attorney
Brain Injury Claims in Washington
If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic brain injury because of someone’s carelessness, the responsible person or organization is accountable to pay for all the damage done. You and your family member will need medical experts to get the right care, a law firm that understands the medicine and laws surrounding brain injuries, and an experienced trial attorney who can prove the extent of the brain injury.
The area of the brain that is damaged has a significant impact on recovery plans. In many cases, a traumatic brain injury never fully heals. Recovery progress tends to decline over time. Traumatically brain-injured people have to learn how to live with a diminished set of functional abilities. The changes can be physical, cognitive, emotional, and social.
It is critical that you have a law firm that is up-to-date on developing medicine and brain science. To ensure proper medical care, and the best chance at recovery, many people need to be consulted: doctors, neurologists, neuro-psychologists, interviews with friends, family, teachers, vocational recreational experts, and life care planners. The attorney you work with will be focusing on how to meet all of the future quality of life needs for you or your loved one.
Who Does a Brain Injury Affect?
Of course, a traumatic brain injury will have ramifications for the whole family. People who love and care for a person that is traumatically brain-injured must come to accept the changes as a result of their brain injury. Despite the doctors’, therapists’, and neurologists’ best efforts many traumatically brain-injured people experience life-altering mobility challenges, diminished earning capacity, loss of the ability to care for themselves independently, or even lose the ability to form a whole thought. Brain injured people suffer permanently in more subtle ways that are just as serious and permanent such as personality changes, irritability, or debilitating depression.
You should know are not alone. Each year 1.7 million people receive hospital care due to traumatic brain injury, and over 5.3 million Americans require long-term care to perform activities of daily living, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is a Severe Brain Injury?
When the brain sustains a neurological injury that results in physiologic changes to the brain, this is considered a severe brain injury. There are four main types of injuries that can cause this type of trauma:
- Closed head injuries
- Penetrating injuries
- Anoxic brain damage
- Toxic brain injuries
Anoxic brain damage occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, causing brain cells to die. Toxic brain injuries can be caused by the ingestion of toxic chemical agents or exposure to them.
How is the Severity of a Brain Injury Determined?
The Glasgow Coma Scale, which can be used to determine one's prognosis, is used to determine the severity of a brain injury. Measures like the Rancho Los Amigos Scale are used to assess responsiveness, consciousness, and receptive skills. However, it is generally not possible for the effects of a brain injury to be fully understood until after the injured person completes medical treatment and begins the recovery process.
What Are the Clinical Signs of a Severe Brain Injury?
If a brain injury survivor has a low Glasgow Coma Scale grade during his or her initial medical intervention, this would indicate a severe brain injury. In such cases, the survivor is usually in a coma, or in a state of diminished consciousness that can last for hours, days, or even weeks.
Other symptoms can include
- Decreased ability to respond to stimuli
- Changes to muscle tone
- Trouble with autonomic functions
- Intra-cranial fluid build-up or increased pressure.
Does the Location of the Injury Impact the Severity?
Physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functions are brain-based and, as such, the location of an injury can affect the severity of the problems a brain injury survivor experiences throughout his or her lifetime.
Are There Differences Between Adult and Child Brain Injuries?
Children are still in the developmental stages of their life, so a brain injury could disrupt this development and result in psychological and behavioral problems that could affect their ability to perform in school and interact with family and peers. Moreover, the effects of a brain injury in children are not often seen until years later, presenting themselves as cognitive or learning problems that are often initially ignored.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
- Physical Symptoms: Loss of consciousness, Dizziness, Bad taste in the mouth, Headaches, Convulsions, Loss of balance, Nausea, Sensitivity to light or sounds, Ringing in the ears, Speech problems/Slurred speech, Vision problems, Fatigue/Lack of energy, Change in sleep habits
- Cognitive Symptoms: Amnesia/Memory problems, Confusion, Disorientation, Trouble concentrating, Loss of muscle coordination, Delayed reactions in speaking
- Emotional Symptoms: Anxiety/Depression/Agitation/Mood Swings, Personality change, Changes in Appetite
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) Diagnosis Criteria
A diagnosis of MTBI is considered valid when one or more of the following conditions occur after an injury to the brain:
- Disorientation or confusion
- Amnesia near the time of injury
- Neurological or neuropsychological problems
- A score of 13 or higher on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)
Brain Injuries Can Be Caused by Whiplash
Medical science proves the brain is as delicate as it is vital. The human brain has the consistency of Jell-o, so even seemingly minor brain trauma can cause major implications when delicate portions of the brain are damaged.
In a car accident, the brain can move rapidly through the course of our rigid skull lined with numerous bony protrusions. The brain can bounce off the skull and hit the opposite end of the skull resulting in a “coup-contrecoup” injury. A diffuse axonal injury will cause the long connecting nerve fibers in the brain to tear as the brain rapidly twists and rotates inside the skull.
Traumatic brain injury exposes a person to a higher risk of developing a seizure disorder, can impact short term memory and cognitive function, cause sensitivity to light, headache, dizziness, and fatigue for over 3 months after the trauma. The brain does not heal completely and becomes more susceptible to a worsened injury with any future head trauma.
We know that a brain injury can affect the stability and function of an entire family, which is why our Spokane brain injury lawyers are here to help. Contact us today at (509) 444-4444 to learn more about your options.
James R. Sweetser and the Sweetser Law Office team has over 35 years of experience as a Spokane personal injury attorney representing traumatic brain injury victims and their families get justice. We work hand-in-hand with medical experts who help us demonstrate causation, one of the essential, and most difficult, elements to prove in a successful negligence suit. We tell your story of change and struggle to regain as much of your life back as possible. We work with your family, doctors, specialists, co-workers, and friends to determine the full extent of your damages. We hire experts necessary to economically value lost earning capacity and future treatment needs.
Brain injury litigation is complex and requires experienced attorneys who understand the medical issues associated with brain injury, and have the ability to combat the defense tactics designed to destroy your claim. Defense tactics most often include four primary defenses:
- There is no brain injury
- If there is a brain injury it pre-existed the trauma
- If the brain injury was caused by the trauma, it is only minor
- The brain-injured client is malingering or exaggerating symptoms and should not be believed
These myths and defenses of the insurance industry will be met with family doctors, registered nurses, neurological specialists, life care planners, economists, and vocational rehabilitation experts to prove the true nature of you or your family member's current and future needs.
Sweetser Law Office works on a no win-no fee basis. We’re about doing the work to ensure you are looked after; you get the care and assistance you need; you get the right kind of rehabilitation and you are looked out for in the long run. Our goal is to ensure that brain injury victims will have access to the best neurological specialists and rehabilitative services to regain function as fully as possible and live as normal a life as possible. We all have one brain, one life, and one chance at recovery. We at Sweetser Law Office are here to ensure you are protected and that your voice is heard.