Life is unpredictable. A sudden injury or illness can devastate an individual and a family. Unexpected health problems inflict financial burdens and cause extreme stress, making every day and feel like a never-ending uphill climb.
One of the most distressing and unpredictable health complications a person can face is a brain injury. Whether doctors call it “mild” or “severe,” a brain injury is a potentially life-altering event. If someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally-harmful actions caused that injury, then you may have substantial rights to receive compensation. An experienced Nebraska personal injury lawyer at The Robert Pahlke Law Group can help you take back your life.
What Is a Brain Injury?
The human brain can sustain injury from a variety of events. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically results from a blow, jolt, or penetrating trauma. The violent impact causes the brain to “rattle” inside the skull, resulting in torn brain tissue, severed nerve connections, and ruptured blood vessels. Bleeding and swelling can lead to additional damage to brain tissue. Other types of brain injuries result from deprivation of oxygen or blood flow to the brain, or from medical conditions that cause inflammation of brain tissue.
Typical forms of brain injury include:
- Concussion: The brain is suspended in a fluid that cushions it within your skull. A severe blow can cause the brain to rotate within the skull or impact the interior of the skull, causing bruising and mild damage. Doctors consider a concussion (a.k.a. “Getting your bell run” or “seeing stars”) a “mild” form of TBI, but it can cause lasting impairments, including headaches, “brain fog,” light sensitivity, and fatigue.
- Skull fracture: Compared to other bones in your body, the brain is somewhat thin and fragile. With a strong impact, it can fracture, causing bleeding, bruising, and even intrusion of bone fragments into the brain.
- Hematoma: Commonly known as a bruise, a hematoma occurs when blood vessels burst and blood clots in the surrounding tissue. A hematoma inside the skull causes pressure that can damage brain tissue and cause brain cell death.
- Stroke: Interruption of blood flow to the brain, caused by a blood clot or broken blood vessel, can damage brain tissue that needs constant blood flow to survive.
- Edema: The skull is an excellent line of defense in protecting the brain, but if swelling occurs inside the brain for any variety of reasons, the pressure caused by edema can be serious. There are many causes of edema, from tumors to viruses or trauma.
- Viral/bacterial/parasitic: Many different pathogens can contribute to brain injury as well. In some polluted lakes, amoeba infestations can transfer to swimmers and begin to grow in their nervous tissue. Meningitis affects the brain and spinal cord and is a result of a virus or bacterial infection.
Common Causes of Brain Injury
- Falls: It does not take much force to cause the brain to “rattle” inside the skull, or even for the skull itself to fracture. For that reason, accidental falls constitute a common cause of brain injuries. Slippery bathroom floors, icy parking lots, and work-site accidents/impacts frequently result in brain injuries, especially among older adults and young children.
- Motor vehicle accidents: The human body is not built to withstand the forces involved in a motor vehicle crash at road speeds. Even if a vehicle occupant does not sustain a direct blow to the head in a collision, the jolt the impact can impart sufficient force to cause damage to the brain within the skull. Of course, when vehicle occupants do sustain a blow to the head in a crash, traumatic brain injury also commonly follows.
- Assault: Gunshot wounds constitute the most common form of penetrating injury that results in traumatic brain injury. But, of course, brain injury can also result from an assault in which an assailant strikes a person on the head or pushes the victim to the ground.
- Sports: From football and lacrosse to gymnastics or combat sports, anytime the human body is taken to the limit, athletes run the risk of a brain injury. Some of the leading medical research on brain injuries—especially studies of concussions and long-term “micro” traumas—arises from studies of athletes who sustain repeated blows to the head. These days, athletes are more likely than ever to receive appropriate medical care for concussions, but dangers still exist and cannot be taken lightly.
- Drowning: A tragedy that disproportionately impacts children, drowning can occur at swimming pools, water parks, lakes, and even at home in the bath. The deprivation of oxygen that accompanies drowning causes capillaries in the brain to burst and the brain to swell, resulting in severe damage even if the drowning victim survives.
Typical symptoms of brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurring words
- Bleeding from ears and/or nose
These are merely typical symptoms, however. Any time you sustain a blow or jolt to your head, see a doctor. A few quick tests can determine whether you have sustained an injury, and whether you need follow-on care.
Lasting Effects of Brain Injury
Brain injury can leave its victims with long-lasting impairments that affect every aspect of their lives. These typically include:
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Loss of eyesight or hearing
- Loss of olfactory sensation: smell/taste
- Short and/or long term memory loss
- Permanent mental impairment/reduced mental function
- Change in personality
- Loss of motor skills
- Long term disability
- Inability to keep gainful employment
- Inability to take care of oneself
Protecting Your Quality of Life by Calling Our Brain Injury Attorneys
If a brain injury has derailed your life, and it resulted from someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional conduct, then you deserve skilled legal representation to help you recover compensation from those who did you harm. Nebraska law may entitle you to take legal action for damages, but only if you act quickly.
The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s lawyers have more than 65 years of cumulative experience fighting for the rights of injured Nebraskans. Contact our law offices today or call us now at (308) 633-4444 to find out how we may help seek justice and compensation for your brain injury—and empower you to regain your sense of self and independence.