Question

I Suffered A Brain Injury In Arizona: What’s Going To Happen To Me?

Larry J. Cohen

Answered by:
Larry J. Cohen

Located in Phoenix, AZ
The Cohen Law Firm

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Answer

There are few things more frightening to an injured person than to be told he or she suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury.  The brain can be damaged in many different ways, including a direct blow to the head, sudden and rapid movements of the head (like whiplash), toxic exposure or lack of oxygen. Brain injuries can happen because of things like a car accident, in the course of medical care, in the workplace, as the result of an act of violence and while playing sports.

The symptoms of brain injury can be subtle or severe. Usually, symptoms are recognized soon after the injury, but sometimes there is a delay. These symptoms may resolve quickly or they can persist for a long time, even permanently. Some people are more vulnerable to head injury than others, because of their history of prior injuries, their genetic makeup,  something about the structure of their brains or because of the mix of the brain injury with other things going on in their lives (for example other trauma, other health problems and anxiety).

Brain-injured people want to know three things: what is going to happen to me; where can I get help; and can I be compensated when someone else caused my brain injury.

What Can I Expect To Happen To Me?

Unfortunately, there is not one simple answer. Different people with similar injuries may have very different symptoms. There are many, often interconnected, factors that can influence the types and severity of these symptoms. Much depends on what caused the injury. The resulting symptoms, though, fall into usual categories:

  • Cognitive challenges: including problems with attention, concentration, organization, memory, learning and distractibility. Often there is confusion.
  • Speech and language challenges: including difficulty understanding speech, finding words and expressing ideas, and problems with reading or writing.
  • Sensory challenges: including blurred vision, loss of vision, problems with balance, loss of hearing, ringing in the ears, loss or diminished senses of smell and/or taste.
  • Emotional challenges: anxiety, frustration, sadness, depression, loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Treatment challenges: treatments, especially medicines, need to be coordinated to enhance rather than undermine recovery. 

Where Can I Get Help?

The most important thing to do is to get to a health care provider well-trained in diagnosing and treating brain injury. They can determine the real source of the problem, how the symptoms may progress or resolve and what treatments may work. Brain-injured people need to be guided to providers who know what they are doing and away from providers who are not properly trained or skilled in the complexities and challenges of brain injury.

The good news is that there is a very good recovery rate from so-called mild traumatic brain injuries. But not everyone recovers quickly or fully. Skilled providers can help sort this out. People with moderate or severe brain injuries need guidance to treatment methods that can maximize their chances of recovery. Everyone needs help understanding their injuries so they, their loved ones and their friends can cope with the symptoms as they evolve to resolution or permanency.

What Can Happen When I Pursue A Personal Injury Claim?

Brain-injured people suffer many losses for which they need and deserve compensation: medical expenses; lost income; loss of the ability to earn; the inability to do things they used to enjoy like recreational activities, reading and social gatherings; loss of relationships with friends and family; and just plain loss of happiness in life.

An early consultation with an experienced lawyer can be invaluable, whether or not a claim or lawsuit is pursued. Such a lawyer can identify problems others may have missed, Sometimes the consequences of an injury have been over-stated and can be put in proper context. Some health care providers are not the best communicators, and a lawyer can help the injured person understand what they have been told and where things are headed.

If compensation should be pursued, the brain injury lawyer can provide guidance on when to submit the claim or file the lawsuit.  The lawyer can place a value on the losses and help negotiate with whoever caused the injury. The lawyer will know the unique issues presented when children or older persons suffer brain injuries. Finally, and very importantly, an experienced brain injury lawyer can help deal with the insurance system, with claims made by health care insurers for reimbursement of insurance payments, or with disability insurers delaying or withholding disability payments.

If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is critical that you discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as possible. There will be important strategic decisions to make about when to pursue compensation and file litigation. It is wise to work to resolve these matters in a quick, efficient manner with a skilled personal injury lawyer.

 

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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