Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI, or Post-Concussive Syndrome is a serious debilitating injury that often leads the victim to be confused, concerned and frustrated. A person who suffers from TBI also many times has suffered from other injuries which caused immediate pain and functional limitations associated with those injuries. It is natural for one to focus on fractured bones or spine injury initially following a motor vehicle accident or fall and neglect these other symptoms.
One of our jobs, as your attorney, is to ensure that the medical records associated with the care and treatment of all of the injuries one suffers after a traumatic event correspond with our client’s problems that he or she reports having, not only on the initial interview, but during conversations that take place over the course of the weeks or months following the initial injury with our client. Many times it is the detailed questions that give life to another aspect of the case and that is determining if the client has the basis for a claim to gain compensation for TBI in addition to the other injuries. The brain is like the yolk of an egg. Shake the egg hard enough the yolk breaks.
In every case where we have knowledge that our client suffered a blow to the head or may have a brain injury, we ask many questions dealing with neurological and behavioral dysfunction and the answers we receive may lead us to recommend the client seek a consultation with a neurologist or neuropsychologist to document early on problems and concerns the client AND OR THE FAMILY may have with respect to their loved one. For instance the client may mention, “I keep forgetting names of people that I have known for a long time,” or “I can’t add a column of figures in my head anymore.’” “I forget where I am going,” or I get angry now very easily.” Appetite, mood, speed of thought processes all are affected when one suffers from TBI. Additionally, there have been other cases where a blow to the head did not occur. Our careful questions are designed to seek information with respect to all problems including physical, mental, emotional and psychological issues one faces after being injured.
In the most serious cases we have had clients who work at extremely high level functioning jobs that can no longer do their job. Their entire professional career is out the window in a flash. In other cases, the symptoms are mild but the sufferer is reminded daily that there is something wrong in their ability to think, act, behave and react to those around them.
The family members are intimately involved in the diagnosis of TBI as it is often they who say to their loved one “what is wrong with you”. In one of our cases, the anger and other symptoms led our client to try and kill his wife with a butcher knife. This was a man who never, in his entire life was violent or argumentative with anyone. In another case, our client studied for years to be an electrical engineer. He maintained a very high grade point average throughout his educational years and finally was employed by a large firm as an electrical engineer. His family was very proud of him. In a motor vehicle accident, his body was thrown against the back of a seat and his back was fractured. While recovering from home for many months, he finally returned to work to find he could not function at a job that he had done for years. He found himself doing the same task over and over again, forgetting he had already finished it. He was fired from that job and another before he realized something horrible was wrong. In that case the verdict from the jury was nearly $1,000,000.00. In both of these cases, it was months after the accident that symptoms that had manifested early on were acknowledged by the client and in both cases the insurance companies involved dismissed this aspect of the claims as unworthy of compensation.
TBI is not an injury that is easily documented. Often times an MRI of the brain is negative for any abnormalities. It is sometimes thought of as a “subjective” injury because our science is not yet advanced enough to fully understand the intricacies of the brain. Accordingly, in order to gain compensation for this type of injury, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation from highly trained medical professionals is required. We can assist our clients in understanding the injury, seeking proper medical care and treatment so that they can achieve a a proper diagnoses so that they can take the necessary steps to learn to live with the affliction and the limitations and problems associated with it.