Brain Injury: Personal Injury Settlements

According to recent statistics, slightly fewer than 100,000 people suffer serious brain injuries that diminish the quality of life; some of these injuries are the result of accidents caused by others, while others do not. When another is at fault when a brain injury occurs, the injured party (or the family, in the case of a fatality) can sue the responsible party and obtain a hefty settlement.

There are two general types of brain injuries: open brain injuries and closed brain injuries. Open injuries are typically the result of a fall, a car accident or a collision with a blunt object, which results in a fracture of the skull. A closed injury involves less trauma to the skull,and does not result in a fracture.

Although skull fractures are dangerous and can result in death, a closed brain injury is often more serious. It doesn’t take as much pressure as one might think to cause brain damage, and when the skull doesn’t fracture, brain swelling occurs. Since there is no opening in the skull, the swelling causes pressure on the brain, which can result in further trauma if not immediately treated.

The scariest thing about brain injury is that often, the patient and the people present at the time of the injury do not realize that serious damage has occurred. The injured individual might think that they suffered a surface bruise and nothing more, which might mean that he or she does not receive treatment right away. The longer after a brain injury occurs that the patient seeks treatment, the more extensive the damage.

If, during an accident, the head is injuries in any way, the patient and others present should look for the following symptoms:

– confusion or loss of memory
– unusual or extensive fatigue
– nausea and/or dizziness
– a headache that does not go away for several hours
– numbness or weakness in one or both sides of the body

These symptoms are usually indicative of a brain injury, and if any of these symptoms are observed, treatment should be sought immediately.

There are three common types of brain injury that frequently occur after accidents.

1. Bruising – When a blunt object strikes the skull at a particular point, it can create a swift, elastic indention in the brain, causing it to concave for a moment, and then to resume its normal shape. When this happens, the brain becomes bruised and bleeding may occur.

2. Tearing – Tearing of the brain is different than tearing over other parts of the body, such as muscles. When the brain tears, cracks form around the point of impact, but the brain itself does not lose its shape. Brain tearing usually results in damage to the nervous system.

3. Swelling – Brain swelling is more dangerous than the swelling of other body parts because the enlarged brain has nowhere in which to expand, causing intra-cranial pressure. If untreated, this will lead to severe neurological damage, and perhaps even death.

When one individual suffers a brain injury at the hands of another, compensation is usually awarded in a personal injury settlement. The patient’s healthcare provider will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, during which the physicial will determine the level of brain injury, the possibilities for recovery, the extent of therapy and treatment necessary, the patient’s ability to return to gainful employment, and whether or not independent living will eventually be possible. The healthcare provider’s evaluation will be a key factor in determining the amount of financial compensation.

In personal injury settlements that involve brain injury, there are two types of compensation that may be awarded.Ã?Â?

The first is negligence, which means that the actions (or failure to act) of another person or entity was directly responsible for the accident that caused the brain injury. For example, if an individual was walking down a grocery store aisle and a light fixture fell on the individual’s head, the grocery store could be held liable for resulting brain injury due to negligence. Because they failed to secure their light fixture, an individual was injured.

The second type of compensation can come from something called “strict product liability”. In this instance, the manufacturer of a particular product is held responsible for the failure of that product to protect an individual. For instance, if you purchase a bicycle helmet that cracks when you fall off your bike, the manufacturer of the helmet could be held liable for resulting injuries. This is substantially more difficult to prove than negligence because it must be demonstrated that the product failed to reasonably protect the individual from harm.

When it comes to brain injuries, keep detailed records of your experiences (or the experiences of a loved one) with the injury, the recovery process, and the medical bills incurred. A personal injury settlement for a brain injury will require the expertise of an experienced attorney who can sort through paperwork and advise you on the best course of action.

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