Fort Myers Brain Injury Lawyer
The brain is the most important organ in the human body. The delicate mass of tissues, nerves, and fibers sends and receives signals from all parts of our body. It allows us to think, speak, walk, talk and breathe. It is what makes us who we are.
The human brain weighs about 3.3 pounds and contains 86 billion nerve cells called neurons. These neurons contribute to a human’s superior intellectual ability and set us apart from other species. Despite serving as the command center for our bodies, our brains are surprisingly vulnerable. As such, a brain injury can have serious consequences.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) estimates that about 1.7 million brain injuries occur each year. Depending on the severity, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have devastating effects on a family, physically, emotionally, and financially. A brain injury can interfere with your everyday activities and can be difficult to process.
5.3 million Americans are currently living with a disability caused by a TBI. Many of these injuries are preventable and are the result of an accident caused by another person’s negligence. When you sustain an injury because of someone else’s actions, an experienced Florida personal injury attorney can help you determine your legal rights.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident, you may be experiencing ongoing doctor visits and mounting medical bills. After a brain injury, the only thing you should have to worry about is your recovery. At Viles & Beckman, our team of experienced lawyers has extensive experience working with local lawyers, hospitals, and insurance agents. Our staff will work with your care providers to ensure that you get the treatment you need. We understand that knowing you have someone in your corner can have a dramatic effect on your prognosis.
Sadly, personal injury cases can be time-consuming and drawn out. The attorneys at Viles and Beckman will take care of the paperwork, deal with the insurance adjusters, and work with your care providers. If your case needs to go to trial, our experienced trial attorneys will be ready to litigate your case. When you retain us, we will promptly begin working to secure a fair and just settlement, so you can begin to move on with your life.
What Is a Brain Injury?
A brain injury occurs when the head experiences a sudden and violent impact from another object. Though the human skull is designed to protect the brain, a powerful jolt can damage the vulnerable brain tissue. A traumatic brain injury may also be the result of a foreign object, such as a bullet or rod, penetrating the brain.
Brain injuries range from mild to moderate and severe, with most injuries being categorized as minor and presenting as concussions. Still, the cost for treating a mild to moderate brain injury can add up quickly. Traumatic brain injuries attribute to approximately 235,000 hospital visits each year, with an annual cost between $48 and $52 billion.
Statistically, young children and older adults are more at risk, particularly children under the age of 4 and adults over the age of 60. Of all traumatic brain injuries, males account for nearly 80 percent of those injured.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Brain Injuries?
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of brain injuries, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of all brain injuries. The violent force of a collision can cause the passenger’s head to forcibly hit other objects in the car, including the seat, windows, and steering wheel. The sudden impact may or may not cause the victim to lose consciousness. Other common causes of brain injuries include:
- Falls. The majority of fall injuries affect young children and older adults. Falls from beds, ladders, or stairs are common in these demographics. In Florida, wet surfaces around swimming pools, docks, and boats pose an additional risk.
- Sports injury. Children are particularly vulnerable to sports injuries. Baseball, football, boxing, hockey, and skateboarding are all high-risk sports. If your child has suffered a blow to the head during a sports event, you should take him or her to see a medical professional immediately.
- Violence. Gun violence, domestic violence, and violence against children can lead to head injuries, sometimes severe enough to cause a brain injury.
Many brain injuries are preventable. If you are riding in a motor vehicle, always wear your seatbelt. A 2015 study found a direct correlation between wearing seatbelts and the rate and severity of brain injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Caution should always be used around bodies of water and anywhere that might be wet. Use care when climbing ladders, and take precautions to make sure that young children cannot climb onto objects from which they might fall.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
A brain injury is not something to take lightly. If you think that there is any possibility that you may have suffered a TBI, you need to seek immediate medical attention. While some injuries are immediately apparent, other times, the symptoms of an injury can be mistaken for another problem. Common symptoms of brain injuries include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slowed pulse or difficulty breathing
- Confusion or disorientation
- Memory or concentration problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleep changes, including fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping, or excessive sleeping
- Sensory changes, i.e. blurred vision, ringing ears, or a bad taste in your mouth
- Mood changes
Signs of a more severe brain injury include:
- Dilated pupil(s)
- Drainage from nose or ears
- Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
- Slurred speech
Not all symptoms will present right away. In some cases, a person may not have any noticeable symptoms until weeks after an injury. It is important to seek medical as soon as you start developing any symptoms.
Approximately half of all traumatic brain injuries require surgery. Most surgeries involve the removal of a hematoma (a ruptured brain vessel) or bruised brain tissue. After a patient undergoes brain surgery, they will typically be moved to the ICU, where the doctors will watch for signs of a secondary brain injury.
The prognosis for someone who has suffered a brain injury depends on the severity of the injury. Those suffering from a mild TBI will likely not need surgery and tend to have relatively few long-term effects. If there are any lingering effects, these may include headaches, dizziness, or irritability. These could go away or remain for the rest of the patient’s life.
The long-term effects are less predictable for patients who suffer moderate brain injuries. According to the AANS, approximately 25 percent of patients with a moderate brain injury will be left with some degree of permanent disability, and 7 to 10 percent of cases result in death or a permanent vegetative state. About one-third of patients who suffer a serious brain injury do not survive.
Depending on the area of the brain that was affected and the severity of the injury, permanent disabilities vary from person to person. Possible long-term effects and disabilities include:
- Cognitive difficulties, including memory loss, learning problems, mood changes, and difficulty with reasoning, judgment, or concentration.
- Sensory loss, including loss of vision, hearing, or smell.
- Anger issues
- Tingling skin
- Inappropriate behavior
How Can I Prove a Brain Injury?
It’s not always easy to prove a traumatic brain injury. Insurance companies often attempt to diminish an injured individual’s claim and may try to claim that he or she is exaggerating the severity of the injuries. While serious injuries may require surgery and appear on medical scans, other injuries may be diagnosed on symptoms alone. In this case, it will be harder, but not impossible, for your legal team to prove a traumatic brain injury.
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with a TBI, keep seeking regular medical care. Your doctor will be able to monitor any changes and make notes of symptoms that are consistent with a brain injury.
Sometimes, a brain injury may present as mood changes or changes in behavior. If this is the case, we may call in witnesses that can testify to changes in your personality. If your injury has made it difficult for you to perform at work, your supervisors or coworkers may be able to attest to these changes.
Many times, expert witnesses are brought in to testify in personal injury cases. At Viles and Beckman, we have built connections with some of the most prominent experts in the medical field. We take your claim seriously and will use all of our available resources to help you prove your case.
You Deserve Fair Compensation
Whether you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or fell at the grocery store, if your injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, you should seek compensation. A brain injury can have far-reaching effects on your life, and as such, the amount you receive should be commensurate with the extent of your injuries. The following factors may be considered when determining an appropriate settlement:
- Medical expenses. A brain injury can easily reach over six figures in treatment costs. These costs can include doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, injections, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages. You should seek compensation for both past and future lost wages directly related to your injury. This includes any time missed for surgeries, hospital stays, or rehabilitation. If you are unable to return to work in your previous capacity, lost future wages can help offset the loss of income.
- Vocational retraining. In some cases, if you are unable to return to your line of work, vocational retraining can help you transition to a new career.
- Household modifications. A brain injury can cause permanent disability. Necessary modifications may include wheelchair ramps, railing, or other assistive devices.
- Pain and suffering. Dealing with the aftermath of an injury is never easy. Even when the wounds have healed and the scars have faded, the emotional effects may persist. Long-term symptoms, including pain, headaches, or dizziness, would also fall under pain and suffering.
- Other non-economic damages. Not all damages fall under a specific category. Every person’s case is different. If you are unable to do things you were able to do before or enjoy life the way you did before your accident, you deserve compensation.
Seek Help as Soon as Possible
Florida law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. If you have been injured in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. In addition to putting your health at risk, failing to seek immediate treatment may weaken any potential personal injury claim. We have seen insurance adjuster claim over and over again that injured drivers’ delayed treatment is proof that their injuries are not as bad as they claim to be.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for both auto claims and slip and fall claims is four years. However, if you have been seriously injured, a qualified attorney can help you facilitate treatment and immediately begin working on a demand for restitution, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
Contact a Fort Myers Brain Injury Attorney
The aftermath of an accident or injury can be confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating. We get it. Let us take the burden away from you. At Viles & Beckman, we have over 40 years of experience fighting for the rights of our clients. We know that you have choices when it comes to choosing a personal injury lawyer, and we will fight aggressively to get you compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Brain injuries can be unpredictable, with some injuries presenting weeks after the initial injury. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, don’t hesitate to get help. Financial concerns should never be a reason to put off getting medical treatment. At Viles & Beckman, we take cases on contingency, meaning we don’t get paid until you do. Contact us online or call our offices at 239-334-3933 for a free consultation.