Many people suffer some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) when they are involved in falls, car crashes and other types of accidents. The injury can affect the way a person thinks, moves about and controls his or her emotions. Many people with TBI need extensive medical treatment. Often, they can no longer work or live their lives as they did before the accident.
The experienced personal injury attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. realize the impact that TBI has on the lives of victims and their families. If someone else’s negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer a serious brain injury, we want to help you hold the party (or parties) who caused the injury accountable and pursue the compensation that you deserve.
Since we founded our law firm in 1982, we have secured more than $1.5 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois, including numerous clients who suffered TBI due to the wrongdoing of others. We can put our experience to work for you today. To discuss your case, call or reach us online for a free consultation.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, there are two types of brain injury: Acquired brain injury (ABI), which is caused by internal factors such as a lack of oxygen, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is caused by external factors. Typically, TBI occurs when a person:
- Strikes an object or gets struck by an object
- Suffers a sudden, violent jolt or shaking
- Gets struck by an object that penetrates the skull.
Trauma to the brain damages the brain’s structure and prevents it from functioning in a normal way. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that TBI can affect the way a person:
- Thinks (memory and reasoning)
- Experiences sensations (such as touch, taste, and smell)
- Communicates with others (speaking and understanding)
- Controls his or her emotions (as well as social interactions).
While some people can recover from TBI and return to normal lives, many others never regain normal functioning in the brain. They may require ongoing care and treatment as well as assistance with basic living tasks. They may suffer from traumatic brain injury symptoms years later.
Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or a loved recently suffered a head injury in an accident, doctors may have told you that the injury is one of these common types of brain damage:
A bruise on the brain typically occurs when a person’s head suffers a direct impact. The swelling, or brain herniation, associated with a contusion is dangerous. The injury may require surgical intervention in order to release pressure and keep oxygen flow to the brain at a safe level.
This mild form of TBI may cause a person to suffer a few seconds or minutes of unconsciousness or to be dazed, confused and disoriented while maintaining consciousness. It can lead to painful headaches, balance problems, and dizziness as well as personality changes, depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. A single concussion makes the victim vulnerable to additional concussions. Repeated concussions may lead to dementia or a degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
This type of TBI involves widespread brain damage. It typically results from a severe jolt, shaking, or sudden and powerful rotation of the head. As the head moves, the brain lags behind in motion and essentially slams against the interior skull and suffers damage in multiple places. Diffuse axonal injury occurs in about half of all severe head traumas and is one of the most common types of brain injuries from car accidents.
This type of TBI occurs when both sides of the brain sustain damage. The injury often arises when the force of impact is so great at one side of the brain that the brain is forced against the opposing side of the skull. A contusion against the opposite side of the brain is the result. It can impair memory, coordination, swallowing, balance, muscular abilities, and sensation.
When some form of impact breaks the skull, pieces of bone and/or a foreign object may enter the skull cavity and severely damage brain tissue. The shearing and rupture of nerves and tissue in the brain can lead to permanent impairment or loss of life. These injuries are considered a severe form of TBI and typically require brain surgery to remove foreign objects and repair the skull. The damage may be permanent and cause significant disability.
Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury
If you are involved in any type of accident or otherwise suffer a blow to the head, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. It is especially important if you show any brain damage symptoms. Those signs and symptoms will depend on the extent of damage to the brain. They include:
A person with mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include:
- Blurred vision or tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- A change in sleep patterns
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Trouble with memory, concentration, attention and/or thinking.
A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show the above symptoms as well as:
- A headache that gets worse or does not go away
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- An inability to awaken from sleep
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Slurred speech
- Weakness or numbness in the extremities
- Loss of coordination and increased confusion
- Restlessness or agitation.
If your child is involved in an accident, you should look for the above symptoms as well as any changes in mood or behavior such as uncontrollable crying or loss of interest in toys or activities. You should also look for any changes in the child’s eating and sleeping habits.
Treatment and Costs of Traumatic Brain Injury
A person who has suffered TBI may require medical care that includes:
- Emergency medical treatment
- X-rays, MRIs or CT scans
- Intensive care
- Lengthy convalescence
- Use of assistive devices
- Ongoing care and counseling.
Typically, an interdisciplinary team of professionals will provide brain damage treatment for a patient with severe TBI, including a primary care physician, neurologist, surgeon, physical therapist, and psychologist. The patient may receive treatment at a trauma hospital and be moved later to a specialized clinic as part of the traumatic brain injury recovery process.
Rehabilitation may begin while the patient is hospitalized and continue on an outpatient basis for several months. Rehab may focus on regaining or strengthening a patient’s physical strength, speech, mobility, and memory or cognitive abilities. It may also include psychological counseling that teaches coping skills to a TBI victim.
The costs of this treatment can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars within only a few months’ time after the injury. The costs may be several million dollars over the course of a victim’s lifetime – again, depending on the level of TBI as well as the victim’s age.
Additionally, many victims are left with a permanent disability that progressively worsens toward a premature death. They may be unable to go to school or work for a living. Their families are, in turn, faced with the burden of caring for them or placing them in an assisted-living facility, with the latter option eventually proving to be unavoidable in many cases.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
As we have seen through the years at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., many brain injuries result from preventable accidents. They are the products of others’ careless, reckless and even intentional actions. Some of the leading causes of TBI include:
Brain Injury by Motor Vehicle Accidents
A person may suffer TBI when slamming into an object upon impact in a crash or from getting thrown from the car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle and hitting the ground. Brain injury is a highly common injury when a motor vehicle driver strikes a pedestrian.
Slip and Falls
Falls can occur when negligent property owners allow dangerous conditions to exist on their property, including spilled liquids, ice and snow, torn or frayed carpeting, broken stairs, uneven flooring, broken rails, or poor lighting. Fall injuries are a particular concern in Illinois nursing homes.
Falls from Heights
Falls from heights such as roofs, ladders, and scaffolding often lead to brain injuries. Getting struck by tools and equipment and getting into collisions with forklifts, trucks, or other motor vehicles at construction or industrial sites can also cause TBI.
Many children suffer permanent brain damage due to the negligence of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals during delivery and birth. Traumatic injury to a fetus’ or newborn infant’s brain, often caused by improper force or pressure on the child’s head, can cause cerebral palsy, which is a permanent disability.
Sports and Recreation
Many children suffer TBI while playing sports or engaging in recreational activities. Young athletes may suffer permanent brain damage due to the failure of coaches and/or trainers to provide proper protective equipment to them or to properly manage concussions after they occur.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Traumatic Brain Injury Claim?
When you contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. about your case, you will speak directly with an experienced and compassionate Illinois brain injury lawyer who will listen closely, answer your questions and explain your rights and options as you move forward. If we agree to work together, our legal team will launch an immediate investigation of your case to determine why your brain injury occurred and who should be held responsible for it. We may also consult with knowledgeable accident reconstruction experts and other professionals as part of our investigation.
We will also consult with medical professionals to assess the impact of the brain injury on your life. For instance, we often work with experts who prepare life care plans. These plans provide a detailed description of a patient’s medical and personal care requirements (and costs) for the future. A plan may cover anticipated medical treatment, medication, assistive devices, home modification, and more. A life care plan may also address the costs of needed in-home personal assistance or nursing care, professional case management assistance, and an eventual move to a nursing home or other assisted living facility.
Our Brain Injury Lawyers Will Fight for Your Compensation
Our goal will be to pursue through a settlement, or a trial if necessary, full and fair compensation for you, which may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity
- Caretaking costs
- Disability or loss of normal life
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Increased risk of future harm
- Shortened life expectancy.
We represent clients on a contingency fee basis. So, you will pay no costs or fees unless we secure compensation for you.
Contact Our Chicago Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to the wrongful conduct of another, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation, including all current and anticipated medical costs and compensation for your pain and suffering.
An experienced and compassionate Chicago brain injury lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can help with your traumatic brain injury lawsuit. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan.