The intricacies of how our brain works, even when healthy, is something scientists and doctors are still working to understand. As a result, brain injuries are frequently missed following a traumatic injury, largely because the injury isn’t as immediately visible compared to the blood or broken bones you may have also experienced. It is important if you’ve hit your head as a result of a crash, or been exposed to carbon monoxide for any period of time, that you communicate this to your medical providers when seeking help.
Some people may not even be aware that they are suffering a brain injury. Many of our clients who have experienced a brain injury complain of symptoms like: headaches, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, being tired, or more quick to anger. If you have symptoms like these, you may have a brain injury. Being aware of the different types of brain injuries and how they can happen is important for early intervention.
Let’s break down the types of incidents that can cause brain injuries, and how having a personal injury attorney will help you with your claim.
1. Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuels. Exposure can come from multiple sources in your home, or on any property, including water heaters, fireplaces, gas stoves, and generators. Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to hypoxic brain injuries which range from mild to severe injuries.
The most recent carbon monoxide case in our office occurred when our clients were exposed through the vents at their office after someone left a generator running in the office suite next door. It wasn’t until all of them started experiencing adverse symptoms such as headache, nausea, and vomiting, that they even realized they were exposed.
As a result, if you alone are the one exposed, it can oftentimes result in being misdiagnosed or overlooked. Severe carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious brain issues and damage including seizures, coma, and death. Regardless of the severity of the exposure, you can experience severe long-term neurological problems with language, memory, mood and behavior being affected.
If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important you seek immediate medical care and begin documenting what happened, how you got the injury, and how you are feeling on a regular basis.
2. Motor Vehicle Crashes
Motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of a wide range of injuries, brain injuries included. Concussions, brain bleeds, and seizures are all common brain injuries after a car wreck. The trouble you will see most often is that people want to “wait it out” before seeking medical attention to see if their symptoms resolve in a few days after their accident. Don’t wait! Even though brain injuries are harder to realize and diagnose, if you don’t feel like your normal self, seek treatment as soon as possible. Even when a client reports to the emergency department for brain injuries immediately after a crash, insurance companies will still attempt to argue against your brain injury diagnosis. Waiting to seek treatment only enhances their arguments against your injury.
The thing about brain injury cases, it is not uncommon for your friends and family to notice changes in your behavior, even before you recognize it yourself. Make sure to ask them to document any changes they’ve noticed in your behavior, and bring these with you to your doctor appointment. Regardless of the severity of the injury, your pain and suffering matters. It is best to have an attorney by your side when seeking compensation for a brain injury that occured from a motor vehicle wreck. An attorney will make sure the insurance companies will take your injuries and case seriously.
3. Oxygen Deprivation (Medical Malpractice)
As incredible as doctors are, they are not exempt from making errors when providing care for patients. Losing oxygen for too long can result in serious injuries and even in some instances death. Not every mistake a doctor makes falls into the category of “medical malpractice” which is when a doctor fails to meet the standard of care for other doctors in the same specialty, and their care is the legal cause of the injuries.
The key to establishing that medical malpractice took place is whether your doctor behaved in the same way that other doctors would have behaved under the same circumstances. If it is determined that their peers would not have handled the situation the same way, then it can be argued that their conduct was below the standard of care and likely contributed to your injuries. Utah has laws in place that cap the amount of damages an individual can receive as a result of medical malpractice, but it is still important to pursue a claim when the medical providers’ actions were the legal cause of your injuries.
If a doctor, or other medical professional, made a mistake that resulted in you or a family member losing oxygen leading to brain injuries, you may be able to receive compensation. Because of the complexity of medical malpractice claims, and a shortened statute of limitations compared to other injury cases, it is best to consult a Utah Personal Injury Attorney so that the details of your case can be reviewed and focused on in court.
4. Traumatic Brain Injury – Work Site Accident
There are multiple agencies, like OSHA, that try to make the workplace as safe as possible, but oftentimes there are accidents that take place at work that could have been avoided. Whether someone was rushing, taking shortcuts or equipment wasn’t properly locked out, human error is still a very real thing which can lead to on the job accidents happening. If an on the job accident results in a brain injury it is important that you immediately reach out to your supervisor and seek immediate medical attention.
Workplace injuries must be reported in order to take advantage of Utah’s Worker’s Compensation system. If your workplace injury was the result of a third party’s negligence, you may also have a personal injury claim in addition to a workers compensation claim. As with any kind of brain injury, documentation is key to the success of your claim, and having an attorney who knows the ins and outs of claims and navigating the legal process related to work site injuries is vital for your claim to go successfully.
5. Traumatic Brain Injury- Premises Liability Injuries
A common cause of TBI’s are caused by premises accidents. Simply put, an injury that occurs on another’s property, such as a business, home, or on the city street.
For example, if you visit your favorite store and you’re walking through the aisle and a box falls on your head, that would be a premises liability injury. If you find yourself the victim of a premises injury that results in a TBI it’s important that you (or a family/friend that is with you) begin documentation immediately. Talk to the property owner, take pictures, note what caused the incident, get names and contact information of any individuals or employees who witnessed it, and if there were any indicators that the area was unsafe, such as warning signs, caution tape, or cones.
Once you are done with documentation it’s important to seek medical attention right away. It’s not uncommon when speaking with the property owner, that they promise to pay your medical bills in hopes that you won’t contact an attorney. Although it is good to trust people, this is not a legally binding agreement or settlement, and many owners retract their offer when they see the actual number associated with your medical expenses. If you don’t hire an attorney, it means you could end up with nothing. Hiring a Utah Personal Injury Attorney like those at Johnson Livingston is your best option to ensure you receive the medical coverage you are entitled to and the compensation for suffering you deserve.
Regardless of how your brain injury was incurred, when seeking medical attention for a brain injury, it is not uncommon for imaging immediately after to look “relatively normal”- even though you feel anything but normal. That’s why proper documentation and treatment is critical to proving your claim. Seeking medical help immediately after an incident is not only essential for your case, but increases the likelihood of receiving the treatment you need for your injuries. The old school of thought after a brain injury was that you should get lots of “brain rest”, sleep, and avoid light. More recent studies have shown that this actually delays your brain’s recovery, so don’t be surprised if your medical providers encourage you to exercise, and return to your normal routine sooner than you expected.
Brain injuries can be difficult to navigate but following the suggestions above should help your claim move forward more smoothly. Having the right attorney to help you after an injury is the best course of action you can take to ensure your case is taken seriously, and you are compensated and cared for properly.
If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury as the result of an incident or negligence on another’s part, contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Johnson Livingston today for a free consultation to see how we can help. You don’t have to navigate the claims process alone.