Casts, bandages, and scars are visible reminders of accidents. Yet sometimes it’s the injuries that cannot be seen that have the biggest and longest-lasting impacts. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury (TBI) isn’t uncommon.
According to the Massachusetts Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, TBI was involved in the death of 796 residents as well as 4,917 hospitalizations and 66,952 emergency room visits. Massachusetts children 0-14 years have the highest rate in the country for TBI-related ER visits.
Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms may fade within a few weeks while other problems last a lifetime.
Three Types of TBI
Traumatic brain injury is commonly the result of falls, car collisions, assaults, sports injuries, and other blows to the head. A penetrating injury (such as a gunshot) also causes TBI.
TBI’s immediate aftermath and ongoing complications are driven by the severity of the injury. There are three classes in which TBI are categorized:
- Mild TBI/Concussion. The term “mild” does not mean these injuries aren’t serious. They are. A brain that bounces or twists in the skull can provoke chemical changes in the brain and damage brain cells. CT scans might not show signs of damage, but neurocognitive tests may still identify the effects of mild TBI. Someone who has repeated mild concussions can experience ongoing symptoms like memory issues, headaches, and difficulty with physical balance. Those with mild TBI generally should take two to three days off from work or school and monitor their symptoms. If symptoms don’t go away, the doctor may suggest other treatments.
- Moderate TBI. Once again, “moderate” is a misnomer. This is a serious injury that can change every aspect of someone’s life. There can be skull fractures, loss of consciousness, and brain bleeding. In moderate cases, these symptoms often don’t require surgery but vigilant monitoring.
- Severe TBI. These violent brain injuries cause an extended loss of consciousness and even coma. Surgery is often required. Bleeding in the brain can be life-threatening. Part of the skull may need to be removed to relieve pressure on the brain.
Mild TBI sufferers experience such symptoms as confusion, headache, neck pain, and sensitivity to light and sound. In moderate and severe cases, the injury can also cause seizures, vomiting, dilated pupils, and unresponsiveness. Severe TBI patients often have amnesia about the injury and what happened. Since a child’s brain is still developing, a TBI can negatively impact their usual development milestones. Sometimes, the effects of the injury don’t manifest until later in life.
Persistent TBI Symptoms
In mild cases, the symptoms often (but not always) subside within a few weeks. Those with moderate and severe TBI may experience a lifetime of physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
Ongoing symptoms of traumatic brain injury can include:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Problems Walking and Talking
- Blurred Vision
- Losing Sense of Taste or Smell
- Memory Loss
- Personality Changes
- Sleep Problems
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The continuing treatment of TBI symptoms is expensive. Physical, cognitive, and mental health therapies can be necessary for years to come. Prescription medications for seizures or depression may be required. The patient and the family are affected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of those with moderate to severe TBI are disabled and do not have a job. About one-third of the injured relies on another person to help with everyday activities. Almost one-third are not satisfied with life and misuse drugs and alcohol. The relentless harm from TBI should not be overlooked.
Compensation for TBI
Drunk-driving crashes, falls in improperly lit parking lots, and unprovoked physical attacks are only a few scenarios that can result in TBI. They are also potentially grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if the injury was caused by the negligence or willful act of another.
At Percy Law Group, PC, we have experience advocating for victims of TBI. We understand the short-term and ongoing symptoms and challenges of these injuries. The lifetime costs of treating severe TBI can be in the millions of dollars. We fight to get our clients the highest possible compensation.
Filing Deadlines for Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you've been injured in Massachusetts, it's helpful to know something about the state laws that apply to accidents and personal injury claims. These laws may apply whether you decide to file a lawsuit in court or just pursue a settlement with an insurance company.
Damages awarded in personal injury lawsuits include:
- Economic (hospital bills, therapy costs, medications, lost wages, and more)
- Non-Economic (pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and others
- Punitive (generally only available if the injury results in death)
Massachusetts follows comparative fault rules when determining damages. If the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault for the incident, they will not be able to recover any damages. If they are, for example, 20% at fault, any potential award will be reduced by 20%. Courts are required to adhere to comparative fault, but insurance settlement negotiations might also be impacted.
Deadline for Filing Lawsuits
The deadline, or "statute of limitations," for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts is three years. The time usually begins on the date of the accidents. If an injury is identified after an accident, the three years begin to count down on the date of discovery.
Taking Action to Protect Your Future
Our attorneys are strategic, tough, and compassionate. We know each case is unique and design each step we take according to its individual characteristics. Our clients and their goals drive everything we do.
If you believe you have a personal injury case, contact us online or by calling (508) 206-9900 for a free consultation.