Newark Brain Injury Lawyer
As humans, there arguably is no organ more important than the brain. The brain allows you to think, to make decisions, and to perform everyday functions like walking, talking, and moving. Because your brain controls so much of your function, even a minor injury can cause serious damage. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, approximately 235,000 people are hospitalized each year because of traumatic brain injuries. That’s not accounting for the thousands more that suffer from non-traumatic brain injuries every year.
If you or a loved one is dealing with the aftermath of a brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact the Newark personal injury lawyers at Jacoby and Meyers, LLP, at (973) 643-2707 for a free case evaluation.
Understanding the Different Types of Brain Injuries
Doctors categorize brain injuries in two basic ways—traumatic brain injuries and non-traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries result from an external trauma such as a blow to the head or penetrating wound. Non-traumatic brain injury covers injuries external forces do not cause, such as injuries that occur because of oxygen deprivation or illness. It is important to understand that the lawyers at Jacoby and Meyers are not medical professionals, and the following symptoms are not all-inclusive. If you suspect a brain injury, contact a healthcare provider right away. Common injuries include:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury, shortened to TBI, covers a wide range of brain injuries. TBIs are rated on a Glasgow Coma Scale, indicating the level of trauma and the body’s response to the injury. Higher scores indicate a better prognosis. A mild traumatic brain injury usually scores very high on the Glasgow Scale. The person may or may not lose consciousness. Even a “mild” TBI can result in long-term side effects and trouble returning to pre-injury cognition.
Symptoms may include:
- Temporary loss of consciousness (usually lasting less than a few minutes)
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Severe traumatic brain injuries are generally the result of an extensive trauma such as a penetrating wound or a serious accident. These injuries almost always lead to some sort of permanent deficit. Long term rehabilitation is usually required, and will likely not return the patient to pre-injury levels. Symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Sensory issues
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Loss of movement
Anoxic Brain Injuries
An anoxic brain injury is a non-traumatic brain injury caused by a total lack of oxygen to the brain. When the brain does not get enough oxygen, the cells within the brain begin to die. It only takes four minutes without oxygen before the person is at risk for permanent brain damage. These injuries can occur as a result of a near-drowning experience or choking. If you suspect an anoxic brain injury, be on the lookout for:
- Mood changes
- Memory loss
- Problems with coordination or walking
Hypoxic Brain Injuries
Like anoxic brain injuries, hypoxic brain injuries result from a lack of oxygen. However, these injuries happen more gradually. The cell death is slower, and the symptoms may be delayed. This may be the result of suffocation or chemical exposure. Symptoms may include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of consciousness
How Do Brain Injuries Occur?
Accidents are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Often, at the time of an accident, it’s difficult to comprehend how someone else’s actions had a direct impact on your injury. Some of the most common causes of brain injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: In one recent year, 278,413 motor vehicle accidents took place in New Jersey. Over 21 percent of these accidents resulted in injury. In 2014, motor vehicle accidents contributed to 20.4 percent of all TBI hospitalizations in the United States.
- Falls: Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Older adults and young children are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury. Falls can happen anywhere but often occur on wet surfaces or uneven walkways.
- Swimming pool accidents: Private homeowners and apartment complex owners have a responsibility to make sure the area around their pool is secure and safe. These accidents can happen when a pool owner does not properly lock a gate, does not install legally required alarms or hold the proper permits. It takes minutes for a child to disappear in a pool and suffer permanent brain damage.
- Medical complications: Brain injuries can happen as the result of a doctor or other caregiver’s actions or negligence. These injuries may occur because of mechanical injury to the brain or a loss of oxygen because of a non-related issue. These injuries can be difficult to prove but lead to irreparable damage. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you file a medical malpractice suit against the involved medical professionals.
- Violence: We don’t often associate violence with brain injuries, but acts of violence including gunshots and intimate partner violence are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries.
- Sporting events: We are learning more and more about the negative effects sports injuries can have on the brain. Repeated blows to the head can cause long term damage. Coaches, athletic directors, and school officials are responsible for ensuring children follow all proper safety protocol.
- Toxic chemical/mold exposure: Landlords and employers have a duty to provide a safe place to work or live. Toxic chemicals and mold can deprive the brain of oxygen and cause severe and permanent damage. Often, symptoms don’t appear until months or years of exposure. If the property owner knew about the issue or failed to do anything to prevent exposure or development of the issue, they may be responsible for damages.
Living With a Brain Injury
No two brain injuries are alike. People suffering from the same injuries may suffer different effects. It’s important to understand that symptoms of a brain injury don’t always appear right away. If you think you or a loved one may have a brain injury, go to the doctor right away.
After a brain injury, your doctor will try to determine the extent of your injury. This will typically involve medical imaging as well as visual testing. The doctor will examine your responsiveness, vision, and your ability to move and speak. Medical testing may include:
- CT Scans
- Intracranial Pressure Measuring
Recovery can be extensive and require lifelong care. Because the brain controls so much of what we do, rehabilitation often includes physical and psychological therapy. Treatment options may include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Chiropractic care
Recovering From the Financial Costs of a Brain Injury
The Brain Injury Alliance of Utah estimates that approximately 80,000 Americans experience long term disabilities following a traumatic brain injury every year. Patients with severe brain injuries face an estimated lifetime cost of over $4 million. When an accident happens because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your loss. A personal injury attorney can help you recover costs associated with your medical treatment and other economic and non-economic costs. This may include:
Severe brain injuries require extensive medical treatment. In many cases, the patient will need lifelong rehabilitative treatment or nursing care. Treatment immediately following an accident may include surgery, hospital stays, and medication such as pain relievers and antibiotics. Brain injuries often result in medical complications or ongoing symptoms including headaches, mood changes, and vertigo. In this case, the patient will need additional treatment. A personal injury case can help you recover most, if not all of the costs associated with your medical care. This includes medical transportation, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, medical equipment, therapy, and rehabilitation.
A brain injury can completely change your life and your ability to complete tasks. A job that once came easy may be difficult to complete. Brain injuries can affect your ability to concentrate, process, and communicate. The associated symptoms like headaches can also interfere with your work. If you miss time from work because of your injury, it can be difficult to keep up financially. A personal injury attorney can help you fight to recover any lost wages related to your injury. If you are unable to return to work, you may be able to claim future lost wages or lost earning capacity. This is usually calculated by looking at your average wage before the accident and your age.
Serious brain injuries can interfere with your ability to walk or move around with the same ease that you did before your injury. In this case, it may make sense to make accessibility modifications to your residence. If your injury means that you require a wheelchair, this would likely include a wheelchair ramp and the widening of doorways.
Other home modifications may include:
- Accessible showers and tubs
- Transfer benches
- Modified/lowered countertops
We do so many tasks and chores every day that we take for granted—simple things like cooking, cleaning, or gardening. If you suffer a brain injury, you may not have the ability to do these tasks. This change is through no fault of your own. The law allows you to recover the costs associated with hiring someone to help you with these chores. This is achieved by proving the necessity of these tasks, your previous participation in these tasks, and your inability to do them now.
Expenses for common services that you may need to include in your personal injury case include:
- House cleaning services
- Gardening/lawn mowing service
- Meal preparation services
- Transportation services
- Personal assistant/caregiver
Pain and Suffering
It’s hard to put a value on the non-economic costs of an injury. This includes the pain and suffering you endure as the result of an accident. There is no simple way to calculate the physical and emotional toll an injury has on a person’s life. Generally, insurance companies or a potential jury will look at the severity of your injury and what kind of effect it has on your day-to-day life.
Are you in constant pain? Has your injury affected your ability to work, walk, or participate in recreational activities? What type of effect has your injury had on your personal relationships? Various components constitute pain and suffering and the amount of recovery will vary from case to case.
Common costs include:
- Immediate or chronic pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death
Jacoby and Meyers, LLP: Your Newark Brain Injury Attorneys
At Jacoby and Meyers, LLP, we know how difficult it can be to process an injury after an accident. This is especially true after a brain injury. We rely so much on our ability to do simple tasks without much thought or effort. When an accident changes this it can be hard to process. Our legal team treats each case with the care and compassion it deserves.
It’s hard to place a value on the loss you are going through. We understand this, and will fight aggressively for your rights and a just resolution to your case. While money can’t take away your injuries and pain, it can make the recovery process easier. After an accident, you should not have to worry about the cost of your medical treatment and whether you can afford to get the care you need.
In New Jersey, the law allows accident victims two years to file a personal injury suit. The timeframe starts on the day of your injury. If you were injured, don’t wait. The lawyers at Jacoby and Meyers, LLP, are here to help.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, contact the law office of Jacoby and Meyers, LLP, right away. Our Newark office is located at 50 Park Place, Suite 1101 Newark, NJ 07102. Call us at (973) 643-2707 or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation today.