August 5, 2011
By: David K. Jaffe
Every year thousands of people suffer traumatic brain injuries as a result of a defective product or somebody's negligence.
For example, there are serious automobile collisions, work place accidents and mishaps in the use of machinery and heavy equipment. Also, assaults after encounters with persons such as police officers, bouncers or security guards frequently occur. Furthermore, serious falls down stairs, from ladders, down embankments, etc. and blunt force trauma from sporting activities, such as skiing, diving, skate boarding, football, baseball, LaCross and hockey, as well as bicycle, boating and motorcycle accidents often happen. Unfortunately, any of these incidents may result in life altering, physically and emotionally debilitating, head and brain injuries.
A traumatic brain injury is one which is caused by trauma to the head.
Whenever someone suffers a concussion, this is a form of a brain injury, wherein the brain comes in contact with and is bruised by the cranium.
The harder the trauma, generally the more severe the injury to the brain is.
When the trauma is hard enough, cerebral hemorrhaging can occur and is discernible on CT scans by the white lesions that are formed within the brain itself.
If enough pressure builds up, surgical procedures exist to relieve such pressure before the hemorrhaging and related pressure on the brain cause serious organic brain damage or death to the person who suffered the brain injury.
The brain injury which occurs is, of course, invisible. Since the pervasive and life altering effects of such an injury are often not readily apparent, they must be demonstrated through testing and taking an inventory of the pre-morbid and post-morbid functioning of the particular individual. As such, testing and analysis must after be done to determine the full nature and extent of such an injury.
Brain injuries range from mild, such as a small concussion, generally with no lingering or permanent aftereffects, moderate, which can cause cognitive deficits and moderate behavioral alterations, which may resolve over time and "severe", which essentially means permanent and life altering effects.
Some of the most common effects of a brain injury are post-concussive effects, which are the direct result of the brain hitting the cranial cavity. Thought patterns can be disrupted, vision can be impaired, short-term and long-term memory can be affected and chronic headaches and sleep deprivation can typically result as well.
In regard to another common affect of a brain injury, namely, post-traumatic stress disorder, additional symptoms are also known to occur, which have chronic and more impactful effects on the brain injured person.
Generally, when one suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a traumatic event, which generally includes a blow to the head, additional effects can be agitation, social withdrawal, regular flashbacks to the event, anxiety attacks and sleep interruption, also with nightmares, in addition to the myriad symptoms previously described above as they relate to post-traumatic stress syndrome.
If a person believes that he or she has some sort of brain injury as a result of the negligent conduct of somebody else or a defective product, they should contact a lawyer who specializes in personal injury and product liability cases and who has expertise and experience in the area of traumatic brain injuries. This is because these are complex and often difficult cases which requires such specialized knowledge and expertise.
For example, an experienced lawyer in the area of traumatic brain injury has available to him or her, various experts such as:
- a neuropsychologist, who can measure more subtle changes to the victim, such as the cognitive deficits which have resulted from the brain injury;
- a neurologist or neurosurgeon, where necessary, to read CT scans and do testing to measure neurological damage from the traumatic brain injury;
- a physiatrist who specializes in counseling brain injured persons;
- a rehabilitation specialist, such as a psychiatrist, where necessary;
- a life-care planner who has expertise in measuring how the loss of ability to carry on life's activities and the loss of earning capacity factors into the monetary assessment of loss for the severely brain injured individual.
Brain injuries run from temporarily to permanently debilitating, perhaps even devastating, depending upon the severity of the injury.
Throughout my practice, I have developed a particular expertise in the area of traumatic brain injuries as they pertain to many different types of cases.
For example, I have represented persons who were brain injured as a result of automobile collisions; assaults on them in various settings; work place mishaps and use of unreasonable force by police officers.
Presently, I am on the board of the BIAC (Brain Injury Association of Connecticut], which is
dedicated to partnering with Connecticut's brain injured individuals and acts as a resource
and mechanism of support, assistance and advocacy for individuals who have suffered brain injuries and their families throughout Connecticut.
As such, I am dedicated to helping brain injured individuals who have been injured by a defective product or due to someone's negligence, seek a full and just recovery for the harm caused to them as a result of having suffered such a debilitating brain injury.