We Help Clients With Long-Term Recoveries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) will have lifelong consequences for the victim and his or her family. Victims can face exorbitant medical costs, long-term rehabilitation and decreased function that makes it difficult or impossible to work or lead a normal life.
At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. our lawyers represent individuals who have suffered brain injuries due to the negligence of others. To schedule a free initial consultation with us, call 866-693-3806 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Illinois.
Our Commitment To The Compensation You Need
Calculating the proper compensation for a brain injury involves thorough investigation, consultation with medical and vocational experts and experience with brain injury claims. Our firm is committed to fully analyzing your situation and fighting for the full compensation you need. We have an exceptional track record of jury compensation in a wide range of personal injury cases.
Head trauma and lack of oxygen are common causes of traumatic brain injuries. We represent victims of car and truck accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries and other accidents caused by negligence.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 233,000 people were hospitalized in the United States for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in 2019 alone. That same year, more than 69,000 people in the United States died from causes linked to traumatic brain injuries. When victims survive a TBI, they often suffer from life-altering consequences.
If you or a loved one suffered a TBI in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation to pay for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses you have suffered. Contact the brain injury lawyers at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to learn how we can help.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology that is caused by an external force. TBIs most often occur when an external force acts on the brain. The external force may be a direct trauma to the head, such as a head being struck by an object, or an object penetrating the brain. The external force may also occur in the absence of direct trauma to the head by an external object, such as a rapid acceleration/deceleration of the head which may result from a violent auto collision, shaken baby syndrome, a fall, or similar event. Traumatic brain injuries can also occur from outside forces acting on the body, such as a shockwave from a blast or explosion.
While radiological imaging sometimes shows evidence of a TBI, a person can have a TBI even if the radiological imaging is normal, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What Happens When a Brain Injury Occurs?
The pathophysiology of a traumatic brain injury can be divided into two separate categories: 1) Primary Brain Injury; and 2) Secondary Brain Injury.
Primary brain injury occurs at the time of trauma and causes damage that can include a combination of brain contusions, brain bleeding, shearing of white matter tracts (also known as a diffuse axonal injury) and edema. The edema (swelling) can be focused or global.
Generally speaking, diffuse axonal injuries (DAI) are seen most often at the gray-white junction of the brain, where the anatomy of the brain makes it most susceptible to injury. Sometimes these injuries can be visualized on imaging studies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although damage at the cellular level is beyond the ability of even the most modern imaging equipment to detect.
Other primary injuries, such as torn blood vessels, hematomas, and hemorrhages can be easier to visualize on imaging studies due to the presence of pooled blood within the brain.
White matter tract disruption can be seen in the left panel in Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), which can be correlated with a lesion in the gray-white junction of the brain in the MRI image as seen in the right panel.
Secondary Injury occurs in what has become known as the “metabolic cascade” that occurs in the hours and days following a traumatic brain injury. During this metabolic cascade, an initial release of neurotransmitter chemicals shifts the brain into a state of high energy demand and metabolic crisis. As the metabolic cascade continues, electrolyte imbalances can occur, which when coupled with reduced cerebral blood flow can result in cellular death (apoptosis) and secondary ischemic injuries.
Flowchart of the metabolic cascade occurring as the secondary injury in a TBI.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are classified into three groups: mild, moderate, and severe. The symptoms of TBI vary depending on the severity of the injury with more serious symptoms like seizures or coma accompanying more severe types of TBIs. They may be open injuries, such as when an object pierces the skull, or closed brain injuries, such as when a victim’s head hits a hard surface but the wound is closed.
The severity grades can be misleading though, because any brain injury is serious to those who suffer from it. Doctors might describe a brain injury as “mild” because it is not life threatening, but even mild traumatic brain injuries can have devastating lifelong consequences for survivors.
Some of the most common types of TBIs include:
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion – Concussions are a type of mild TBI. They are also the most common type of TBI. They often occur after a sudden blow to the head and affect brain function. The symptoms from these injuries are often temporary, but it is well documented that even mild TBIs can have extended or even permanent problems, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and balance problems.
- Hemorrhage – A brain hemorrhage occurs when arteries in the brain burst and cause brain bleeding, which can cause brain cell death.
- Hematoma – A hematoma is a bruise to the brain, which can result in brain bleeding and swelling.
- Anoxic brain injury – An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, which results in brain cell death.
- Diffuse axonal injury – A diffuse axonal injury occurs when the brain’s axons are torn while the brain shifts inside the skull. These injuries can sometimes lead to coma and permanent injuries.
- Cerebral edema – Cerebral edema is swelling of the brain and can arise from infections, brain tumors, strokes, or physical trauma.
- Neurotoxin exposure – Dangerous chemicals that enter the body, such as lead, can cause serious injuries to the brain and impair development.
- Skull fracture – The skull may fracture when there is a sudden impact to it.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries often occur after direct impact to the head, a violent blow, or a jolt to the head. TBIs can also occur when there is a penetrating injury to the skull, such as a bullet or stabbing wound. Sometimes, brain injuries can occur even if there is no direct impact, such as in the case of whiplash.
Some of the most common causes of TBIs include:
- Car accidents
- Mass transit accidents
- Birth injuries
- Slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injuries
- Violent attacks
- Sports injuries
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Lead poisoning
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The symptoms of traumatic brain injuries vary widely, depending on the type of TBI. Symptoms can be mild or catastrophic, but it is important for anyone who suspects they may have suffered a TBI to seek immediate medical attention – even if their symptoms do not seem to be severe.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Altered or even brief loss of consciousness
- Headache or migraine
- Speech problems
- Loss of coordination, feeling of dizziness, or difficulty balancing
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in the ability to smell
- Brain fog, confusion, or feeling of disorientation
- Problems remembering or concentrating
- Altered sleep patterns
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the symptoms of mild TBI. However, they are often a more severe version of the symptom. For example, vomiting or nausea may be repeated or headaches may be persistent or worsening.
Other symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI include:
- Loss of consciousness for up to several hours
- Seizures or convulsions
- Inability to wake up after sleep
- Vision loss
- Loss of coordination
- Clear fluids draining from the ears or nose
- Profound confusion
- Emotional or behavioral changes
- Paranoia, irritability, combativeness, agitation, or other unusual displays of anger
Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries
Medical providers can use a variety of diagnostic tools to help diagnose a traumatic brain injury, including:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
- Physical exam
- Neuropsychological assessment tests
- Cognition tests
How Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Affect Your Life
Traumatic brain injuries can affect every aspect of your life, including:
- Health issues – The brain controls nearly every function in the body, so TBIs can cause short- or long-term health issues throughout many body systems.
- Permanent cognitive impairment – Some TBIs cause permanent cognitive issues, including permanent memory loss, concentration problems, difficulty remembering, and difficulty expressing thoughts.
- Mobility issues – TBIs can cause balance and coordination issues. More severe TBIs can cause paralysis and other more profound mobility issues that can make it difficult to manage alone and may require round-the-clock care.
- Personality changes – TBIs can alter a person’s personality. Some TBI patients experience mood changes and swings, increased irritability, and getting along with others. Family members and friends may report that the person who has suffered a TBI is no longer the person they once knew.
- Work problems – TBIs can make it difficult for victims to return to work because of physical problems or problems getting along with others. If victims can return to work, they may find it difficult to be promoted or take on more demanding work assignments.
- Financial problems – Between medical costs, ongoing expenses for care, and lost earnings, TBIs can be very expensive and lead to financial hardships for victims and their families..
- Problems with interpersonal relationships – Victims’ relationships with their spouse or romantic partner, children, colleagues, and friends may be impacted. Victims may be unable to contribute to child-rearing or household responsibilities.
- Difficulty enjoying pastimes – Victims may be unable to enjoy their favorite pastimes and hobbies.
- Emotional and psychological challenges – It can be difficult to adjust to an altered life. Medical literature shows a significant overlap between TBI and PTSD, depression, anxiety, emotional distress, stress, and other mental health issues.
Treatment And Prognosis
It is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering head trauma. Severe head injuries may require surgery to remove ruptured blood vessels or relieve pressure. Even if surgery is not necessary, doctors may wish to monitor your status and make sure your brain is getting enough oxygen. It may be impossible to repair the damaged brain tissue, but immediate medical attention in some cases can help prevent the injury from worsening and can limit or help treat the symptoms of the brain injury in the future.
TBI victims may require specially tailored rehabilitation programs to regain or maintain function. Traumatic brain injuries often affect a person’s ability to function in every area of life, from working to maintaining relationships with loved ones. The complicated and varied nature of TBI makes it difficult to treat.
How Our Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers Can Help
Traumatic brain injuries can cause lifelong consequences for a survivor and his or her family. Survivors of traumatic brain injuries may find their lives altered in ways they never imagined, and in some cases a lifetime of medical care and support may be necessary. Many of the problems they now face are invisible to casual observers and can be difficult to prove without the right attorneys and supporting expert witnesses.
Insurance companies often dispute whether a person has suffered a TBI, and if so, what future treatment will be required. At Rapoport, Weisberg & Sims P.C. our legal team works on the cutting edge of medicine and science in representing individuals who have suffered brain injuries. We know what is necessary to prove that our client has suffered a TBI, to prove the past and future consequences of our client’s TBI, and to prove the amount of compensation that will be required for future medical care and support. Brain injury survivors have never been through this before, but we have helped guide the way in obtaining understanding and justice for countless survivors of traumatic brain injury. We treat our clients with compassion and care to help them through the legal process, and to help them build the strongest possible case to prove their injury.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Claim
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury lawyer, reach out to the compassionate legal team at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. We can help pursue the compensation you need for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses. We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights and options. Contact us today to get started with your claim.
FAQs About Brain Injuries
Here are some of the most common questions people have about brain injury claims and our answers:
Who Is Responsible for My Brain Injury?
Depending on the circumstances, there may be many different parties who are responsible for a brain injury. In accident cases, it often comes down to showing who was negligent for the accident. Some common examples of parties who are named in brain injury claims and the basis for holding them liable include:
- Another motorist who caused an accident because they were speeding, texting, drinking and driving, or not obeying traffic laws
- Property owners who did not maintain safe premises
- Manufacturers and designers of defective products
- Companies that failed to provide a safe environment for their employees
- Healthcare professionals who provided inadequate care that fell below the standard of care
An experienced brain injury lawyer can help identify the parties who are responsible for the accident and your losses. A lawyer can help hold negligent parties accountable for the harm you and your family have suffered.
How Do I Prove Negligence in a Brain Injury Claim?
To prove that someone else is to blame for your brain injury, you will need to establish the following legal elements by proof by a preponderance of the evidence:
- They owed you a duty of care
- They breached the duty of care
- Their breach caused you to suffer damages
- You suffered damages for which the court can award damages
However, not all brain injury claims are based on negligence. Other potential legal theories may include:
- Intentional misconduct
- Gross negligence
- Negligence per se
- Strict liability
A seasoned personal injury lawyer can analyze your circumstances and determine the best method to demand accountability.
What Is My Case Worth?
This is one of the most common questions we receive. However, there is usually not a simple answer. There is no “average” settlement value of a brain injury claim. The potential value of your claim depends on many factors, including:
- Your age and health
- The type and severity of your brain injury
- How the brain injury has affected your life
- The insurance coverage available
- The wrongdoer’s liability
- Whether you contributed to the accident
You may be entitled to compensation for the following losses:
- Past and present medical expenses
- Medical expenses that are reasonably anticipated in the future
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Lost or reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- The extent of the physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering you suffered
How Long Do I Have to File a Brain Injury Claim?
Each state provides its own statute of limitations for filing claims. In Illinois, one generally has two years to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. If this deadline passes and you fail to file a lawsuit, you can lose your right to seek financial compensation and justice through the court system. There are some exceptions to this deadline, so it’s important to discuss your case with a skilled brain injury lawyer who can review your particular case and advise you of the deadline to file a claim.
Contact Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. Today
A brain injury is traumatic. We treat our clients with compassion and care to help them through the legal process. To discuss your options with a lawyer, please call 866-693-3806 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We take case throughout Chicago and all of Illinois.