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Brain injuries: What every patient should know


Traumatic brain injuries are a type of head trauma that may cause people to experience a range of symptoms, some of which may have long-term effects.

Head injuries are common for people in Connecticut, and elsewhere. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries across the U.S. in 2010 alone. Although they occur somewhat frequently, many people do not understand these types of injuries or their potential effects.

What are traumatic brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the term used to describe a group of brain injuries. These conditions range in severity from mild to serious. According to the Mayo Clinic, TBIs are often caused when people sustain a violent jolt or blow to their heads or bodies. Penetrating injuries to the skull may also cause these types of injuries. While they are commonly associated with sports, people may also suffer TBIs as a result of work-related accidents, car or truck crashes, slip and fall incidents, or numerous other situations.

Common symptoms of TBIs

The types and severity of symptoms that people may have as a result of a TBI vary based on a number of factors. This includes the severity of the injury. As a result of this type of head trauma, people may experience physical, sensory, and cognitive or mental effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms that are most commonly suffered due to mild TBIs include the following:

• Headaches

• Blurred vision

• Nausea or vomiting

• Fatigue or drowsiness

• Mood changes

• Loss of consciousness for a short period

In more serious cases, people may experience persistent or worsening headaches, repeated nausea or vomiting, seizures or a loss of coordination. They may also suffer from significant confusion, agitation or combativeness, or slurred speech.

Long-term prognosis

Some symptoms resolve with time and rest. In other cases, however, people may have a prolonged recovery process. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke points out that the disabilities which may result from TBIs depend on the severity of the injury, its location, and the health and age of the person who was injured. When people suffer serious head trauma, they may experience ongoing cognitive or sensory issues. Sometimes, they may even go into a coma or vegetative state as a result of a TBI.

Even if the initial symptoms resolve themselves, people may be at an increased risk for other medical conditions. There is still much to be learned about the link, however, those who suffer TBIs may be more likely to develop conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia pugilistica. As a result of these conditions, people’s brain cells gradually degenerate and they gradually lose their brain functions.

Seeking legal guidance

Particularly when they have long-term complications, those in Connecticut who suffer TBIs often require medical treatment and care. As a result, they may incur undue medical expenses and lose income while they are recovering, or because they can no longer work. In cases when people suffer this type of head trauma as a result of another’s negligence or intentional actions, the person responsible for causing the injury may be held liable for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have experienced situations such as this may find it of benefit to discuss their case with an attorney. A lawyer may help them to understand their rights and their options for pursuing financial compensation.

Verdicts & Settlements

36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

47-year-old deli clerk sustained low back injuries at work for local supermarket. Carrier originally denied claim on the grounds that the injury was pre-existing. After formal workers’ compensation hearing carrier accepted claim and paid all total disability benefits and medical expenses in excess of $100,000. Case then settled for an additional $100,000 after injured person received a permanent disability rating.

34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.