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New Orleans Head and Brain Injury Lawyer

Brain and head injuries can be quite complex. The human brain is a very delicate and intricate organ. Head injuries and resulting brain damage can cause a range of functional changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, and emotions. Whether major or minor, direct trauma to the skull may result in traumatic brain injury. For example, a fall, a car or motorcycle accident, or any impact to the head can leave long-lasting impacts on one’s life.

 

Statistics
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among children and adults across the United States.
  • According to the CDC, approximately 2.87 million cases of traumatic brain injury occurred in the U.S. in 2014 with over 837,000 cases occurring amongst children.
  • An estimated 13.5 million individuals live with a disability due to traumatic brain injury in the U.S. alone.
  • There are approximately 288,000 hospitalizations for traumatic brain injury every year, more than 20 times the number of hospitalizations for spinal cord injury.
  • Among children ages 14 and younger, traumatic brain injury accounts for an estimated 2,529 deaths, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 837,000 emergency room visits.
  • Each year, 80,000-90,000 people experience the onset of long-term or lifelong disabilities associated with traumatic brain injury. The highest rates of traumatic brain injury are observed in older adults: 75 years and above; 2,232 per 100,000 population.
  • Very young children: 0 to 4 years; 1591 per 100,000. And young adults: 15 to 24 years; 1081 per 100,000.
  • Annually, the mortality rate for TBI is 30 per 100,000 or an estimated 50,000 deaths in the U.S.
  • It was estimated that medical costs and loss of wages due to TBI amounted to over $60 billion in the United States during 2000.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Incidence and Distribution, 2014. Introduction to Brain Injury – Facts and Stats, February 2000.)

 

Types of Head and Brain Injuries

Summarized below are different types of sequelae developed from TBIs:

Hematoma: A hematoma is a blood clot within the brain or on its surface. Hematomas may occur anywhere within the brain. An epidural hematoma is a collection of blood between the dura mater (the protective covering of the brain) and the inside of the skull. A subdural hematoma is a collection of blood between the dura mater and the arachnoid layer, which sits directly on the surface of the brain.

Contusion: A cerebral contusion is bruising of brain tissue. When examined under a microscope, cerebral contusions are comparable to bruises in other parts of the body. They consist of areas of injured or swollen brain mixed with blood that has leaked from arteries, veins, or capillaries. Most commonly, contusions are at the base of the front parts of the brain but may occur anywhere.

Intracerebral Hemorrhage: An intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) describes bleeding within the brain tissue that may be related to other brain injuries, especially contusions. The size and location of the hemorrhage helps determine whether it can be removed surgically.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is caused by bleeding into the subarachnoid space. It appears as diffuse blood spread thinly over the surface of the brain and commonly after TBI. Most cases of SAH associated with head trauma are mild. Hydrocephalus may result from severe traumatic SAH.

Diffuse Injuries: TBIs can produce microscopic changes that do not appear on CT scans and are scattered throughout the brain. This category of injuries, called diffuse brain injury, may occur with or without an associated mass lesion.

Diffuse Axonal Injury: Axonal injury refers to impaired function and gradual loss of axons. These long extensions of nerve cells enable them to communicate with each other. If enough axons are harmed in this way, the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each other and to integrate their function may be lost or greatly impaired, possibly leaving a patient with severe disabilities.

Ischemia: Another type of diffuse injury is ischemia or insufficient blood supply to certain parts of the brain. A decrease in blood supply to very low levels may occur commonly in a significant number of TBI patients. This is crucial since a brain that has just undergone a traumatic injury is especially sensitive to slight reductions in blood flow. Changes in blood pressure during the first few days after a head injury can also have an adverse effect.

Skull Fractures: Linear skull fractures or simple breaks or “cracks” in the skull may accompany traumatic brain injuries. Possible impacts strong enough to cause a skull fracture may damage the underlying brain. Skull fractures may be alarming if found on a patient evaluation. Fractures at the base of the skull are problematic since they can cause injury to nerves, arteries, or other structures. Depressed skull fractures, in which part of the bone presses on or into the brain, can also occur.

 

Common Questions Regarding Head and Brain Injuries

When should I see a doctor?

After your accident, you should make every effort to visit a hospital or medical professional (including chiropractors, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, or even your family doctor) as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious enough to warrant medical attention, you should try to confirm there are no hidden injuries. Examples include neck injuries, different levels of brain injuries (including traumatic), back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and / or internal damage. Most of these injuries will show no symptoms, and some of them will only show symptoms after a prolonged period.

What if I do not have health insurance?

After your accident, you should make every effort to visit a Even if you are not covered by a health insurance provider, you should go to see a medical professional after the injury occurs. If someone else can take legal liability for the injuries you sustained, they will ultimately be responsible for your expenses. This includes medical expenses, meaning you may be able to obtain high-quality medical care without paying upfront. Therefore overall, it’s a good idea to tend to your injuries after any sort of injury or accident.

Why seek legal advice?

Sometimes, an accident is just that, an unavoidable, unpredictable incident. Unfortunately, all too often, accidents are due to someone else’s negligence. Careless driving and the failure of employers to adequately provide for the safety of their employees are two examples of negligent behavior that can lead to a TBI.

If you or a loved one has been brain-injured due to someone’s neglect, a competent attorney can help you receive financial compensation to cover the numerous expenses involved. Numerous expenses occur while caring for a brain-injured person; some of which you may not even realize at first.

A qualified brain injury lawyer will help you get compensation for these expenses and others related to your injury. If you are considering seeking compensation, be sure to keep all receipts for expenses related to your injury, as well as all your medical records. The lawyer will need these to base the case on. Many people worry that they will have to spend hours in court if they file a personal injury or wrongful death suit, but the lawyer will take care of most of this. Your prime role when you file such a suit is to provide detailed, accurate information to your attorney. He or she will handle the rest of the case.

Financial compensation awarded in a court of law is aimed at covering these expenses: hospitalization, medical care throughout the person’s life, caregivers at home, rehabilitation, counseling and psychiatric care, lost wages, expenses not covered by existing health insurance, travel expenses for medical care, various support services for the injured person’s family, and funeral expenses. Even if you feel that you are not ready to file a suit, consult a qualified lawyer as soon as possible so that you will know your options.

What types of lawsuits are available for me?

You can file two types of lawsuits in a brain injury case: personal injury and wrongful death. A personal injury case generally requires that the person who has received the injury file the suit, but in some cases, your family may be able to file suit if you are not able to do so. The family of a brain injury victim who died from the injury can file a wrongful death suit. Compensation in a case such as this will generally cover lost wages, hospitalization, and funeral expenses. A financial award for pain and suffering experienced by the family may also be included.

 

Proving Liability

Even if we can prove negligence in a court of law, it’s still necessary to connect the injuries to the conduct in question. In addition to showing that the defendant failed to act with the proper care and that the plaintiff was injured in the accident, the plaintiff must also show that the defendant’s actions directly resulted in their TBI.

Generally, a brain injury attorney in Louisiana will need to help a victim show that the defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing the harm and that the plaintiff’s injuries were foreseeable in the circumstances. If the plaintiff also acted carelessly in the time leading up to the accident, such as if they were speeding on their motorcycle, they may still be able to recover a reduced award of compensation. However, they should seek legal counsel as soon as possible so that an injury attorney can craft a strong strategy for them.

Personal injury claims in Louisiana must be brought within one year from the accident, according to the state’s exceptionally short statute of limitations. This is another reason why it is imperative to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Failing to comply with this deadline generally prevents a victim from ever bringing a claim based on the accident unless an exception applies.

 

Important Louisiana Laws and Programs

Louisiana Youth Concussion Act. 2011, No. 314

In 2011, the Louisiana Legislature passed the Louisiana Youth Concussion Act. The act is a proactive movement to educate families and institutions on how to better serve and protect Louisiana’s youth. This act provides for new concussion education requirements for professionals, who regularly interact with youth athletes, to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion. The removal of youth athletes from competition upon sustaining a concussion protects young athletes from harm. Requirements that must be satisfied for a youth athlete to return to play after sustaining a concussion or head injury to ensure their health. And the dissemination of concussion information to inform the public of concussion risks. The Legislature of Louisiana further recognizes that it is in the best interest of the state to create a uniform education, training, and return-to-play protocol to be followed throughout the state.

Traumatic Head and Spinal Cord Injury (THSCI) Trust Fund Program

The THSCI program was created to provide services in a flexible, individualized manner to all Louisiana citizens who survive traumatic head or spinal cord injuries. The THSCI program assists people to return to a reasonable level of functioning and independent living in their communities. The trust fund is designed to be a program of last resort. A person must seek assistance from all available resources before the trust fund can provide financial assistance or services.

 

Who can qualify for this service?

Individuals who meet the definition for Traumatic Head Injury or Spinal Cord Injury and who:

  • Are residents of Louisiana, officially domiciled in the state at the time of injury and
    during the provision of services.
  • Have a reasonable expectation to achieve improvement in functional outcome with assistance (per the treating physician).
  • Have exhausted all other Medicare and Medicaid sources.
  • Provide proof of denial from other sources (if requested).
  • Are willing to accept services from an approved facility/program.
  • Complete and submit appropriate application for services.
  • Willing to participate in the development of an Individualized Service Plan that outlines the services that will be provided by the Trust Fund.

To discuss any aspect of your auto injury case in a free initial consultation call 504-483-3400 or e-mail us.

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Chip Forstall
320 North Carrollton Avenue
Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70119

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