What you need to know about serious cranial injuries
You get into a small car accident (those Florida roads are dangerous) and slam your head against the steering wheel. You think it’s just a hit to the head, but as the minutes pass, you realize that those stars in front of your eyes aren’t dissipating. The ringing in your ears isn’t fading. The pounding in the back of your skull is only getting louder. What does that mean?
Traumatic brain injuries are all too common. They can cause blindness, personality changes, paralysis or even death.
The problem is that head injuries are sneaky. They can take time to manifest – sometimes even weeks. Naturally, they are hidden beneath the skull, so it can be difficult to tell what is going on. Sometimes TBI patients even speak normally and seem totally fine, while the entire time they are slowly bleeding in their left temporal lobe.
Some of these injuries will require years of rehabilitation, and in those cases you will definitely need an attorney’s help.
How to spot a head injury
Traumatic brain injuries, by their very nature, are stealthy. They sneak up on you when you least suspect it. Some of their symptoms manifest like an approximation of the flu, while others just look like a surly teenager.
Review the events of recent days – were you in a car accident? Did you hit your head on something? Did you slip and hit the floor? Then your symptoms might start to make more sense. See if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Difficulty speaking
- Changes in personality
- Numbness in body parts
- Losing consciousness
If you can trace any of these symptoms back to a head-hitting event, speak to your Florida doctor right away. Brain injuries, when left untreated, can be life-threatening. Even if it doesn’t kill you, there is the possibility of being left with permanent issues.
What sorts of accidents cause a traumatic brain injury?
We could, of course, give the egg analogy – i.e., your brain is like an egg – but your brain is more fragile than that. It sits in a pool of intracranial fluid, and when it gets bumped, it can hit the front of the skull – a motion called a coup. Physical force will then push it to the back of the skull – a countercoup. This motion, often the result of high-impact sports like rugby or football, can cause the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Intense headaches
- Impaired cognition
- And more.
Car accidents are also known to cause this sort of injury because they can induce whiplash. However, any blow to the head could cause a concussion.
Who can be held liable for a traumatic brain injury?
Like any other case for personal injury, you as the claimant must establish negligence if you are going to pursue damages.
Presumably you will have medical bills along with your injury, so look to see if someone violated a duty of care that directly resulted in your damages. For example, say you were grocery shopping and slipped on a wet patch of floor that should have been noticed by an employee. If you can establish that the employee should have cleaned the floor (and thus violated a duty of care to you), that would be a classic case of negligence.
What type of compensation can I receive for a traumatic brain injury?
Brain injuries, by their very nature, can turn into lifelong conditions that require intensive medical care. This means that you need an experienced attorney who can get you a higher compensation amount to cover future medical bills that you will need.
In Florida, damages are divided into economic and non-economic categories (also known as special and general). Economic damages don’t have a cap and are associated with monetary losses or expenses. Some examples would be:
- Lost wages
- Current and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Funeral costs (in the case of wrongful death)
Non-economic damages would be non-tangible things that are harder to quantify, like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of companionship, and loss of quality of life. Florida has damage caps for punitive damages.
Read some of the resources below and speak with some Enjuris-listed Florida attorneys who are well versed in this area. They will be able to help you through this.
Helpful resources to help you hire the best Florida personal injury lawyer
- How to find a good Florida personal injury lawyer
- What does a Florida personal injury lawyer actually do for you?
- When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?
- Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
- How to talk to a lawyer
- Negotiating lawyers’ fees - how do accident lawyers charge? Are there any hidden costs?
Additionally, while your friends and family love you and support you with all of their heart, they will not be able to understand exactly what you are experiencing. Sometimes a support group can help in ways that they cannot. Here are some resources if you find that you are struggling:
- Brain Injury Association of Florida
- Traumatic Brain Injury – Florida
- Traumatic Brain Injury Resource and Support Center
- Brain and Spinal Cord Support Groups – Florida
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.