Injuries that affect your brain are particularly concerning since damage to your brain tissue can impair the way your brain functions. Your brain is the control center of your body and in charge of all physical and cognitive functioning, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause long-term changes in how you live.

TBIs can happen in an instant but have lasting effects on nearly every aspect of your life. These injuries can be costly in many ways – financially, physically, and emotionally. If another party was responsible for causing your injury, they should also be responsible for covering all of the costs of your injury, including the non-economic ones. You should not wait to discuss your legal options with a Phoenix brain injury attorney.

Successfully Handling Complex Brain Injury Cases

At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we represent clients following brain injuries, and we know how complicated these claims can be. Brain injuries are “invisible” injuries, which means it can be extremely difficult for others to know what you are going through and the many problems that you are experiencing due to your injury. Unfortunately, this leads insurance companies to undervalue brain injury claims.

If you are going up against an insurance company or need to file a brain injury lawsuit, you should not do it alone. You should always have a legal advocate who knows how to seek recovery for catastrophic injuries such as TBIs.

While each case is different with its own value, our firm has recovered millions of dollars for brain injury victims, including:

  • $1,320,000 for a young family whose nine-month-old daughter suffered a brain injury due to a drunk driver
  • $245,000 for a concussion and herniated disc from a parking lot crash
  • $225,000 for a teenager who suffered a brain injury and soft tissue injuries in an accident at an ATV park
  • $165,000 for a vehicle passenger who suffered head trauma in a collision

We know how to prove the extensive losses that stem from brain injuries, and we are ready to fight for full compensation and accountability in every case.

Risks of a Brain Injury in Phoenix

Accidents that lead to traumatic brain injuries can happen almost anywhere, and Phoenix is full of risks of many types of incidents that could put you in the emergency room with a brain injury.

Some examples include:

  • High-speed crashes on interstate 10, Interstate 17, or U.S. Route 60
  • Drunk driving accidents around the Downtown Phoenix Entertainment District
  • Falls at one of the many hotels or resorts around Phoenix
  • Sports accidents in PHXPlays youth sports leagues or school-related sports teams
  • Swimming pool accidents at one of the pools or splash pads around the city
  • Theme park accidents at Hurricane Harbor Phoenix or Castles N’ Coasters
  • Slip and falls while shopping at Safeway or Fry’s
  • Bicycle crashes on the Metro Area Bikeways or trails
  • Accidents while riding the Valley Metro bus or rail
  • Tour bus accidents to go see the Grand Canyon or surrounding attractions

You can suffer head trauma while simply crossing the street or engaging in your everyday activities, and often, someone else’s negligence is to blame for an accident. If you think – or know – that another person or company should be liable for your injuries, contact our legal team to learn how a Phoenix traumatic brain injury attorney can help.

Signs You Might Have a Brain Injury

Brain injuries are tricky conditions, as the signs and symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Sometimes, it is immediately clear that something is wrong, as a victim will be knocked unconscious for anywhere from a few seconds to days. Anytime unconsciousness occurs after an accident, you should get emergency medical treatment.

In other situations, the signs of a brain injury might not be readily apparent to you. Some people might feel like they are “out of it” or disoriented, and they might blame this on being involved in a traumatic event. In reality, this can be a sign of a serious TBI.

Other signs include:

  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood regulation problems and irritability
  • Difficulties with communication or processing information
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Slurring speech
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed breathing or heart rate
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Clear fluid from the ears or nose

If you notice anything unusual after you hit your head or suffer a jolt of the head, you want to get a medical examination. This is true even if symptoms do not begin to appear for hours or days following your accident, which is common for TBI victims.

Getting a prompt diagnosis of a brain injury is key for two reasons. First, you can start on a treatment plan to maximize your physical recovery. Second, you will have proof of your injury to provide to the insurance company to prove your injury claim, which helps to maximize your financial recovery. As soon as your condition is stable, let Zanes Law Injury Lawyers evaluate your rights.

Treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury

Treatment plans for TBIs can also vary depending on the extent and type of injury. Some people might visit the emergency room and then head home to rest for a couple of days. Others might spend time in the intensive care unit (ICU) and then weeks in a rehabilitation center.

Treatment plans might involve:

  • Emergency trauma care and evaluation
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery to relieve or monitor intracranial pressure
  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Long-term transitional rehabilitation

In most cases, brain injury victims must avoid activities that put them at risk of another brain injury for a long while. This can mean missing work or school and avoiding activities such as exercise, sports, or even playing with your children.

Types of TBIs

There are different types of brain injuries that doctors can diagnose. First, a medical professional will categorize your brain injury as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how your initial symptoms present. A mild brain injury is also called a concussion, and too many people underestimate the potential severity of this injury due to its “mild” designation.

In reality, a concussion can have many symptoms and effects that can persist for a long time. Some complications can arise from concussions that prolong effects or put you at risk for other serious conditions. Always take a concussion seriously, even if your doctor diagnoses you with a “mild” brain injury.

Moderate brain injuries have more pronounced signs and symptoms at the time of diagnosis, and these effects can last for a long time. Often, severe brain injuries might put patients in a coma, cause amnesia, and leave other dramatic effects.

In addition to these categories of TBIs, you might receive a diagnosis of:

  • Closed head injury
  • Open head injury
  • Skull fracture
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Hematoma
  • Hemorrhage
  • Edema or swelling

You can also suffer a hypoxic brain injury, which does not result from trauma. Instead, this type of brain damage results from oxygen deprivation to the brain. This is common in near-drowning accidents or birth-related injuries.

Possible Effects of a Brain Injury on Your Life

The initial costs of medical diagnosis and treatment of a brain injury are only the beginning of the effects you can experience from this type of injury. These injuries can have many effects on your life, including:

Cognitive Impairments

Your brain is in charge of thinking and processing information, and a TBI can disrupt this functioning.

Victims might have difficulty with:

  • Verbal or written communication and finding words
  • Slower reading speeds and reading comprehension
  • Understanding and following basic directions
  • Short or long-term memory

These cognitive effects can prevent kids with TBIs from keeping up in school and adults from performing their jobs. They can also make even simple social conversations frustrating or everyday tasks such as paying bills or following a recipe.

Some people have cognitive effects of TBIs for months, years, or even permanently. This can take a major toll on your life, and the challenges of living with cognitive disabilities can cause emotional distress, as well.

Physical Impairments

Brain damage can also affect your movement and sensory abilities, and many brain injury victims experience:

  • Slurred speech or stuttering
  • Muscle spasticity (involuntary tightening of the muscles)
  • Seizures
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Altered gait and balance problems

These effects can be obvious to those around you, while the brain injury itself is not visible or apparent. This can increase the struggle of victims since others might not know why they are walking, speaking, or otherwise moving in an abnormal manner. Some physical effects of brain injuries keep people from playing sports, engaging in physical labor, or even working in their yards or picking up their kids.

Behavioral Impairments

Damage to certain parts of the brain can impact the way you act, and this can cause many problems in your life.

Behavioral problems from brain injuries can involve:

  • Major personality changes
  • Changes in your tastes, likes, and dislikes
  • Lack of emotional control or showing improper emotion for a situation
  • Recklessness and lack of good judgment
  • Poor mood control and angry outbursts
  • Depression and anxiety

Sometimes, victims of brain injuries change so much that it can put a strain on their close relationships. Family or friends might have difficulty adapting to the behavioral or personality changes, which might last for a while or might even be there to stay for a lifetime.

Long-Term Risks of Concussions

A single serious traumatic brain injury can change your life as you know it in the above ways, making it difficult or impossible to maintain your personal and professional life. However, you should never discount the risks of concussions. Even though these are technically “mild” injuries, they can cause many problems and complications.

First, you can develop post-concussion syndrome (PCS), which can extend the length of your symptoms significantly. PCS often occurs when there are other underlying psychosocial issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pre-injury anxiety, and more. However, medical professionals might not have an explanation for why you developed this complication at all. PCS can increase the effects of a concussion on your life.

If you suffer multiple concussions throughout your life, such as from playing contact sports or several car crashes or falls, you have an even greater risk of medical complications.

People with multiple concussions might develop:

These can all cause serious cognitive or emotional impairments much earlier than most people would experience had they not suffered multiple head impacts.

CTE is not diagnosable until after a victim passes away, but the condition can cause serious mental struggles, including suicidal tendencies. Many people who are diagnosed with CTE post-mortem committed suicide as their cause of death. Medical researchers are working to discover how to diagnose CTE in living individuals to better treat it and prevent suicides, though they have not yet made this discovery.

People with these effects of multiple concussions might have to stop working much earlier than expected, and they might require long-term care at a young age.

Phoenix Traumatic Brain Injury FAQ

What Are the Costs of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

TBIs can impose lifelong costs, depending on the severity of the injury. In the short term, there are treatment costs, especially when emergency intervention is required. In the long term, the patient may need extensive rehabilitation. According to one survey, the costs of TBIs on a per-patient basis can range between $585,000 to $3 million. This is just the medical treatment part of the injury. Other costs include lost wages and pain and suffering. More severe injuries can cost even more money.

One recent study showed that the lifetime economic costs of TBIs are now nearly $80 billion. This is the overall cost to the economy. People who require hospitalization for their TBI incur most of these costs. These injuries will continue to have an impact on your family for years to come, and you need a Phoenix brain injury lawyer who will fight for every penny that you deserve after your injury.

What Are the Risks of Not Getting Immediate Treatment for a TBI?

The brain does not recover like other organs in the body. When brain cells die because of trauma or bleeding, they may never regenerate. The damage is often permanent. Even if a TBI victim can recover, it is only after extensive rehabilitation and interventions. Inaction after a TBI can only lead to worse damage. For example, doctors may need to perform immediate surgery to relieve pressure on the brain to give a patient a chance at recovery.

When you feel the symptoms of a TBI getting worse, it means the injury itself is becoming more serious. The more time that your doctor loses in treating the injury, the less your chance of full recovery. It is always better to be safe when there has been even a possibility of a brain injury. The worst that happens is that you have wasted some time getting tests.

Can I Work After a TBI?

The chances are that your injury will lessen your ability to productively earn a living after your injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, this can be permanent. Your brain controls practically every single function of your body, so you will be hard-pressed to do the same work that you did before your injury. This affects both physical and non-physical work. For example, office workers may not have the same cognitive function that they did beforehand, nor can they concentrate on their usual tasks.

In fact, people who have suffered a brain injury are at risk of homelessness and other severe economic distress if they cannot get the compensation that they need. In fact, many people who are homeless suffer from some kind of brain injury.

Accordingly, you should count on a serious disruption to your career if you have suffered a TBI, and you may never work again.

Will My TBI Improve Over Time?

Unfortunately, most TBIs will not get better as the years go by. The best hope is that, through surgery and rehabilitation, there is at least some improvement. However, the five-year statistics on TBI patients are not encouraging. Only about a quarter of TBI patients report some improvement at the five-year milestone. Another quarter of patients have reported that their injury has remained about the same. On the flip side, 30 percent of TBI patients will see a deterioration of their condition in this span. 22 percent of TBI patients will not be alive at the five-year mark.

Immediate treatment and medical intervention are the best way to increase your odds of making at least some recovery. When you are negotiating a settlement for your TBI, you should not have overly optimistic expectations of where you may be in the future. Instead, you should plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Can a Family Also Receive Damages if Their Loved One Suffered a TBI?

There are several types of damages that a family can qualify for if their loved one has suffered a TBI:

  • Lost wages -not only can the claim include lost wages that the injured accident victim could have earned, but they can also receive compensation for the money that they miss out of earning when they need to miss work to care for their loved one.
  • Loss of consortium – these are damages for the spouse or partner of the injured accident victim. Their relationship with their spouse or partner has a certain value to them based on physical or emotional intimacy provided to them. When they miss out on that, this can factor into the size of a settlement.
  • Wrongful death damages – if the TBI causes the accident victim to die, the family can receive damages. Not only can they get money for the wages that their loved one would have earned and for the loss of the close relationship, but they can also be paid for the grief that they have suffered after losing their loved one.

What Are Some Ways that Doctors Assess the Severity of a Brain Injury?

The most common way that doctors assign severity to a brain injury is through the use of the Glasgow Coma Scale. This measures the level of responsiveness of the patient to certain behavioral stimuli and measures. Doctors use it at various points in the process. Doctors will often rely on it early to decide the level of intervention that is necessary. Low Glasgow scores indicate the presence of a severe injury.

Here are some signs of a severe brain injury:

  • Not responding to any stimuli
  • Significant swelling on the brain
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • Difficulty with independent functions, such as respiration.

Even though doctors may run tests like the Glasgow Coma Scale early, the full effect of the brain injury may not become apparent until after the early intervention and treatment have run their course. It is very difficult to predict what may happen in future years right after the injury.

What Are Some Effects of a TBI Besides the Physical Ones?

Of course, the physical impacts of a TBI are the most significant ones. Patients may also experience changes to their psyche after a TBI. One of the most common effects of a TBI is depression. The patient may also become irritable and short-tempered in the wake of the injury. Many families of TBI victims report that the person does not have the same personality after the injury. They may be difficult to deal with and unpredictable.

If they were friendly and outgoing after the injury, they can become introverted and withdrawn. They can be far more prone to taking risks, such as drinking and gambling. Accident victims can receive compensation for the anxiety and depression that they feel after an accident. This is part of their pain and suffering.

Do TBIs Affect Children Different from Adults?

Science is still figuring out the answer to this question. On the one hand, the child’s brain is still developing at the time of the TBI, and they may have certain functions and abilities that never quite develop fully after that. On the other hand, time is more on their side after these injuries. Children can undergo training to learn more functions, even after a brain injury. They have more time for rehabilitation. However, they lose cognitive abilities at the exact time when they need them for the full benefits of their education.

How Can I Participate in the Legal Process if I Have a TBI?

If you do not have full brain function, the legal process can be difficult. It is certainly nothing that you should try to do on your own for many reasons. Even under the best of circumstances, it is difficult to deal with insurance companies and the court system to try to get the compensation that you deserve. Hiring a lawyer will allow you to participate in the legal process fully.

You will not need to do anything when you have an experienced attorney on your side. The attorney will handle all of the details, from gathering evidence of the accident to filing the claim with the insurance company. You can worry about your own health while the lawyer does the work of the claim. Your health will not prevent you from fighting for compensation since the lawyer will wage the battle on your behalf. You will not need to negotiate or fight with the insurance company.

Do I Need to Pay Taxes on My TBI Settlement Check?

The IRS has special rules that help personal accident victims. Even though a large part of your settlement check may be for lost wages, you do not need to pay personal income taxes on the proceeds of your injury settlement or jury award. This applies at both the state or federal levels.

The only part of your award that the IRS might tax is if you receive punitive damages (however, these are very rare). This allows you to keep more of your money for yourself and your needs. You should still see an accountant just to make sure you understand the exact tax treatment of your settlement funds.

Is There Anything That I Should Do With My Settlement?

If you are dealing with a traumatic brain injury that may cost you function permanently, you may take the settlement in a lump sum or enter into a structured settlement. The latter option is an annuity that will pay you over time. It will ensure a consistent and steady flow of money into the future.

Your TBI attorney can help you decide which option is better for you. They can then help you structure the settlement to best provide for you, so the money is there when you need it. Families are getting a large amount of money, so they need to be careful not to overspend at first. This is their only chance to get a settlement for their injuries, and they can face tough times ahead if they do not manage the money well.

In general, if you are receiving a large check, you should seek professional financial advice. TBI victims can be impulsive (due to their injury), and a good financial adviser is a must to help you plan.

What if My Traumatic Brain Injury Happened at Work?

If you suffered an injury on the job, you cannot file a lawsuit for your injuries unless there was a third party to blame for your injuries. In Arizona, you generally cannot sue an employer for a work-related injury. Negligence does not come into play for work injuries. However, you do have the legal ability to file a workers’ compensation claim. This will at least pay for your medical expenses and part of your lost wages. You cannot receive non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

The good thing about a workers’ compensation claim is that it does not matter who was at fault for an injury. Even if you suffered an injury due to your own mistake, you can still receive compensation.

If you have filed for workers’ compensation benefits for a TBI, the chances are that you are dealing with a larger claim because you cannot work for quite some time. You may be looking at a settlement for your injury. When that happens, you should have a lawyer negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company.
This is not a process where you can afford for anything to go wrong, given how much you need these benefits. You have the right to file an appeal if you disagree with any actions that the insurance company has taken, and the Phoenix brain injury attorneys at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can help.

How a Phoenix Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you receive a TBI diagnosis, you should follow your treatment plan and focus on your improvement. However, if someone else caused your head trauma, you should not wait too long to discuss your legal rights and options with a Phoenix brain injury attorney at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers.

We can:

  • Identify all parties that should be liable for your losses
  • Calculate your past, future, and intangible losses
  • File claims with all necessary insurance companies and negotiate a favorable settlement
  • File a personal injury lawsuit if needed to get the compensation you need

This is not a simple process, and you should remain focused on life after your brain injury. Allow our legal team to handle every step of the legal process for you.

Contact us for a free case evaluation at (602) 999-9999). You never pay anything unless we win your case.

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