According to the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, each year over 4,000 people in Minnesota end up hospitalized due to a traumatic brain injury, and approximately 100,000 people in Minnesota are currently disabled because of a brain injury. If you have suffered a brain injury due the negligent behavior of another, you may be entitled to compensation under the law.
Minnesota law describes a traumatic brain injury as “a sudden insult or damage to the brain or its coverings caused by an external physical force which may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and which results in the following disabilities: (1) impairment of cognitive or mental abilities; (2) impairment of physical functioning; or (3) disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These disabilities may be temporary or permanent and may result in partial or total loss of function.”
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury:
Physical Symptoms — Numerous physical signs can present with a brain injury, such as headache, vomiting, drowsiness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, sensitivity to light or sound, and/or dizziness. Severe cases can also include seizures, dilation of the pupils, weakness, loss of coordination and/or loss of consciousness.
Mental Symptoms — Numerous mental signs can indicate a possible brain injury as well, depending on which part of the brain is actually damaged. Memory problems, trouble concentrating, mood changes, intolerance, and/or depression are a few signs. Severe cases can include any of the above in addition to restlessness, confusion, agitation, and/or slurred speech.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury:
Combat Injuries — For military personnel, severe blows to the head due to shrapnel or collisions with other objects following a blast are common. In 2016, according to the Star Tribune, more than 700 veterans from Minnesota will become eligible to have their traumatic brain injury claims re-examined after a national review found that they were not evaluated properly by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sports Injuries — For anyone taking part in a high-impact or extreme sport, brain injuries are common from single or repeated hits to the head. In 2015, the Star Tribune reported that the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association’s president joined a lawsuit against the NHL in an attempt to force the league to do the right thing by its retired players after failing to warn them about the long-term consequences of head injuries.
Falling — Falls are one of the most common causes of brain injury. Though young children and older adults (especially those in nursing homes) are most at risk, a fall at any age can cause a traumatic injury. In 2016, the PR Newswire reported that a Minnesota honor student suffered a concussion after she was accidentally knocked down several tiers of bleachers by some athletes in 2015, and she now struggles with PTSD and seizures.
Violence — Nearly 20 percent of traumatic brain injuries are a result of violence. This includes, among other things, domestic incidents and child abuse, such as shaken baby syndrome. According to a report by CBS Minnesota, in a 2010 shaken baby case, a Minnesota man was found guilty of causing bleeding in the brain of his stepson, as well as other trauma, which resulted in the boy dying several days later at the home of a relative.
Auto Accidents — Collisions or defects involving a motor vehicle is another common cause of traumatic brain injury. In 2006, a Minnesota teenager’s car lost power and crashed. Two passengers died, and the driver sustained several injuries, including a brain injury. A lawsuit was ultimately brought, wherein it described the brain injury sustained by the plaintiff as severe. The plaintiff sought unspecified damages in compensation from the automobile company for past and future medical expenses, as well as loss of earnings.
Results of Traumatic Brain Injury:
Disability — A brain injury can cause severe pain and damage that affects one’s comfort and mobility on a day-to-day basis, resulting in a temporary or permanent inability to function normally. It can also cause severe psychological problems and emotional distress that socially disables a person from participating in their normal activities with family and friends.
Medical Expenses — Because of the amount of physical/mental treatments and therapies required, sometimes for as long as a lifetime, medical expenses for a brain injury are high. According to the Brain and Spinal Cord Organization, a mild head injury can cost around $85,000, the cost of a moderate injury is around $941,000, and a severe injury can cost in the range of $3 million.
Loss of Employment — With a brain injury, someone may no longer be able to function at the level needed to keep their current job. Changing jobs, or the inability to work at all, often results in not only the loss of a profession they may love, but a loss of needed income, and the feeling of despondency at no longer participating and contributing to society as they had in the past.
Brain injuries change lives — the life of the person with the injury and the lives of their family and friends — negatively impacting everyone involved for years. If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence of another, please contact us today. With over 65 years of collective legal experience, our Minnesota personal injury attorneys can effectively present your case to secure the maximum compensation for your injuries. We believe in treating our clients like human beings, not file numbers. If you cannot come to us, we will visit you at home or in the hospital. Swor & Gatto P. A., established in 1981, provides clients with exceptional legal service, understanding, support and assistance during difficult times.