Traumatic Brain Injury

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Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys in Buffalo

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) lawsuit in New York is a legal claim brought by an individual who has suffered a TBI as a result of another party’s negligence or intentional actions.  The purpose of a TBI lawsuit is to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and to seek compensation for the victim’s damages, including medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

To be successful in a TBI lawsuit in New York, the injured person must be able to prove that the TBI was caused by the defendant’s (the person or party being sued) negligence or intentional actions and that the victim has suffered damages that were caused by that accident or act.

What Types of Accidents Cause TBIs?

TBIs can be caused by a variety of accidents, including falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and assaults.  Falls are the leading cause of TBIs, particularly in older adults.  Motor vehicle accidents, including car, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents, are another common cause of TBIs.  Sports injuries, such as concussions from playing football or hockey, can also cause a TBI.  Assaults, including firearm injuries and blunt force trauma, can also result in a TBI.  It is important to note that not all accidents that result in a blow to the head will cause a TBI, but immediate medical attention following any head injury to properly diagnose and treat any potential brain injuries is essential.

What Type of Symptoms Do TBI Victims Experience?

A traumatic brain injury results from force or trauma to the head, which disrupts the normal functioning of the brain.  The majority of TBIs are mild, with only a brief change in mental status or consciousness, but they can have lasting effects.  A severe TBI can result in a longer period of unconsciousness, neurologic damages and changes that may be lifelong.

Brain trauma is usually the result of a direct impact to the head.  The force and impact can bruise the brain and cause damage to brain matter and blood vessels.  A brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a life-altering injury that results in coma, lifelong deficits, or even death. 

In a “closed” head trauma, there is no break in the skull but the brain is moved around or hits the sides of the skull.  This can rip the internal lining, nerves, tissues, and blood vessels.  There may be internal bleeding, bruising, or swelling. These types of injuries can be called subdural hematomas, subarachnoid bleeds, and epidural bleeds. 

In a “open” head trauma, the skull is broken. These injuries can be caused by a sharp instrument or bullet striking a person with enough force to break the skull. Open head injuries always are considered serious.  They typically cause significant and long-lasting damage, especially when objects enter the brain.

The immediate injury the brain experiences at the time of an accident is called the primary brain injury. It can be followed by secondary brain injury, which are the changes to the tissue and blood vessels that happen in the hours to days after the accident. These secondary changes can further damage brain tissue.

The signs and symptoms of a TBI depend on the severity and where it is located in the brain.  Common signs of a TBI are headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, loss of balance and coordination, paralysis, changes in senses including taste, touch, sight, sound and smell, sleep disturbances, seizures and coma. Some people will appear fine after a blow to the head and continue talking and even insisting they are fine, and sometimes even laughing or joking.  Just because someone is able to talk or laugh does not mean they did not experience a serious injury.  All blows to the head should be taken seriously and immediately evaluated by a medical professional. 

Trauma to the head can result in a wide range of cognitive changes, depending on the severity and location of the injury. These changes can include problems with attention, memory, language, and executive function.

Attention difficulties may include difficulty focusing or staying on task, difficulty following conversations or instructions, and difficulty multitasking. Memory problems can include difficulty remembering recent events or new information, difficulty with recall, and difficulty with spatial memory (i.e., remembering where things are located). Language problems can include difficulty with word-finding, difficulty understanding spoken or written language, and difficulty with writing or speaking.

Executive function is a set of cognitive processes that allows individuals to plan, organize, and make decisions. TBIs may result in problems with executive function which can include difficulty with problem-solving, planning, organization, and impulse control.

It is important to note that the cognitive changes after a TBI can vary widely depending on the severity and location of the injury and can also change over time as the brain heals and adapts. It is also important to note that a TBI can cause emotional and behavioral changes such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and impulsivity.

The duration of a TBI can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury and the individual’s recovery process. Some individuals may experience a full recovery within a few weeks or months, while others may experience long-term or permanent effects.

Mild TBI, also known as a concussion, typically results in symptoms that last for a few days to a couple of weeks. In some cases, symptoms may persist for several months but usually people recover fully.

Moderate to severe TBIs, however, can result in long-term or permanent symptoms. The recovery process can be slow and may take months or even years. Some individuals may need ongoing rehabilitation and therapy to help them learn to cope with the cognitive, emotional, and physical changes caused by the injury. In some cases, individuals may never fully recover and may require long-term care and support.

TBIs also can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, which can last for a long time and need to be treated.

It’s important to seek medical attention after a head injury and have follow-up evaluations to monitor the recovery process and address any lingering symptoms.

What Do I Need to Think About in Bringing a TBI Lawsuit?

It takes a lot of money and resources to effectively manage a TBI.  Individuals who suffer a TBI can be placed under tremendous financial strain.  Many people with a TBI will have persistent, lifelong disabilities.  A severe TBI may prevent someone from working at their job in the short term and the long term.  The cost of future medical care and support of your family can be enormous.  A successful lawsuit will help victims of TBIs and their families have the financial security to lead the healthiest life possible.

In New York, there is a time limit called a statute of limitations, which means that the victim must file a TBI lawsuit within a specific period of time.  Often, in New York, this time limit is three years from the date of the accident, but other factors could make the time limit even shorter.  For example, if the defendant is a municipality, the time to serve a notice of claim is just 90 days. If the person who was negligent was a doctor or other medical provider or hospital, your time limit could be New York’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, which is 2.5 years. Where the act causing the injury was intentional, the statute of limitations is only one year.  Calculating statutes of limitations dates can be very confusing, and an error in evaluating the date, defendant, and type of claim can be critical, so you need to talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury.

It’s important to note that TBIs can be complex and difficult to prove, which is why it is recommended to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the specific laws and regulations in New York and can advise you on your legal options and help you build a strong case. Also, it’s important to have a medical professional to provide a diagnosis and evidence of the TBI.

Can I Bring a Lawsuit if I or My Loved One Suffers a TBI?

Yes.  There are important and complex issues that need to be evaluated related to how the accident happened, who may be at fault, and what deadlines exist to bring a claim.  The personal injury attorneys at The Coppola Firm have decades of experience representing people who have been injured. We are conveniently located in suburban Amherst, New York, with a ground floor office, close, free parking, and easy office access.  Our lawyers will come to meet you at your home, office, or hospital, or via call or videoconference to minimize your need to travel, if you like.  The lawyers at The Coppola Firm represent people across the State of New York. Contact us today at 716-839-9700 or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation.

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