Brain Injury Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions
About Your Brain Injury Case

Frequently Asked Questions About Brain Injury Cases

 

What is brain injury?

As the phrase suggests, a brain injury is an injury or insult to the brain.

To understand what it means to sustain a brain injury, it is necessary to learn something about the brain itself. The brain is a gelatin-like substance, shaped somewhat like a ball. It is located inside the skull at the upper end of the spinal cord. It is the body’s master control center. The brain constantly receives information from the senses through touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. It then processes the information and responds by sending out messages to control the body’s functions and actions. In addition, the brain can store information allowing humans to learn and remember. Thoughts, emotions and moods also originate in the brain.

The brain has three main parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. It is a complex organ divided into regions that control specific bodily functions including our ability to analyze, receive, and store information as well as our ability to move, feel, see, think, hear, taste and smell. Consequently, depending on what part of the brain is injured, a brain injury may adversely affect a wide range of vital functions such as speech, vision, sensation, cognition, behavior, personality, memory, emotions and understanding.

A person may sustain focal brain damage meaning his injury affects only a specific part of his brain. On the other hand, the brain damage may be diffuse and widespread in which case it may affect multiple bodily functions. A brain injury may be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Its effects may range from mild memory loss, headaches and a little dizziness to a comatose state or, ultimately, death.

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Could I have a brain injury if I did not lose consciousness after my accident?

Loss of consciousness is one sign a person may have sustained a brain injury, but you can also suffer brain injury without losing consciousness.

For example, in a rear end collision your head accelerates backwards rapidly. The same is not true of your brain, which is made of a soft, gelatin-like substance inside your skull. Your skull starts moving backwards before your brain does. As a result, your brain will strike the front of your skull before it begins to move in reverse. When it does move toward the back of your head, your brain will hit the rear of your skull. The impact of brain may damage your brain tissue. Although you may not lose consciousness, you may still suffer some injury to the brain. Loss of memory, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea can be the first symptoms of a brain injury.

Subtle brain injuries may be difficult to diagnose. You should consult a physician after any accident involving head trauma.

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What are some common causes of brain injury?

There are many causes of brain injury but some of the most common involve:

  • Physical Trauma - Such as motor vehicle accidents, sports related injuries, falls, workplace accidents.
  • Medical Error - Such as medical negligence or the adverse effects of prescription drugs or their interaction with one another
  • Illness - Such as strokes, infections, and aneurysms

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Can negligent medical care and treatment by a health care provider cause brain injury?

Yes. Negligent medical treatment by a doctor, nurse, hospital employee, or other health care provider can cause brain damage. It may happen when the normal flow of blood or oxygen to all or a part of the brain is interrupted. An interruption lasting only a few minutes can be enough to cause a loss of brain function and anoxic brain damage.

Examples of some common types of medical malpractice and medical errors which can lead to brain damage include:

  • Brain damage negligently caused by a surgeon or other health care provider before, during or immediately following surgery
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Childbirth complications
  • Prescription and medication dosage errors
  • Improper positioning of intubation tube resulting in decreased oxygenation to the brain as well as negligent monitoring of patients who have been intubated and ventilated
  • Failure to promptly diagnose and treat symptoms of a stroke
  • Hospital acquired infections that attack the central nervous system

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Is it important to engage an attorney to represent you when you’ve sustained a brain injury through the negligence of another person or entity?

Yes. You need an advocate to represent your best interests at a time when your injuries may put you at a serious disadvantage.

Although many types of injuries may be severe or life threatening, a serious brain injury is one of the most complex, debilitating and life altering injuries you can suffer. When choosing an attorney, experience counts! Our firm’s attorneys have decades of experience handling cases involving brain injuries – from the mildest to the most severe. We will help protect your rights and assist you in navigating the medical world of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and others who will work with you on your long journey to recovery.

If you have suffered a brain injury through the negligence of another, call the law firm of Allen & Allen at 866-388-6412 and let us help you during this difficult time.

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Does it matter which attorney I hire?

Your choice of a lawyer in any case may be crucial to its success. However, your selection is especially important in a brain injury case because of the complex nature of the injuries, the sophistication of the medical care necessary for diagnosis and treatment, and the frequent need for medical specialists and subspecialists when brain injuries are severe or permanent.

You need a lawyer with substantial experience in brain injury litigation who has developed a good working relationship with brain injury specialists and understands the nature of brain injuries and the impact they can have on a person’s everyday life. Our brain injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to bring a brain injury case to a successful conclusion.

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I can’t afford to hire a lawyer or pay the costs of a lawsuit. What will Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen charge?

There is no charge for your first consultation with the Allen Law Firm. If you ask us to represent you, we will take your case on a contingent fee basis. This means the legal fee you pay will be based on a percentage of the monetary recovery we make on your behalf. Should we make no recovery, you will not owe our firm a legal fee. At our first meeting, we will explain our legal fees in detail and answer any questions you may have.

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How long should I wait before hiring a brain injury attorney?

The sooner you hire a brain injury attorney the better.

You need an attorney who will perform a prompt investigation of the facts surrounding your injury, interview witnesses before their memories fade, preserve crucial evidence before it disappears and ensure you are getting medical care that is appropriate for a brain injured patient.

In cases where the injuries are serious, many insurance companies will employ private investigators to visit the site where your injury occurred, whether it’s the scene of a motor vehicle accident, a place you fell or your work place. The insurance company’s intention is to locate and secure evidence that supports its insured’s version of how the accident happened, not yours. The faster you engage an attorney to represent your interests, the more level the playing field will be.

There may also be deadlines or statutes of limitation that dictate the time frame in which you can file a claim.

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What is the deadline for filing my lawsuit?

The deadline or statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits differs from state to state. In Virginia, for example, if you are 18 years of age or older, you ordinarily have two years after the date of your accident within which to file suit for your personal injuries, wage loss, pain and suffering. If you were under 18 years of age when your accident happened, you usually have until your 20th birthday to file suit. In death cases, the executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate generally has 2 years within which to file suit. In some states, the statute of limitations is only 1 year.

There may be other time limitations that apply in your case. For example, the type of case and the identity of the defendant may dictate special deadlines and statutes of limitations. There may be special notice provisions/ deadlines and lawsuit filing deadlines in cases brought against government entities. In medical malpractice cases, other statutes of limitations and notice provisions apply.

Because statutes of limitations and deadlines vary so much, it is always wise to consult an attorney about the laws applicable to your particular case. It is important to do this soon after your accident or injury. Remember, once the statute of limitations runs or you miss a mandatory notice deadline, you are likely to be forever barred from making a monetary recovery.

You may put your case at risk if you wait until shortly before a mandatory deadline or a statute of limitations to hire an attorney. Investigation may be necessary to correctly identify the proper defendant(s) in your case and this can sometimes take considerable time. Witnesses may move away or die. Important evidence can disappear with time. Never wait until the last minute to engage an attorney to represent you in a personal injury or medical malpractice case. The potential risks are too great.

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Should I give an oral or recorded statement to the defendant or his insurance company's representative?

No. Never give an oral or written statement about your accident or injury to a defendant (individual or corporate), his insurance company or lawyer until after you have talked to an attorney who represents you. The defendant's insurance company is not on your side. The company’s goal is to minimize or avoid a payout.

During an oral or recorded statement, an insurance company representative may ask confusing questions that could mislead you and cause you to make unintended misstatements about your case or how your accident happened. The insurance company may try to use these statements against you at trial.

In a motor vehicle accident case, you may be obligated to talk to your own motor vehicle insurance company’s representative under the terms of your own insurance policy. You should not do this until after you have consulted with your own attorney. For a variety of reasons, your own insurance company may have interests that are adverse to yours. Consequently, you need to be careful about statements you make to your own company, not just the defendant’s insurance company.

Be polite, but firm. Give no recorded or oral statements about your case without your lawyer’s advice.

For a free consulation, call our brain injury attorneys at 866-388-6412.

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