Nashville Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a heartbreaking experience for the individual, family and friends. This type of serious injury can sometimes be permanent, and a lifetime of care for a patient with severe TBI typically costs millions of dollars. When someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing caused your loved one’s injury, get legal help as soon as possible. Our Nashville traumatic brain injury lawyers at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm have successfully dealt with brain injury cases for many years.
What is a traumatic brain injury or head injury?
A head injury refers to any injury to the head ― the scalp, skull or brain. A broken skull is a head injury, but not necessarily a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury is brain damage caused by a blow that penetrates the skull. A TBI can also be an impact containing enough force that, even though the skull is not penetrated, brain tissue tears, bruises or suffers other injury. Internal bleeding can build up pressure and result in brain cell death.
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the number one cause of traumatic brain injury is falls. The number two cause is motor vehicle accidents, followed by impact events (colliding with moving or stationary objects) and, lastly, assaults.
People’s irresponsible or negligent actions can cause accidents that result in brain injury. For example, a store that allows floor spills to go unattended for long periods can cause someone to slip and fall. A drunk driver can crash into your car. Or an apartment building that lacks security measures may be held liable for its negligence of failing to protect against criminal assaults.
Likely sources for brain injuries
Brain damage can be caused by outside forces, like a blow to the head, or by illnesses or infection. In some cases the injury develops for no clear reason at all, like it does in dementia or Parkinson’s patients. Certain events are more likely than others to increase your risk of a brain injury, such as:
- Motor vehicle wrecks. Bus, truck, motorcycle and car crashes can cause long-term brain injuries. A drivers or passenger who is not properly restrained may go through a window or smash into the dashboard or door frame. Airbags can also cause an injury by literally rattling your brain inside your skull.
- Falls from heights. A slip off of the ladder while painting the trim, or a fall from a train platform – the height doesn’t need to be extreme to cause damage. In fact, OSHA requires that anyone working more than 6 feet off the ground must wear a safety harness. Imagine how severe the damage could be if you fall off of a roof, which is much higher than 6 feet.
- Work-related accidents. Construction and utility workers face serious injuries every day. A fall from a scaffold, an electrical shock or a falling object can all cause serious brain injuries.
- Sports-related injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are not just a cause for worry for the NFL anymore. Middle and high school age children who play sports are at an increased risk of brain injury, even with extra safety precautions in play. Football, soccer, rugby, baseball, softball – all of these sports pose a serious risk of brain damage, as do competitive events involving mixed martial arts or wrestling.
- Negligent security. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. A poorly lit alley or entryway, broken locks or high-rise windows without child safety bars can lead to falls or increase the chance of a violent encounter.
- Spinal trauma. The spine and the brain are inextricably linked, and damage to one often results in damage to the other. Physical trauma to the spine, whether caused by a car crash or an act of medical negligence involving cortisone shots (or any of the million ways we sustain an injury) can lead to swelling, hemorrhaging or infections.
When you sustain a traumatic brain injury, Rocky McElhaney Law Firm is there for you. We have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients throughout Tennessee because we are unafraid to take your case to trial to get you the compensation you deserve – all the while keeping your best interests in mind. We help you look after yourself and your family into the future, so that you can focus on your recovery and not on your injury.
What are the potential effects of TBI in a person’s life?
Given that every TBI is different, each person will face different effects, which will depend largely on the severity of the brain injury. The severity of a TBI can range from mild to severe. The CDC uses the following four descriptors for the various ways in which TBI can affect short and long-term changes in a person:
- Thinking (memory and reasoning);
- Sensation (sight and balance);
- Language (communication, expression, and understanding); and
- Emotion (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).
One of the major changes in thinking that can come about in an individual suffering from the effects of a brain injury include thinking (cognitive) difficulties in managing the executive functions of the brain, which includes how it processes the information we use to function in our incredibly complicated world. Tasks such as planning your day, running a company or a government, decision making and prioritizing–these are quite complex tasks. When the brain has been injured and vital connections have been damaged or severed, the brain can feel muddled causing the individual to feel out of control of their own thinking.
In addition to the severity of the brain injury, the type of injury and where it is located on the head will also have an impact on short and long-term effects in a person’s life. In the long-term, effects from a TBI might include:
- Severe headaches
- Inability to concentrate
- Sleep problems
- Lack of bowel and bladder control
- Inability to regulate body temperature
How might your personality change after a TBI?
Everyone reacts differently after a brain injury, and some symptoms may clear up over time while some may last for years. However, there are some personality and emotional changes you and your loved ones should look out for:
- Mood swings. Emotional ups and downs are one of the most difficult issues to deal with after a traumatic brain injury – for both patients and their loved ones. People might go from happy to sad to angry in what feels like the blink of an eye for what feels like no reason at all. This is because there are specific lobes in the brain that control emotions, and if those lobes suffer damage, emotions can become more difficult to manage.
- Lack of trust. After a TBI, victims may have trouble with trust, even with their families and friends. They might seem paranoid, accusing people of things completely unfounded, or acting suspiciously. Depending on the severity of the injury, some individuals may even suffer hallucinations or delusions.
- Memory loss. Memory loss due to brain injury can affect someone’s personality much the way dementia does to older people. Individuals may not know who their friends and family are, or may not be able to process new memories. Because memories and experiences play a large role in developing our personalities, memory loss can significantly affect personality.
- Impaired judgment. The frontal lobe of the brain manages judgment and inhibitions – it prevents us from making rash decisions and controls impulsive behavior. However, when the frontal lobe is damaged, people may lose their inhibitions and engage in reckless or dangerous behavior, like spending exorbitant amounts of money, cheating on their spouses, or even engaging in violence.
Standing up to insurance companies
When someone else is at fault for a serious head injury, you have legal recourse. An experienced Nashville traumatic brain injury attorney can gather evidence and hold responsible parties accountable. Recovering compensation in catastrophic injury cases generally requires standing up to insurance companies. However, most insurance companies employ strategies to negotiate settlements that pay as little as possible, delay claims or deny them altogether. That is why you need an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled Tennessee traumatic brain injury lawyer to fight for you.
Learn more about traumatic brain injury
Rocky gets results
Call Rocky at 615-425-2500 or contact the firm online to schedule a free initial consultation. From our offices in Nashville, Knoxville and Hendersonville, the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents clients throughout the state of Tennessee, including Columbia, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga and Kingsport.