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Have You Sustained a Brain Injury in Spokane?

A traumatic brain injury — TBI — is a particularly devastating and common type of head injury, significantly impacting a person’s life in a variety of ways. When these injuries and difficulties are due to another party’s carelessness, an injured person in Washington can seek compensation for damages. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living today with a disability related to traumatic brain injury. Whether you or a loved one face a mild TBI or a moderate or severe TBI, if you have suffered a head injury that led to a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s negligence, a Spokane brain injury lawyer from Albrecht Law PLLC is ready to represent you.

According to the International Brain Injury Association, brain injury is the leading cause of permanent disability and death worldwide, with traumatic brain injury also cited as the leading cause of seizure disorders.

Every year in the United States:

  • One million Americans are treated and released from hospital emergency departments due to traumatic brain injury
  • 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive
  • 80,000 people are estimated to be discharged from the hospital with some TBI-related disability
  • 50,000 people die in relation to traumatic brain injuries

Contact us today at Albrecht Law PLLC so we can help you pursue damages for medical bills, such as your emergency medical care, physical examination, magnetic resonance imaging, and physical therapy — along with other consequences such as a loss of income due to an inability to work, and other quality of life issues. During a free consultation, we will review your unique case details and plan a strategy to help you seek compensation for your injuries and losses.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury as a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, a bump, jolt or blow to the head (common in sports injuries), or penetrating head injuries like gunshot wounds. There are numerous types of traumatic brain injuries, including:

  • A Concussion Injury
  • A Diffuse Axonal Injury
  • A Penetration Brain Injury
  • A Hypoxic/Anoxic Brain Injury
  • A Coup-Contrecoup Injury

If you or a loved one have suffered any of the above types of head injuries due to someone else’s carelessness in the state of Washington, contact Albrecht Law PLLC today to begin strategizing your next steps to seek appropriate financial recovery for your injuries and losses.

How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Healthcare providers use several diagnostic tools to diagnose and evaluate brain injuries, including:

  • Diagnostic Imaging: Healthcare providers use diagnostic imaging tests such as a CT scan (computerized tomography) to assess the extent of a TBI. These images identify hematomas (clotted blood) and evaluate damaged or dead brain tissue, providing crucial insights for treatment decisions.
  • Neurological Examination: A thorough medical exam, including a neurological assessment, is an essential step in diagnosing TBI. This evaluation aids healthcare providers in understanding the severity of the injury and its impact on cognitive and motor function.
  • Glasgow Coma Scale: Practitioners often utilize the Glasgow Coma Scale to gauge the status of individuals with suspected TBI, immediately after the injury and throughout the initial assessment period. This scale provides valuable information about the level of consciousness and helps in determining the severity of the injury.

These methods play a critical role in the accurate diagnosis and assessment of traumatic brain injuries, enabling healthcare providers to deliver appropriate and timely interventions.

Classification of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The different types of traumatic brain injuries encompass a range of conditions, each with its characteristics and implications. Understanding these types is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

  • Closed Brain Injury: This type occurs when there is a nonpenetrating injury to the brain without any break in the skull. It can occur due to events such as falls or blunt trauma to the head.
  • Penetrating TBI (Open TBI): Penetrating TBIs involve an object piercing the skull and entering the brain. This type of injury is typically due to gunshot wounds or sharp object impacts.
  • Concussion: Concussions are a form of mild TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. While considered mild, the effects of a concussion can be serious and may require medical attention.
  • Contusions: These are bruises on the brain that occur after a direct impact to the head. Contusions can lead to localized swelling and bleeding within the brain tissue.
  • Brain Hemorrhages: Hemorrhages refer to bleeding within the brain, which can be caused by trauma or other medical conditions. Intracranial bleeding can lead to pressure buildup within the skull, potentially causing further damage.
  • Intracranial Hematomas: This type involves a collection of blood outside the brain or within its tissues, often caused by traumatic head injuries. The pressure from hematomas can lead to serious complications.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury: This injury occurs when the brain sustains damage at the point of impact (coup) and at the opposite side of the brain (contrecoup) due to the forceful back-and-forth movement within the skull.
  • Primary and Secondary Injury: TBIs may be divided into primary injury, induced by the initial mechanical force, and secondary injury, which develops following the primary injury and can exacerbate damage to the brain.

Understanding these various types of traumatic brain injuries is essential for healthcare providers and individuals, as it aids in improving recognition, diagnosis, and appropriate management of these complex conditions.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

A traumatic brain injury can have short-term or long-term brain damage and complications. Common traumatic brain injury symptoms include:

  • Headaches: Persistent or worsening headaches are common symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI). These headaches can occur immediately after the injury and may persist over time.
  • Memory Problems: A traumatic brain injury can lead to difficulties with short-term and long-term memory. Individuals may struggle to remember recent events or retain new information.
  • Emotional Changes: Emotional symptoms such as sadness, frustration, and changes in mood can manifest due to a traumatic brain injury. These emotional changes may impact social interactions and daily functioning.
  • Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms like dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and balance issues are prevalent in individuals with TBI. These symptoms can occur immediately after the injury and may resolve gradually over time.
  • Sensory Changes: Changes in sensory perception, such as blurred vision, hearing problems, difficulty speaking, and alterations in taste or smell, are also associated with traumatic brain injury. These sensory changes can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.
  • Cognitive Difficulties/Impairment: A TBI can lead to cognitive impairments, including difficulties in thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving. These cognitive changes can affect an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks effectively.
  • Motor Function Challenges: Paralysis, weakness, spasticity (muscle tightness), and poor balance are potential motor function challenges that may arise from a traumatic brain injury. These symptoms can affect movement and physical coordination.

Economic and Noneconomic Expenses from Traumatic Brain Injuries

A moderate or severe TBI inflicts significant economic and non-economic expenses. Due to the uniqueness of each brain, a mild traumatic brain injury, a moderate traumatic brain injury, or a severe traumatic brain injury will affect individual brains in different ways. Furthermore, the complexity and individuality of each brain makes it nearly impossible to predict the long-term effects of a brain injury.

Economic Expenses

  • Medical Costs: The lifetime medical costs of fatal, hospitalized, and non-hospitalized TBIs in the United States were estimated at $14.6 billion in 2016 dollars, indicating a substantial financial burden.
  • Employment Support: Supported employment for TBI survivors can cost more than $10,000 during the first year of employment, highlighting the economic impact on individuals seeking to reintegrate into the workforce.
  • Healthcare Costs: The total annual healthcare cost of nonfatal TBIs was reported to surpass $40.6 billion, signifying the extensive financial resources required for addressing TBI-related healthcare needs.
  • Emergency Room Costs: Emergency room costs for brain injuries were found to average over $6,620, representing an immediate economic expense incurred by individuals seeking urgent medical care for TBIs.

Non-Economic Expenses

  • Pain and Suffering: Traumatic brain injuries can lead to various non-economic damages, impacting the affected individual and their loved ones in terms of emotional distress and diminished quality of life.
  • Loss of Enjoyment: Individuals affected by TBIs may experience a loss of enjoyment in life, which constitutes a significant non-economic expense that affects their overall well-being.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

A brain injury can occur due to a bump or blow to the head, penetration, or deprivation of oxygen. Extreme rotational forces or shaking can also lead to a traumatic brain injury. Some common accident types that lead to TBIs include:

If you have been involved in an accident that led to a TBI, you should consult with a lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may be able to bring a claim against the driver of a motor vehicle, the owner of a property where a dangerous condition existed, a healthcare provider, a sports coach, or another party.

Older Adults and Brain Injury

Older adults are at higher risk of hospitalization and TBI-related deaths compared to younger age groups. However, healthcare practitioners often overlook or misdiagnose TBIs in seniors because the symptoms overlap with conditions like dementia.

Healthcare practitioners must pay attention if an older adult:

These concerns are particularly crucial for older adults on blood thinners like warfarin, rivaroxaban, and clopidogrel. These medications can increase the chances of brain bleeding after a TBI, potentially leading to more severe outcomes or even death. Stay informed and stay safe!

The Importance of Rehabilitative Medical Care for a Traumatic Brain Injury — TBI

Whether a mild traumatic brain injury, a moderate traumatic brain injury, or a severe traumatic brain injury, the affected individual must seek immediate medical attention and ongoing care to facilitate maximum medical recovery and a chance to resume normal activities.

The initial symptoms of a traumatic brain injury depend on many different factors, including the severity of the injury and the specific part of the brain affected. Generally, common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Other unusual behavior

Even after the initial symptoms start to fade, the impact of the injury remains. The CDC has often referred to TBIs as “hidden disabilities” because so many of the effects of a brain injury are difficult to detect.

Traumatic Brain Injury — TBI Settlements Must Account for Ongoing Care and Rehabilitative Costs

Catastrophic injury claims—including a traumatic brain injury, severe concussion, and a spinal cord injury—are complex. Often, injured victims require ongoing medical care from a healthcare provider and rehabilitative support from a head injury rehabilitation team. Such specialized, high-quality rehabilitative support following a traumatic event involving a moderate-to-severe TBI is expensive.

Therefore, a brain injury settlement needs to account for the full scope of injury-related costs, including long-term medical care, physical therapy, speech therapy, and psychological counseling. Beyond that, a brain injury settlement should also account for other long-term damages, including lost wages and the loss of earning capacity. Properly documenting damages is central to a successful brain injury claim. Large corporations and insurance companies will usually take advantage of any excuse to reduce the value of a settlement offer.

How Can a Spokane Brain Injury Attorney Help Me Hold the Responsible Party Liable for My TBI?

Negligence is the failure to act with a reasonable degree of care. If a head injury due to someone else’s negligence leads to a TBI, filing a civil claim is appropriate and necessary to hold the negligent party liable for damages.

A Spokane brain injury attorney can help by:

  • Investigating your case
  • Working with expert witnesses and medical professionals
  • Proving fault and liability
  • Calculating your damages
  • Bringing a claim against the responsible party
  • Negotiating your settlement amount

Our lawyers know that recovering compensation for a severe injury like a TBI is an urgent matter, since your losses could total in the tens of thousands of dollars. Promptly taking the right steps with the guidance of an experienced brain injury attorney can help significantly to protect your financial future.

Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer at Albrecht Law PLLC Today to Strategize Your Next Steps

Regardless of whether you suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, the devastating consequences can upend your life. After seeking medical attention, your next step should be to schedule a free consultation with a traumatic brain injuries attorney at Albrecht Law PLLC. We will review the details of your injury and devise a strategy for seeking compensation based on the unique factors involved surrounding your injury.

We provide you with comprehensive legal services on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to pay out of pocket for the representation. Our firm combines cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized, and courteous attention. Contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases

Frequently-Asked Questions Regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Accidents in the State of Washington

What is a blunt TBI?

A blunt traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to a non-penetrating injury to the head caused by an external force that is strong enough to move the brain within the skull. This type of TBI occurs when the head experiences a significant impact, causing the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull. Blunt TBIs can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the trauma and its effects on the brain.

Blunt force trauma to the head, if severe enough, can potentially cause various permanent disabilities, highlighting the serious nature of such injuries. The immediate injury at the moment of impact can lead to a range of symptoms, from altered mental status and loss of consciousness to skull fractures and seizures.

Does a TBI lead to increased intracranial pressure?

Yes, traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to increased intracranial pressure (ICP). This increase in pressure within the skull can occur due to various factors, such as swelling of the brain, bleeding, or other traumatic effects on brain tissue. It’s well-documented that moderate and severe forms of TBI can lead to elevated ICP due to gross swelling or mass effect from bleeding.

Understanding the relationship between TBI and increased ICP is crucial for managing the condition effectively and minimizing potential complications associated with elevated intracranial pressure.

What is a minimally conscious state?

A minimally conscious state (MCS) refers to a condition characterized by severe but not complete impairment of awareness. Individuals in this state may demonstrate intermittent, inconsistent signs of consciousness and minimal responsiveness to stimuli. It occurs due to widespread damage to the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain responsible for higher brain functions such as thought and action control.

The vegetative state becomes permanent at different timeframes for patients, based on the type of brain injury. For those with anoxic-ischemic injuries, the vegetative state becomes permanent at 3 months, while for those with traumatic injuries, it becomes permanent after 12 months.

Recovery from MCS can vary, with some patients transitioning to a more conscious state in the months following the acute injury. However, it’s challenging to predict how many patients will emerge from MCS over time.

In the context of traumatic brain injury (TBI), research has shown evidence of a presynaptic dopamine deficit in minimally conscious state patients, indicating neurological changes that contribute to the implications of this condition.

Understanding the characteristics and potential outcomes is crucial for healthcare providers and caregivers involved in the long-term management and care of individuals affected by severe brain injuries.

What is a severely altered consciousness?

A severely altered consciousness encompasses a range of states, including coma, minimally conscious state, and persistent vegetative state, each reflecting different levels of awareness and responsiveness to stimuli. Coma represents a complete unconsciousness, while the minimally conscious state involves some evidence of self-awareness or awareness of the environment, albeit at a reduced level. The persistent vegetative state denotes a condition where individuals may demonstrate sleep-wake cycles but lack meaningful interaction with their surroundings.

What is the difference between a mild TBI and a severe TBI?

The difference between a mild TBI and a severe TBI lies in the severity of the trauma and its impact on the individual. Key distinctions include:

  • Loss of Consciousness:
      • Mild TBI: Involves a loss of consciousness lasting less than 30 minutes.
      • Severe TBI: Often leads to an extended period of unconsciousness, typically lasting more than 24 hours.
  • Structural Imaging:
      • Mild TBI: Typically shows normal findings on structural imaging of the brain, although in some cases, abnormalities may be observed.
      • Severe TBI: Can show both normal and abnormal findings on structural imaging, often indicating more extensive damage to the brain tissue.
  • Clinical Symptoms:
      • Mild TBI: Manifests with temporary effects on brain cells, and the individual may experience symptoms such as headache, confusion, and memory problems.
      • Severe TBI: Can lead to long-term complications or even death, with a wide range of cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments.

Understanding these differences is crucial for diagnosing and managing TBI effectively, as the appropriate medical intervention and support can vary significantly based on the severity of the injury.

What is an acquired brain injury?

An acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any type of brain damage that occurs after birth and covers a broad spectrum of conditions, including injuries sustained from infection, disease, lack of oxygen, stroke, tumor, or traumatic events. Importantly, ABI is distinct from traumatic brain injury (TBI), as it encompasses non-traumatic causes of brain injury.

Are motor vehicle crashes a major cause of brain injuries?

Yes, motor vehicle crashes are a significant cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The impact of car accidents on brain injuries is well-documented, with a substantial number of TBIs attributed to this cause.

What neurological disorders can occur due to severe injuries to the brain?

Severe injuries to the brain can lead to a range of neurological disorders, including:

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): CTE is a progressive neurological disorder associated with repeated head injuries and concussions, commonly found in athletes and individuals exposed to repetitive head trauma. It can lead to symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and eventually, dementia.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): TBI can lead to various neurological issues, such as cognitive deficits, memory problems, sensory processing difficulties, motor function impairment, emotional disturbances, and coordination challenges. The severity and specific manifestations of these issues can depend on the nature and extent of the brain injury.
  • Post-Traumatic Epilepsy: Severe brain injuries, particularly those involving penetrating head trauma, can increase the risk of developing epilepsy. Post-traumatic epilepsy can lead to recurring seizures and other associated neurological symptoms.

What is a closed head injury?

A closed head injury, also known as a closed brain injury, occurs when the brain experiences trauma without the skull being penetrated. This type of injury can occur due to sudden, violent movements that cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. Closed head injuries encompass various specific types, including concussions, contusions, and diffuse axonal injuries.

Symptoms and outcomes of closed head injuries vary based on the severity of the impact and the specific area of the brain affected. These injuries can lead to complications such as bruising, tearing, and bleeding within the brain, potentially leading to long-term cognitive, physical, or emotional challenges.

What constitutes brain death?

Brain death is defined as the irreversible loss of all functions of the brain, including the brainstem. It is characterized by essential findings such as coma, absence of brainstem reflexes, and apnea. In essence, brain death represents the permanent and complete cessation of brain function, indicating legal death in many jurisdictions. This state is distinct from a coma, where an individual is unconscious but still alive, whereas brain death signifies the irreversible loss of brain function with no chance of revival.

Do mild head injuries affect the nervous system or blood vessels, disrupt sleep patterns, or impact overall health?

Mild head injuries, including concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs), can have multifaceted effects on the body:

  • Nervous System and Blood Vessels: While mild head injuries may not lead to immediate, severe damage, they can still affect nerve cells and blood vessels. The stretching and bruising of nerves and blood vessels during a concussion can lead to temporary alterations in normal brain function, potentially leading to symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, and changes in sensory perception.
  • Sleep Patterns: Disruption of normal sleep routines is commonly observed following mild traumatic brain injuries. This can manifest as difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep, impacting overall sleep quality and duration.
  • Overall Health: In addition to the specific effects on the nervous system and ability to sleep, mild head injuries can also impact overall health by leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, and changes in mood, affecting an individual’s overall well-being.

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