Peoria, located in north-central Illinois, is the state’s third-largest city outside the Chicago metro area and home to about 115,000 people with a metro population of nearly 374,000. About 27% of the population is between 25 and 44 years of age, and hospitals and medical centers are among the city’s largest employers.
We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve the people of Peoria in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in an accident, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full compensation for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact our Peoria head injury lawyers for a free consultation today.
Brain Injuries in the US
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious risk when a victim’s head suffers sudden impact from an external force, often known as “blunt force trauma.” TBIs can occur in a variety of accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-falls, and sporting events, and some require only rest-periods under a doctor’s supervision while others can be fatal or lead to life-changing disabilities, such as paralysis or paraplegia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over one-million Americans per year visit doctors due to brain injuries, and nearly 50,000 per year lose their lives due to these injuries. It’s also estimated that over 5 million Americans – about 1.5% of the U.S. population – live with disabilities due to brain injuries. Full medical evaluations are always necessary for these injuries, and if you’ve been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, speak with an experienced head injury attorney as soon as possible.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Defined simply as, “Brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head,” this term encompasses most serious injuries to the brain.
While many concussions are considered “mild” TBIs, they should never be ignored under any circumstances. If a person suffers a concussion and returns to physical activity before it has fully healed, a second injury could result in Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), a life-threatening condition which causes swelling of the brain, potentially leading to permanent damage and even death.
Penetrating brain injuries
These injuries involve a foreign object passing through the skull and penetrating the dura matter which surrounds the brain. They are commonly caused by high-velocity projectiles, such as bullets or shrapnel, or lower-velocity piercings, such as a stab wound or piece of bone lodged in brain tissue due to a skull fracture. Victims who have suffered penetrating brain injuries may lose abilities associated with the injured area of the brain and suffer respiratory problems, epilepsy, or other medical complications.
These are commonly referred to as “bruises on the brain” and are usually caused by head trauma. They may exist on one or more sides of the brain and can cause seizures, headaches, confusion, nausea and vomiting, sensory problems, and loss of consciousness. Cerebral contusions always require immediate medical evaluation and close monitoring to control the injury and prevent any complications from arising.
When a brain injury occurs, a blood vessel inside the skull may leak or rupture, resulting in intracranial bleeding. This can lead to dangerous pressure inside the skull, causing further damage to brain tissue, and bleeding in the brain tissue (cerebral hemorrhage) can also occur. Cerebral and intracranial hemorrhages always require immediate medical attention, as they can lead to stroke, coma, or even death in severe cases.
Closed Head Injuries
Closed head injuries such as diffuse axonal injuries, skull fractures, significant concussions, and other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBIs) are indeed major causes for concern, as even the smallest forms of potential damage to the brain may have lasting cognitive, physical, or psychological consequences. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, such as a car accident, understanding and recognizing the symptoms of these injuries is extremely important and may be the difference between minor, short-term debilitation and lasting symptoms which may lead to bigger problems.
Common symptoms of most brain injuries, including closed head injuries, include nausea/vomiting, lack of concentration and/or inhibition, mood swings, vertigo, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, some injuries may cause cognitive deficiencies which do not produce recognizable symptoms for days after the accident, and this is why an early medical diagnosis is so important for the victim’s lifelong health and medical treatment. Early diagnoses are absolutely essential to prevent the development of long-term damage and ensure a timely recovery.
Brain injury symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some symptoms are initially mild but worsen over time. The concussion is one of the most common types of brain injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be caused by injuries to the skull, bruised brain tissue, or damaged nerves or blood vessels. These injuries can have long-term effects on cognitive and motor functions, such as vision and memory, and some effects can permanently affect how accident victims perform basic daily functions.
Symptoms of TBIs can be difficult to detect and are often of a neurological or behavioral nature. They include:
Sensory – Difficulties with interpretation of movement, touch, temperature, fine discrimination, and limb-position
Perceptual – Affecting “the integration or patterning of sensory impressions into psychologically meaningful data”
Hearing – Decreased or lost hearing, higher sensitivity to sounds, or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Visual – Double vision (diplopia), blurred vision, poor depth-perception, intolerance of light (photophobia), involuntary eye movements (nystagmus), or partial or total loss of vision
Smell/taste – Lost or diminished sense of smell (anosmia) or taste
Seizures – A variety of convulsions associated with epilepsy which may involve disruption of motor movements, sensory perception, or general consciousness
Other physical changes – These include chronic pain, diminished control of bowel or bladder, loss of stamina, sleep disorders, and changes in appetite.
Brain Injury Lawsuits
A head injury can diminish a person’s quality of life, as well as place a burden of care on loved ones when the injuries are particularly severe. What used to be regular, everyday functions become quite difficult, and cognitive/motor abilities may be impaired or significantly reduced for some time to come. If you’ve suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, and loss of consortium may be claimed for your spouse. Speak with our Peoria brain injury lawyers today.
Personal injury lawsuits for brain injuries come in many forms and may incorporate all sorts of legal issues. Here are a few common factors in a personal injury claim for a brain injury:
As with other personal injury claims, traumatic brain injury cases must sufficiently demonstrate that the other party’s negligence directly caused or contributed to the accident which resulted in your injury. While presenting this evidence is necessary, gathering it can be a complicated process for personal injury law firms and may require witness interviews, obtaining opinions and analyses from accident-reconstruction experts, and obtaining documents such as police reports and medical records.
Comparative fault claims
In a personal injury case, the negligent party may claim you were partially responsible for the accident in order to limit his/her own liability. These are accusations of “comparative fault,” and our experienced personal injury lawyers know how to defend against them and keep the story straight.
Proving the extent of the losses you suffered ties in closely to proving you deserve the damages you are seeking. Common forms of damages in a brain injury case include past and future lost wages and benefits, past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, short-term or permanent disabilities, and lost capacity for enjoyment of life. Thanks to pay statements and medical bills, calculating past financial losses for a brain injury victim is relatively simple. Calculating future losses can be more difficult, however, and may require the assistance of medical or economic experts.
Long-Term Brain Injury
About 5.3 million Americans currently live with medical conditions resulting from life changing injuries to the brain, including physical, emotional, or cognitive debilitations such as attention deficit, communication problems, short- or long-term memory loss, chronic headaches and/or migraines, seizures, and speech impairments. Neuropsychiatric problems resulting from a TBI can diminish a person’s quality of life, and studies have also shown that repetitive injuries can result in neuropsychiatric problems for “years or even decades” after the initial impact; this condition is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and diagnosed posthumously.
These debilitations often require ongoing medical treatment, such as for counseling, physical rehabilitation, physical/speech therapy, vocational re-training, and special equipment to assist in daily functions. The costs of this care, combined with lost income over years and decades, can result in astronomical financial losses if the injury claim for the accident was not handled properly. This is why you should seek the help of experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers as soon as possible if you’ve suffered a TBI in an accident, and our brain injury attorneys are here for you every step of the way.
Brain Injury Myths
Though concussions and their effects are generally well-understood, many people are not as familiar with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs); here are some common myths about these injuries.
“A TBI must involve direct head trauma”
While most TBIs involve direct trauma to the head, this is not always the case. They can also occur when an individual’s head jolts forward or backward very quickly, such as in whiplash. Sometimes, the brain can hit the skull twice – usually on opposing sides – causing TBIs in two different places. This may be known as “coup contre coup.”
“Minor and moderate TBIs can’t cause disabilities”
Minor TBIs, such as concussions, generally lack the long-term effects of severe TBIs. However, their short-term effects are indeed serious and can become lasting problems if not treated properly. Even mild TBIs result in about 300,000 hospital admissions per year and many brain injury victims may suffer from depression, disorientation, insomnia/fatigue, or other debilitating conditions on their road to recovery.
“The signs and symptoms of TBIs are immediate”
While some defense attorneys may argue that a delay in the onset of symptoms means that a TBI did not occur in the first place, this can be an unfounded claim. Medical studies have shown that some TBIs may not produce symptoms for hours or even one or two full days after an accident has occurred. Also, some individuals who suffer from fatigue or common headaches may not recognize them as symptoms of a more serious injury.
“A TBI must involve a loss of consciousness”
While more serious TBIs may involve loss of consciousness, especially in serious car accidents, it is not a necessary part of suffering a TBI and resulting damage to brain tissue. Some may lose consciousness for only a second or less in an accident, which can go unnoticed in the heat of the moment.
“Victims always recover fully from mild TBIs”
Many victims of TBIs may suffer from “post-concussive syndrome” or “second-impact syndrome,” both of which can cause long-term symptoms, and even those who do not may still have cognitive and/or behavioral complications which may not have reasonable time-frames for recovery. Every injury is different, so it is absolutely essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.
Contact us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury or wrongful death in an accident in the Peoria area, you need an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free case evaluation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance company, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages under the attorney client relationship. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law works on a contingency fee basis and is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.