Traumatic brain injury in WA

Vancouver, WA Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Washington brain injury lawyers upholding your rights

Brain injuries are frightening. The brain is the control operator for every part of your body. Damage to the brain affects motor skills, cognitive skills, memory, pain response, emotions, and – well, just about everything you need to survive. In catastrophic cases, a victim may die or need a lifetime of around-the-clock medical care and emotional support. A serious brain injury can devastate spouses, children, and parents who are tasked with trying to help their loved one maintain some semblance of a normal life.

At Philbrook Law Office, PS, our Vancouver, WA traumatic brain injury (TBI) lawyers work with neurosurgeons, neurologists, and many other healthcare providers, in addition to your team of physicians, to fully assess the seriousness of your injuries and all the medical care that you’ll need. We work aggressively to hold reckless drivers, makers of dangerous products, construction site owners, and property owners accountable for negligence and for putting profits before safety. We have a strong track record, through 20 years of representing personal injury victims, and for obtaining high verdicts and settlements to compensate TBI victims for all their financial and personal losses and suffering.

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What are the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?

In some cases, it’s fairly obvious that a person has suffered a severe blow to the head – because he or she has suffered a skull fracture, or his or her brain is bleeding. In many cases, TBI victims have some or all of the following symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Tiredness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling confused
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Tinnitus
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory problems
  • Swings in mood

If you or a loved one was in an accident, it’s always wise to be examined in an emergency room or by your family doctor so they can look for these TBI symptoms.

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What diagnostic tests are used to assess a TBI?

According to Brain Line, although many TBIs are mild, they can worsen quickly. The first step physicians take is to conduct a neurological exam, which assesses the victim’s motor and sensory skills, and “the functioning of one or more cranial nerves.” The victim’s mental status, balance and coordination, hearing and speech, and moods and behavior will also be examined.

Various standards are used to assess the severity of the brain injury, such as the Acute Concussion Evaluation (ACE) and the Glasgow Coma Scale. The Glasgow coma scale assigns points depending on the person’s responses, such as the victim’s ability to open his/her eyes or acknowledge questions. The level of the TBI is graded as follows:

  • Severe TBI. A score of 3-8. Extremely forceful blows can cause brain hemorrhages and skull fractures which can result in death and catastrophic injuries.
  • Moderate TBI. A score of 9-12. With time, some accident victims with a TBI can make a strong recovery. Many, though, are left with permanent injuries.
  • Mild TBI. A score of 13-15. Many people with a mild TBI suffer a concussion and feelings of confusion. With treatment, many mild TBI patients can lead reasonably normal lives.

Are there any imaging tests for a TBI?

A brain scan (a computed tomography, or CT scan) helps determine if surgery is needed to repair any brain damage. Emergency rooms use CT scans. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test is a more sensitive test and can pick up complications that a CT scan misses.

CT scans and MRIs are more likely to pick up moderate to severe TBIs than mild TBIs. A mild TBI also may not show a skull fracture, hematoma, or contusion. Recently, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tests and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) tests are used to detect bleeding and other mild complications. However, these tests have their limits.

Some TBI victims don’t show immediate systems or don’t know they have symptoms until a family member recognizes that something is wrong.

How do you treat the initial stages of a traumatic brain injury?

The first people to treat a TBI victim are usually Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Emergency Room (ER) doctors. According to the Mayo Clinic, ER care focuses on monitoring the victim’s blood pressure and blood supply, oxygen level, and treatment for any other injuries.

Medications for TBI victims include:

  • Diuretics. These medications help reduce fluids in tissues and help increase the flow of urine. They are usually given through IVs when patients have a TBI. The main goal is to reduce pressure inside the brain.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. During the first week after a car crash, fall, explosion, or other accident, anti-seizure drugs are used to reduce the risk of a seizure, which can cause additional brain damage.
  • Coma-inducing drugs. These medications help reduce the brain’s need for oxygen. They are “especially helpful if blood vessels, compressed by increased pressure in the brain, are unable to supply brain cells with normal amounts of nutrients and oxygen.”

Some of the surgical procedures a neurosurgeon may use include working on the following problems:

  • Removing clotted blood (hematomas)
  • Repairing skull fractures
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Opening a window in the skull

What are the long-term rehabilitative treatments for Vancouver, WA TBI patients?

Rehabilitation is medical care that aims to improve the health of the TBI patient – to help him/her walk, talk, think, react, work, function, and enjoy life. TBI patients generally show the most improvement in the first six months. They can also improve during the first two years. After two years, however, the aim of most medical care is to help ensure your condition, or the condition of a loved one, doesn’t worsen.

TBI medical care is incredibly expensive. Most accident victims, especially those with a moderate or severe TBI, require treatment with many of the following healthcare providers.

  • Therapists help patients with hands-on care and with assistive devices:
    • Physical therapists help TBI victims with balance, mobility, and exercise.
    • Occupational therapists help victims eat, use writing instruments, and other daily functions.
    • Speech therapists help victims communicate.
    • Recreational therapists help with leisure activities.
  • TBI nurse specialists explain to the families of the victims how they can help, and what their loved one’s care plan is.
  • Psychiatrists and neuropsychologists help patients with behavioral and emotional problems and problems such as Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD).
  • Social workers or case managers help TBI victims get help from community and governmental agencies.
  • Vocational counselors help the TBI patient return to work – if possible.
  • Rehabilitation nurses help with hospital discharges and rehabilitation coordination.

The entire team is usually led by a psychiatrist, but it doesn’t have to be.

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Who is liable for a traumatic brain injury accident?

At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA TBI lawyers work aggressively to hold all responsible parties liable. We file cases against:

  • Drivers of cars, trucks, and other vehicles that cause a TBI
  • The manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of defective machines, tools, and products that cause forceful impacts
  • Property owners who fail to inspect their property or warn visitors of dangers
  • Construction site owners, contractors, and others liable for falls, for being struck by objects, and for other causes of a TBI
  • Any other responsible parties
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Contact Philbrook Law Office to discuss your TBI case today

At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA brain injury lawyers understand just how life-altering a traumatic brain injury is. We demand compensation for your physical pain, emotional suffering, and inability to function. Our lawyers also demand payment for all your income losses due to an accident. For help with your TBI case now, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We see victims at our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA and at their home if necessary. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State. We handle TBI cases on a contingency fee basis. 

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