What Long-Term Implications Are There for Someone’s Quality of Life After a Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catch-all category that includes concussions. Sometimes, people think concussions are different than TBIs when, in fact, they’re one type of TBI. Some TBIs are mild and have few, if any, long-term effects. Unfortunately, many others have long-term, even lifelong implications that can change a person’s day-to-day life.
What type of TBI and how severe it is depends on where in the brain the injury happened and how severe the injury was. The injury can cause long-term physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes.
- The forehead area, known as the frontal lobe, handles essential brain functions such as problem-solving, impulse control, and planning. If that area is injured, it could cause the person to no longer be able to make reasonable decisions or demonstrate impulse control.
- The left side of the brain manages speech and understanding the speech of others, so if that side is injured, the person may have trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying to them.
- The right side of the brain handles visual information and the performance of routine chores or tasks. Injury there could cause the person to be unable to do things that had previously been simple for them, such as brushing their teeth or making coffee.
Among the many potential long-term effects of a TBI are:
- Chronic headaches
- Dizziness or seizures
- Memory issues
- Problems with physical balance
- Mood swings or ongoing depression
- Visual or speaking issues
- Intense or long-lasting fatigue
- Paralysis or difficulty moving limbs
What Are Other Concerning Outcomes for Severe Brain Injuries?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports other significant outcomes for victims of severe TBI. People with TBIs are much more likely to die from seizures (50 times more likely) than people who never had a TBI. They’re also more likely to die from infections (9 times) or pneumonia (6 times).
In even more disheartening statistics, the CDC reports that people who had a moderate to severe brain injury but were still alive 5 years later reported the following outcomes.
- 57% suffer some level of disability, whether moderate or severe.
- 55% had been employed at the time of the injury but can no longer work.
- 50% have been hospitalized at least once since the original injury.
- 33% require help from others, whether family or health professionals, to manage everyday activities.
- 29% no longer feel satisfied with their lives.
- 29% turn to alcohol or illegal drugs for relief.
- 12% live in nursing homes or other group homes because they can’t live independently.
What Rights Do I Have if Someone or Something Else Caused the Brain Injury?
A moderate to severe TBI can have an enormous detrimental effect on someone’s life, whether in the long term or permanently. If someone or something else was responsible for the accident that caused the injury, the injured person (the plaintiff) has options to seek money damages. Here are two factors that affect that process and why working with an experienced brain injury attorney is vital to pursue those remedies.
- Statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the legal time frame for the plaintiff to start a lawsuit seeking damages. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the doors to the courthouse are closed. In New York, the statute of limitations for general negligence claims including brain injuries is three years from the date of the accident. There is a much shorter statute of limitations for claims against municipalities or for claims alleging medical malpractice. An experienced brain injury attorney can guide the plaintiff through filing within the required time limits.
- Comparative negligence. This is another factor that can play a big role in brain injury lawsuits. Different states view comparative negligence differently. New York follows something known as pure comparative negligence. This means that even if the plaintiff is 99% at fault for the crash resulting in a TBI, they can still receive 1% of the damages awarded. For example, let’s say the TBI happened during a car crash. The other driver was under the influence of alcohol. But the plaintiff ran a red light. A jury might allocate 30% of the fault to the plaintiff. If awarded $200,000, they’d receive only $140,000, or $200,000 minus 30%. This can motivate the attorneys for the other driver to try and assign as much blame to the plaintiff as possible.
What Should I Do if I’ve Suffered a Brain Accident from an Accident in New York and Face Long-Term Implications?
Brain injuries can occur from even relatively minor collisions. If you have suffered a brain injury, it is important that you consult with a doctor who treats such injuries. If not, do so immediately. Ask your doctor to explain the long-term implications for your specific injury, as TBIs vary from person to person in terms of outcomes.
Then call Greenspan & Greenspan Injury Lawyers at 914-946-2500 for a free initial consultation with one of our White Plains, NY, personal injury attorneys. Every brain injury case is unique. Our team of knowledgeable, experienced personal injury attorneys can walk through your specifics and provide advice for the best approach to getting positive outcomes.
It is very important that you do not speak with the insurance company representatives or lawyers for the person responsible for the crash. Their goal is to get you to admit as much fault as possible for the crash so they won’t have to pay damages. Another tactic is proposing a settlement that sounds good at first but is much lower than what you might be eligible for. Refer any communications to your attorney.