A myth persists that concussions are not serious injuries. Part of the reason why people believe this is because emergency rooms commonly send patients who are concussed home without substantial treatment. In reality, things like mild concussion, mild head trauma, and sports concussions have the potential to result in serious ramifications for victims.
Various factors have led medical professionals to minimize concussions. For one, medical professionals are often hesitant to tell patients they have incurred traumatic brain injuries. Many individuals who are hospitalized following accidents like car crashes or falls are dealing other life-endangering injuries at the same time. Medical professionals also often lack the time to adequately diagnose head injuries. Concussions are often dismissed as being no big deal. They are often referred to as “mild” head injuries, which fails to address the future challenges that arise from the condition. The studies done into brain injuries lacked any significant focus on these secondary implications until as recently as 2010.
Challenges TBI Victims Face
“While a patient might improve from the initial brain injury,” says Richard Jaffe, attorney at the Law Office of Cohen and Jaffe LLP, “this does not mean that the patient will experience a complete recovery.”
Another challenge faced by patients with concussions involves locating healthcare providers who have an adequate understanding of the impairment. “New York has a small number of medical professionals who specialize in traumatic brain injuries,” says Jaffe. “This means that when people seek medical care following head injuries, they are often dismissed even if they present signs of lasting medical complications like headaches, memory issues, sleep difficulty, or visual disturbances. Not only do many medical providers lack complex understanding about the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries, they lack the requisite contact to make referrals to the appropriate specialists.”
Why You Need a Knowledgeable Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
Jaffe’s legal representation has been nationally recognized. As the science concerning traumatic brain injuries develops, Jaffe remains up-to-date on the relevant scientific literature. Jaffe says, “I read certain reports about brain injuries to both inform myself and other lawyers as well as to make sure that we are equipped with the best chances possible of obtaining the results that accident victims deserve.”
While the matter is nuanced, Jaffe’s message is a basic one. A better job must be done in helping those individuals who have incurred brain injuries. One of the difficulties for the medical community in treating concussions is that no two head injuries are exactly the same. Instead, each head injury varies based on countless factors. For example, the severity of a brain injury will be influenced by the force of the collision, the age of the victim, and the location of the injury, among others.
“Fortunately, I’ve been able to help countless accident victims who have sought my assistance believing they had only neck injuries and had no idea that they had actually incurred brain injuries until I referred them to a brain injury specialist. Emergency rooms are particularly bad at diagnosing traumatic brain injuries and some studies have even suggested that as much as 50% of traumatic brain are undiagnosed at emergency rooms.”
This problem is made even more challenging to address as the result of amnesia, which is a common side effect of accidents and can be a clue that a brain has incurred trauma. Many people, however, think of amnesia as it is often depicted in popular culture; an individual wakes up one day and cannot remember his or her name. In reality, the fictional depiction of amnesia is substantially different from real amnesia. The most common type of amnesia following head injury often involves gaps in recollection. Sometimes, accident victims are not even aware that they have amnesia.
Effects of Misdiagnosed Brain Injuries
Brain injuries that are not properly diagnosed or treated can lead to various issues for the victims of accidents beyond mental and physical ones. Lacking proper neuro-assessment following an accident can impact other critical areas of life like employment, earning capacity, enjoyment of life, marriages and other intimate relationships, and the opportunity for fair and just compensation following a legal dispute.
“As a trial lawyer, I focus on making sure that my clients are sufficiently evaluated by medical professionals. I also engage in a tireless examination of my client’s cognitive and emotional functions before and after an accident.” This means that pre-injury discovery including birth records, transcripts addressing education, and standardized test scores might be used to establish the baseline of an accident victim’s pre-injury level of function. This baseline can be used for comparison in light of post-injury diagnosis by a medical professional like a psychiatrist, neurologist, neuropsychologist, or other specialist. Even people who did not excel academically might have evidence of greater mental intellect in their academic records. Both missed and under-diagnosed traumatic brain injuries will have a huge legal and medical impact on accident victims.
Appreciating the defenses that might arise from the at-fault party in your pursuit of a personal injury claim is critical. The defense might use test results that are detached from a victim’s baseline intelligence. Instead, test results are only critical in connection to a person’s previous brain function. Average test results that might suggest a person is functioning adequately can be particularly misleading if an individual had a higher cognitive function before an accident. “In my years helping accident victims, I have encountered various tricks the defense uses to misrepresent the seriousness of a brain injury,” says Jaffe. With the assistance of the right defense attorney, however, it is often possible to navigate these tricks and have such evidence thrown out.
Until the public has a better appreciation that concussions are brain injuries and often require greater care and study, brain injuries will have a greater negative impact on the victims of head trauma. Hopefully, initiatives and events like brain awareness injury month can provide greater opportunity for increased awareness about what traumatic brain injuries are while also promoting techniques that will reduce the risk of accidents.
Contact a Long Island Traumatic Brain Injury Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to negligence, contact a compassionate Long Island brain injury attorney at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Free consultation, 516-358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900