West Chester Brain Injury Attorney
Brain injuries can result in severe, long-lasting disabilities for victims. Unfortunately, these injuries happen regularly due to the careless or negligent actions of others. At Wilk Law, our team is here to help if you need a West Chester Brain injury attorney by your side. If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the actions of somebody else, we want to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Let us get to work on your case immediately.
What Is a Brain Injury?
Saying the brain is a vital organ is an understatement. It’s by far the most complex organ in the human body. So complex, in fact, that we know very little about how this soft, three-pound organ works. But it’s clear that the brain is the command center for nearly all bodily functions, including movement, thought, sensory processing, cognition, feelings, and more.
As such a critical and delicate organ, the brain is encased in the skull and lined with three thin membranes called meninges to protect it from physical damage. The skull cavity is also filled with cerebrospinal fluid to cushion the brain from sudden or violent jolts.
But despite all these protective measures, the brain is still susceptible to injury. “Brain injury” is an umbrella term for any physical damage to the brain. Most brain injuries are caused by repeated or heavy hits to the head.
Brain injuries in West Chester, PA, vary widely in severity and immutability and have a long list of causes, implications, and treatments depending on their nature.
Common Types of Head and Brain Injuries
Generally, there are two types of brain injuries: traumatic and non-traumatic. Here’s a look at these two categories of brain injuries, highlighting how they occur and how they affect the brain:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries occur when the skull is subjected to high external forces. Most TBIs are associated with vehicular accidents, falls, collisions with objects, sports injuries, and physical assault. TBIs are the most common type of brain injury. According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries happen every year in the US.
Here are some examples of TBI:
Concussions are the most common traumatic brain injuries. They occur when the brain rapidly rocks back and forth inside the skull following a powerful blow to the head. Concussions affect the normal brain functions and can have short-term and long-term effects. This type of injury is common among athletes, particularly wrestlers, boxers, and football players.
- Skull Fracture
A skull fracture is a penetrating brain injury. When hit by a sharp object or a large enough force, the skull bones can fracture, sending bone fragments into the skull that pierce the meninges or brain tissues. However, mild or shallow skull fractures may not reach the brain.
- Hematoma and Brain Hemorrhage
Intracranial hematoma is a condition where blood from a ruptured blood vessel pools in the skull. Hemorrhage means the leaking of blood from a blood vessel. Hematoma is a life-threatening condition that can lead to permanent brain damage.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
This is a brain injury where axons, the long connecting nerve fibers of the brain, get sheared or torn when the brain rotates inside the skull. DAI often causes extensive damage to the brain, sending the patient into a coma.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Non-traumatic or acquired brain injuries are caused by internal factors such as low blood or oxygen circulation, blood clot, or exposure to toxins. Although, in some cases, acquired brain injuries are the secondary results of prior traumatic injuries. For instance, intracranial hematoma caused by trauma to the head can eventually lead to stroke.
In other cases, non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by completely unrelated circumstances such as near-fatal drowning, breathing toxic air, carbon dioxide poisoning, ingesting large amounts of heavy metals such as lead, and metabolic disturbances.
What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Injury?
Can you tell if you or your loved one in West Chester, PA, has a brain injury? You certainly can; brain injury symptoms are rather peculiar and unmistakable. However, the symptoms of brain injury vary widely depending on these three factors:
- The type of brain injury
- The severity of the injury
- The part of the brain that has been injured
Non-traumatic brain injuries are even more nuanced. In addition to other factors, the symptoms of these types of brain injuries depend on the cause of the injury and the extent of the associated brain damage. In other words, the symptoms of acquired brain injuries vary on a case-by-case basis. So, for now, we’ll focus on identifying traumatic brain injuries.
Given how versatile the brain is, signs of brain injury usually manifest as a combination of physical, sensory, cognitive, behavioral, and mental symptoms. Here’s a list of TBI symptoms categorized by level of severity:
Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of balance
- Fatigue and general physical weakness
- Sensory issues (blurred vision, bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, etc.)
- High sensitivity to light, smell, or sound
- Dilated pupils
- Trouble concentrating, thinking, and remembering things
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Mood swings and behavioral changes
- Occasional loss of consciousness for a few minutes at a time
Symptoms of Moderate or Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
- Unbearable headaches
- Convulsions or seizures
- Profound confusion and loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Trouble sleeping or waking up
- Clear fluid or blood draining from ears or nose
- Frequent loss of consciousness for several minutes at a time (may lead to coma)
- Unusual behavior
- Numbness or tingling of the skin, legs, or arms
Note that in some cases, symptoms may appear immediately after sustaining a brain injury, while in others, symptoms may take weeks or months to become apparent. And only a medical exam can tell for sure that someone has a brain injury. If you suspect brain injury from any of the abovementioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. A neurologist will likely perform the following tests, depending on the severity of the symptoms:
- Neurological evaluation: This checks sensory, cognitive, and motor functions.
- Imaging tests: CT or MRI scans check for signs of brain injury or damage.
- Blood test: The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator (BTI) checks for specific biomarkers in the blood that might indicate TBI.
Common Causes of Serious Head Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. At Wilk Law, our team has extensive experience helping clients recover compensation after they sustain a brain injury due to the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Boating accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and fall incidents
- Construction accidents
- Product defect incidents
- Medical or surgical errors
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional falls account for 29.9% of TBI-related deaths, making falls the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, particularly among children and older adults. The second most common cause of TBI is motor vehicle crashes.
The neck is not strong enough to keep the head from hitting the hard floor during an accidental fall. So, it’s common to sustain mild, moderate, or even severe traumatic brain injuries after falling forward or backward. Most accidental falls result from slipping on slippery floors or loose rugs or tripping on unseen hazards such as buckled tiles, uneven steps, and electrical cords.
Motor vehicle accidents, including head-on, rear-end, T-bone, and rollover collisions, can easily cause brain injuries, even when wearing seat belts. We also see a lot of head and brain injuries in pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders after a road crash.
Another common cause of brain injuries is accidents during sporting and recreational activities such as skiing, boxing, and ball games.
Lastly, violence can result in brain injury. Incidences of assault, domestic violence, and child abuse with blows, cuts, or gunshots to the head can lead to a variety of traumatic brain injuries.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
From a broader legal perspective, a brain injury can be a direct result of negligence. For instance, brain injuries stemming from assaults and acts of violence, slip and fall accidents, foul play in sports, motor vehicle accidents, or construction work can be traced back to a negligent assailant, property manager, sportsperson, driver, or construction project manager.
And some non-traumatic brain injuries can be the basis of personal injury claims in medical malpractice and gross negligence cases.
If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, compromised quality of life, wrongful death, and more. But you must have a reasonable claim to make your case. To that end, here are five key factors to consider before filing a brain injury lawsuit:
1. Did you sustain the brain injury as a direct result of an accident?
The cause is the first consideration when suing for brain injury. To make a viable personal injury claim, the injury must be caused by an accident, not an underlying health or genetic condition.
2. Was the accident someone else’s fault?
If the accident was caused by someone else (a reckless driver, inconsiderate sports coach, negligent doctor/surgeon, etc.), you might be eligible for personal injury compensation. The at-fault party could even be an institution, company, or government agency.
3. Did that someone owe you a duty of care?
You can only prove negligence of the at-fault’s party if they owed you a duty of care, which they breached, causing the accident. In other words, did the at-fault party act with the due diligence expected of someone in their position? If not, that constitutes negligence.
A good example is a driver ignoring traffic lights and causing a car crash in which you or your loved one sustains a brain injury.
4. Have you incurred losses due to the brain injury?
Personal injury or tort laws aim to compensate plaintiffs for damages/losses incurred following acts of civil wrongdoings. So, the brain injury must have caused you damages in one way or another in order to get compensated. The damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.
5. Can you prove that those losses are directly related to the injury?
Finally, you must prove that those damages or losses are indeed related to the brain injury. For instance, the medical expenses must be linked to treatments, prescriptions, and therapies for the particular brain injury.
How Will an Attorney Help a Brain Injury Case?
Brain injury cases can become incredibly complex, particularly when going up against aggressive insurance carriers and at-fault parties. However, a skilled brain injury lawyer in West Chester will be able to handle every aspect of the claim on behalf of their client. This will include:
- Obtaining any documentation and evidence needed to prove liability
- Speaking to any eyewitnesses to the incident
- Working with trusted medical and economic experts who can evaluate the client and place value on the claim
- Vigorously negotiate with insurance carriers to recover total compensation
- Prepare the case for trial in front of a jury if necessary
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover For My Head Injury?
Victims of traumatic brain injuries should be able to recover various types of compensation from at-fault parties. This includes a range of economic damages, such as the following:
- Complete coverage of all medical bills
- Lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering
- Property damage expenses
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
We also want to note that brain injury victims in West Chester should be able to recover compensation for various types of non-economic losses, often termed “pain and suffering” damages. This can include compensation for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium for a spouse
What Kind of Evidence Will Help My Case?
Every personal injury case needs supporting evidence to validate the claim. Even after the at-fault party admits liability for brain injury, there’s still the question of justifying the amount of compensation.
The best way to go about justifying the claims in your case is by hiring a lawyer to gather and organize the relevant evidence. Here are the kinds of evidence commonly used to support brain injury compensation claims:
- Surveillance footage and photographs of the scene of the accident
- Medical records pertaining to the injury
- Witness and police statements
- Bank statements
- Expense reports, receipts, invoices, and bills
- Employer letter
Why Choose Wilk Law?
- At Wilk Law, not only do we possess the legal acumen necessary to provide quality representation, but we advocate ethically, aggressively, and passionately on behalf of our clients.
- We understand that every case is different, and we examine all the evidence to put together the most compelling claim necessary to present to the insurance carrier or personal injury jury.
- We take West Chester brain injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will have to worry about paying any legal fees until after we recover the compensation that they are entitled to.
West Chester, PA
Sticking with the topic of brain and head injuries, West Chester provides valuable resources and care for those suffering from TBI and other types of brain injuries. Check out these places if you or your loved one needs help treating or coping with brain injuries:
- Brandywine Valley Counseling and Neurofeedback Center
- Mid-Atlantic Concussion Alliance
- Main Line Health West Chester
- RSC Westchester Recreational Therapy
Contact Wilk Law Today
If you or somebody you care about has sustained a brain injury caused by the actions of another individual or entity in West Chester, Pennsylvania, reach out to the team at Wilk Law for help as soon as possible. Our attorneys want to get involved in your case quickly so that we can obtain the evidence needed to prove liability.
Let us handle the complex negotiations to help ensure that you recover the compensation you are entitled to. When you need a West Chester brain injury attorney, you can contact us online or call us at (855) 938-1757.
Some of the locations in and around Chester County our law firm serves includes West Chester, Coatesville, Downingtown, Philadelphia, Berwyn, Frazer, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Valley Forge, and more.