Traumatic brain injury (TBI) have devastating effects on the lives of the victims and their families. A traumatic brain injury may be immediately suspected due to life threatening injuries, an obvious head wound or unusual behavior. In a high percentage of cases, however, the effects of a brain injury do not show up until days or months after the accident. Motor vehicle accidents can result in brain injuries in situations where the crash at first glance appears insignificant.
Neuro-pychological evaluation is an assessment of how one’s brain functions, which indirectly yields information about the structural and functional integrity of your brain. The neuro-psychological evaluation involves an interview and the administration of tests. The tests are typically pencil and paper type tests. Some tasks might be self-reports meaning that they are completed by the patient with assistance from a technician, but the majority of the tests require administration by a neuro-psychologist or trained, skilled psychometrist. Neuro-psychological tests (unlike bedside cognitive and behavioral neurologic screens) are standardized, meaning that they are given in the same manner to all patients and scored in a similar manner time after time. An individual’s scores on tests are interpreted by comparing their score to that of healthy individuals of a similar demographic background (i.e., of similar age, education, gender, and/or ethnic background) and to expected levels of functioning. In this way, a neuro-psychologist can determine whether one’s performance on any given task represents a strength or weakness. Although individual scores are important, the neuro-psychologist looks at all of the data from the evaluation to determine a pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and, in turn, to understand more about how the brain is functioning.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Even when there has been no physical sign of head trauma, brain injury should not be ruled out. Brain contusion and bleeding within the brain may not be visible or apparent at the time of the accident. Brain injuries can also disrupt and impair nerve and neuron function. This can change the way a person thinks, acts, feels, and moves the body. Brain injury can also change the complex internal functions of the body, such as regulating body temperature; blood pressure; bowel and bladder control. These changes can be temporary or permanent. They may cause impairment or a complete inability to perform a function. Every brain injury is unique to the individual however, common symptoms include cognitive, physical, behavioral and emotional impairments.
It is important to note, there may or may not be loss of consciousness in a traumatic brain injury.
When the injured person does not look any different, it is unlikely for responsible insurance companies to willingly live up to their policy obligations. Some symptoms of brain injury are issues many of us experience at one time or another. This includes fatigue, lack of patience, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, sore neck, vision problems and un-predictable emotions. The difference is that for victims of brain injury, the symptoms are intense, deceptive and prolonged.
It is common to ignore the symptoms. No one wants to be disabled or would hope to be diagnosed with brain damage. Some car accident victims don’t become fully aware of the severity of their brain injury related impairments until they attempt to return to their normal routine.
Traumatic Brain Injuries – How are They Diagnosed?
The brain is the control centre for the body. It informs physical movement, social interaction, communication, emotions, cognitive processes, and behaviour. A brain injury can cause loss of function in one or more of the above areas. In order to determine the location and extent of damage or disability a full range of assessments and medical tests may be used. Included are:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (cat scan) – to show images of the brain to show physical damage
- Glasgow Coma Scale – to measure responses
- Neuropsychological Testing – to measure cognitive ability, speech, communication, thought processes, memory, motor and sensory function.
- Disability Rating Scale (DRS)
- Neuroimaging scans – Single photon emission tomography (SPECT) to assist in traumatic brain injury determination
- Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET)
These diagnostic tests are necessary to determine the areas and extent of injuries. The correct medical intervention can be partially or fully dependent on this information.
Tests and medical documents are used to support claims for financial compensation through insurance. Seemingly endless tests are strenuous and can be frustrating for the person undergoing them. The insurance company often requests the same tests be administered again from a different provider. The injured person may be required to travel long distances or stay overnight out of town in order to reach the appointment. Tests such as neuropsychological assessments can take 8 hours or more to complete. Already low energy levels are tapped to the limit. The burden of the injury and an unknown future can seem to take over every moment.
If the driver or passengers of the car have received a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle crash, their injuries should be covered under the driver’s no-fault insurance policy.
Through a tort claim, car accident victims whose brain injuries, are caused by the careless behavior of another person, are eligible to receive compensation for their losses and the costs of future care from the at fault drivers insurance company.
Tort claims for compensation must be applied for within the appropriate time period as set out in the statute of limitations for a personal injury accident. No fault accident claims must be initiated within 7 days of the accident.
The amount of compensation is dependent on the type of injury and the extent of disability. Insurance companies require documentation and proof of rights to benefits. People who show no outward signs of their injuries can be surprised to find the insurance company has placed them under surveillance. Insurance companies often paint the picture that because clients look physically healthy; they are well and, seek to prove that there is limited or no brain damage.
Families and loved ones may need to re-arrange their lives to take on the task of care-giving and life-long decision making. With mounting bills to think about, the challenges appear impossible. Even though financial benefits may be available for survivors of a traumatic brain injury, it can seem like a dim light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Based in Toronto, the Kahler Personal Injury lawyers are familiar with the far-reaching consequences of a serious brain injury. We have the financial resources to support families experiencing loss of income until the case has been settled. When a brain injury translates to loss of future earning capacity, we fight to ensure appropriate financial compensation is provided for ongoing rehabilitation, and life style. We understand the emotional support needed for family members dealing with the effects of a loved one’s brain injury.
Immediately after an accident, it is impossible to predict, exactly how a serious brain injury will manifest. It takes time. There will be many challenges. As an injured person you need the support of someone you can trust. Our Personal Injury Lawyers are armed with experience and knowledge to help you find the answers you need. We have represented thousands of cases and secured millions of dollars for our severely injured brain injured clients. We stand beside you every step of the way, to present the facts of your particular case and win the benefits you deserve. We do not get paid until we win your case. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can help you find it.