In the last few years, we’ve seen increasing awareness of the lasting consequences of serious brain injuries, in part due to high-profile cases connected to the NFL. For those who have recently suffered a brain injury, though, it can be hard to think about what the future will hold, even though planning for long-term care needs is an important step.
In particular, if you’re currently involved in a legal case seeking to recover damages after incurring a brain injury, it’s vital that your legal team consult appropriate medical professionals to ensure the calculation of damages will cover your future care needs.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) vary widely in severity and can result in many different symptoms. Among the most common symptoms of TBI, however, are headaches and dizziness, memory loss, lack of concentration, and agitation and other personality changes. Symptoms of TBI may be temporary, lasting for weeks or months after the initial injury, or may result in permanent impairment, which is why it’s so important to work with a lawyer well-versed in TBI cases.
Another major concern surrounding TBIs is that, even if a patient largely recovers in the short-term, concussions and other such injuries may be linked to a higher risk of dementia later in life. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know who will actually develop dementia down the road, but clearly this heightened risk should be taken into account when awarding damages.
Appropriate damages might include funding for particular interventions that could reduce the risk of dementia, regular evaluations, and care for those with more advanced memory loss, as many adults with dementia go on to require round-the-clock at home or institutional care.
Uncertain long-term outcomes can make it hard to negotiate a fair brain injury settlement, but that shouldn’t be used to punish the injured party. Rather, such uncertainty may be included in the broader pain-and-suffering claim, since patients and their families need to live with the possibility that such an injury will lead to a compromised future. It may also be used as part of a more concrete argument about loss; not only is the injured party no longer able to function as they could prior to the injury, but they may actually face even greater losses down the road as a result. This injury, one might claim, isn’t done wreaking havoc on their life.
One advantage that lawyers do have at their disposal when negotiating brain injury settlements today is that there is a strong body of research into the field. We have a greater understanding of risk factors leading to dementia, as well as imaging and autopsies of brains that have suffered such injuries, leading to visible neurodegeneration. Such research can be used to make a powerful case and even counter the idea that brain injuries don’t cause visible damage. The damage is visible, but only as a ticking time bomb set inside the body.
No one deserves to live with the uncertainty that comes with a TBI, but those who have been wrongly harmed deserve to be compensated in a way that addresses both their needs now and in the future. Don’t discount what might come next. You’ve been made uniquely vulnerable and you have the chance to hold the responsible parties culpable for that.
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