The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.
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My child’s brain injury from a car crash left her with special needs. Can I make the at-fault driver pay for therapy?
Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries in car crashes often need lifetimes of ongoing care. They can remain locked into the developmental stage they were in at the time of the collision, never making progress in their abilities to read, speak or care for themselves. Some children who suffer TBIs regress in their development or become paralyzed, creating even greater strains on their family’s resources.
Recognizing this, Virginia law allows insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits to include requests for money to pay for ongoing medical and personal care. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who can put parents in touch with brain injury and occupational therapy specialists will make it possible to predict the level of services a child with a TBI will need throughout his or her life. One result from such assessments will be an estimate of the cost of lifetime care, and that dollar amount will be included with demands for compensation and monetary damages.
How serious is a concussion as a brain injury?
Health care professionals currently have little ability to predict how serious a concussion will turn out to be. While everyone should now understand that a concussion is more than “getting your bell rung,” few recognize that the headaches, dizziness, slowed thinking and poor sleep a concussion produces can last for months or years. Further, suffering one concussion puts a person at increased risk for suffering another one whose debilitating symptoms stick around longer and disrupt everyday activities to an even greater extent.
As Virginia personal injury lawyers, my law firm colleagues and I advise every client who believes he or she has suffered a concussion to see a brain injury specialist and to follow through on any recommendations for therapy or follow-up visits. This is essential because the long-term effects of a concussion that seemed to have cleared up quickly can persist and worsen if left unaddressed.
My child suffered brain damage after falling into my neighbor’s pool. Can I sue?
As a Virginia personal injury lawyer, I’m tempted to answer this question with several technical terms like “negligence per se” and “premises liability.” The less legalistic response is that kids are drawn to pools and pool owners must take steps to limit kids’ unsupervised access to their pools.
Complying with building codes and, for places like hotels and rec centers, posting lifeguards go far toward meeting the duties to protect children from nearly drowning and suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen. But parents who see their child almost die and never fully recover from falling into a pool that lacks proper fencing or a cover in the winter definitely have grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Succeeding with a lawsuit involving a pool accident can require doing extensive research on what local ordinances require of pool owners, as well as investigating the activities of everyone who could have kept the child away from the pool. Partnering with a Virginia plaintiff’s attorney will ensure that the necessary answers are found.
How Do I Recognize Whether My Loved One Suffered a Traumatic Brain injury (TBI)?
Noticing a brain injury isn't very easy. The signs of a traumatic brain injury are, quite often, subtle and vary from person to person. To matters more diffucult, the symptoms may not appear right away and can surface weeks or months after an accidnet. The following are common symptoms of a TBI that you should be on the look out for:
- Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions;
- Difficulty in forming thoughts, speaking, acting, or reading;
- Getting easily confused or forgetting certain locations (e.g. your home, your place of employment, etc.);
- Changes in mood (e.g., suddenly feeling depressed or angry);
- Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions;
- Blurred vision; and
- Ringing in the ears.
Can an individual with a traumatic brain injury be required to undergo an examination by an employer to whom they are applying for a job?
Not until the individual has been offered employment. Once a job has been offered, an individual may be required to undergo a medical examination if it is job related and relates to the activities of the business.
Are people with traumatic brain injuries required to disclose their disabilities to employers to whom they are applying for a job or with whom they have a job?
Employees only need to disclose a disability if they need an accommodation to perform an essential function of their job. Applicants don’t have to disclose a disability on an application or in an interview unless they need accommodation to assist them in the application or the interview.
What is a traumatic brain injury and what do the different grades of severity mean?
A "traumatic brain injury" is an injury to the brain that disrupts its function. The Brain Injury Association of America defines it as "an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology caused by an external force". A "mild" traumatic brain injury involves a brief or no loss of consciousness. The individual may seem dazed or confused at the time of the injury. Symptoms may include headache, irritability, sleep disturbance, fatigue, memory issues or depression. The symptoms may last for days or persist for extended periods. A "moderate" traumatic brain injury involves a loss of consciousness from a few minutes to a few hours. The individual may experience confusion which lasts for days to weeks. Impairments of behavior, cognition and physician abilities may last for months or become permanent. A "severe" traumatic brain injury typically involves extended periods of unconsciousness lasting days to weeks. Victims of severe traumatic brain injury may make some recovery, but they typically suffer significant permanent impairments.
What do I have to do to prove I have a brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury is a unique type of injury because it is not readily visible. It is not like suffering a broken arm or facial laceration where the injury is immediately apparent. In order to substantiate your brain injury, medical records are the best proof so seek medical care. Medical testing may include CT scans, PET scans and MRI's. Make sure that the results of these tests are included in your medical records. Once medical records are obtained, medical experts can testify about how the injury was sustained.
What is anoxic brain injury?
An anoxic brain injury occurs when your brain is deprived of oxygen and this leads to brain damage. When oxygen is prevented from entering the brain partially or completely, brain cells can die which can lead to permanent, life-altering brain injury. The following causes, along with the details of the specific incidenc, may be grounds for an anoxic brain injury claim:
Medical negligence or surgical mistake
Near-drowning accident (sometimes leading to premises liability claims)
Strangulation, choking, or suffocation. For example, a defective product like a crib or stroller that injures your child.
What are the long-term effects of a brain injury?
There are mild and severe forms of brain injuries with side effects that can last for just a brief period or for the rest of your life. In general, the more severe the brain injury, the higher chance you have suffered a permanent, debilitating traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some of the long-term effects may include epilepsy or seizures, Alzheimer's disease, dementia pugilistica, post-traumatic dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and other problems with motor skills, among others. A TBI may require the assistance of a nurse or medical professional on a daily basis. A mild brain injury is less severe but could lead to reduced motor functions and memory loss.