Representing St. Louis TBI Accident Victims
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most serious types of injury. TBIs often occur after a jolt, blow, bump, crash, or other head injury that causes damage to the brain. Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for countless deaths, hospitalizations, and disabilities each year in the United States; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 52,000 people die annually from TBIs. In addition, the CDC reports that TBIs are responsible for 275,000 hospitalizations each year.
If you or someone you love suffered a TBI in an accident or traumatic event, and you have reason to believe someone else was at fault, contact The Dixon Injury Firm. Our St. Louis traumatic brain injury lawyers can investigate your claim and determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury case. We understand the serious nature of these types of catastrophic injuries and are ready to fight for the fair recovery you are owed. To date, our firm has secured more than $50 million on behalf of injured individuals and the families of those wrongfully killed throughout Missouri.
Brain Injury Facts & Statistics
Traumatic brain injuries account for about 30% of injury-related deaths in America. According to data from the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death from brain injuries. This varies by age group. For example, in children aged four and under, assault was the leading cause of brain injury death, as it accounted for 44% of cases. For children age 5 to 14, however, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 47% of brain injury deaths. That number shrinks as the population gets older; in older groups, self-inflicted injuries and fall-related brain injuries become more common.
Here are some traumatic brain injury statistics compiled from government research, neuroscientists, and consumer safety studies:
- Millions of Americans suffer head and brain injuries each year. Most of these injuries are relatively minor because the skull typically provides adequate protection for the brain. Symptoms of minor brain injuries usually (but not always) fade on their own.
- Car accidents and truck accidents are the leading cause of all head injuries, followed by sports accidents and falls.
- Traffic accidents account for almost half of the approximately 500,000 head injuries serious enough to require hospitalization every year. Altogether, traumatic brain injuries cause around one third of all injury deaths in America.
- Scientific evidence shows that brain damage can be caused by head injuries even when there has been no loss of consciousness. The result of these injuries can not only be physical disability but emotional, intellectual, and social trauma.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries are any injury to the brain caused by an accident or violent event involving direct trauma to the head and/or brain. TBIs can range from mild to moderate to severe. A mild traumatic brain injury is better known as a concussion. A concussion causes the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull, possibly hitting against the inside of the skull. This can create chemical changes in the brain by stretching and damaging brain cells. Doctors are still learning exactly how to define a concussion, as well as how to know when a patient has fully recovered.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are various types of traumatic brain injuries and head injuries. These are classified in several different ways.
Generally speaking, head injuries are typically classified as:
- Open Head Injuries: These occur when an object fractures or penetrates the skull. In a car crash, for example, an open head injury could occur when a driver or passenger goes through the windshield or when a foreign object penetrates the skull.
- Closed Head Injuries: This type of head injury can occur when an accident or object causes a strong blow to the head but the skull does not break. In the case of a car accident, this could happen to a driver or passenger who hits the steering wheel or another component of the car.
If you suffer from either type of head injury, there is a very serious possibility of long-term brain damage. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are vital to this type of injury.
Additionally, there are numerous different types of traumatic brain injury, including but not limited to:
- Concussion: Concussions are the most common and minor form of TBI. However, concussions can still have serious and lasting effects. If you believe you or someone else suffered a concussion, be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Depressed Skull Fracture: Because the skull is the first major line of defense for the brain from the external environment, it is also prone to injury. Any crack or breaks on the skull can lead to serious brain damage or infection.
- Contusion: A brain contusion is a specific area of the brain where there are damaged brain tissues and ruptured blood vessels. A brain contusion happens when a part of the brain is damaged due to a skull fracture or from the sudden impact of an accident.
- Hematoma: When a major blood vessel is affected or damaged due to an impact, it can lead to bleeding into or around the brain tissue. A hematoma can either be epidural (between skull and dura), subdural (between dura and arachnoid membrane), or intracerebral (within the brain).
- Anoxia/Hypoxia: The absence of or decreased blood supply to the brain due to disrupted blood vessels can lead to brain damage. It can mostly be observed in persons with open wounds or significant blood loss. Brain anoxia can lead to death in just a few minutes.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brian Injuries
Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can either be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the type and severity of the injury. Aside from evident concussion, open wounds, or hematoma, there are many other symptoms that can be observed. These symptoms are relevant most especially when the brain damage is gradually worsening.
Major symptoms of TBI include:
- Disorientation with unwillingness to be examined or moved, expletive talking, and irritability if disturbed
- Silent, disinterested, sluggish mental state (abulia) with blank facial expression alternating with irascibility
- A reduced ability of the general senses or mild generalized weakness on one side of the body
- Confusion and inattention, poor performance on simple mental tasks, and fluctuating or slightly flawed orientation
- Repetitive vomiting, frequent involuntary eye movements, drowsiness, and inability to balance
- Diabetes insipidus or excessive thirst and excreting, as well as severely diluted urine even when the person isn’t drinking many fluids
TBIs of this degree are often complicated or worsened by drug or liquor intake, and clinically inapparent spine injury may also be present.
Results in the neurological examination can determine what part of the brain is affected. Confirmation of traumatic brain injury can be done using imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
Brain Injury Prevention
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury. Below are just some recommendations to better protect yourself and others.
When driving, obey traffic regulations at all times. Wear a seatbelt when riding in car and wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle to reduce the possibility of acquiring a TBI. Use a child safety seat or booster seat for children to help reduce their risk.
When engaging in physical activities, such as sports, wear proper safety gear, such as helmets, and know your limits. Always use caution and avoid risky behaviors that could lead to a fall or other injurious accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment & Care
Treatment and management of the diverse symptoms of TBI require the identification and treatment of persistent headache, depression, insomnia, irritability, and lightheadedness. Medical consult and prescribed medications must be given immediately to prevent further harm.
Most Common St. Louis Metro Area Accidents Resulting in Head Trauma
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)—defined as brain cell damage sustained by forceful jolts or blows to the head—may result from external forces or internal impacts. Open TBI occurs when outside objects, such as bullets or shrapnel penetrate the skull and damage brain tissue. Unfortunately, self-inflicted gunshot wounds during suicide attempts account for many open traumatic brain injuries in the United States.
Closed traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, result from external forces that internally propel the brain into the skull. Car accidents and falls are the most common examples. These injuries frequently worsen without immediate medical intervention due to brain swelling and internal bleeding, which cuts off the brain’s essential oxygen supply.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), these accidents most commonly cause unintentional traumatic brain injuries:
- Falls – Falling accidents are the leading cause of brain trauma among children and older adults. Elevated falls also frequently account for St. Louis construction site and workplace head injuries. Slip and fall accidents may suddenly propel claimants backward, which prevents victims from breaking their falls. Likewise, pedestrian and bicycling traffic accidents frequently result in traumatic brain injuries following harsh pavement impacts. Elderly Americans in nursing homes also struggle to maintain balance and break their falls, which may result in brain trauma, and unsupervised children may fall from playgrounds.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Car crashes account for the majority of serious traumatic brain injuries among teenagers and adults. High-speed collisions (or low-speed truck and bus accidents) often propel vehicle occupants forward. This force pushes the brain into the front of the skull. The sudden backward force associated with airbag deployment and seatbelts may also result in rear brain contusions. If airbags didn’t deploy or passengers weren’t wearing seatbelts, they may suffer from serious skull fractures after impacting steering wheels, windshields, or dashboards. Many St. Louis and Metro East car and truck crashes also cause fatal or life-altering TBIs if the crash force irreparably damages the brain stem.
- Assaults – Physical assaults resulting in direct blows to the head often cause serious traumatic brain injuries causing memory loss and sensory deficits. In addition to these physical traumas, assault victims may suffer from emotional disorders their brain injuries exacerbate. Experienced St. Louis TBI lawyers might help injured claimants recover compensatory and punitive damages for criminal assaults causing brain trauma.
- Drowning Accidents – The brain requires constant oxygen, and brain cells begin dying after only 4 minutes without oxygenated blood. Negligent supervision at St. Louis pools and rivers may result in acquired hypoxic or anoxic brain injuries. These injuries often cause cognitive disabilities, comas, and brain death.
- Striking Accidents – St. Louis construction site workers most frequently suffer from striking accidents; although, exploding household products and baseball spectators may experience stuck-by accidents. These events can result in open traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, and brain contusions.
- Medical Malpractice – Birthing, prescription drug, and anesthesia errors frequently result in acquired brain trauma. Many of these cases involve potential medical malpractice and physician liability. However, claimants must act quickly to file medical malpractice and wrongful death claims in such cases.
- Sports injuries
- Chemical/toxic exposure injuries
- Lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
- Birth injuries
The above events often involve third-party negligence or intentional conduct. Individuals and corporate entities may be responsible for all damages associated with the trauma. Negligent drivers, criminal offenders, and dangerous product manufacturers might have to pay your medical bills and lost wages. Discuss your rights to recover damages after a traumatic brain injury with our St. Louis attorneys for free.
Diagnosing and Categorizing Post-Accident Brain Injuries
Claimants complaining of head trauma generally undergo an initial test based on the Glasgow Coma Scale, and if necessary, CT scans and nerve testing to confirm internal trauma. Medical professionals generally group traumatic brain injuries into mild, moderate, and severe categories based on the patient’s test results.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild brain trauma generally results in these immediate symptoms:
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting
- Confusion and memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Temporary blackouts or lost consciousness (generally less than a few minutes)
- Sudden irritability
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
These symptoms may abate within a few minutes, but they indicate more serious internal trauma. Claimants with mild TBI may develop secondary conditions, including post-concussion syndrome, epilepsy (seizure disorder), and second impact syndrome. Even if doctors discharge you and you feel fine in the weeks following the accident, wait until all symptoms have abated before opening settlement discussions with liable insurers.
Moderate and Severe TBI
High-speed car accidents, pedestrian impacts, and falls from a significant height often result in more serious brain trauma with long-term consequences. Most patients require extended hospital stays and may remain in a coma or vegetative state.
Symptoms of severe brain injuries include:
- Prolonged blackouts and comas (generally a few hours, days, or months)
- Loss of muscle control
- Extremely slurred speech and language confusion
- Amnesia and short-term memory difficulties
- Inability to focus or perform complex tasks
- Persistent and worsening headaches and migraines
- Vomiting and seizures
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Skull fractures (adults)
- Sleep difficulties
- Unusual behavior and personality changes
- Clear fluids (brain fluids) draining from nose or ears
Many severe traumatic brain injuries result in immediate fatalities due to brain stem trauma or brain death, which occurs when patients on life-support no longer register brain function. Families must make difficult decisions during this process while simultaneously dealing with mounting medical expenses and liable insurers.
Compassionate St. Louis traumatic brain injury lawyers might ease the burden on families by explaining their rights and handling administrative matters. Dedicated wrongful death attorneys might also protect families from harassing collections agents and help loved ones fight for civil justice.
The Cost of Treating Severe Brain Injuries in St. Louis
All potential brain injuries necessitate emergency medical intervention. Even mild brain bleeds may result in brain compression and worsening symptoms in the hours following the accident. Some claimants completely recover from concussions, a common form of mild TBI, within a few weeks. However, others continue suffering from post-concussive symptoms. Unlike broken bones, traumatic brain injuries involve billions of neurons and complex brain chemical changes. Every patient presents with slightly different symptoms and responds differently to a treatment.
Claimants with mild concussions may recover with over-the-counter pain medications and rest, while patients with severe brain trauma may require 24/7 nursing care and expensive cognitive rehabilitation. Injured claimants with moderate brain injuries often require a combination of therapies, including anti-seizure medications, pain management, and rehabilitation. Certain hospitals specialize in providing cognitive rehab, but patients might also require dedicated speech and physical therapists following serious brain trauma.
Medical bills alone may cost TBI claimants tens of thousands in monthly medical bills, not including lost wages and employment benefits. Victims of St. Louis and Metro East accidents resulting in severe brain trauma often incur hundreds of thousands in hospital and dedicated nursing costs each year. Many claimants with serious brain trauma might obtain six or seven-figure settlements from liable insurers with the help of dedicated St. Louis traumatic brain injury lawyers.
Recovering Financial Damages from Liable Insurers for Traumatic Brain Injury Damages
Sudden head injuries often result in mounting medical expenses, lost wages, emotional suffering, physical pain, and lost enjoyment of life.
Claimants might recover these damages and more from liability parties and their insurers, including compensation for:
- Lost earning capacity and promotional opportunities
- Lost fringe benefits, such as 401K contributions and paid health insurance
- Home nursing and companionship care
- Household help
- Medications and medical devices
- Medical transportation expenses, including necessary travel expenses to cognitive rehabilitation clinics
- Damages for spouses and dependent children
Settlement demands may include requests for past damages, such as the initial hospital stay and future anticipated losses experts can help calculate. After receiving your prognosis, dedicated St. Louis TBI attorneys might prepare settlement letters for liability insurers. This may include your workers’ compensation provider, auto insurance companies, property insurers, or commercial insurers protecting liable corporations.
Most TBI accident claims in St. Louis settle with liable insurance companies, as individuals rarely have the resources necessary to fully compensate injured claimants for their losses. Experienced brain injury litigators may also sue negligent parties—including drivers, property owners, and product manufacturers—in court if insurers refuse to offer fair settlements.
Initial brain injury settlement demands generally include two calculations. The first calculation requests compensation for the claimant’s past and future economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost income. The second calculation requests non-economic damage payouts for your pain and suffering. Both Illinois and Missouri allow claimants to demand pain and suffering damages and ruled that placing caps on these damages, as other states have done, is unconstitutional.
This means victims of negligently or intentionally inflicted traumatic brain injuries may request financial compensation to cover all their frustration, pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life associated with the trauma. Most insurers base pain and suffering damages on the claimant’s overall economic losses, but brain injuries frequently involve higher pain and suffering awards. If the underlying conduct involves criminal liability, for example, assault or drunk driving accident, experienced St. Louis TBI litigators may request punitive damages directly from negligent parties.
What Is the Value of a TBI Injury Claim?
Estimating the value of compensation due to a TBI survivor is complicated. Traumatic brain injury cases are different from most other types of personal injury claims. TBIs are medically complex injuries and aren’t always immediately diagnosed. Most of the time, it’s unclear what the long-term impact of a TBI will be. In some cases, symptoms will improve or resolve completely while other times, a traumatic brain injury can result in lasting cognitive problems, memory issues, vision problems, seizures, or other permanent changes. Some TBIs can require expensive surgeries and life-long medical treatment.
Additionally, some TBI survivors suffer permanent changes in personality, emotional stability, and intellect. These issues can have a profound effect on their lives and may require them to change professions or even completely stop working.
When your TBI was caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you deserve to receive compensation that will afford you the best medical treatment possible for years to come. If you’re filing a TBI lawsuit, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience in TBI cases and can accurately estimate the worth of a TBI claim.
Costs of Retaining a St. Louis Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
After suffering from sudden brain trauma, claimants and their families cannot generally afford expensive hourly legal fees. Studies indicate that many victims hesitate to contact personal injury attorneys because they’re afraid of hidden fees and costs. However, reputable brain injury law firms in St. Louis—such as the Dixon Injury Firm—accept viable cases on a contingency fee basis and never charge consultation fees. This arrangement means we don’t get paid unless you recover needed compensation for your negligently inflicted brain trauma.
Further, most claimants do not have any out-of-pocket costs. Our law firm may front all necessary investigative, expert, and litigation fees to maximize the value of your TBI award.
Consider the following example of common contingency fee agreements:
Initial Settlement Offer – $50,000
Final TBI Insurance Settlement – $1,000,000
Attorney’s Contingency Fee – $333,333 (33 percent of $1,000,000)
Remaining Balance = $666,667
Reimbursement for Case Costs = $50,000
Remaining Balance = $616,6667
Payment of Outstanding Medical/Disability Liens (if any) = $100,000
Total Client Take Home = $516,667
Our TBI attorneys take their fees and reimbursements directly from applicable settlements and/or jury verdicts, meaning injured clients might recover essential damages without any out-of-pocket costs. Most clients receive substantially higher traumatic brain injury awards, even after subtracting attorneys’ fees, when they retain experienced St. Louis brain injury litigators.
Why Hire a Traumatic Brian Injury Attorney?
Traumatic brain injuries require extensive medical care, and victims are often left with severe disabilities that require long-term and intensive therapy and treatment. This can become incredibly costly over the course of the victim’s lifetime, especially if he or she is unable to return to work and earn a living.
If your traumatic brain injury was caused by another person or party’s negligence, the negligent party is responsible for compensating you for your damage. These damages might include past and future medical care, past and present lost wages, pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and any other losses resulting from the negligent conduct.
It is important for you and your family to know your rights following a traumatic brain injury. One of these rights is the right to take legal action and seek fair compensation for your losses when your injury (or your loved one’s injury) was caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct. However, filing a claim is complicated and you could encounter difficulties in recovering the full amount you are entitled to receive. It’s best to work with an experienced attorney who understands how the process works and who can help you negotiate with the involved insurance company.
Schedule Your Free Traumatic Brain Injury Consultation with the St. Louis Attorneys at the Dixon Injury Firm
Injured claimants or their families need experienced legal representation in complex brain injury cases. At the Dixon Injury Firm, our dedicated St. Louis head trauma lawyers might help you recover needed damages from insurance companies, negligent individuals, and liable corporations. We’ve recovered millions in damages for our wrongfully injured clients and may settle your claimants without the need for prolonged litigation. Contact our St. Louis office today to schedule your free, no-obligation traumatic brain injury consultation by calling (314) 208-2808 or connecting with us online.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132