The human brain is a delicate organ and susceptible to injury in a variety of ways. At MED Attorneys, we have represented clients who have sustained brain injury in surgical mishaps, train and motor vehicle accidents, industrial disasters, falls, and a multitude of other traumatic events.
Our specialist brain injury personal injury lawyers have represented infants who have sustained brain injury during the delivery process as well as children who have sustained brain injury as a result of playground accidents and defective products.
An estimate of over 89 000 cases of new traumatic brain injuries are reported annually in South Africa. The three most common causes of a head injury are:
- Motor vehicle, bicycle, or vehicle-pedestrian accidents (more than 50%)
- Falls (approximately 25%) and
- Violence (nearly 20%)
Common complications and challenges relating to traumatic brain injury are:
- Seizures – some people who have had a traumatic brain injury will experience at least one seizure during the first week following the injury. This doesn’t appear to increase their chances of developing epilepsy. However, the chance of epilepsy does increase if there are major structural injuries to the brain
- Infections – skull fractures or penetrating wounds can tear the membranes (meninges) that surround the brain, letting in bacteria. Infection of these membranes (meningitis) can be particularly dangerous because of the potential to spread to the rest of the nervous system
- Nerve damage – injuries to the base of the skull can damage cranial nerves, which may result in paralysis of facial muscles, damage to the nerves responsible for eye movements, which can cause double vision, and damage to the nerves that provide the sense of smell
- Post Traumatic Hydrocephalus – the inability of the brain to absorb cerebrospinal fluid resulting in an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain, causing increased pressure inside the skull
- Cognitive disabilities – most people who have had a significant brain injury will experience some problems in their cognitive skills which may include reasoning, problem solving, information processing, memory, speed of mental processing, judgment, attention or multi-tasking
- Language difficulties – victims of brain injuries often have problems with spoken and written language or deciphering nonverbal signals
- Personality changes – brain injuries typically interfere with impulse control with the result that inappropriate behaviour is often present during recovery and rehabilitation. Patients may be more irritable, anxious or depressed. These unstable emotions and impaired social skills may pose the greatest coping challenge for many families
- Post-concussion syndrome – Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which concussion symptoms such as headaches and dizziness manifest. These symptoms can last for weeks and sometimes months after the impact that caused the concussion
Head injury prevention methods include:
- Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle
- Use an appropriate child safety seat or a booster
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Always wear a helmet when on a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter and other open unrestrained vehicles
- Wear a helmet when participating in contact sports
- Wear a helmet when horseback riding
- Keep guns locked in a cabinet
- Store guns unloaded
- Store ammunition apart from guns
- Adequately protect pools and open water features with safety nets.
Head injury patients must be cared for by a team of professionals, who specialize in the care of trauma victims through rehabilitation. Their goals are to:
- Stabilize the medical and rehabilitation issues related to brain injury
- Prevent secondary complications
- Restore lost functional abilities
- Provide adaptive devices or strategies to enhance functional independence
- Begin to analyse with the family and the patient, the changes that might be required when the patient goes home
The cost of taking care of a person with a severe brain injury can run into the millions of Rands depending upon the level of care required and the injured person’s life expectancy. Additionally, clients who have sustained traumatic brain injury often lose their ability to earn a living and, with it, their disability insurance and other employment-related benefits. We help individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury cover the costs of rehabilitation and care. We work with experts in the fields of physical medicine and rehabilitation, life care planning, neurology, neurosurgery and neuropsychology to properly assess and quantify the nature and extent of a client’s loss.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or brain damage, whether as the result of a motor vehicle accident, bicycle collision, fall, playground mishap or other cause, it is critical that you contact a specialised brain injury lawyer as early as possible following the injury.
At MED Attorneys, our team of brain injury attorneys has special expertise and specialized medical knowledge in the area of brain injuries and we are prepared to help you obtain full, fair and just compensation.
Talk to a Brain Injury specialist advisor today