A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is harm to the brain due to a sudden blow to the head. It can describe the immediate injury suffered by the brain from the impact, also known as the primary injury, as well as a secondary brain injury. This is further injury and damage caused by the body’s physiological response to the primary injury in the hours and days following the incident. Learn more about secondary brain injuries and your legal rights as a TBI victim in Kansas City.
Understanding Secondary Brain Injuries
The two types of brain injuries are primary and secondary. A primary brain injury can be further broken down into focal and diffuse injuries. A focal TBI often involves contusions or hematomas in the brain due to a bump or blow to the head. A diffuse injury, on the other hand, describes an injury caused by rotational forces or rapid acceleration or deceleration. Both types of primary brain injuries are serious and can cause life-changing symptoms that may be temporary or permanent.
In some cases, the body’s response to a primary brain injury includes swelling (edema), bleeding (hemorrhage), bruising (hematoma) or the release of neurotoxic substances. These physiologic responses to the primary brain injury can cause additional damage to the brain. This is known as a secondary brain injury. Swelling, for example, can cause intracranial pressure, which can compress the brain’s tissues against the inside of the skull and cause further damage.
How Do Secondary Brain Injuries Affect Victims?
Not all brain injuries survivors experience secondary brain injuries. It is critical, however, for all victims who bump or hit their heads to receive professional medical care. A physician can monitor the patient for signs of swelling, bleeding or other problems and take immediate action to reduce the risk of secondary brain injuries. The patient may require surgery to open the skull and release pressure on the brain, for instance, if there is swelling.
If a TBI victim does suffer a secondary brain injury after the primary injury, it can cause changes in the brain on a chemical, cellular or physical level. This can further damage the brain’s cells on top of damage from the primary injury. A victim with secondary brain injuries may notice signs and symptoms such as severe or persistent headaches, vision problems, slurred speech, memory loss, insomnia, dizziness, personality changes, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
What Damages Can Be Recovered for Secondary Brain Injuries?
In Missouri, the civil justice system allows injured accident victims to pursue financial compensation from the party or parties at fault for causing the accident and injury in question. This means if you are diagnosed with a TBI after an accident in Kansas City, you may have the right to file a claim against one or more parties. A successful personal injury claim could lead to the recovery of damages, the legal term for financial compensation. The damages that may be available for secondary brain injuries include:
- Medical bills. All of the necessary medical care associated with your primary and secondary brain injuries, including surgeries, doctor’s appointments, x-rays and therapies.
- Future costs of medical bills. If you will have your brain injury for the foreseeable future, you can recover the costs of all latent medical needs, including medications and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages. If your secondary brain injury impacts your ability to work, you can file a claim for your present and future lost wages.
- Loss of consortium. A brain injury that results in personality changes, permanent brain damage or disability can lead to loss of consortium, or the loss of care, companionship and love from the victim.
The value of your TBI case will most likely increase if you are diagnosed with secondary brain injuries. This is because you will experience further symptoms and effects on your life compared to a primary brain injury alone. Additional injury can result in greater medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. For more information about filing a lawsuit for primary and/or secondary brain injuries, contact the brain injury lawyers at Dickerson Oxton, LLC for a free consultation.