The careless and reckless actions of others sometimes result in a brainstem injury. The brainstem plays a vital role in bodily function, and like other parts of the brain, it does not heal easily from injuries. A brainstem injury frequently results in severe disabilities that carry high costs and impair your ability to earn an income and live independently.
If you suffer a brainstem injury, an experienced brainstem injury lawyer can often help you secure the financial compensation you need to pay for your care and to address the long-term impacts of your condition.
About Brainstem Injuries
The brain consists of several functional sections—known as lobes—each responsible for controlling different parts and functions of the body. The brainstem at the base of the skull regulates the body’s respiratory and cardiac functions. It also connects the brain to the spinal cord, the long bundle of nerves that carries messages from the brain to the body. Often, damage to the brainstem renders a person incapable of living without mechanical assistance and can cause irreversible brain death.
Causes of Brainstem Injuries
Because the base of the skull protects the brainstem relatively well, direct injuries to it are rare. Brainstem injuries more often result from swelling in another part of the brain, which is a common complication of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although surgery and medical interventions can relieve brain swelling, the damage it causes may remain.
Common causes of traumatic brain injuries that can result in brainstem damage include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- High-impact sports
- Assaults and other violent crimes
- Accidental and intentional gunshot wounds
- Armed forces training and combat-related incidents
Non-traumatic brain injuries can also result in damage to the brainstem. These include incidents that deprive the brain of oxygen or blood flow, such as drowning or cardiac arrest, and medical events or illnesses that cause brain swelling, like stroke or meningitis.
Effects of a Brainstem Injury
Injury to the brainstem often causes severe disruption to a person’s basic life functions.
Common effects of brainstem injuries include:
- Persistent vegetative state
- Locked-in syndrome/Paralysis
- Inability to breathe, swallow, or regulate body temperature
- Loss of motor coordination
These effects can take a significant toll on a person’s life. It’s not uncommon for people who have suffered brainstem injuries to need around-the-clock care and assistance with basic life functions like breathing or feeding themselves. Recovering even some of the functions lost in a brainstem injury may take years of therapy and medical treatment.
The wide-ranging, profound impacts of a brainstem injury also take a significant emotional toll on victims and their loved ones. It is no exaggeration to say that a brainstem injury can permanently alter a person’s life and relationships. It takes patience and resolve to overcome and adapt to these challenges.
Costs of Brainstem Injuries
Any injury impacting the brain can be costly, but a brainstem injury almost always takes a hefty financial toll on victims and their loved ones. Individuals who suffer brainstem injuries face enormous obstacles that frequently prevent them from going to school or holding down a job, limiting their short- and long-term income.
In addition, the therapies, inpatient or outpatient care, and medical devices they rely on to heal and adapt to their injuries come at a high price—often totaling millions of dollars over the individual’s lifetime.
A Lawyer Can Often Help if You Suffer a Brainstem Injury
If you or a loved one suffered a brainstem injury in an accident that you didn’t cause, hire an experienced brain injury lawyer to overcome your legal challenges.
Here is an overview of what an experienced brain injury lawyer might be able to do for you after you suffer a brainstem injury.
By Identifying the Parties Who You Can Hold Accountable
By law, victims of severe brain injuries generally have the right to receive financial compensation from anyone whose wrongful conduct played a role in causing them harm. Because so many brainstem injuries result from preventable accidents and incidents like the ones listed above, it’s often the case that someone other than the injured victim bears at least some responsibility for what happened.
Skilled brain injury lawyers know how to investigate the circumstances that led to your brainstem injury to identify those potentially at-fault parties.
By carefully examining evidence, reviewing medical records, and interviewing witnesses, a lawyer may discover, for example, that fault for your injury lies with:
- A motorist whose careless actions behind the wheel led to the car accident in which you suffered your injury;
- A shopping center owner who knew about, and failed to fix or warn you of, a dangerous condition on their premises that caused you to fall and get hurt;
- A school or recreational facility that failed to provide adequate supervision at a pool or on an athletic field, leading to an incident in which you suffered a TBI;
- A medical provider who failed to diagnose and treat an illness that resulted in brain swelling and brainstem damage.
These are just a few examples, of course. Every brainstem injury happens through a unique series of events, and it may take quick action and detailed investigation to pinpoint the parties at fault. That is why the most reliable way to learn who might bear the blame for your brainstem injury is to connect with an experienced brain injury attorney as soon as possible.
By Obtaining Financial Compensation for You
Once an attorney has identified the parties who should be held accountable for your injury, the attorney can often pursue lawsuits, insurance claims, and other legal actions to obtain that compensation for you. In many cases, a lawyer can secure the money you need not just to cover the bills for your past treatments, but also to pay for your medical and everyday needs for the remainder of your life.
That’s because the party or parties at fault for causing your brainstem injury may owe you compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses related to treating your brainstem injury and any health complications it causes, including costs of long-term care facilities, therapies, and medications;
- Past and future costs of paying for goods and services you need to live with and adapt to your brainstem injury, such as in-home care providers, modifications to your living quarters, and specialty transportation services;
- Lifetime loss of earnings and income arising from the disabilities inflicted by your brainstem injury;
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and diminished quality of life due to the effects of your injury.
In addition, if the circumstances leading to your brainstem injury involved someone else’s intentionally harmful or extremely reckless conduct such as road rage, a skilled brain injury lawyer may convince a court to award you punitive damages to punish the at-fault parties.
Of course, there is no guarantee of the types or amounts of payments a lawyer may get for you. Every brainstem injury case differs, and many of the factors that can affect the financial compensation you receive lie beyond your or a lawyer’s ability to control.
- The amount of insurance the at-fault party carries that may cover your injuries and losses;
- The assets the at-fault party has available to pay damages to you;
- The strength of the evidence to support your claim, and of the legal arguments your lawyer can make for you;
- The willingness of the at-fault party, and that party’s lawyers and insurance carriers, to settle your claim rather than fight it.
Still, you can help your chances of securing the maximum amount of financial compensation for your brainstem injury by selecting a lawyer who has years of experience representing clients in your position and who has a demonstrated track record of getting results in cases like yours.
By Serving as Your Advocate and Advisor
Experienced brain injury lawyers understand the numerous challenges you may face today and in the future because of your brainstem injury. They have fought and won on behalf of other individuals who found themselves in a position similar to yours. As a result, they have a wealth of knowledge and know-how that they can use to guide you in the important decisions that will undoubtedly arise as you fight for benefits and services to help you live with your injury.
For example, while serving as your attorney, a brain injury lawyer may:
- Assist you in drafting, submitting, and pursuing applications for public and private disability benefit programs to assist you in living with your brainstem injury;
- Handle interactions with your insurance carriers, holding them to their obligations to provide the benefits they owe under your policy;
- Serve as your representative in dealing with law enforcement or the press, when the circumstances of your injury trigger official investigations or attract public attention;
- Connect you with financial planners, healthcare consultants, and other professional service providers who have experience advising individuals with brain injuries;
- Act as a sounding board and advisor when you must make important decisions that may affect your legal rights and financial future.
A lawyer must serve your interests, and your interests alone, which makes a relationship with a lawyer different from most others in your life. That makes a brain injury lawyer a powerful ally for you as you confront the challenges ahead.
Yes, You Can Afford an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
Considering the potential benefits an experienced brain injury attorney can provide, there’s rarely any reason not to connect with one. And yet, sometimes, people who have suffered brain injuries, and their loved ones, hesitate to contact a lawyer because they worry about the cost. It’s an understandable concern, but it’s not one you need to have.
Brain injury lawyers who represent individuals in your situation virtually always offer a free consultation with their team to help you evaluate and understand your legal rights. This confidential consultation costs you nothing, even if you decide not to move forward with hiring the lawyer. So, there is no risk to you in exploring how an attorney can help you after you suffer a brainstem injury.
In addition, virtually all brain injury attorneys also represent their clients on what is known as a contingency fee basis. In this arrangement, the lawyer works for a percentage of any money they recover for you. You do not have to pay the lawyer any upfront money, and you do not have to pay the lawyer by the hour as your case progresses. The lawyer only gets paid if you get paid.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer Today
If you or your loved one has suffered a brainstem injury in an incident or accident, there’s a good chance you can benefit from the services of an experienced brain injury lawyer. With the right attorney by your side, you can hope to secure the financial compensation you need to meet the personal and financial challenges you now confront.
Do not wait to seek a lawyer’s help. Taking full advantage of your legal rights may depend on an attorney taking swift action on your behalf. And if you wait too long, you may lose those rights altogether.
To learn more about how an experienced brain injury attorney can help you after you suffer a brainstem injury, contact one today for your free case evaluation.