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As part of a lawsuit or insurance claim, how do you prove that a TBI (traumatic brain injury) occurred?  As a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you have the burden of proving that you have a TBI, and you must prove that the other person caused it.  This is how you receive compensation for your injury.  There are several ways you can prove a head or brain injury –through medical tests, eyewitnesses to an accident, and expert testimony.  If you’re a veteran seeking benefits for a military service-related head injury, you will need to show the TBI’s effects to the Veterans Administration.

A TBI is often caused by a violent blow to the head, though it can also be caused by a fall, car accident, or physical altercation.  A foreign object (such as a bullet or skull fragment) that goes through soft brain tissue can also cause a TBI.  Mild traumatic brain injury may temporarily affect your brain cells and memory, while more serious TBI can lead to bleeding, torn tissue, bruising, and even life-threatening injury to the brain.  A person can also be permanently disabled by a TBI.

If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  A skilled attorney can assess whether you have a potentially successful brain injury lawsuit.  At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana in Alabama, we’ve helped many clients receive compensation for head injuries.  To find out if we can help you, call us for a free consultation at (251) 444-7000.

How to prove traumatic brain injury in court

A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can prove traumatic brain injury

Proving TBI in negotiations with an insurance company or before a courtroom jury requires a skilled attorney who knows how to construct a case.  Crafting a successful case can include laying out a narrative in which we describe the accident that caused the TBI – how, when and where it happened.  Securing medical tests that prove damage to your brain resulting in cognitive or emotional impairment.  A neurologist or your family doctor may testify about diagnosing TBI.  We may hire an expert witness who can explain the brain damage and offer expertise about causes and symptoms.

According to the National Institutes of Health, doctors who suspect TBI will usually take images of a person’s brain and run tests. These can include:

  • Computerized tomography (CT). A CT (or “CAT”) scan takes X-rays from several angles to create a comprehensive picture of the brain. It can quickly show whether the brain is damaged.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses magnets and radio waves to create more detailed images than CT scans. An MRI, because it is so thorough, takes much longer than a CT scan to complete.
  • Glasgow Coma Test (GCS).   A GCS measures three functional areas – ability to open eyes, ability to speak, and ability to move.
  • Intracranial Pressure (ICP). An ICP involves inserting a probe through the skull to monitor brain swelling. If tissue swells too much, more brain damage can occur.
  • Other Tests.  A variety of other tests can be used to measure speech and language, swallowing and breathing, social interaction, and neuropsychological assessments.

There are several additional tests that may be employed to establish and measure the severity of a TBI.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

Generally, there are two types of TBI – mild or moderate/severe.  Symptoms may arise immediately after the injury, or you may notice symptoms days or weeks after being struck in the head, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Mild TBI can result in the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Problems with speech
  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Ringing in the ears, blurred vision, a bad taste in your mouth or loss of smell
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Sleeping more than usual.

Moderate to severe TBI symptoms include:

  • Profound confusion
  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Loss of coordination
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears.

TBI and brain damage are extremely serious and often require hospitalization, complicated treatment, and months of rehabilitation.  A TBI can result in lifelong intellectual, emotional, physical, and psychological disabilities.

Causes of TBI

Many things can cause TBI, the severity of which is usually due to the force of impact.  Some common causes of TBI are:

  • A blow to the head with a heavy or sharp object
  • Vehicle accident in which your head strikes the steering wheel or dashboard or is jolted violently
  • Falling from a significant height or tripping and hitting your head on hard pavement
  • A physical fight with another person in which you’re struck in the head with a fist or are kicked
  • A work injury where your head is hit by machinery or another blunt object
  • Being shaken violently by another person
  • Sustaining a gunshot to the head.

These are just a few examples.  There are many unique ways you can sustain a TBI.

How do you prove a TBI to the VA?

If you’re a veteran of the U.S. military, you may have suffered a TBI during combat, in a vehicle crash, or during other military operations.  If so, you may qualify for VA benefits.  You can read more about eligibility here.  To make that determination, the VA looks at the long-term symptoms you have due to the trauma you sustained.

The VA divides a TBI’s effects into several categories to evaluate your condition. An injury would then be rated, based on the severity and impairment in each of these areas:

  • Lessened motor activity
  • Memory, attention, concentration, and executive function impairment
  • Visual-spatial problems
  • Judgment abilities
  • Neurobehavioral impact
  • Decreased communication skills
  • Problems with social skills
  • Subjective symptoms.

Your symptoms can’t be influenced by a previously rated condition to be considered part of your TBI rating. If your injury falls within this rating system, you may be able to show the VA that you’ve sustained a TBI and qualify for benefits.

Contact Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana today

If you have sustained a head injury or TBI, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  TBIs can cause lasting cognitive, psychological and emotional damages that reduce your ability to work, take care of personal needs, and enjoy life.  To find out if you may have a legal claim, contact Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana in Alabama for a free initial consultation at (251) 444-7000.