As a Halifax brain injury lawyer we get asked a lot about how the nature of severity of our client’s brain injuries will impact their claim. You might think that persons more severe brain injuries always get more compensation than persons who have suffered a mild brain injury, but that isn’t always the case. Every person is unique and how they react to physical trauma can be very different. Similar injuries can have different impacts depending on a variety of circumstances.
So if you or a family member have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because another person was negligent – for example in a traffic accident or a fall – it’s a good idea to arrange a consultation with a Halifax brain injury lawyer as soon as possible to talk about your legal rights and options.
Victims of TBI and their loved ones may face overwhelming financial pressures. However, a Nova Scotia brain injury lawyer will help you and your family gather the medical evidence and factual testimony that a TBI victim will need to establish the full impact the brain injury has had on your life.
If you sustain a brain injury because someone else was negligent, what are your rights? What will it take to recover compensation for your long-term medical expenses, lost wages and projected lost wages, pain, suffering, and more? Keep reading for the answers to these questions.
How Are Brain Injuries Classified?
What’s important to remember is that while a brain injury may be classified as mild, moderate or severe the consequences may be anything but minor.
A brain injury may damage one part of the brain, several parts, or all of the brain.
Brain injuries may be categorized by the type of injury and sometimes by the supposed severity of the injury (severity usually meaning how long the symptoms from the injury lasts).
Common causes of brain injuries include:
- Diffuse axonal injuries
- Coup-contrecoup injuries
- Penetration by foreign objects
- Hypoxic injuries
An acquired brain injury may be classified by the its seriousness: severe, moderate, or mild. But these classifications can be misleading because every patient is different and brain injuries that appear to be relatively mild, can still end up having lasting and serious impacts on a person’s life.
For that reason, most medical professionals who work with brain injury survivors typically don’t use the terms mild, moderate or severe when referencing brain injury because for the person who suffered the injury, every brain injury is serious!
What Constitutes a Mild Brain Injury?
A brain injury may be considered to be mild if the consequences of the injury are temporary with no lasting impact. If a person becomes dazed or confused after suffering a blow to the head, but recovers quickly, the diagnosis may be a mild brain injury. Most diagnostic tools are not sensitive enough to detect these kinds of brain injuries. A CT brain scan or MRI may not even indicate that an injury was sustained.
Mild concussions are common in sports accidents, traffic collisions and slip and falls. The vast majority of patients who suffer a mild brain injury recover quickly with no lasting effects. But it is important to remember that so-called “mild” concussions may cause long-term problems. Second and subsequent concussions can cause cumulative cognitive and neurological damage.
What Constitutes a Moderate Brain Injury?
Moderate brain injuries most commonly happen if the victim suffers a loss of consciousness lasting anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.
moderate injuries are usually categorized by referencing the impacts of the injury:
- The patient may be confused and dazed for days or even weeks.
- Behavioral, cognitive, and/or physical difficulties remain for months – or for life.
What Constitutes a Severe Brain Injury?
A severe brain injury can happen if you suffer a hard, powerful blow to the head or if a foreign object penetrates the skull or if you suffer an extended period of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). A severe brain injury is a life-threatening injury, and survivors are typically disabled or impaired for the remainder of their lives.
Treatment for severe brain injuries may require multiple, lengthy hospitalizations and a lifetime of rehabilitation and therapy. Most severe brain injury victims never fully recover to their pre-injury health condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Brain Injuries? What Are the Effects?
Traumatic brain injuries may impair a victim’s memory and his or her ability to think and speak. Even mild brain injuries may cause behavioral and/or emotional difficulties. Eating and sleeping disorders, vision and hearing problems, and nausea are common effects of a brain injury.
Brain injuries may also result in epilepsy and increase the chances for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders. Males suffer about two out of three brain injuries, and military service increases the risk of a brain injury.
What Are the Causes of Brain Injuries?
Falls are the cause of roughly one out of three brain injuries, traffic accidents cause about seventeen percent of brain injuries, and assaults are the cause of about ten percent of all brain injuries.
A sudden loss or reduction of oxygen to the brain can also cause a brain injury. During a delivery, a baby’s brain may be oxygen-deprived if the delivery team does not identify and respond to signs of distress.
An adult’s oxygen flow to the brain may also be obstructed in surgery, leading to a brain injury. In these cases, a family may qualify to bring a medical malpractice claim against the health care provider or providers.
When Should You Speak to a Brain Injury Lawyer?
When brain injuries are caused by the negligence of others, the victims (or their loved ones) should contact a Halifax brain injury lawyer immediately. Injured victims of negligence in Nova Scotia are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering, income loss and medical expenses and all other injury-related losses.
A Nova Scotia brain injury lawyer can discuss how the personal injury laws apply in your case and provide you and your loved ones with more about your legal options and rights.
What Else Should You Know About Brain Injuries and Your Rights?
Whether your compensation is negotiated or ordered by the court, you will pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless your personal injury lawyer recovers compensation on your behalf. Your consultation with one of our brain injury lawyers is provided without cost or obligation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Brain Injury Claim?
In Nova Scotia, there is commonly a two-year deadline (two years from the date of the injury) for initiating legal action. Many people think that if they haven’t pursued a claim within two years, their right to file a claim is gone. But that may not be the case! Nova Scotia courts have discretion to determine when the time starts to run and also have discretion to determine if the time limit should be extended. In some circumstances, if the p erson has suffered a brain injury that limits their ability to file a claim the time limit may be paused. In other words, no matter how long it has been since your injury happened, it is critically important to talk to a Brain Injury lawyer to understand what deadlines you face and how your injury may impact the time limit to file a claim.