How to Know if You Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Head injuries due to a slip and fall can be severe and result in cognitive problems and hefty medical bills. In the United States, these falls are responsible for over a million emergency room visits each year and are the primary cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Seeking medical attention promptly after a head injury from a slip and fall helps your recovery and supports any potential legal claims. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our slip and fall attorneys are equipped to help you understand the impact of your injury on your case and will help you get the maximum settlement you deserve.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when normal brain function is disrupted due to a sudden impact, such as a blow, jolt, or penetrating injury to the head. This type of injury can lead to structural damage in the brain, affecting its functionality by causing blood vessels to rupture and disrupting the connections between neurons.
TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe trauma, with the potential for lasting effects. Often, TBIs result from slip and fall accidents where the head strikes the ground forcefully. A prompt medical evaluation is important, as early intervention and rehabilitation can improve recovery.
Recognizing the Immediate Signs of a TBI
If you or a loved one has had a slip and fall, recognizing the immediate signs of a TBI can help you receive quick treatment. These signs can be subtle or may take time to manifest, but could signify a severe medical issue requiring attention. Initial indicators of a TBI might include:
- Headache. Any headache, whether it’s a mild ache or intense pain. This symptom could arise right after the incident or several hours later.
- Confusion or disorientation. Difficulty remembering recent events, confusion about your location, or challenges in tracking time.
- Dizziness. Feelings of dizziness, difficulties with balance, or sensations of the room spinning around you.
- Blurred vision. Blurry vision or trouble focusing on objects may be coupled with light sensitivity.
- Ringing in the ears. Unusual ringing (tinnitus), buzzing, or whooshing sounds in your ears that weren’t there before the fall.
- Difficulty in speaking. Struggling to find words, slurring, or speaking more slowly than usual.
- Nausea or vomiting. Feelings of nausea or an urge to vomit.
- Fatigue. Experiencing unusual fatigue, lethargy without exertion, or an intense desire to sleep.
What are the Long-Term Consequences of TBIs?
Traumatic brain injuries can have lasting impacts, affecting various aspects of your life. This includes long-term physical, psychological, and cognitive effects like:
- Treatment-resistant headaches. Chronic headaches that are resistant to treatment, coupled with persistent fatigue and balance issues.
- Speech impairments. Persistent difficulties with speech, such as slurring or hesitancy, impacting your ability to communicate effectively.
- Problems with coordination. Paralysis of the arms and legs, tremors, and balance problems affecting your overall movement and coordination.
- Memory loss. Difficulties in recalling recent and past events hinder your capacity to remember and retain information.
- Difficulty making decisions. Challenges in logical thinking potentially impacting your decision-making abilities and increasing your propensity for risk-taking.
- Susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases. Research suggests a link between traumatic brain injuries and an increased risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- Major personality changes. Abrupt mood changes, decreased self-control, quickness to anger, or impulsive behavior, signaling alterations in your typical personality traits.
- Mood disorders. Mood disorders such as clinical depression, anxiety, and cyclothymia.
- Social and relationship difficulties. Impaired ability to empathize and communicate with others, maintain relationships, and manage complex social interactions
Diagnosing a TBI
If you suspect a head injury following a slip and fall, seeking medical attention immediately helps you receive an early diagnosis and appropriate care. It also helps document your condition for a potential legal claim against the party responsible for your fall. The diagnosis generally includes:
- Medical examination. Your physician will conduct a thorough physical and neurological examination, evaluating your reflexes, muscle strength, balance, coordination, and sensory capabilities. They will ask about your symptoms and the specifics of the accident and collect details about your medical history.
- CT scan. Your healthcare provider might use a CT (Computed Tomography) scan to get detailed images of your brain. This effectively identifies fractures, bleeding, bruising, and swelling in the brain.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). An MRI provides a more detailed image, useful for detecting subtle changes in brain tissue. Doctors often use MRI scans to identify microscopic bleeding, as well as minor bruising or scarring in the brain.
- Neuropsychological tests. Your doctor will administer tests to evaluate your memory, concentration, problem-solving skills, and other cognitive functions. These may include memory tests for word recall, concentration tests like counting tasks, and language comprehension and production assessments.
Rehabilitation and Recovery After Suffering a TBI
Recovery from a TBI often involves a personalized rehabilitation program designed to meet your specific needs based on Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) for your injury. This program may include services such as:
- Physical therapy. This includes exercises and activities to improve your motor skills, coordination, and balance.
- Occupational therapy. Helps you develop skills to manage daily activities like dressing, eating, and using technology.
- Speech therapy. This improves communication skills after a TBI, including articulation and alternative communication methods such as sign language or assistive technology devices.
- Cognitive rehabilitation. This involves strategies to boost memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
- Psychological support. This assistance could encompass counseling or talk therapy sessions aimed at managing mood changes, depression, anxiety, and behavioral changes that stem from the injury.
- Medication management. If necessary, you’ll receive medications to manage specific symptoms like headaches, seizures, or mood swings.
What Damages Can You Seek After Your TBI?
If you suffer a TBI due to a slip and fall accident, you might be eligible to pursue the following damages with the assistance of our experienced slip and fall attorneys:
- Medical expenses. This includes all medical treatments associated with your TBI, such as hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and ongoing medical needs like rehabilitation or therapy. Our nurse attorney Eileen Kroll will leverage her medical expertise to link your injury to the accident and determine fair compensation to address your current and future needs.
- Lost wages. If your injury has resulted in missing work, you can claim compensation for lost income. This also includes potential future earnings if your ability to work is impacted long-term.
- Pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering takes into account the non-physical effects of your TBI, including emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and a reduced quality of life resulting from the injury.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. If the TBI affects your ability to engage in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed, you may be eligible to claim damages for this loss of enjoyment.
- Exemplary damages. In cases where the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or malicious intent, you may be able to pursue punitive damages.
What Should You Do Right After a Slip and Fall to Protect Your Rights?
Act promptly after a slip and fall to safeguard your rights and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation. Follow these critical steps:
- Get medical attention. Consult a healthcare professional for medical attention after a slip and fall, even if your symptoms seem minor. Keep all medical records related to diagnosis and treatment to support your compensation claim.
- Document your experience. Record details of the incident, including the date, time, location, and circumstances. Take photos of the area and any contributing factors like wet floors, poor lighting, or obstacles. This documentation can be crucial evidence later.
- Report the incident. Inform the property owner, manager, or relevant authorities about the incident so they can create a report. Obtain a copy for your records and share it with your attorney.
- Preserve evidence. Save the clothing and shoes you wore on the day of your fall. They may have traces of substances or debris, like oil, water, or loose gravel, which can show what caused your slip and fall accident.
- Collect witness statements. If there are any witnesses to your slip and fall, request their contact details and ask for their account of what they saw. Their testimonies can provide valuable support to your version of the events.
- Consult an attorney. Seek legal representation to safeguard your rights and navigate the personal injury claim process. Our experienced attorneys can assist in collecting evidence, determining liability, and negotiating with insurers to secure the best possible settlement for you.
Get Fair Compensation For Your Traumatic Brain Injury
A head injury due to a slip and fall can change your life. Our slip and fall lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. have the legal expertise and resources to help you secure compensation that addresses the impact of a TBI on your life.
We will thoroughly evaluate your damages, compile comprehensive evidence to present to the insurer of the responsible party, and, if needed, represent you in court to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation regarding your head injury due to a slip and fall so we can protect your interests while you focus on recovery.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.