Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers in Lancaster, PA

Protecting individuals and families living with TBI and head trauma in Lancaster County

Lancaster residents may suffer a head injury due to a car crash, a slip and fall, a construction accident, a workplace accident, acts of violence, or for other reasons. The term “head injury” is often used to describe a traumatic brain injury (TBI). People who have suffered a TBI often experience impairments and difficulties that change their lives forever. Families and friends may see their loved ones suffer from life-altering disabilities and lose independence.

The caring Lancaster head injury lawyers at KBG Injury Law understand how devastating head injuries are. We work with neurosurgeons, neurologists, cognitive therapy specialists, and your team of health care providers to understand the severity of your injury. Many TBI victims require long-term care, and some may never make a full recovery. We work to hold the responsible parties liable for your injuries.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

The Mayo Clinic defines a traumatic brain injury as an injury that results from a “violent blow or jolt” to the head or body.

A traumatic brain injury can impair balance, coordination, fine motor skills, strength, and endurance, as well as memory, information-processing skills, and language coherence. Unlike other injuries that heal without changing who the person is, a brain injury can completely alter an individual’s personality and mental abilities. While injuries like a broken leg or punctured lung are immediately apparent, it is possible symptoms of a brain injury may not surface for days or even weeks after someone sustains an injury.

There are two main types of head injuries that result from an impact of some kind:

  • Open head injury. In this type of head injury, the skull has been fractured or penetrated. A fracture is usually a result of direct contact with a blunt object or hard surface. Falls and other accidents in which the head comes in contact with a hard surface can cause open head injuries. A penetrating head injury occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and damages the brain. Not only is the brain physically damaged, but there is an open wound in the skin.
  • Closed head injury. A closed head injury does not involve fractures or penetrations of the skull but instead occurs when the brain itself hits the inside of the skull. Though there is no open wound suggesting an injury, the brain may swell inside the skull, resulting in extreme pressure that can cause long-lasting or permanent damage. In some cases, the brain may swell and crowd into the eye sockets, resulting in vision impairments. Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents may cause a closed head injury. These injuries can be profoundly serious, especially when accompanied by internal bleeding.

Another serious type of brain injury is an anoxic brain injury. This type of traumatic brain injury occurs due to a prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain. Without oxygen, cells in the brain begin to die. The effects of an anoxic brain injury can be severe and life-threatening.

What types of accidents cause brain injuries?

Head injuries can result from a variety of circumstances, from playing sports to tripping on the stairs, so nearly everyone is at risk of experiencing a TBI. Some of the most common causes of TBIs include.

  • Car accidents. Car accidents can cause drivers and passengers to slam their heads on hard surfaces inside the car, especially if there are no airbags, or can cause whiplash that jolts the brain inside the skull.
  • Slip-and-fall accidents. Slips and falls can happen nearly anywhere to almost anyone. They are especially common, though, when property owners fail to mop wet floors or clean icy sidewalks. When a person falls and strikes their head, a TBI can result.
  • Intentional violence. Intentional violence to the head can cause severe damage, whether it is a punch, a kick, or any other type of impact. A gunshot to the head is one of the most severe modes of violence and will result in an open TBI that is likely to be fatal. In addition to the violent actors, others may be liable too. For example, some premises liability cases can be filed due to the negligent security of the property owner.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is another type of negligence that can cause a TBI. When a surgeon is conducting brain surgery, for example, they may make a wrong move that causes acute damage to part of the brain.

Head injuries may also be due to being struck by an object. This is a major reason construction workers, for example, routinely wear helmets.

How are traumatic brain injuries categorized?

When a head injury is diagnosed, it may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. These classifications help physicians provide proper medical care. If you think you or a loved one suffered any type of blow or force to the head, the best course is to seek medical help immediately.

  • Mild traumatic brain injuries. Mild TBIs, such as concussions, are typically characterized by brief loss of consciousness, an altered mental state at the time of the injury, or difficulty in focusing during or after the accident. Sometimes those who have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury may appear completely uninjured, and tests and scans may even seem normal, though there may be considerable damage. While most mild TBIs affect the brain temporarily, some do result in long term or permanent symptoms. Regardless, any head injury requires a visit to a physician.
  • Moderate traumatic brain injuries. Moderate brain injuries result from a blow to the head that does not penetrate the skull or a violent shaking of the head in which the brain hits against the inside of the skull. Patients may experience a loss of consciousness that lasts from a few hours to one day or a 24-hour period. Confusion and other cognitive and physical impairments may last months or longer. Usually, people who experience a moderate TBI can make a recovery with treatment over time.
  • Severe traumatic brain injuries. Penetrations to the skull or crushing blows to the head result in severe brain injuries, though closed brain injuries can be classified as severe as well. These injuries are often life-threatening since the brain tissue is crushed or torn. The victim will likely be unconscious for 24 hours or more with no sleep-wake cycle. Hospitalization and rehabilitation are required, though most patients do not return to the state they were in before the injury. The patient is then at a higher risk for developing other serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

What are the degrees of a traumatic brain injury?

There are several methods of determining the degree of a TBI. Two of the most commonly used methods are the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Ranchos Los Amigos Scale:

  • Glasgow Coma Scale. The GCS is a preliminary evaluation tool to gauge the severity of traumatic brain injuries. It measures post-trauma eye-opening abilities, verbal responses, and motor responses, assigning each area a score. The scores from each section are then totaled — the lower the score, the worse the initial injury. A score greater than 13 points indicates a minor head injury, while a score of 9 points or fewer is a sign of a more severe injury.
  • Ranchos Los Amigos Scale. Another gauge health professionals use is the Ranchos Los Amigos Scale. This scale measures levels of cognition, awareness, behavior, and interaction with the environment. The scale defines eight levels of functioning, from 0 — No Response — to 8 — Purposeful and Appropriate Responses. Like the Glasgow Coma Scale, a lower score on the Ranchos Los Amigos scale is an indicator of a severe head injury.

In addition to these two scales, skilled professionals like neuropsychologists can further define the nature and degree of injury through a series of sophisticated tests. They will also pay attention to any related symptoms the patient is experiencing in the days after the injury. Medical professionals can use this information to develop an effective rehabilitation plan for the brain injury victim.

What are the signs and symptoms of a TBI?

The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are not always immediately apparent, especially in the instance of a closed head injury. The injury may not be visually obvious, and some symptoms may not develop for a few days. In many cases, the affected individual may even report feeling fine immediately after receiving the injury.

Whether they appear right away or are delayed, symptoms often include a combination of:

  • Mild, constant headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia or decreased memory
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or balance problems
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds, light, and interruptions
  • Neck pain
  • Vomiting
  • Paralysis
  • Difficulty organizing and sequencing information

If any of these symptoms develop shortly after an accident or injury, you or your loved one should seek medical attention right away. A medical professional will evaluate the symptoms to determine the severity of the TBI. Symptoms and impairments caused by a brain injury could be temporary, long-term, or permanent.

Can you recover from a traumatic brain injury?

People experience different struggles and complications after a TBI that are based on their lives prior to the injury, as well as the part of the brain that was damaged.

Some of the factors that go into predicting life post-injury are as follows:

  • Severity of the injury
  • Individual’s age at the time of injury
  • Amount of time spent in a coma
  • Amount of time that has passed since the injury
  • Individual’s social and role demands
  • Pre-injury lifestyle, goals, and values
  • Individual’s ability to adapt to changes
  • Availability of resources, therapy, and rehabilitation services

Depending on the severity of the injury, patients can experience varying levels of impairment lasting for different lengths of time. Some effects of TBI may never go away.

What are the long-term effects of a TBI?

Some people with a moderate to severe brain injury experience a variety of cognitive impairments that stay with them for the duration of their lives. Long-term cognitive effects on life can include:

  • Difficulty concentrating for prolonged periods of time
  • Memory loss
  • Speaking slowly
  • Trouble learning new material
  • Problems keeping track of time
  • Difficulty coordinating and planning events
  • Difficulty understanding language

With proper training and rehabilitation, it is possible for individuals to improve or overcome some of these cognitive impairments, though it may take a significant amount of time and dedication to therapy.

In addition to cognitive impairments, individuals with a traumatic brain injury may also experience changes in their mood and behavior. Long-term effects on behavior and mood include.

  • Increased dependency on others
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Decreased motivation
  • Inability to adapt behavior to various situations
  • Depression
  • Emotional mood swings

It can be difficult for some victims to believe they sustained a serious injury, and therefore, they may not want to seek help to overcome their related impairments. Through the process of neurorehabilitation, a team of professionals will work to help the individual recognize their injury and the lingering effects as they aid them in persevering through challenges.

Other possible long-term effects of a TBI include:

  • Full or partial loss of vision, reduced depth perception, and an inability to connect visual images to visual comprehension, meaning the individuals are unable to describe what they are seeing
  • Seizures that occur either immediately after the injury or several years later
  • Physical paralysis or spastic muscle movements, which can occur if motor areas of the brain suffered damage

These complications occur in a small percentage of those impacted by TBI, depending on the area of the brain that was damaged and the severity of the injury.

What is the value of my Lancaster, PA brain injury case?

In personal injury cases, we demand compensation for:

  • All your medical expenses, even if you need care for the rest of your life
  • Loss of income, including an inability to work due to a permanent disability
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Other damages Pennsylvania law permits

If a head injury is due to a workplace accident, the PA Workers’ Compensation Act limits the compensation we can seek to:

  • All your medical bills
  • Temporary and permanent wage loss benefits

In wrongful death cases, we seek damages including:

  • Payment for funeral and burial bills
  • Loss of financial support from the TBI victim
  • Loss of the services, society, and guidance the decedent would have provided the family members

Do you have a Lancaster, PA brain injury attorney near me?

We are located at 1776 Harrisburg Pike, near Good Drive. If you or your loved one is too injured to travel, we can come to you. We also maintain four other offices located throughout Pennsylvania.

Make the call to speak with a Lancaster, PA traumatic brain injury attorney

At KBG Injury Law, our head and brain injury attorneys work with investigators and conduct extensive discovery to show who was responsible for your accident. We work with your physicians to fully understand your diagnosis and all the ways your life is no longer the same. To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in York or Lancaster, please call 717.397.9700 or toll free at 800.509.1011, or complete our contact form. KBG Injury Law represents individuals and families in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg, and throughout South Central Pennsylvania.