Brain Injury / Traumatic Brain Injury
It is estimated that 1.7 million Americans endure traumatic brain injuries every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of that number, 52,000 victims die and 275,000 are hospitalized. The age groups that are more likely to experience a traumatic brain injury are very young children, teenagers between 15-19 years old, and adults over the age of 65.
Brain tissue can be easily damaged when a person’s head strikes an object or is violently shaken. It is also susceptible to damage if it is deprived of oxygen or in contact with toxins or electric shocks. The long-term impact of a severe brain injury can affect a person’s ability to reason, feel sensations, communicate, or retain memories. Brain injuries also affect other areas of the body, resulting in paralysis or uncontrollable movement. The most severe injuries may cause the victim to be comatose (temporarily or permanently) or die.
Non-fatal serious brain injuries are readily apparent due to the level of impairment that an accident victim experiences. Less serious injuries, however, are frequently not diagnosed or are diagnosed as being more mild than they actually are. This is due, in part, to the fact that symptoms of brain injuries often do not appear for 1-2 weeks or even longer. Often, due to the nature of brain injuries, the victim doesn’t notice any changes and it is a family member or friend who encourages them to go see their doctor for further evaluation.
For mild brain injuries, such as a concussion, treatment is generally conservative. Even mild brain injuries can result in serious impairment, for example when the patient develops who is known as “Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)”. The causes of and treatment for PCS are only now starting to be understood by the medical community, in part due to the millions of dollars being invested into concussion research in connection with sports’ concussions and the long-term impact that concussions have on professional athletes. This research has demonstrated conclusively that multiple concussions significantly increase the likelihood of serious brain disease such as dementia. The research further shows that even a single concussion leaves lasting damage. Although the medical community believed for many years that a patient was “healed” after the symptoms of a concussion went away, the reality is that a concussion leaves the patient far more susceptible to re-injury. Simply put, a brain that has been concussed isn’t as good as it was before the injury.
PCS often leaves accident victims completely unable to carry on their normal day-to-day activities. For example, a student suffering from PCS may be required to leave college for a semester (or longer). We have had a number of clients who developed PCS who lost their jobs. In a couple of cases, our clients’ marriages failed due to the strains placed on their relationships due to behavioral and emotional changes caused by PCS.
For moderate to severe brain injuries, specialized brain injury rehabilitation is necessary to facilitate the victim’s brain’s “rewiring” and to teach strategies that will enable the victim to adapt and cope with his or her deficits and psychological problems. Specialized treatment facilities, such as Spaulding Rehabilitation in Boston, provide highly skilled treatment for brain injury survivors. Despite the extensive amount of research demonstrating that specialized brain injury treatment facilities’ patients have better outcomes, many health insurance companies balk at the expense and refuse to pay for the recommended services. Health insurers know that proper treatment of a moderate to severe head injury is extremely expensive and, for that reason, they look for excuses to deny payment. We have assisted roughly a dozen clients over the years in obtaining treatment that their health insurers denied by appealing the insurance company’s denial and, in one case where our client’s appeal was denied, by taking the insurer to court. During the appeals/trial process, we were able to work out arrangements with the rehab hospitals that permitted our clients to receive treatment. Research shows that timely treatment is critical to obtaining the best possible outcome following a brain injury.
Attorney Peter Thompson is a longstanding supporter of the Brain Injury Association and a former Board Member. He understands that survivors of severe brain injuries deal with a long and strenuous recovery that can be physically, emotionally, and financially difficult for them and their families. He works with the best experts in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, neuropsychology, psychiatry, psychology and vocational rehabilitation to ensure that his clients’ injuries are properly assessed and that the future impact of their injuries are thoroughly addressed. Attorney Thompson has recovered tens of millions of dollars for brain injury survivors and their families, compensation they sorely needed to help pay their past and future medical expenses, obtain income to make up for past and future loss of earning capacity, and adjust to their impairment and obtain necessary assistance.Peter Thompson & Associates: Leading Advocates for New Hampshire Brain Injury Survivors and Their Loved Ones
If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, contact Attorney Peter Thompson and his legal team to discuss what we can do to assist you in your time of need. Call 800.804.2004 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation today.