Atlanta Serious Injury Attorney
Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Protecting the Rights of Atlanta Injured Victims
A serious injury does more than just hurt. A serious injury will change someone for the rest of his or her life. These injuries are often ones that substantially affect, impair, or result in the loss of a body organ; damage to one’s cognitive capacity; or result in permanent and severe disfigurement. Examples include traumatic brain injuries, fractured limbs, loss of vision or hearing, a broken back, and severe burns. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, you need serious legal representation. Contact an Atlanta Serious Injury Attorney today to get the answers to your questions.
Any personal injury claim must allege and prove:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the victim (e.g., to exercise ordinary care);
- The defendant breached the duty of care (by negligent conduct);
- The breach was the legal or proximate cause of the plaintiff or victim’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff or victim suffered damages.
Complex issues regarding proof of serious injuries and their impact on your life are not uncommon in any personal injury case but especially where substantial damages are alleged. Contact an experienced serious injury lawyer to handle your claim if you want the best opportunity to obtain the most compensation available.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A car, bicycle, or motorcycle accident, or an assault where you suffer a blow to the head can result in a concussive injury or traumatic brain damage.
Concussions occur where your head is stuck, causing the brain to move within the skull and to strike the inside of the skull cavity, damaging cells and causing temporary cognitive impairment in most cases. In serious blows, the damage can be permanent. You need not have suffered any visible damage to your head to sustain a concussion or even have lost consciousness. Contre-coup injuries are similar, but in such cases, the brain moves and hits the opposite side of where the impact occurred. In this case, damage occurs to both sides of the skull. For instance, if you are riding in a car and you get hit by another vehicle from the side, your brain may swing inside of your skull causing you dizziness, forgetfulness, and possibly long-term damage.
Other types of serious brain injuries are basilar skull fractures, compound skull fractures where there is the splintering of the bone, and penetrating type injuries where an object pierces the protective covering of the brain. In any of these life-changing injuries, besides needing counseling and compassion the victim will need to pursue compensation.
Other Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries Include:
- Diffuse axonal injury—the nerve cells are sheared and stretched and consequently suffer serious damage. This can disrupt the flow of information to the brain and how it is processed.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhaging—blunt force trauma causes bleeding in the space surrounding the brain. Arteries tear during the injury and blood seeps and flows over the brain surface causing widespread damage including leaving the victim in a coma or causing paralysis.
- Hematoma—a blow to the head can create a blood clot when a blood vessel ruptures and compresses the brain necessitating surgery in some cases. A hematoma can be subdural or intracranial. Symptoms of subdural hematoma may not be apparent for weeks and can lead to serious brain damage and death.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Accident victims don’t always realize that they have suffered a brain injury. It could take hours, days, or even weeks before a victim realizes she has a brain injury. Because symptoms of a head or brain injury are not always immediately apparent and may develop over the course of a few days or weeks, it’s important to know what to look for:
- Blurry vision
- Loss of memory
- Confusion and loss of orientation
- Reduced attention span
- Unusual changes in mood
- Difficulty with balance
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Severe headaches
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Inability to focus on your computer monitor
If any of the above symptoms occur in the days following a head blow, immediately seek medical attention. A traumatic brain injury requires immediate medical care.
Spinal Cord/Back Injuries
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve fibers and tissue that runs along our spine and is responsible for our sensory and motor reflexes. Spinal injuries can easily cause life-long agony and disability, seriously interfering with routine daily activities and your overall enjoyment of life. Types of spinal injuries include:
- Upper neck injuries—injuries like bulging discs which can be caused by rapid acceleration/deceleration motion of your neck in a rear-end collision.
- Disc herniation—a disc rupture where trauma causes the jelly-like substance in the center of the disc to leak out and press against surrounding nerves causing significant pain.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury—spinal cord is partially severed with victim retaining some degree of function (accounts for 60% of serious spinal cord injuries).
- Complete spinal cord injury—spinal cord is fully severed leaving the victim with no function, though victims may regain some function through therapy.
Diagnosis of a spine injury is made through X-ray, CT scan, or an MRI. A neurological exam can determine the level of the injury, muscle strength, movement, and your ability to sense touch.
Treatments for a spinal cord injury often include:
- Surgery (removal of bone splinters, spinal fusion, or removal of damaged intervertebral disc)
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Stem cells to possibly regenerate damaged tissue
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Injury symptoms may include:
- Loss of sensation or inability to feel heat or cold
- Numbness or tingling sensation in hands, fingers, and toes
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Muscle spasms
- Change in sexual function and sensitivity
- Loss of movement
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
A serious injury to the cervical or neck above the C-4 level may result in quadriplegia and require a ventilator for the victim to breath. The most common cause of death to serious spinal cord injury victims are from respiratory complications, or mainly pneumonia.
Issue of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
Oftentimes where a person suffered spinal injuries in a car, bicycle, motorcycle accident caused by the negligent conduct of another person, insurers for the responsible party try to allege that the victim had pre-existing degenerative disc disease (DDD). The degenerative process can take place over time, breaking down the discs between the vertebrae and may lead to stenosis, or a narrowing of the disc space between vertebrae. The problem with this argument is that almost every human develops DDD in varying degrees as they age.
In any personal injury claim, you must prove that the accident was the cause of your injuries. You can still collect compensation even if you have a pre-existing injury or DDD if you can show that the accident made the condition worse. Or, your physician can testify that trauma was the cause of your condition.
If you had a previous MRI or another diagnostic test that showed the absence of DDD, or of any other pre-existing condition that constitutes the injury you claim, this can be powerful evidence that the trauma caused your injuries. If no such tests were performed, then your lack of symptoms before the accident, and your ability to perform or engage in certain daily activities or recreation (golf, tennis, running, bicycling, weight lifting, etc.) but which you can no longer do following the accident is another indication that trauma was the cause of your injuries and not simply the degenerative process.
The important thing to understand is that insurance companies like to try and excuse negligence by blaming DDD. That is not fair and is oftentimes false. An experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can have your treating physician, neurologist, or orthopedic doctor testify in support of your claim.
Severe Burn Injuries
Burns are classified by degrees:
- 1st degree—damage to the skin’s outer layer such as a sunburn. The skin may be red with some pain but no permanent damage results.
- 2nd degree—the outer layer and dermis or layer underneath your skin suffers damage. Your skin appears bright red and swollen with blisters and will be painful to touch. Scarring is unlikely.
- 3rd degree—a burn that destroys the dermis and epidermis layers of your skin. Your skin may appear brown, black, yellow or white. Nerve endings are destroyed so you will not feel pain. Skin grafting and reconstructive surgery are often needed.
- 4th degree—the most serious type that destroys all layers of your skin as well as bones, muscles, and tendons. It is life-threatening and survivors will have to undergo numerous skin-graft surgeries.
You can sustain burns in many traumatic accidents, such as:
- Road rash burns—motorcycle, bicycle or scooter accidents since your body is largely unprotected from contact with the roadway that results in burns.
- Thermal burns—these occur when you come into contact with hot metal, liquids or flames such as in a car accident or apartment fire.
- Electrical burns—when you come into contact with a highly charged electric fence or live wires on someone’s property.
- Chemical burns—contact with strong acids or solvents.
Burn victims are often advised to wear compression garments while healing. In addition to the chronic pain, victims suffer for many weeks or months, and a great number of victim experience post-traumatic stress disorder and deep depression where psychiatric or psychological treatment is necessary.
Disfigurement and Burn Injuries
Disfiguring injuries include scarring and amputation including loss of an eye, ear, or other body parts. Because of the drastic and dramatic change in a person’s appearance, many victims will experience extreme emotional distress and long-term psychological difficulties. Deep scarring can also interfere with motor functions from nerve or spinal cord damage.
Disfigurement or scarring has many causes:
- Car, motorcycle and bicycle accidents
- Burns and deep lacerations from friction burns or contact with hot objects, electrical fences, or wiring
- Birth injuries causing facial contortions
- Exposure to chemicals that causes discoloration or post-inflammatory hypopigmentation
- Work injuries where fingers, arms, or legs are severed
Compensation in such cases often includes substantial awards for emotional distress and loss of income if am amputation means that person can no longer perform his usual job. If the claimant was a model, actor, or frequently interacted with the public where physical appearance is important, they can suffer a loss of earning potential as well.
Call an Atlanta Catastrophic Injury Lawyer at Tobin Injury Law Today
You need an advocate on your side. Your voice should be heard. A skilled, resourceful, and aggressive serious injury lawyer can address the many issues in a serious injury accident and overcome the reluctance or suspicions of insurance adjusters and defense lawyers who will use any means available to minimize your injuries and its impact on your life. You deserve justice and compensation if you’ve been injured by the negligent or careless act of another. Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation. Reach out to us at 404-JUSTICE (404-587-8423). You can also email us or fill out our convenient online form below. We are available to you 24/7.