Nancy: Today on North Carolina Law TV, David Daggett, an Injury and Disability Lawyer from Daggett Shuler Law out of Winston-Salem talks to us about traumatic brain injuries.
David: Of course it has become a very popular topic in football. And in fact in the NFL, there are lots of measures being taken due to concussions. It’s also opening the curtain a little bit on some of these injuries that in the past were hidden things because you can’t see it. There’s potential disability claims that arise from a traumatic brain injury, workers’ compensation claims. Again, this is more complicated and more tricky than a broken arm where you put up the x-ray and you see exactly what the injury is.
Nancy: That’s all next on this episode of North Carolina Law TV.
Traumatic brain injuries have been in the news quite a bit in recent years with the US’s military presence in the Middle East as well as new developments in the medical industry. According to the CDC, a traumatic brain injury is the result of a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI’s can result from sports injuries, vehicle accidents, explosions in active military zones, falls, and much more.
Traumatic brain injuries can affect people in the same way that other types of injuries can. Victims often are unable to work and face mounting medical bills. However, because the brain is such a complex organ the doctors still have a limited understanding of, traumatic brain injuries are a very complex topic. David Daggett is here today to answer some common questions about traumatic brain injuries and explain the complex area of TBI Law. David, thank you so much for being with us today.
David: Yeah, thank you for having me today.
Nancy: What are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries?
David: Well, traumatic brain injuries, probably the most common cause is car accidents, but you also see them in falls, which are very frequent in fall where you hit your head. Of course it has become a very popular topic in football. And in fact in the NFL, there are lots of measures being taken due to concussions. And a concussion is a traumatic brain injury.
So any damage to the brain… your brain sits inside your skull. This is your skull. Any event that happens…and your brain floats in jelly here, and anything that happens that causes your brain to hit the side, that’s what a concussion is. That’s a traumatic brain injury. Now it can be anything from a concussion to something actually penetrating the brain, as you said in your introduction to this show.
Nancy: One of the things that is becoming evident lately that we’re finding out from the news and also from our new imaging techniques are that there are long-lasting effects of traumatic brain injury that are just coming into our understanding. And do you find that with, for instance, TBI’s with car accidents or something like that, that you might not notice it at first, but you might see it a little bit later, and how do you deal with that?
David: Well, it’s a very interesting and developing area of medical technology and also of the law. And the reason is, is because historically, people that have traumatic brain injuries, that’s a form of a mental or psychological resulting disorder. It can also result in some physical symptoms. But lots of times people don’t know how to complain about their symptoms or express the problems that they’re having from a traumatic brain injury.
So you take your typical concussion. Now, a concussion can be minor and you can get over it, but we’re seeing in professional sports, players that 10, 15, 20 years later now have severe symptoms and signs that arise from those brain injuries, those concussions. The same thing happens after an automobile accident, or if you fall and hit your head that you can have longer term or lasting effects.
So the important thing to do is if you suspect, or more likely a family member suspects…
Nancy: They might notice it.
David: They notice some sort of change, is to get qualified medical people, psychologists, neuroscientists, neurologists, people who have an advanced understanding of how the brain works to do a workup, to see what medically can be done to help the person. Now also from the legal end, you need somebody who’s familiar with that type of injury and the ramifications in order to make sure you’re properly taken care of in the event you do have that type of injury.
Nancy: And to know what you need to think about taking care of later as well as immediately and how to handle that.
David: And how to coordinate the medical expertise in order to get the proper help and gain the proper understanding of what this injury to your brain really is.
Nancy: And, you know, we’re increasing that understanding. It seems like every day.
David: Medical technology is just amazing and it’s very exciting for all of us, the improvements we have in medical technology. It’s also opening the curtain a little bit on some of these injuries that in the past were hidden things because you can’t see it many times.
Nancy: And you didn’t know that it was from…
David: You didn’t know what it was from.
Nancy: …a brain trauma, from a head trauma.
David: From the head or an impact or some sort. Correct.
Nancy: Well, so what is something that people should know if they have a concussion, if they have multiple concussions in terms of how could someone in a law practice such as yours help them? What would you help them navigate?
David: Well, we can help direct them in several ways. Number one is to help them so they don’t suffer in silence. So that they get on the correct path for medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. That’s probably the most important. But just like we’ve discussed in other shows, there’s potential disability claims that arise from a traumatic brain injury, worker’s compensation claims. Again, this is more complicated and more tricky than a broken arm where you put up the x-ray and you see exactly what the injury is. So you need a little higher level of insight and sophistication to deal with these sort of issues.
Nancy: That’s a good point. And it sounds like if you’re involved in this type of case, you are up-to-date with all the medical advances and what type of things you were learning affect trauma of that kind to your head.
David: And what to look into and to properly document and show the damages that the individual has.
Nancy: Well, that’s really good information, thanks for sharing that with us. What else can you add or do you think we should know about this topic?
David: Well I just think that somebody that had suffered a traumatic brain injury needs to know that they have rights and they need to know where to go, who to talk to to get the help they need.
Nancy: Yeah, and that’s important help to get.
David: Very, very important, yup. Thanks for having me.
Nancy: Thanks for being with us today. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, you can call David’s office at (336) 724-1234. Until next time, this is Nancy Hollett for North Carolina Law TV.