Miami Brain Injury Attorneys
Millions Recovered in Serious Injury Claims in Florida
At Flanagan & Bodenheimer Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm we take traumatic brain injury cases very seriously. Our team of brain injury attorneys have experience handling these cases at the highest level. Our lawyers have recovered many multi-million dollar wins for brain injury victims - including the largest brain injury verdict in the State of Florida in 2019. We are here to help if you or a loved one have sustained a brain injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, whether it be a driver, medical professional, or property owner. You can trust our traumatic brain injury attorneys to conduct a complete investigation of your case and to help guide you through the recovery process.
How Brain Injuries Occur in Accidents
The brain is a very soft and fragile organ that has a consistency that some have compared to Jell-O. Throughout the brain matter there are millions of nerve fibers called neurons. The nerve fibers resemble strands of silk. The neurons transmit electrical signals and vital nutrients to the different areas of the brain.
The brain is suspended inside the human skull by fluid that keeps the brain from hitting against the inside of the skull. However, when there is a hit to the head or the body that causes the head to move rapidly, the brain can strike the inside of the skull or twist around inside of the skull. Because the brain is so fragile, this impact or twisting inside of the skull can cause stretching or tearing (more information on this below) of the nerve fibers and damage to the brain cells. Any traumatic injury to the brain can cause a chemical change in the brain leading to worsening brain damage. We will discuss this in greater detail below.
According to the CDC, falls and motor vehicle crashes are the first and second leading causes of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Some people may think their head is protected in a motor vehicle crash if they are wearing their seatbelt. Unfortunately, that is not the case. For example, imagine a vehicle moving 45mph in a straight direction when another vehicle turns in front of them. When the collision occurs, the vehicle moving 45mph will be slowed significantly, causing the head to move forward through momentum. Then as the seatbelt holds back the driver's body, the head will forcefully move backward, striking against the headrest. This violent movement by the brain inside the skull can cause structural damage to the brain because part of the nerve fibers between the cells can be torn.
What Type of Brain Damage Occurs in Accidents
There are many different types of brain cells. However, the type of brain cell most frequently injured in accidents is called a neuron. Everyone has billions of neurons. The neurons have a cell body that is covered with receptors (called dendrites) and a long tail (called an axon) with many receptors at the end (called dendrites). Every neuron connects to hundreds of other neurons in your brain. Axons are very important because they carry signals and vital nutrients throughout the brain. Every axon has hundreds or thousands of connections. When you suffer axonal injury, those connections are lost or damaged. That results in a disruption of the vital nutrients to parts of your brain and loss of the neural pathway. Once this happens brain cells will die. It is important to remember that the brain does not regenerate. Once the brain cells die, they are gone forever.
Every task you perform and thought you have causes electrical and chemical signals to travel through different neural pathways (along neurons and axons). As you become more skilled at performing a task the connections between those neurons and axons strengthen. If you suffer an injury to your brain and an important neural pathway is damaged, you may lose the ability to perform certain tasks. In severe cases, people may have to try to re-learn how to read or how to speak because the neural pathways they used for those skills were damaged.
Some of the long-term consequences of brain injuries after falls or car accidents include:
- Difficulty thinking and remembering
- Difficulty performing tasks
- Speech and language defects, such as slurred speech and problems reading or communicating, becoming derailed during conversation (losing train of thought), forgetting what was being discussed, and difficulty maintaining attention during conversation
- Vision disturbances (seeing spots, sensitivity to light, double vision, blurry vision)
- Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, emotional lability, emotional outbursts, use of profanity when out of character
- Sleep disorders, difficulty falling and staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Difficulty with coordination
- Difficulty with balance
- Changes in personality
- Sensitivity to loud noises
Can Any Personal Injury Attorney Handle My Brain Injury Case?
Brain injury cases are complex and proving a brain injury case in court can be challenging. You should look to hire an attorney who has experience handling brain injury cases. Your lawyer should be knowledgeable about brain injuries and should be familiar with the most current peer-reviewed literature regarding brain injuries. If you need prove your case in Court, your lawyer will have to cross-examine medical experts about your injuries. You want to have a team of lawyers that are on the cutting-edge of brain injury medicine. In addition, your brain injury lawyer should have a team of medical experts ready to help you do your best to make a full recovery from your brain injury. This means that you should be seen by a neurologist with specialized knowledge and experience handling brain injuries, a neuropsychologist, a neuroradiologist, a physical therapist, and in some cases a brain injury medicine certified physiatrist. Many times, medical professionals (and attorneys) don’t pay close enough attention to a person’s symptoms and fail to identify a brain injury until months or years after it has occurred. You want to make sure that your legal and medical team are on the ball and ready to help you recover from your injury and prove your case.
Remember, you only have one case and one chance to prove your case. Make sure you have a brain injury attorney on your team who knows what they are doing.
Brain Injury FAQs
There are many different types of brain injuries. Broadly, brain injuries can be broken down into two main categories - traumatic brain injuries, and non-traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a sudden, usually violent event, like a fall or a crash. Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by diseases, near drowning or other oxygen deprivation events, strokes, or metabolic disorders. Within each broad category there are scales to describe the degree of injury. Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, or severe. The accuracy of the categories is widely debated and many believe that “if it is your brain that was traumatically injured, then it is severe.” This traumatic brain injury classification table summarizes the criteria for each classification.
Can brain injuries be diagnosed through MRI or CT scans?
It depends. Traditional MRI and CT are not sensitive enough to detect individual axonal injuries or even large groups of axonal injury. MRI and CT scans are really designed to detect large areas of bleeding. Unless a blood vessel or multiple blood vessels are torn creating a relatively large bleed, MRI and CT won't detect the injury. This means that traumatic brain injuries that can result in severe deficits often go undetected because traditional imaging just cannot detect the injury.
Does it matter where I have my Brain MRI performed?
Yes! There are many different types of MRI machines and MRI scan sequences that are good at detecting some injuries and bad at detecting others. It is extremely important that your MRI be performed at a cutting-edge MRI center, by a caring and qualified MRI technician, and read by a neuroradiologist with a specialty in reading brain injury MRIs. The science and technology surrounding brain injuries is rapidly improving. Important things to look for in a quality brain MRI center are:
- The strength of the MRI magnet. The strength of the magnet, which is measured in a unit called Teslas, is an important indicator of the level of detail that the radiologist will be able to see in your MRI. If your MRI is performed on an MRI with a weak magnet (less than 3.0 Teslas) the radiologist will be left looking at a lower definition image of your brain. That makes it easy for the radiologist to have a hard time seeing the damage to your brain.
- The scans that are run by the MRI technician. When our clients have an MRI of the Brain performed we obtain a copy of the images and review them ourselves. It is very common that the brain injury will be detectible on only some of the MRI scan sequences. There are three scan sequences that are essential to proving a brain injury case: 1) T2 weighted imaging – this is a very common sequence; 2) FLAIR; and 3) Diffusion Tensor Imaging. FLAIR and DTI sequences are frequently not performed on a routine basis at hospitals and certain MRI centers so it is important that you go to a center that will correctly perform these sequences. Some MRI centers claim to perform these sequences but in reality they just charge patients for them but they are performed in an unreliable (and inadmissible) way.
- Will the radiologist at the MRI center agree to compare any prior brain imaging that you have to your new Brain MRI? It is very important that your radiologist compare both studies to determine whether there is any brain atrophy that has developed as a result of your brain injury. A good neuroradiologist will compare a prior brain CT scan to MRI too look for traumatically caused brain atrophy.
Case Example: One of our clients had her brain MRI performed at an MRI center that typically performs MRIs of orthopedic joints (knees, shoulders, back). The center had their MRI optimized to image those body parts, not the brain. The MRI center had a 1.5 Tesla (weak) magnet in its MRI machine. The center ran scan sequences that were intended to look for blood on the patient’s brain. Because the tools used to perform the MRI imaging were not ideal, we were left with an MRI that showed that our client had a normal brain. She did not have a normal brain. She was involved in a very traumatic incident and was suffering clear symptoms of brain injury. She then went to an MRI center that specializes in performing brain MRIs. This center has a higher strength magnet and is specially tuned over the course of thousands of MRIs to specifically look for brain injuries. Not only did this second MRI show that our client had a clear brain injury on MRI, it also showed that nutrients were not flowing correctly along her neurons in an area of her brain. These were crucial findings. Our expert radiologist had to explain that the way that the first MRI center performed the MRI was out-of-date.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of a concussion can be physical, emotional, or mental. Some common symptoms include difficulty thinking, poor memory, difficulty concentrating or focusing, nervousness, irritability, irrationality, headache, nausea, dizziness, or depression. These symptoms may be mild or severe. Some symptoms may go away after a short period of time, but some symptoms are long-lasting—this is called "post-concussive syndrome." Also, some symptoms may be permanent. It is important for an individual experiencing long-lasting symptoms from a concussion to see a doctor immediately.
What is the recovery period for a concussion?
Recovery from a concussion is broken down into two parts. The first is the immediate post-concussion recovery called the “acute phase”. This occurs over the week or two after a concussion (the time-period may vary). During this time the brain is in a very fragile state. A person should take it easy, rest, avoid looking at screens, avoid school or work, and avoid exercise. During this period the brain is in an inflammatory process where additional injury may be occurring. The second phase of recovery is called the “recovery phase.” After being cleared by a neurologist, a person in the recovery phase will proceed to attempt to resume normal life and, importantly, begin therapy to regain function. Generally, a person is given a two-year time frame to make a recovery from a concussion. After two years, whatever symptoms the person is still experiencing will be considered permanent.
Can I have a case even if I have a hard time remembering what happened?
Yes! One of the classic signs of a concussion, otherwise known as a mild-traumatic brain injury, when a person cannot remember what happened before they suffered a concussion, or after a concussion. Typically, when a person has difficulty remembering what happened before a concussion (retrograde amnesia) they have a hard time remembering how they arrived at the scene of the accident or what they were doing. People who have a hard time remembering what occurred after a concussion (anterograde amnesia) remember the accident and then only remember being at the hospital. They don’t remember how they got to the hospital. In these cases, the concussion prevented the brain from making memories for a time-period. This is very common and it may not prevent you from being able to prove your liability case. In fact, this is very strong evidence proving that you did suffer a brain injury.
What is an anoxic brain injury?
Brain cells begin to die after approximately three to four minutes of oxygen deprivation. Anoxic brain injuries are those caused by a complete lack of oxygen being provided to the brain. This is a separate type of injury separate from hypoxic brain injuries, which form due to a restriction of the oxygen to the brain that causes gradual death or impairment of brain cells.
There are various types of anoxic brain injuries:
- Anemic anoxia: This refers to what can happen if the blood cannot properly carry enough oxygen in the body, thereby leading to brain oxygen deprivation.
- Toxic anoxia: This refers to when chemicals or poisons hinder the body’s ability to receive oxygen from blood cells.
- Anoxic anoxia: This is caused by a lack of oxygen in the air, resulting in the suffocation of a victim.
Each of these injuries can be caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of others. Anytime somebody causes severe trauma to the head or causes severe blood loss to a victim, an anoxic brain injury is a possibility.
Can I file a claim after a concussion?
Yes. If you are injured and you believe that you may have suffered a concussion, it is important that you seek representation immediately. Some lawyers only look at injuries involving physical orthopedic injuries such as broken bones or torn tendons or ligaments. If you believe that you have suffered a concussion, make sure you consult with a lawyer that is familiar with the cutting-edge science surrounding concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
Call Our Brain Injury Lawyers Today at (305) 615-6080.
If you have suffered a concussion or brain injury that is a result of someone else's negligence, don’t hesitate to reach out to our brain injury lawyers. We have experience handling these types of serious injury cases and know how to collect and preserve evidence that will demonstrate the injury. Below are just some of our victories for brain injury victims:
- $10,500,000 verdict for victim of brain injury in car crash (largest brain injury verdict in Florida in 2019)
- $3,750,000 result for man who slipped and fell in a restaurant causing a concussion
- $2,750,000 result for a woman who suffered a concussion
- $2,368,934 result for woman who suffered concussion in a car crash
Our attorneys have the resources and legal experience necessary to thoroughly investigate the case. This allows us to:
- Ensure our clients are seen by a trusted brain injury experts who can fully evaluate the severity of the injury
- Obtain any evidence necessary to prove liability, including video or photo surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses to the incident, accident reports, and more
- Negotiate with every party involved to reach a fair settlement on behalf of the client, or prepare the case for trial if necessary to secure compensation
This will likely be your only traumatic brain injury case. Don’t trust it to a lawyer or law firm without a track-record of experience earning top-dollar results for brain injury victims. Contact our brain injury attorneys for a free and confidential consultation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late—call our Miami brain injury lawyers to schedule your free consultation today at (305) 615-6080.