Since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, it is a great time to educate yourself on what brain injuries are, how they can happen, and how you can help injured victims.
Types of Brain Injuries
There are two types of brain injuries that are not hereditary, congenital, or related to birth. These two types are Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
Acquired Brain Injury
An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) occurs as a result of internal causes, not from external trauma. Some causes of ABIs include but are not limited to:
Traumatic Brain Injury
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can happen as a result of sudden external assault to the head that damages the brain’s structure and/or functioning. TBIs can be closed-brain injuries or penetrating brain injuries depending on whether the trauma caused a break in the skull or not.
An example of a cause of a penetrating brain injury is a gunshot wound to the head where the bullet enters the brain.
Closed-brain TBIs can be caused by sports accidents, car crashes, or falls, although any trauma to the head can cause internal damage and closed-brain injuries.
Symptoms of TBIs can include:
Slurred or slowed speech
Some milder brain injuries can heal over time, while some more severe brain injuries cause permanent disability and deficits in cognitive, motor, sensory, and communicative functioning.
Some Professions Carry a Higher Risk of TBI, but Anyone Could Be Affected
Brain Injury Awareness Month is an excellent time to evaluate your risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
Some professions carry a higher risk of TBI. If you are an athlete, construction worker, or work in law enforcement or the military, you have a higher risk of TBI. Adhering to safety regulations in the workplace is imperative to lowering that risk.
While some people have a higher risk of TBI than others, anyone can be affected. Accidents happen and TBIs can never be 100% preventable, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk of brain injury.
Read the instructions and heed the warnings on your medications. Some medications may have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness that can increase your risk of falling, while some may warn against operating heavy machinery while taking them.
Don’t drive under the influence, and always make sure all car passengers are wearing their seatbelts. Also, be sure to check that your airbags are working properly when you get your car serviced.
Always wear a helmet when participating in sports with a high risk of falls and head injuries, such as horseback riding, skateboarding, biking, skiing, football, and hockey.
If you have issues with stability or risk of falling, consider using a walker or a cane. Nearly 50% of all brain injuries are related to falls.
Brain Injuries in Women
Brain injuries are often more fatal among women than men. There’s a high incidence of assault-related TBIs due to the prevalence of violence against women.
Women are more likely to sustain assault-related TBIs in the workplace in the fields of education, social services, and healthcare.
Intimate partner violence is also a major cause of assault-related TBIs in women. If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, or believe there is a risk of violence in your home, reach out to your local domestic violence agency for immediate assistance and safety planning.
One common recommendation made during the safety planning process is to try to remove yourself from conflict in rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. These rooms are more likely to contain hard surfaces and sharp corners that increase the risk of TBI.
If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
How to Observe Brain Injury Awareness Month All the Time, Not Just in March
For more information, check out these videos covering a range of topics such as information on rehabilitation for TBIs, personality changes as a result of TBIs, ways to make your daily life better after a TBI, how to help TBI victims financially, and more resources for victims and their caregivers.
The Ernst Law Group’s California resource center for brain injuries is also a great place to educate yourself.
If you are a parent or caregiver of a young person with a traumatic brain injury, this free guide can give you valuable tips and resources to help support the TBI survivor in your life.
Join a support group.
Brain injuries can permanently affect your life in significant ways, but you can still have a happy and meaningful life after sustaining a TBI.
Get involved in a support group – you are not alone and there are resources to help you.
If your brain injury was caused by another’s negligent, intentional, or reckless behavior, they should be held accountable, and you deserve justice and can seek compensation to pay for damages.
Under California law, the injured party can still recover some damages in the form of compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident. While compensation may not always help a victim heal their brain injury, it can help their quality of life to be as close as possible to what it was pre-injury.
Treatment for brain injuries can be expensive and cost thousands or even millions of dollars for the remainder of the victim’s life. The Ernst Law Group has recovered millions of dollars for their clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
The Ernst Law Group has a proven track record and reputation for aggressive and experienced legal representation for victims of personal injury. Ernst Law Group takes cases on a contingency basis and there are no fees unless we win your case. There are no up-front fees, and your first consultation is always free.
If you have a brain injury, even if it is a mild concussion, that may have been caused by someone else’s negligence, call 1-805-541-0300 to schedule a complimentary case consultation. You may also email us at [email protected].
Paraplegia is paralysis of the lower extremities caused by a spinal cord injury most often resulting from a severe trauma. The trauma causes the spinal cord to become damaged, bruised, lacerated or severed. The resulting paralysis, which can be partial or complete, strongly affects the individual’s quality of life — including their mental health.
Paraplegia’s impact on the person has been debated. There are definite psychological effects of spinal cord injury but they are unique to each person. Studies indicate that the sudden and often severe change in the individual’s lifestyle can lead to depression and, in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These findings are not surprising when one considers the circumstances often surrounding the spinal cord injury causing paraplegia.
Trauma, Paraplegia and Mental Health
The majority of individuals who suffer a severe spinal cord injury are involved in an unexpected and traumatic accident or event. Circumstances can range from automobile accidents to on-the-job injuries and even violent crimes. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to experience nightmares and flashbacks, common symptoms of PTSD. Paralysis may compound these feelings.
Individuals coping with paraplegia due to trauma experience a wide range of emotional changes. Studies indicate they are anywhere from 2 to 5 times more likely to experience uncontrollable and life altering:
A number of factors contribute to spinal cord injury emotional effects. And while support from family and friends can provide a solid support group, sometimes external factors create seemingly uncontrollable and insurmountable challenges when dealing with paralysis.
For example, an individual hurt while on the job due to a fall or equipment accident is sometimes treated unfairly by the corporation or company they work for. If they are let go, fired or denied compensation by the company, the individual is at a higher risk of depression — especially if their ability to afford or continue their insurance policy is at stake.
Financial burden is often heavy for individuals when they are healthy. It becomes even heavier when they suddenly find themselves incapable of returning to work due to paraplegia.
The loss of leg functionality and independence can be devastating. Although the individual can regain some functionality and independence through rehabilitation, chances are they will forever be dependent on some type of assistance. For fiercely independent individuals, this chance can spiral into depression.
Adjusting to Paralysis After a Catastrophic Accident
There is an adjustment period when a person suffers from such a devastating injury as paralysis. The period of adjustment can last for weeks, months or even years depending on the person’s injury, support system and more. A person needs to build a new life after a spinal cord injury.
In the immediate days following a paralyzing injury, a person will deal with emotions that change rapidly. They may begin to doubt if they will be able to be productive or wonder if their life is worth living. A person may worry about losing independence and having to depend on others for their care.
Once a person begins to learn what it means to be a spinal cord injury patient, they will begin to understand that there is life after this type of injury and that they can, indeed, be productive, only in alternate ways that they were used to before the accident occurred.
After a person adjusts to their injury and the idea that their life has changed, they will begin to incorporate new skills into their life. They may work to re-establish themselves, their friends and their family.
A person may begin to develop new interests and hobbies once they have come to terms with their injury. During this stage, people begin to explore their new lives.
Chemical Use and Dependency
It is not unusual for someone who experiences negative psychological effect of paraplegia to turn to turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with their stress, anxiety or depression. It’s important to know that alcohol and drugs can make depression worse, even though a person may think they feel better.
Drugs and alcohol may also interfere with prescription medications.
Support from Family and Friends
Support from friends and family is imperative for a person dealing with a spinal cord injury and paralysis. If you know someone who has suffered this type of injury, understand that they will go through many emotions and even a grieving process.
Don’t lose your patience. Your loved one needs your support now more than ever.
Protect Your Rights with the Help of a San Luis Obispo Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Unfortunately, many paraplegics are subjected to unnecessary stress due to unfair and unwarranted treatment that results in loss of income, loss of benefits and a complete disregard for their rights and entitlements.
The truth is that most people don’t know what their rights are or what they are truly entitled to. As a result, big corporations and insurance companies take advantage of their lack of knowledge.
If you or someone you know is an accident victim coping with paraplegia, it is vital to enlist the assistance of a San Luis Obispo spinal cord injury lawyer capable of ensuring that individual rights are upheld and proper entitlements are issued. You have legal rights and options to be aware of and the at-fault party must be held accountable for their negligence.
Ernst Law Group has over 35 years of experience. Not only do they work with individuals coping with paraplegia, but they also represent individuals against insurance companies or large corporations in personal injury cases. Contact us online or call us at (805) 541-0300 today for a free, no-obligation.
There are seemingly two camps when it comes to amusement park rides in California: Those who ride them for the thrill, and those who don’t, finding them too risky. No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on when it comes to water slides, spinning rides, roller coasters and other adrenaline-fueled rides, the truth is that they can be dangerous. In the most severe cases, the aftermath requires the assistance of a wrongful death lawyer in San Luis Obispo.
Are Amusement Park Accidents in California Common?
Tens of thousands of people are injured on amusement park rides every year. Injuries range from minor ones that require no medical attention to accidents that prove fatal. About half of all people injured on these rides are children, with those between 10 and 14-years-old sustaining the most injuries of any age group. Children, due to their size, make up three-quarters of victims who have been thrown or have fallen from a ride.
The Most Common Amusement Park Ride Injuries
Almost any injury can be sustained on an amusement park ride that malfunctions, but some are more common than others. These include:
Back, neck and head injuries
Traumatic brain injury
What Causes Amusement Park Ride Accidents?
According to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are several common causes for amusement park ride accidents. These include mechanical failure, improper operation, passenger misuse and the nature of the ride.
When an accident is caused by mechanical failure or improper operation, the person who designed the ride, the park or the person operating it may be held accountable. When a death is the result of an amusement park accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be pursued.
How a San Luis Obispo Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
There are different avenues that may be pursued when someone is injured as the result of an amusement park accident. A person may pursue a personal injury claim if negligence led to the accident. For example, the operator may have failed to provide instructions to riders or the park may have neglected to post signs.
Another person may be able to file a product liability claim. This would happen if the ride malfunctioned during operation. In the case of fatality, the victim’s family could possibly pursue a wrongful death claim.
If you or a loved one have been injured on an amusement park ride and are interested in seeking compensation, reach out to our office. A wrongful death lawyer in San Luis Obispo from Ernst Law Group can assist your family in seeking the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your rights.
According to the American Trucking Association, there is a lack of drivers in the United States. Whether it is because the lure of the open road is no longer there or people are turning to different industries for employment, the ATA says that there is a shortage of nearly 900,000 truckers across the country.
The lack of drivers has an effect on the economy. Fewer drivers mean that fewer goods are being moved. Fewer goods moved means that supply cannot always meet demand. When that happens, prices at your local stores rise. Fewer drivers also means a big push to hire new ones, putting more inexperienced drivers out on the road.
Inexperience and Accidents
Collisions between trucks and vehicles often lead to catastrophic injuries for the people in the passenger vehicle. The power that a truck packs is no match for a typical vehicle. There are certainly a variety of causes that contribute to truck accidents, but driver inexperience is certainly one at the top of the list.
When you learned to drive a car, you were given a book to study and taken out on the road to get some practice time behind the wheel. Learning how to drive a truck isn’t much different. Drivers are trained and then given the keys. The only thing that can make them a better driver is to log miles on roads and highways.
Think back to the experiences you had driving when you first got your license. Chances are you would call yourself a much better driver today than you were when you first sat in the driver’s seat. You may even be able to recall an accident or scary incident you can attribute to your lack of experience. Hopefully you walked away without injury.
Unfortunately, trucks are not as easy to operate as small vehicles. A scary incident could mean an accident. A lack of experience could mean slow reaction time or overcorrection. Slower reaction times and an inability to control the vehicle can quickly lead to dangerous situations that impact people for the rest of their lives.
What You Can Do
If you find yourself sharing the road with a semi, do what you can to protect yourself. Don’t drive too closely, never cut a semi off, and stay out of the blind spots. Assume that the driver behind the wheel is a new one and maybe not as experienced as they need to be to drive safely. While many truckers out on the road have years of experience, a good number of them are new and may not be able to react to situations properly.
People involved in accidents that are due to someone’s negligence, inexperience or reckless behavior have the right to seek compensation. If you have been injured in a truck accident in San Luis Obispo, call our office. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and discuss your rights and options with you. Call today to schedule your case evaluation and take the first step toward financial recovery.
There you are, driving down the 101, rockin’ out with your windows down. Just like every day, traffic in front of you has slowed to a crawl, so you slow down, too. Unfortunately, the driver behind you is on their phone and not paying attention. They hit their brakes, but it’s too late. Suddenly, they slam into the rear of your car, causing airbags to deploy and your head and neck to snap forward. This is an event that happens many times a day throughout the state of California. Car crashes range from fender benders to T-bone accidents to even flipped vehicles. But even the most minor accident can leave you with more than just bumps and bruises. Here’s how car accidents affect your body, and what kind of injuries you need to look out for.
The Simple Physics of It All
The way your body is affected by a car crash comes down to one simple fact: Your body is soft, and cars are hard. Cars are designed to withstand impact. The metal bodies and crumple zones ensure it doesn’t simply come apart during a wreck. Your body, however, is made of soft flesh and breakable bones. In fact, you would have to become something of a monster in order to withstand the impact of a car crash. Nearly half of all wrecks involve at least two cars. In one of the most severe kinds of crashes, a head-on collision, hitting a car traveling 40 miles per hour while you are also traveling 40 miles per hour is similar to hitting a wall at 80 miles per hour. Luckily, this is the least likely kind of accident. Rear end accidents and fender benders are the most likely, though often they are the least severe. Even in these accidents, your body takes a beating.
Going Down the Body
Let’s go down the length of the body and look at the impact on each section:
The head: Due to the laws of inertia, your body will continue to move forward, even when the vehicle lurches to a stop. Your head will likely snap forward, and can hit the dashboard, steering wheel or airbag. When this happens, your brain can slam into the inside of your skull, and the bones in your face may get broken. The brain injury may lead to a concussion or even swelling and death.
The neck: As your head snaps forward, your neck reacts to the motion. It could cause whiplash, leading to dizziness and sometimes chronic pain. If the impact is severe enough, your neck could end up being broken.
The abdomen: Your internal organs will also be carried forward by inertia. Your lungs and heart may slam into your ribcage, causing internal bleeding and bruising. This is especially true if your heart moves too violently and tears the aorta. Your ribs and arms may end up bruised or broken as well.
The lower body: Depending on the nature of the accident, your legs may be slammed into the dashboard or steering wheel. Passengers who put their feet on the dashboard could end up being crushed by an airbag, which deploys at 200 miles per hour.
Car accidents are always a serious incident, no matter how minor they may seem. If you’ve been involved in a car crash, contact our San Luis Obispo car accident lawyers today for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.
After a loved one suffers a brain injury, it’s not uncommon for friends and family to notice what seems like a personality change. This change can range from a mild or occasional bursts of aggression to long term, serious mood changes. In some cases they come and go, leaving the brain injury patient feeling as if they have two different people inside of them—or as if they have no control over themselves. This apparent change in personality is one of the most disconcerting and painful aspects of a brain injury. But in most cases it is not a true personality change. Instead it is the net effect of stress, confusion and brain damage, which comes across as sudden changes in behavior. The person living with the brain injury may feel as if they are still the same on the inside, but their behavior is different outside. These types of changes happen for five reasons:
Damage to key areas that regulate emotional function. Different brain injuries cause damage to different brain areas, and some specific areas control or contribute to emotional function. If the frontal or temporal lobes, amygdala, or hippocampus are damaged, it may cause emotional volatility, increased aggression, agitation, sudden verbal outbursts, verbal or physical attacks, and loss of impulse control. This is the cause of the most dramatic changes in personality, which may come and go without warning.
Stress and physical pain. Everyone, with or without a brain injury, is more likely to get frustrated, agitated or aggressive when they experience stress or pain. And there are few things more stressful than the sense of loss and day to day impairment that comes with serious brain injuries. Additionally, stress itself is one of the triggers for the personality changes listed above.
Loss of executive functions. Some brain injuries, especially those to the front of the brain, damage what are known as “executive functions”: a person’s ability to sort information, make decisions, make plans, and control themselves. This can leave people feeling like they have no control in their life, which can lead to anger. More dangerously, impairment of executive functions can lead a person to ignore safety rules, take reckless risks, or ignore social conventions—because they can no longer see the reason behind these rules.
Memory loss and confusion. Many traumatic brain injuries are accompanied by some form of memory loss. While most retrograde amnesia goes away with time, brain injury patients may continue to have memory “blackouts” during stressful times. Many will also experience confusion on a day to day basis. Both of these lead to increased frustration.
Depression, anxiety and new habits. Like anyone else living with a life-changing injury, brain injury patients are prone to depression or anxiety. Serious depression itself is a change in personality. To complicate matters, brain injury can contribute to addiction/substance abuse issues, as drugs or alcohol may seem like a way to temporarily relieve the pain. These substances themselves then further contribute to an apparent change in personality.
If you or a loved one are living with a brain injury, remember that you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can help pay for treatments that help you minimize or manage effects on your personality. To find out if you have a case for compensation, call the Ernst Law Group and get a free consultation today.
We represent only the injured parties against insurance companies or large corporations. We never do defense work. We never will. The defense wants to minimize the amount of money given to our clients, even when they are responsible.
The materials in this website have been provided only for general information purposes and are not legal advice. None of the information on this website is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute legal advice nor create any type of relationship between the Ernst Law Group and the recipient.