Traumatic Brain Injury in Children & Infants
Every parent and caretaker’s primary goal is to keep their children safe, happy, and healthy. But unfortunately, sometimes unforeseen events and accidents can’t be avoided, even when all proper precautions have been taken.
An injury in a child is devastating and stressful for both the child and their entire family, particularly when that injury involves the brain. In fact, a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information cited traumatic brain injury as “the leading cause of death and disability in children”.
If your child or a child in your life has experienced a brain injury, first and foremost, we are deeply sorry for your suffering. Please know that you are not alone — you have the right to recover both justice and financial compensation for your trauma. At Munley Law, we are dedicated to making that happen. Contact us today to speak to a Traumatic Brain Injury lawyer at Munley Law for a free initial consultation.
What is a Child Brain Injury, and What Causes It?
Traumatic brain injury that takes place in a child is known as pediatric brain injury, and is usually caused by a blow or blunt impact to the head. Some common causes include sports injuries, falls, motor vehicle accidents (in which the child is a passenger), and, unfortunately, child abuse.
Children tend to be more physically active and less able to process the notion of consequences than adults, so they tend to be at a higher risk. An activity as common as playing on a playground can lead to a fall that causes a traumatic brain injury.
Long-Term Impacts of Child Brain Injury
Anyone who experiences a traumatic brain injury is at risk of long-term damage. However, this is particularly true for children. Because their brains are still developing, particularly if they are young children, any damage can have a strong effect on the child’s mental capacity later in life.
The child may not be able to work as an adult, for instance, or may suffer from severe memory issues. All of this can, along with the emotional impact, result in a large financial burden. Contact an experienced child brain injury lawyer today in order to seek compensation and ease some of that monetary stress.
Symptoms of a Child Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries in children can have a wide range of symptoms. Brain injuries in both adults and children often go undiagnosed. It’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury, especially when it comes to a child who may not be able to explain what they’re feeling. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can be physical, sensory, mental, behavioral, and cognitive.
Physical symptoms include:
- Nausea of vomiting
- Swollen scalp
- Losing consciousness
- Slurred speech or inability to speak coherently
Sensory symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in taste or smell perception
Mental, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Seeming confused, dazed, or disoriented
- Mood changes
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
- Changes in sleeping patterns, including both insomnia or sleeping far more than usual
What to Watch for in Very Young Children
Young children may not be able to verbalize or communicate some of their symptoms. They can’t tell you that they have a headache or blurred vision. If they’re not yet of speaking age, you of course will not be able to check if they’re having problems with speech. Some additional brain injury symptoms to look out for in a very young child include:
- Change in eating or nursing habits
- Change in sleep patterns
- Nonstop crying
- Aggression or unusual irritability
- Loss of interest in toys, movies, etc that they usually enjoy
What to Do After a Child Experiences a Head or Brain Injury
If you see your child fall or experience some kind of a blow to the head, you should immediately take them in for treatment. However, with children, as brain injuries can happen during sports or play, it’s possible you may not be present at the time of the injury and may not be aware of it. You should be prepared to look out for and notice some of the common signs and symptoms (noted above) of child brain injuries.
If your child has experienced any kind of a blow to the head and is showing any of the symptoms, or is exhibiting behavior that concerns you, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Brain injuries can run the gamut from mild to severe, but even a mild one in a child is not something to take lightly.
Once the child is in stable condition, you should contact a child brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you’re navigating your insurance company’s policies or pursuing a personal injury suit, it’s always best to move quickly. Medical bills can stack up fast, so you’re advised to begin the process of recovering compensation right away.
Moreover, these cases can be extremely complex. It’s in your best interest to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience in child brain injury cases specifically. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Munley Law for a free initial consultation.
Child’s Brain Injury Diagnosis and Treatment
Once you arrive at the hospital or doctor’s office, you will most likely be expected to provide some information to the doctor about what took place. This can help them assess whether a brain injury diagnosis should be pursued. The doctors and medical staff will likely ask when, where, and how the injury happened, whether the child lost consciousness at any point, what other symptoms you may have noticed, and more. When dealing with a child, abuse must always be ruled out in the case of a head or brain injury.
At the hospital, your child will most likely receive a CT scan if traumatic brain injuries are suspected. This imaging test offers a sense of what’s going on inside the head and brain, and where there are signs of blood clots, internal bleeding, skull fracture, brain tissue swelling, and more. This may be followed later on by an MRI.
Glasgow Coma Scale Measure Child Head Injuries
Brain injuries in general are usually assessed according to something known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale assesses three areas of response in the injured patient: eye opening response, verbal response, and motor response. Within each category are a range of possible responses, the lowest for each of them being “no response”; for instance, motor responses range from “obeys commands for movement” to “no response”. Each of these responses is assigned a number of points, and the more responsive a patient is, the more points they are allotted. This will ultimately leave each patient with a total number of points, which correlates to the severity of their injury. A total of 8 or fewer points is a severe injury, 9 to 12 is moderate, and 13 to 15 is mild.
What Kind of Damages You May Be Eligible For
If a child in your life has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you and your family may be eligible to receive the following forms of compensation:
- Medical expenses. Medical expenses for the treatment of brain injuries can easily total tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. You may well be able to receive compensation that covers all or at least a great deal of the medical expenses associated with the injury.
- Lost wages. For a brain injury in an adult, part of the compensation package may include covering any income that was lost from an inability to work due to the injury. For a child, this could also apply to a parent’s lost wages if they had to take time off work in order to care for their child during the recovery process.
- Compensation for a lowered earning capacity. Unfortunately, brain injuries, even when treated quickly, can sometimes have lasting, lifelong impacts and implications. These implications may impact the type of work the injured party is able to take on in the future, whether due to physical or mental limitations. Some brain injury victims may be prevented from ever pursuing a career.
- Rehabilitation costs. Moderate and severe brain injury victims often require extensive rehabilitation in order to regain bodily functions and return to their life. Rehab may include relearning how to speak, walk, talk, and even swallow. You may be able to receive compensation to cover these costs.
- Additional physical pain and suffering. Brain injuries often come with ongoing physical discomfort that can last for months or years, even when treated properly and swiftly. If this is the case for your child, or is anticipated for your child, you may be eligible for additional compensation.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering. There is no underselling how extreme the mental and emotional impact of a brain injury is. Beyond even the inherent trauma in trying to process something so intense, many brain injuries actually cause the patient to experience a change in their emotions and mental state.
What Can a Child Brain Injury Lawyer Do For You?
Brain injuries in children are often caused by someone’s negligence or wrongful conduct. If this is the case, you may be entitled to compensation, and you deserve the full power of the law behind you as you pursue that.
The experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers at Munley Law can guide you through the process from the very first step until we’ve won you a satisfactory settlement — and we don’t get paid unless you win. We have an excellent track record of winning these kinds of cases, including winning one of our traumatic brain injury clients a $6.5 million settlement. Dealing with the emotional turmoil and medical aspects of your child’s brain injury is enough for any one person to handle. Let us take over the legal side of your case so that you and your family can focus on recovery.
Each of the personal injury attorneys at Munley Law is dedicated, extremely experienced, and has hands-on trial experience so that they can protect you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to contact Munley Law today to schedule your free initial consultation.