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Medical Evaluation After a Brain Injury: Essential Steps for a Pennsylvania Injury Claim

October 20, 2023

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Brain injuries, whether caused by car accidents, slips and falls, or any other accident, can have severe and lasting effects. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury in Pennsylvania, it's essential to understand the vital steps you must take, especially if you're considering filing a personal injury claim. With a longstanding commitment to justice in personal injury cases, van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim present this guide on medical evaluations post-brain injury and the implications for a Pennsylvania injury claim.

Understanding Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Symptoms might appear immediately after the incident or days later, and can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, memory issues, mood changes, and more. The unpredictable nature of these injuries emphasizes the importance of a thorough medical evaluation.

Types of Brain Injuries

  • Concussion: Often resulting from a direct blow to the head or a sudden jolt, concussions are considered mild TBIs. However, their effects can be serious if they are not managed properly.
  • Contusion: This is a bruise on the brain, which can be caused by a direct impact.
  • Penetration injury: This occurs when a foreign object enters the brain, such as in gunshot wounds or sharp trauma.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): This results from the shaking or strong rotation of the head, where the brain doesn't move in sync with the skull, leading to tearing of brain structures.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injury: This is when the brain is injured directly beneath the point of impact and on the opposite side.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, often depending on the nature and extent of the injury. They can include:

  • Physical Symptoms: Headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and loss of consciousness.
  • Cognitive Symptoms: Memory problems, mood changes, depression, anxiety, attention deficits, and difficulties in thinking or concentration.
  • Sensory Symptoms: Sensitivity to light or sound, bad taste in the mouth, or changes in the ability to smell.
  • Sleep Changes: Sleeping more than usual, sleeping less, or difficulty falling asleep.

The Imperative First Step: Immediate Medical Attention

If you suspect a brain injury, seeking immediate medical attention is paramount for two reasons:

  • Health and Safety: Early detection and treatment can significantly influence the prognosis of a brain injury. Some injuries might lead to complications if not addressed promptly.
  • Legal Documentation: For those considering legal recourse, medical records immediately after an accident can serve as critical evidence linking the injury to the incident.

Choosing the Right Specialist

While any medical doctor can identify evident signs of a brain injury, a specialist's opinion carries weight. Consider seeking:

  • Neurologists: Experts in the nervous system and the brain.
  • Neuropsychologists: They assess cognitive functions post-injury and can provide a detailed analysis of the brain's health.
  • Radiologists: Through MRIs and CT scans, they can visualize and document brain injuries.

Ongoing Medical Evaluations

Brain injury symptoms might evolve. Regular check-ups ensure:

  • Monitoring: Tracking any changes or improvements.
  • Rehabilitation: Therapy and other treatments can assist recovery and manage symptoms.
  • Legal Support: Ongoing medical records reinforce the sustained nature of the injury, supporting the claim's validity.

Building Your Pennsylvania Injury Claim

Once you have the necessary medical evaluations:

  • Consult an Attorney: van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can guide you through the complexities of Pennsylvania's injury laws, ensuring all essential evidence, including medical evaluations, is collected and presented.
  • Understand Damages: In Pennsylvania, you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A thorough medical evaluation can help quantify these damages.
  • Statute of Limitations: Pennsylvania imposes a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Thus, timely medical evaluations and legal consultations are essential.

Potential Challenges and the Role of Medical Evaluations

Pursuing an injury claim in Pennsylvania is not always a straightforward process. Various challenges can arise, which may put your rightful compensation at risk. One of the most critical elements that can profoundly influence the trajectory of an injury claim is the medical evaluation. In this article, we delve deep into the potential challenges you might face during an injury claim in Pennsylvania and how medical evaluations play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges.

Disputed Liability

  • Challenge: One of the most common challenges in injury claims is the opposing party disputing liability. They might argue that they weren't responsible for the accident or, in some cases, that the incident didn't occur the way you described.
  • Role of Medical Evaluation: A timely and thorough medical evaluation can solidify your account of events. For example, specific injuries can corroborate the nature of the accident, making it harder for the opposing party to refute the circumstances you've described.

Severity and Nature of the Injury

  • Challenge: Another frequent contention point is the severity and nature of the injuries. The opposing party, especially insurance companies, might argue that the injury isn't as severe as you claim or that it existed before the accident.
  • Role of Medical Evaluation: Detailed medical records, particularly those made immediately after the accident, can provide objective evidence about the injury's severity and nature. Specialist opinions or diagnostic tests can further debunk claims about pre-existing conditions.

Establishing a Direct Link

  • Challenge: For a successful injury claim, it's crucial to establish a direct link between the accident and the injury. Opponents might claim that external factors or subsequent events caused the injury.
  • Role of Medical Evaluation: Regular medical check-ups and evaluations after the accident can trace the progression or healing of the injury. Consistent medical records help establish that the accident, and not another event, was the direct cause of the injury.

Long-term Impacts and Prognosis

  • Challenge: Some injuries have long-term consequences that might not be immediately evident. Opponents can dispute future medical costs or the need for long-term care if there's no solid prognosis.
  • Role of Medical Evaluation: Extended monitoring and evaluations by specialists can predict potential long-term effects of an injury. A neurologist, for instance, might forecast long-term impacts of a traumatic brain injury, helping in claiming future medical expenses.

Non-economic Damages

  • Challenge: Apart from medical bills and lost wages, injury claims often include non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. These are subjective and can be hard to quantify, making them prime points of contention.
  • Role of Medical Evaluation: While no medical test can directly measure pain or emotional distress, consistent medical evaluations and therapies (like counseling sessions) can serve as evidence of ongoing pain, suffering, or mental trauma.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today

Brain injuries are complex and often life-altering. A comprehensive medical evaluation not only safeguards the victim's health but also strengthens legal claims in pursuit of rightful compensation. With experienced legal counsel like van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim by your side, you can navigate the legal landscape of Pennsylvania injury claims, ensuring justice and the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, your health and rights go hand-in-hand – never compromise on either.


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