Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injuries and How Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Written by: Patrick Brown, Partner and Kate Hunter, Summer Student at McLeish Orlando Law Firm — Sponsors of Everyday Heroes Kids
Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are the leading cause of death and disability in children. This type of injury is caused by a direct or indirect blow to the skull, scalp, or brain. Infants, toddlers, and young children are most likely to sustain TBI’s in falls, motor vehicle accidents, and abuse. Adolescents, on the other hand, are more likely to sustain TBI’s through sports, motor vehicle collisions, and assaults. The impact of these injuries can range from mild, moderate, to severe, and while many children recover from these injuries without complication, they can cause lasting damage. For this reason, it is important to treat any head injury seriously.
Symptoms of a milder brain injury include, but are not limited to:
· “Goose egg” or a raised and swollen bump or bruise
· Sensitivity to light and noise
· Lightheadedness or dizziness
Symptoms of a moderate to severe brain injury include, but are not limited to:
· Loss of consciousness
· Repeated nausea and vomiting
· Seizures and convulsions
· Memory loss
· Severe persistent headache
· Abnormalities on head or brain imaging
· Blood or clear fluid draining from ears
Some of the medical literature regarding head injuries in children assist in understanding the importance of timely medical assistance and advice. This information includes the following.
While the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury in children are like those in adults, the impact of these injuries may differ. Children’s brains are still developing, and therefore, the immediate cognitive effects or impairments of an injury may not be readily apparent and may only become noticeable with age.
Depending on the severity of the brain injury, parents should ensure their child quickly consults their family physician or, if needed, contact emergency services. It should be noted that in newborns and infants, the scalp is vascularized, meaning that the risk for blood loss is heightened with a traumatic brain injury. Upon consultation, your doctor will likely conduct a physical and neurological exam. The doctor will likely test memory, vision, mood, behaviour, and concentration. The doctor will likely also test your child’s sensation, coordination, balance and reflexes. In some cases, medical imaging, such as an X-Ray, MRI, or a CT scan may be required to assess the severity of the injury.
Recovery is assessed on a case-by-case basis and will vary based on the severity of the injury. Early intervention is crucial. The most common treatment following a brain injury is rest, however, depending on the severity of the injury, there are many rehabilitation therapies that children can access. These therapies can include behavioural therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language therapy. Your child may require medications for pain management, however, make sure to consult your physician before giving your child any medication.
Teaching your child about the importance of safety is a great way to minimize risk. Children should be cautioned to wear a helmet when engaging in outdoor activities like bike riding, roller skating, or skateboarding. If your child plays contact sports like soccer, hockey, or football, teach them to recognize the signs of a traumatic brain injury and to report back any injuries sustained. As a parent or guardian, you should make sure your child’s protective gear fits appropriately. If your child requires restraints in the car, ensure they are always strapped and secured in the age-appropriate restraint when riding in the car.
The impacts of a paediatric traumatic brain injury may not always be apparent at the outset. This is why it is always important to consult medical professionals immediately following a fall, accident, or sports injury. Brain injuries in children are particularly challenging as they can be difficult to detect and present with a varying degree of symptoms. A child developing cognitive impairments, developmental delays, learning challenges, and behavioral problems, as a result of a TBI, can be a massive challenge and change for a family.
If your child suffers a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of someone else, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Legal assistance is vital to navigating the complexities associated with paediatric TBI cases.
An experienced brain injury lawyer will guide you through the process of starting a lawsuit, assist you in putting the best treatment team in place, and will work on obtaining fair compensation. They will understand limitation periods, how to investigate the accident, the kind of documents and evidence you will need to prove your case, and experts to get in touch with. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help coordinate medical care and help you access the necessary physical, occupational, or speech therapy required. Moreover, an experienced lawyer will be able to help you navigate complex, and at times, time-sensitive insurance policies.
The expenses associated with brain injuries can be high, especially when the injuries cause life-long impairments. While insurance companies may underestimate symptoms such as personality changes, headaches, loss of focus, and headaches, experienced brain injury lawyers know the devastating effects these symptoms can have on an individual’s daily function, and they will fight for the compensation you deserve. Hiring a personal injury lawyer that specializes in paediatric TBI cases allows you to focus on the recovery of your child, while your interests and concerns are represented.
For more information, please see our firm’s profile on Everyday Heroes Kids: McLeish Orlando
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