Indianapolis Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers

Information from Our Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys

A traumatic brain injury, sometimes referred to as TBI, can be devastating for the injured person as well as their loved ones. This page is meant to provide information about treatment options, consequences of a TBI, causes of head injuries, and discuss how you can get the compensation you deserve. Have you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury? Contact our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys online or by telephone at (800) 269-3443 for a free consultation.

TBI Treatment Options

If you suffer a brain injury because of another's negligence, it is important to understand the treatment options available to you and your family. Treatment and therapy options for traumatic brain injuries can be costly, which is why finding the best legal representation to fight on your behalf is so important. These options include:

  • Medications to help alleviate the effects of the brain injury
  • Speech and occupational therapy
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Day treatment programs

The Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury

A real MRI/ MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram) of the brain vasculature (arteries) in monochrome

The symptoms and effects of TBIs can be severe and long lasting, including:

  • Cognitive consequences such as memory loss, spatial disorientation, difficulty concentrating, difficulty communicating, and difficulty with planning and carrying out even simple everyday tasks, which is often referred to as an impairment of "executive functioning"
  • Psychological consequences such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, personality changes, agitation and impulsivity
  • Physical consequences such as seizures, headaches, speech impairment, partial or complete paralysis of the body or loss of senses

Long-term effects from a head trauma may not be immediately apparent following the event that caused the injury. If you or a loved one is in an accident and you suspect a brain injury, it is important to seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Remember, traumatic brain injury affects not only the victim, but also the family and caregivers who are living with or taking care of the person with the brain injury. People who have suffered a brain injury may look fine on the outside and appear to be perfectly normal to a stranger. However, loved ones and those who care for those with brain injuries often will recognize and understand the effects that a TBI has on emotions, memory, behavior, mental capabilities, and personality.

Why Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Happen?

Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, can happen in many situations, including from:

  • Sporting accidents
  • Playground accidents
  • Improper care for a person on a ventilator

Our Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys Discuss How a Traumatic Brain Injury Changes Lives

At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury attorneys are nationally recognized for their in-depth knowledge and decades of experience regarding traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). We have worked closely with the Brain Injury Association of Indiana for more than 30 years in various leadership capacities and as a corporate sponsor. We have testified at the General Assembly and worked on legislation and grants that assist consumers, survivors, and health care providers. We have lectured extensively on the complexities of brain injury litigation throughout the country. Our experience in the area of brain injury law has provided us with a comprehensive understanding of the impact TBI will have on the victim—even a so-called "mild" brain injury (an altered state of consciousness after a blow to the head or to the brain), such as a concussion or memory loss, can change the victim's life and have an effect on the victim's family long-term. A traumatic brain injury can affect . . . anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The long-term effects of a brain injury will depend on the severity of the injury. In a moderate or severe brain injury, the victim will typically lose consciousness, ranging from a minute-long blackout to a coma. The longer the victim is unconscious, the more serious the long-term effects typically are. Some brain injury victims do not awaken from coma and remain in a persistent vegetative state; others may awaken but maintain minimal consciousness or awareness. The most serious injuries result in brain death.

However, even "mild" traumatic brain injuries cause serious issues, although they are not life threatening. Traditionally, concussions have been viewed by many as minor injuries. In recent years, however, because of the examples from the NFL, soccer, and our returning war heroes, it is now widely recognized that a concussion is a brain injury and can lead to significant long-term consequences.

Examples of the adverse effects that a brain injury, even a "mild" brain injury, can have on a person’s life include:

  • Memory loss
  • Increased irritability and emotionality
  • Cognitive changes causing an inability to "think straight"; in cases of severe injury, cognitive impairments can be so substantial that the victim cannot care for himself or herself
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Chronic headaches
  • Personality changes, including violent or irrational behavior; inability to tell right from wrong; or inability to empathize with others

Because these TBI symptoms can last indefinitely and actually get worse if not properly cared for, it is important that a person who has suffered a head injury receive timely and appropriate medical care.

Our Indianapolis Brain Injury Lawyers Discuss the Long-Term Outlook for Brain Injury Patients

Brain injuries are largely unpredictable, as they can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere in different ways and vary in severity. As a result, there are rarely simple answers when it comes to determining the long-term prognosis of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is especially true in the time soon after the injury takes place, as it can take months—even years—to determine the long-term prognosis for a brain injury.

At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury lawyers are skilled advocates known for their representation of traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors, their families, and their caregivers. One of our founding partners has lectured extensively throughout the country on the complexities of traumatic brain injury claims, and our firm has worked closely with the Brain Injury Association of Indiana and the Brain Injury Association of America for more than 30 years.

Important Factors for Long-Term Traumatic Brain Injury Prognosis

Despite the difficulty in determining the long-term prognosis for traumatic brain injuries, medical specialists often look at several important factors to determine the outlook for a brain injury:

  • The location and size of the trauma to the damaged portions of the brain
  • The length and severity of the loss of consciousness, if applicable
  • The survivor's recovery from the brain injury, including return to work, social integration, and family interaction

In general, the more severe the brain injury is, the longer the recovery period will be. At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury lawyers work diligently to obtain the full compensation our clients need to cover past, present, and future medical bills and rehabilitation costs. To do this, we consult with medical experts such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, therapists, and other health care providers, friends, and family to assess the long-term effects of TBI and how that brain injury will affect your life and your finances going forward, such as medical bills, home equipment, and renovations as well as ongoing treatment. Additionally, we take on the insurance companies and fight on your behalf, so you can focus on what is important—your recovery and your family.

Guardianships

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a court appointed guardian and an incapacitated individual. The guardian has the legal right and the responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person and protect that person's interests. Guardianships are common in brain injury cases, and it is crucial to have an attorney who understands the process and implications.

Brain Injury and Guardianships

If your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, his or her life may never be the same again. It is important to understand all available options as you begin to put the pieces back together. Depending on your situation, a guardianship may be the right answer for protecting the personal, medical, and financial interests of your incapacitated loved one.

As you consider your options, remember the importance of having the advice of an experienced attorney. At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury attorneys have considerable experience representing brain injury victims in Indiana and across the nation. This includes experience working with doctors to obtain the proper documentation and overseeing how a guardian is impacting patient's life and finances.

Does Your Loved One Need a Guardian?

In determining whether a guardianship is the right answer, it is important to find the answer to the following question: Is your family member able to manage his or her own property, evaluate information effectively, and then communicate an informed decision? If not, you might consider a guardianship to protect your loved one's finances, health, and safety. Our Indianapolis brain injury lawyer can help you legally appoint a guardian or, if one is already in place, we can help make sure the guardian has the tools to take care of a brain-injured person and is upholding his or her fiduciary obligations.

Guardianships vs. Powers of Attorney

A guardianship is not the only method for helping a brain injured person with important decisions. Sometimes an adult is incapacitated and a guardianship is necessary; a guardianship, however, confers all rights to another person and puts another person in almost complete control. In some situations, injured people may not need or want a guardianship if they can make some medical or financial decisions on their own in their own best interests. A lesser form of control and oversight in the form of a power of attorney may be more appropriate in such a case.

Some of the ways in which guardianships differ from powers of attorney include:

  • The court must confer a guardianship after notice and a hearing; the parties to a power of attorney can typically create the power without court approval.
  • The court must approve any substantive decision or request the guardian makes on the ward's behalf. With a power of attorney, court approval is usually not necessary.

If the brain injured person is involved in a lawsuit to get compensation for the injury, the guardian must go through the probate court for approval of any settlement, asset protection, or proceeds distribution. A power of attorney allows the parties to make decisions about when to settle and how to distribute the settlement funds without probate court interference, which can save time. However, whether a guardianship or a power of attorney is best for the injured person depends on the particular circumstances of the case, so discussing these options with an experienced attorney is the best way to begin.

Special Needs Trusts

If a loved one is disabled because of another person’s negligence, the family may be protected by a "special needs trust." A special needs trust is generally available to those folks who are under the age of 65 and will be receiving Medicaid (or eventually Medicare) benefits because of their injuries. A special needs trust is especially significant when there is a third party case or a claim against the person that caused harm. In those circumstances, a special needs trust may protect the assets of the injured person, for his or her benefit, while continuing Medicaid and Medicare benefits in the future. If an injured person accepts any form of compensation following an injury, the government may require the family member to "spend down" or forfeit his or her right to basic benefits that they would have otherwise been entitled to until all of the settlement money is spent. This is a dangerous proposition, as your injured loved one should have access to as many benefits as possible to make the remainder of his or her life as fulfilling as the start of his or her life.

If you or your family member is receiving public benefits because of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you could lose some or all of these public benefits if you recover money from the negligent party in a lawsuit. However, this should not discourage you from seeking damages from someone who caused your injury or your loved one's injury; there are options for obtaining the compensation you deserve from the responsible party while still maintaining your public benefits.

To avoid the loss of benefits in this situation, it is often necessary to set up a special needs trust. These trusts are designed to hold assets for the benefit of a disabled individual, but the trusts are set up in such a way that they allow the beneficiary to collect compensation for the injury through a lawsuit without preventing the beneficiary from collecting the public benefits like Medicaid or Medicare that he or she so desperately needs.

At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury attorneys work closely with brain injury victims and their family members in Indiana and throughout the nation. Our partners have lectured extensively on the complexity of brain injury litigation, and we are committed to obtaining full and fair compensation for the victims of these catastrophic injuries.

Contact Our Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys for the Help You Need

Brain injuries are devastating, but you do not have to fight alone. Contact our Indianapolis brain injury attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss the long-term prognosis if you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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