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Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is different from other types of personal injuries because damage to brain cells does not heal, unlike broken bones or skin cells. As a result, a TBI, even mild ones, can have a devastating and lasting effect. If you, or a loved one, suffers any type of head injury, no matter how mild it seems, seek professional medical attention immediately. Even if you do not think an injury to the head is serious, it is important to still be seen.

TBIs can be silent and deadly. Any head trauma is cause for serious concern, and the worst part is that people who are injured might not even know they have a traumatic brain injury until it is too late. TBI has long been known as the “silent epidemic” because for decades it was difficult for people to be correctly diagnosed. With modern knowledge and technology, doctors know a lot more about brain injuries now than they even did as recently as the 1990s. The earlier treatment is sought, the better chances are for recovery.

The kind and compassionate Virginia traumatic brain attorneys at Montagna Klein Camden understand the difficulties you might face after sustaining a TBI. Call our law office at 757-622-8100 or contact us online to see how to receive help getting the compensation you deserve after your personal injury.  

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

TBI can be caused in two different ways: internal or external. External brain injury is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetration through the skull. Internal brain injuries can be caused by birth defects, stroke, or aneurysms. Regardless of the type or cause, brain injury is life-changing and often permanent. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the United States:

  • More than 1.5 million Americans experience TBI
  • 230,000 individuals are hospitalized with TBI and survive
  • Over 50,000 traumatic brain injury cases are fatal
  • Somewhere between 80,000 to 90,000 experience onset of long-term disability

Despite these chilling numbers, there are those who manage to beat the odds. Not only do many survive a traumatic brain injury, but they are able to recover. The personal injury lawyers at Montagna Law want to spread awareness and knowledge about this serious and life-changing condition.

Did You Lose Consciousness in a Serious Accident?

TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate, and severe. About 80% of TBI cases are classified as mild, but do not let the “mild” designation fool you. These injuries—which include concussions—can still cause serious injury or permanent disability.

If a person experiences a loss of consciousness during an accident, it should be taken very seriously. Medical treatment should be sought immediately because the longer a person is unconscious, the more serious the traumatic brain injury might be. Even if the injured person feels dazed or dizzy, symptoms should never be dismissed.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

Non-traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by internal health complications. These can be caused by strokes, blood clots, seizures, oxygen deprivation, infection, tumors, or exposure to substances that can lead to brain injury. Medical malpractice or negligence often contributes to non-traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head suffers an injury from an external force, such as impact, shaking (excessive motion), or penetration. Common ways people are injured include car accidents, bike accidents, being struck by an object, slips and falls, gunshots, and other types of violence.

The symptoms of TBI may not surface until weeks, days, months, or longer after the injury, especially if the injured person is a child since their brains are still developing.

What Are the Primary Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

The CDC estimates that 5.3 million Americans currently suffer a permanent TBI-related disability and the latest CDC data indicates numbers are growing. Leading causes of TBI include:

  • Falls – 35.2%
  • Motor vehicle accidents – 17.3%
  • Struck by/against – 16.5%
  • Assault – 10%
  • Unknown/other – 21%

When it comes to traumatic brain injuries, much like no two brains are alike, neither are types of injuries to the brain. Unfortunately, there are several types of TBIs that cause life-altering changes in an instant.

Concussion

A concussion is a mild TBI and is typically caused by a blow, bump, jolt to the head, or rapid shaking to it. There is no such thing as “just a concussion”—concussions should always be taken seriously.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when shearing (tearing) is experienced on the brain’s connecting nerve fibers (axons). This is a serious type of TBI and can lead to a person falling into a vegetative state.

Edema

Edema occurs when the brain (or head) experiences swelling. While swelling is a body’s reaction to an injury, when it occurs in the brain it is serious because the skull cannot accommodate the swelling or interferes with fluid circulation; sometimes surgery is necessary to relieve pressure.

Hematoma 

Hematoma is bleeding occurring in the brain that can lead to the formation of a blood clot, creating a buildup of blood and pressure that can cause brain damage.

Hemorrhage

Hemorrhaging in the brain is when uncontrolled bleeding occurs and can lead to irreversible brain damage.

Skull Fracture

Skull fractures are when an external object breaks the bone due to a severe impact that the skull cannot absorb.

Contusions

Contusions are bruises on the brain caused by bleeding—they are often serious and can lead to permanent injury or the necessity of surgery.

Coup-Contrecoup

Coup-contrecoup TBIs are when the brain experiences a hard impact and the brain (or skull) “slams” into the opposite side, causing injury to both halves of the brain.

Brain Stem

Damage to the brain stem can impact heart regulation, body temperature control, eye movement, breathing, blood circulation, swallowing, and consciousness.

What Are Common Causes of TBIs in Virginia?

TBIs can occur in a variety of ways. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury include:

Auto Accidents: Car, Truck, and Motorcycle

In car or truck accidents, the head can strike the dashboard, windshield, side window, or another hard surface, such as being thrown to the ground. Shaking and coup-contrecoup injuries can also occur on impact. Any of these scenarios can lead to a severe brain injury.

Slipping and Falling

A fall down the stairs, slipping on a wet floor or ice, or other causes of tripping can lead to the head suffering a jolt or shock and a TBI.

Medical Negligence

Ways patients suffer TBIs from medical negligence include lack of oxygen to the brain, prolonged surgery, and anesthesia errors. Birth injuries can also lead to TBI due to poor decision-making or delayed action by a medical professional. Sadly, TBIs occurring due to medical negligence are often preventable.

Sports Injuries

Concussions and more severe TBIs are common in sports. Being hit by a ball, tackled and slammed on the ground, or another type of impact can lead to a life-altering TBI.

Physical Attack

Domestic violence and criminal acts against a person often involve altercations where the brain is injured, especially if the victim is hit, pushed, struck by an object, or shot at with a firearm.

Firearms

Firearms can cause either penetrating or perforating TBIs. Penetrating is when a bullet enters the skull but does not exit. Perforating TBI is when the bullet enters and exits the skull.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The long-term effects of TBI will depend on the location of the head injury. It is also unfortunately common for TBI victims to suffer more than one type of TBI which also further impacts their long-term outcome.

For instance, injury to the frontal lobe (including the forehead) can affect reasoning, problem-solving abilities, judgment, impulse control, planning, and other executive functioning skills. Injury to the left side of the brain can lead to problems with speech, comprehension, and logic, while injury to the right side of the brain can result in visual processing deficiencies and the ability to perform routine or familiar tasks.

Balance Issues

Individuals suffering from TBI often have difficulty with motor skills, including balance. The inability to balance oneself puts a person at risk of falling or hitting their head, causing further injury.

Dizziness

The dizziness that can accompany a TBI can lead to everyday problems, causing a decrease in the quality of life.

Eyesight Issues

Traumatic brain injuries causing eyesight issues affect the actual ability to see (including blindness), but they also affect the ability to perform eye movements, such as downgaze or convergence. Eyesight problems can negatively impact everyday activities, ranging from reading the pages in a book to driving.

Fatigue

People suffering TBIs tend to tire easily, and this fatigue affects their stamina, meaning victims often cannot work long days, struggle in the classroom, or suffer from an inability to stay awake for extended periods of time.

Headaches

Recurring and persistent headaches often accompany TBI, causing disruption in everyday life, leading to distress and ongoing suffering.

Long-Term Memory Loss

Long-term memory loss from TBI can be temporary or permanent. In these cases, the person has difficulty remembering past events or people. It can also affect the ability to remember how to perform tasks or remember common words.

Short-Term Memory Loss

Short-term memory loss from TBI occurs when a person forgets events that have recently happened. Essentially, conversations, things seen or heard, and other events are never processed to be stored in short-term memory. For example, injured people may not remember people they have met, whether they have eaten, or where they were going.

Mood Swings

Many people who have a loved one suffering from a TBI describe them as a “different person” from before the injury. Depending on the nature of the injury and where in the brain it occurred, a person may experience unusual mood swings or display behaviors deemed inappropriate in social or professional situations.

Paralysis

Some TBIs result in paralysis because the injury has disrupted the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles. When signals are interrupted, the muscles never receive the brain’s direction.

Seizures

Seizures, or abnormal electrical activity in the brain, are common with TBIs, and it is difficult to predict when and if they will occur. Many brain injury victims are considered to forever be at high risk of seizures. The severity of a seizure is also unpredictable—some are barely noticeable while others result in grand mal seizures.

Speech and Language Problems

Depending on the area of the brain injured, some people struggle with the ability to speak, pronounce sounds, or cannot extract the words to speak even if they know what they want to say; this disconnect can dramatically impact the ability to engage in everyday conversations.

The long-term effects of TBI are often difficult to assess; most people will find their injury changes at various stages of their life, either for better or worse. TBI victims often struggle with permanent physical, behavioral, or cognitive changes—all of which can affect their ability to do tasks or negatively impact their relationships and other interactions requiring social skills.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia

In Virginia, the Commonwealth places a two-year statute of limitations from the date of an accident. This means the clock “starts ticking” when the injury occurs. This is why it is very important to seek treatment as soon as possible to ensure the injury is well-documented.

How Does an Attorney Help TBI Victims?

Having an attorney by your side is important when any type of personal injury occurs. When TBI occurs, you will want an attorney experienced in brain injury cases who understand the long-term effects. Proving seen—and not yet seen—deficiencies and impairments can be challenging. TBI victims will also benefit from a law firm that can help them deal with insurance companies to help them obtain compensation.

Sensitive and Professional Personal Injury Attorneys in Virginia

If you or a family member have suffered any kind of head injury or wrongful death, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Virginia brain injury lawyers at Montagna Law are ready to fight on your behalf to help you or a loved one regain health and recovery. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Our sensitive and professional attorneys can help you to obtain the compensation needed to pay for medical bills, surgeries, loss of wages, rehabilitation, and other medical care expenses to help you make the best recovery possible.

To request a free consultation from a Virginia traumatic brain injury lawyer, call our legal team at (757)-622-8100.

DUI Penalties and Consequences

DUI Penalties and Consequences

When it comes to DUI penalties and consequences, each state offers its own guidelines and sentencing. While some states allow a first offense to be charged as a misdemeanor, others impose more serious penalties for convictions and when aggravating circumstances are present. Some states have mandatory minimum services while others have penalties that vary depending on the case. This is just one of several reasons you should bring your case to a law firm with experience in traffic or criminal defense like Montagna Law

DUI Fines and Costs

Getting a DUI is expensive with fines and costs for them ranging from $500-$2,000 depending upon the state even for a first offense. 

A driver may also be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID), one of the most commonly used deterrents for repeat DUI offenses, installed on his/her dashboard. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device that operates similarly to a Breathalyzer in that it detects the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system. If it detects a certain amount of alcohol in the driver’s system, the IID will keep the car engine from starting. 

DUI Treatment and Education

“A sentence for a DUI conviction often comes with alcohol abuse treatment and educational programs that the driver is required to take.” 

-Jon Montagna

This type of program may assess you for alcohol addiction. For a first offense, this is often coupled with probation and license suspension or it may be combined with other requirements like community service and restitution for victims. 

DUI Jail or Prison Time

In many states, you will not have a long imprisonment for a first-time offense because it is treated as a misdemeanor. Many jurisdictions require a minimum jail time of one to two days if you are convicted, but the most you will face in most first offense DUI cases is six months in jail. 

However, when there are aggravating circumstances like an excessively high blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or a resulting car accident in which the victim was severely injured, many states will increase that jail or prison time. Subsequent DUI offenses generally mean longer sentences. In the case of a felony DUI, in which someone was killed or badly injured, you could face a prison sentence lasting several years. 

License Suspension or Revocation

If you are convicted of DUI, all states have the possibility that your license will be suspended by the DMV of that state and/or by court order as part of your sentence. The length of this suspension will depend on your state. 90 days is a common term of suspension for a first-time offender, although some states will offer a restricted license that can be used to drive to work, school, and/or rehab during the period of suspension. 

In some jurisdictions, drivers convicted of DUI have their licenses revoked. If you are pulled over and refuse to take a chemical test, your license may be suspended regardless of whether or not you are convicted. 

Penalties for Minors Convicted of DUIs

Minors arrested for DUI may face the same penalties as an adult. Because the legal drinking age in most states is 21, a minor will likely be penalized for any amount of alcohol in his or her system. In some states, penalties for drivers under 21 are even more severe than for drivers over 21, and the driver’s license will likely be suspended in the case of conviction.

Insurance Penalties

As a result of a DUI conviction, you will likely face consequences from your auto insurance provider. They will probably take away safe driver discounts and require you to pay a higher rate or file as a high-risk driver. In extreme cases, the insurance provider will cancel your insurance policy and you’ll have to find an insurer that specializes in providing high-risk insurance, which is much more expensive.

 


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Car accidents in construction zones, or where errors have been made in road construction may not be any driver’s fault.

Signs of Danger: Auto Accidents and Construction Negligence

Construction on roadways is often a headache for drivers and can make it more difficult to avoid accidents.  Lanes are often blocked, driver visibility is lowered, and there is less room to maintain safety.  Car accidents in construction zones, or where errors have been made in road construction may not be any driver’s fault.  Negligence on the part of the construction company, or government agency may be the primary cause of the motor vehicle accident.  Accident liability in cases of road construction negligence is difficult to establish and equally difficult to pursue in court, making legal help necessary for anyone who has been involved in a construction zone accident.  

In a normal car crash, police reports and accident reports show the location of the accident and relevant traffic signals.  Insurance companies and car accident injury attorneys can view these reports clearly and understand who was at fault for the crash more easily.  The factors in a work zone auto accident are much more complex, and there may be more parties at fault for an injury.  

The Federal Highway Administration reports a high frequency of certain auto and truck accident types in construction zones.  The increased traffic density in urban and suburban construction zones is a contributing factor, with “43% of construction zone accidents occurring in these areas,” which account for only “5% of all construction areas.”  The number of car accidents involving trucks in construction zones is much higher than average.  Although injury and fatality rates for construction zone accidents are about the same as for normal driving conditions, the complexity of liability and fault make settling an accident injury case more difficult.  

When construction companies and municipalities fail to post proper warning signs before construction areas, their negligence can lead to motorists approaching the work zone too quickly, leading to accidents and injuries to both drivers and construction workers.  In most construction areas where auto accidents could result, any public agency that is doing construction on a road has “the responsibility of posting a warning sign… to avoid or reduce the accidents in a construction zone.” Virginia law requires that agencies, or companies post “conspicuous notices… lights, signs and lanterns” to make motorists aware of construction areas and decrease the chances of work zone auto accidents and injuries.  These steps to prevent accidents are not always taken, and an auto accident attorney from Montagna Klein Camden who has “been down the road before” and “knows what to expect from experience” will help you through your auto injury case. 

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