Some injuries are more straightforward than others when it comes to diagnosis, treatment and causation. For example, when a car crash results in a broken arm, the diagnosis is generally clear-cut and easily agreed upon by medical professionals. They can see the break on your X-rays, and they know just how to treat it.
Unfortunately, not all injuries are this clear. Some injuries can change a person’s life, but are incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat. This is often the case when it comes to injuries such as whiplash, nerve damage, sprains, strains, mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions.
An Example: Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild TBIs involve damage to microscopic nerve fibers, called axons, in the brain. Much of the harm is not visible, even when using current medical technology. It doesn’t show up on X-rays, and even more specialized tests such as CT scans and MRIs aren’t sensitive enough to detect the damage.
Still, a brain injury can completely alter a person’s life. It can cause fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness and confusion that can last months. People struggling with these symptoms often do not get the right diagnosis and, as a result, may not receive the right treatment.
Even with the right medical care, recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury is challenging. Things that used to be easy may feel impossible after a brain injury. A patient may feel as though things are getting better one day, only to experience much worse symptoms the next.
The best way to make the difficult recovery process a bit easier is to seek help from well-qualified professionals as soon as possible, and to seek a second opinion if things just don’t add up. People suffering from mild TBIs can get help from specialized rehabilitation doctors called physiatrists, as well as occupational, speech and physical therapists, neuropsychologists and even social workers. And when the injury was the direct result of another person’s negligence, legal professionals should also get involved.
What Can Your Lawyer Do?
As personal injury lawyers, we often talk to people who continue to experience pain above and beyond what they expected after an accident. Many thought they’d be back at work after a few days. Then they end up seeking our help when days turn into weeks or months, and things still aren’t back to normal.
We counsel our clients to seek proper medical care. We support them in making sure that they get the treatment they need—especially when injuries are complex and hard to detect. We also talk with our clients about the special challenges their cases may pose. For example, without a proper diagnosis and documentation in a patient’s medical records, insurance companies often blame the victim. Companies will claim that accident victims are simply making up the pain to get more money.
Our job as lawyers is to prove insurance companies wrong. We often rely on a team of medical experts and other professionals to help us do this. When building a case involving a hard-to-diagnose injury, we often partner with physiatrists, economists, life care planners, physical therapists and other specialists to create a complete picture of the injury and how it affects your life. We know that we may face a challenging legal battle, so we prepare thoroughly to represent you in court.
What Can You Do?
If you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence, don’t give up hope. Many people who experience injuries like whiplash, deep muscle bruising or concussions that are not clearly seen on X-rays are told that the pain is all in their head.
Get medical treatment right away from a professional who believes and supports you. And, when possible, get it from someone who practices in a specialized area of medicine. Keep seeking treatment and participating in rehabilitation for as long as necessary.
Getting legal counsel is important, too. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner he or she can begin protecting your rights and putting together your personal injury case.
Here at White & Associates, this is the approach we take. We begin working hard for our clients from the moment they retain us. Just because an injury may not be straightforward does not mean that the person or business that caused it should not be held accountable.