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Common Questions about Head Trauma

What Head Injury Victims and Their Families Need to Know

Individuals who have sustained head trauma and are seeking personal injury legal assistance have many questions concerning their rights, insurance and medical issues. The questions below and the responses provided have been prepared to address the concerns that victims of head injuries may have at the beginning of their case. If you need assistance concerning your head trauma case, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified head injury lawyer before making any important decisions regarding your head trauma case.

1. I cannot afford to hire a head injury lawyer, what should I do?

2. I have a head injury and am having problems communicating with my doctor. What should I do?

3. Can I develop a seizure disorder or epilepsy as a result of an accident or head trauma?

4. What is a seizure?

5. What is Epilepsy?

6. How long after an accident in which I injure my head can seizures or epilepsy develop?

7. Are there different types of seizures?

8. How is a seizure or epilepsy diagnosed?

Review the answers to some common questions people have concerning head injuries, please contact us if you’d like to discuss any of these issues and/or if you are need of legal representation.

1. I cannot afford to hire a head injury lawyer, what should I do? Back to top

You can hire a qualified, compassionate head injury lawyer to represent you without payment in advance. The attorney will wait until the end of the case to be compensated!

In most states, including New York State, injured persons have the ability to retain an attorney by the use of what is commonly known as the contingent fee agreement. This means that the head injury attorney does not receive any fee or payment unless money is recovered on behalf of the person. If money is recovered, then the lawyer will receive an attorney fee based upon a percentage of the amount obtained. In reality, this means that the person with head trauma or their family members have the absolute ability to hire the best and most qualified lawyer.

2. I have a head injury, I am having problems communicating with my doctor, what should I do? Back to top

Persons with head injuries are entitled to respectful treatment from their medical providers. Their doctor must understand the special problems that a person with head trauma must endure.

  1. When you schedule your first appointment, tell your doctor that you will require extra time.
  2. If distractions bother you, arrange for a quiet place to wait until the doctor can see you.
  3. Get to the appointment at least 15 minutes in advance so you can relax and unwind.
  4. Write down in advance everything that you want to tell your doctor.
  5. Write down every instruction the doctor gives you.
  6. Ask the doctor to write down your diagnosis and explain it to you and your family.
  7. Bring someone with you if you can to make sure you understand everything.
  8. If you don't understand, ask questions and ask for additional explanations.

3. Can I develop a seizure disorder or epilepsy as a result of an accident or head trauma? Back to top

It is well known to the medical and legal community that one of the most frequent causes of a seizure disorder or epilepsy is traumatic brain injury. It doesn’t matter whether the initial head trauma was mild, moderate or severe.

4. What is a seizure? Back to top

A seizure is an electrical explosion in the brain. All brain activity is controlled by electrical impulses caused by the individual nerves firing charges that pass from one nerve cell to the next. When a seizure occurs, the nerve cells do not fire properly and instead fire with sudden, short and intense energy.

5. What is Epilepsy? Back to top

Epilepsy is simply more than one seizure. Epilepsy is simply the name given to the condition of multiple seizures.

6. How long after an accident in which I injure my head can seizures or epilepsy develop? Back to top

A seizure disorder or epilepsy can develop any time following an accident or head trauma. Seizures may develop immediately after the traumatic brain injury and are called immediate seizures. If they develop within the first 24 hours following the head trauma they are called early onset seizures. The seizures may develop days or even weeks after the accident. These seizures are called late seizures. A seizure disorder can even develop after the first year following a brain trauma!

7. Are there different types of seizures? Back to top

Seizures come in all shapes and sizes. Although a seizure disorder will always start in a specific part of the brain it may or may not spread to other areas of the head.

a. What is a generalized seizure?

When a seizure starts in one area of the brain and then spreads to other areas, it is called a generalized seizure also known as a grand mal seizure. We are all familiar with this type of seizure, which generally results in a violent shaking of the arms, legs, head and neck. This is referred to as a convulsion. A person can have a generalized seizure without a convulsion. In these cases, the person will have just a blank look and will appear to be staring off into space. The person is disconnected from everything around them and is unaware of what is going on during this period of time.

b. What is a partial seizure?

In a partial seizure disorder, only a small part of the brain is affected. The seizure or electrical activity remains confined to one area of the brain and does not spread to other parts. The person may be conscious or unconscious during the seizure. The seizure may or may not involve shaking. The experience depends on where the electrical firing inside the brain took place. Frequently the only thing the person notices is an altered sense of taste or smell just before the seizure takes place, a feeling or fear of uncontrollable outbursts or crying or a feeling of being in a different place. The seizure may be awakening the same time every night from a deep sleep, bed wetting, and a twitching of the face, arm, hand or leg. The feeling may even be a strange sensation of numbness, tingling or hearing of unusual sounds or voices.

8. How is a seizure disorder or epilepsy diagnosed? Back to top

An EEG, also known as an electroencephalogram is a device frequently used when a person is suspected of having a seizure disorder or epilepsy. The device is designed to measure the electrical activity in the brain. BUT, because the electrical firing that causes the seizures may not be occurring when the EEG is taken, the results are often normal even though the person has a seizure disorder or epilepsy. In many instances when an EEG is normal, a doctor who wants to confirm the seizure disorder, may order a 24 hour continuous EEG and constantly monitor the activity of the brain over this longer period of time. Even then the person may still have normal readings but still have a seizure disorder. Sometimes, a video tape is also made of the person so the doctor can correlate what they see with the EEG.

Many times, the only way to diagnose epilepsy and seizures is by careful and detailed questioning of the individual suspected of having this neurological condition and well as questioning their close friends and family members.