Many personal injuries have the potential to cause lifelong changes to your physical capabilities, but few are as devastating as brain stem injuries.
Your brain stem sends messages to and from the cerebral cortex, controlling motor function, breathing and other essential processes that keep you alive. Damage to the brain stem is often fatal, short of that, victims are likely to experience debilitating physical and cognitive deficits.
If you or your loved one suffered a brain stem injury due to another’s negligence, our experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers may be able to obtain compensation for long-term care, medical treatment, pain and suffering and many other damages.
Call Greg Monforton and Partners today:
(866) 320-4770. No upfront costs.
What Is a Brain Stem Injury?
A brain stem injury refers to damage to the brain stem, which is located above your spinal cord at the base of your skull.
Your brain stem connects your brain and spinal cord, transmitting messages between these two body parts and throughout the rest of your body. While many people recognize the importance of their heart, lungs and brain, they may not know how important their brain stem is in keeping us alive. The brain stem regulates many critical body functions, such as:
- Heart rhythm
- Blood pressure
- The ability to remain conscious
- Eye movement
- Facial movement
- Chewing and swallowing
- Reflexes, such as vomiting, coughing and sneezing
The brain stem is composed of three parts, each controlling different bodily functions. The midbrain controls muscle movement. The pons connect the cerebellum and spinal cord, helping to control balance. The third part of the brain stem is the medulla, which controls essential functions like breathing.
How Brain Stem Injuries Occur
Brain stem injuries often occur when people suffer traumatic brain injuries. These injuries often occur on motor vehicle collisions, including:
- Car crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Truck accidents
The more severe the collision, the more likely there will be traumatic brain injuries and/or brain stem injuries. While brain stem injuries are often a result of blunt force trauma to the head or neck, they may also occur if your head and neck get violently thrown forward and backward. This type of violent motion is likely to happen in a high-speed or head-on collision.
Brain stem injuries may also occur in:
- Boating accidents
- Bicycle crashes
- Slip and falls
- Pedestrian collisions with cars
- Instances of intentional violence
Brain stem injuries can also result from:
- Heart attacks, which can restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain, causing impairment of the brain stem
- Encephalitis, which is a brain infection that can put pressure on the brain stem and prevent it from functioning as it should
- Brain tumors
- Ischemic stroke
Brain Stem Injury Symptoms
Many who suffer a brain stem injury fall into a coma or lose consciousness soon after the injury. Other common symptoms of a brain stem injury include:
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to control motor movements
- Slurring words
- Trouble swallowing
- Irregular heart rate
- Significant trouble falling asleep
- Poor balance
- Losing reflexes
- Repetitive eye movements
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms after being involved in an accident, you should seek immediate medical care. Time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosing and treating a brain stem injury. Quick treatment may improve the chances of regaining some amount of physical or cognitive functioning.
Long-Term Effects of a Brain Stem Injury
Many who suffer brain injuries are unlikely to survive. Those that do survive are likely to experience severe or permanent medical issues, which may include:
The coma often lasts until the swelling in the brain subsides. If the victim comes out of the coma, he or she is likely to go through three stages before becoming more alert:
- The victim starts off in a vegetative state where he or she may be able to open and shut his or her eyes but cannot respond to others.
- When victims transition out of the vegetative state they may be able to respond by blinking their eyes or smiling.
- The third stage is the confusional state where the victim is awake but cannot fully control his or her behavior.
This means the victim is complete paralyzed except for his or her eyes. Despite the inability to move, the victim is able to think, reason and hear.
Issues With Swallowing
Brain stem damage can increase the risk of victims choking on their own saliva and having problems swallowing food.
Victims may breathe in too much air too quickly, breathe too slowly, struggle to exhale and not breathe enough. Victims often require a ventilator until their breathing normalizes.
Problems With Motor Functioning
Victims often struggle with balance and muscle coordination. They may struggle to control their movements.
Can You Seek Compensation From a Brain Stem Injury?
If your injury or your loved one’s injury was caused by another’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical care and other damages. Medical care for a brain stem injury is expensive and complex. Many victims need long-term, daily care because of the significant physical and cognitive impairments they are often dealing with.
Victims are usually unable to work at all, which means they are not going to be able to provide for their families financially.
Trying to recover compensation on your own is a bad idea. Victims and families who work with lawyers often recover more than those who try to go it alone.
You also need to remember that insurance companies may deny or undervalue claims, no matter how severe the injury. When you hire a lawyer, especially one who takes cases to court, the insurance company knows there is a possibility of a lawsuit. This helps motivate insurance companies to offer more compensation.
Contact Greg Monforton and Partners to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
If you have legal questions after a personal injury, we are here to help. Our firm has assisted many victims and families affected by catastrophic injuries. Our lawyers have secured millions on behalf of our clients.
We know this is a difficult time, and we have the resources and legal knowledge to seek the justice and compensation you and your family need. Our services come with no upfront cost. Our lawyers do not get paid unless we secure compensation for our clients.
Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call for assistance: (866) 320-4770.