Claims for Brain Stem Injuries From Wisconsin Auto Accidents

older man lying on hospital bedDamage to the brain can cause long-term or even permanent health problems. This is particularly true with brain stem injuries, as an intact brain stem is vital for many essential bodily functions.

While brain stem injuries can happen in many situations, one of the most common causes is car crashes. If a collision is caused by another party’s negligence, the victims, or their loved ones, may be able to seek compensation for medical costs and other losses.

At Sigman Janssen, we understand the complexity and devastating impact brain stem injuries can have on victims and their families. Call our experienced Appleton car accident lawyers to learn how we may be able to help you.

Zero upfront costs. Free initial consultation. Phone: (877) 888-5201.

Defining a Brain Stem Injury

The brain stem is the main connection between your brain and your spinal cord. It is located at the base of your skull and plays a vital role in sending messages throughout your body. Sending these messages is critical in regulating your essential bodily functions.

These are a few of the critical functions controlled by your brain stem:

  • Breathing and heart rhythm: The brain stem’s regulation of your respiratory and cardiovascular systems is fundamental to survival.
  • Consciousness and sleep: It plays a vital role in your ability to stay conscious and in regulating sleep patterns.
  • Motor functions and reflexes: From balance and eye movement to facial expressions and swallowing, the brain stem is involved in a wide array of motor functions and reflexes like coughing and sneezing.

Your brain stem is made up of three parts that are responsible for different bodily functions:

  • Medulla oblongata: Controls autonomic functions such as heart rate, breathing and reflexes like sneezing.
  • Pons: Facilitates communication within the central nervous system, influencing sleep, balance and sensory experiences like taste and smell.
  • Midbrain: Plays a role in vision, hearing, motor control, sleep regulation and temperature control.

Brain stem injuries are often fatal. If a victim survives, they often result in lifelong, irreversible disabilities. Some victims may improve with time and rehabilitation.

Why Car Crashes Often Cause Brain Stem Damage

Car crashes are one of the main causes of brain stem injuries. These are some of the reasons why car crashes are a threat to the brain stem:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Brain stem injuries frequently occur when people suffer a TBI, and these injuries are common in severe car accidents. The greater the force of the crash, the higher the risk of a brain stem injury.

Violent Movement

Car crashes are violent events that can cause a blow to the neck or head. The accident could also cause violent forward or backward motion of your head or neck. This motion is more likely to occur in a high-speed crash.

Twisting or Compression of the Brain

Your brain is highly susceptible to injury from compression or twisting motion. This can press the brain against other structures, like the brain stem.

Wearing your seat belt properly can help reduce the risk of a brain stem injury, as it helps to limit neck movement.

Post-Crash Symptoms That May Indicate a Brain Stem Injury

These are the common symptoms of a brain stem injury. If you experience any of these symptoms after a collision, you need immediate medical attention.

  • Coma or loss of consciousness: These are some of the most obvious signs of damage to the brain, which may include a brain stem injury.
  • Motor and cognitive Impairments: Victims may experience paralysis, confusion, trouble controlling their movements, slurred speech and trouble swallowing.
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular signs: Trouble breathing and irregular heart rate are often an indication of the brain stem not being able to regulate these critical functions.
  • Sleep and balance Issues: You may have a lot of trouble falling asleep and maintaining your balance, as the brain stem regulates your sleep cycle and equilibrium.
  • Loss of reflexes and abnormal eye movement: Your basic reflexes may stop firing and you may notice unusual eye movement.

Early diagnosis and treatment can strongly impact the recovery process, possibly restoring some level of physical or cognitive function.

Long-Term Damage From a Brain Stem Injury

Even if a brain stem injury is not fatal, the damage is often catastrophic. For example, some victims are fully paralyzed. This is called locked-in syndrome. They can learn to blink to communicate with other people, but it is highly unlikely they will regain full movement.

Some victims end up in a permanent coma that they never wake up from. Others may start off in a coma, but they will eventually wake up. There are three main stages of awakening from a coma:

  • Vegetative state: You may be able to open and close your eyes, but you will not be responsive.
  • Minimally conscious state: Victims have limited ability to respond to stimuli, such as by smiling or blinking.
  • Confusional state: This is the stage where you are awake but cannot fully control your behavior.

There can be several other long-term challenges following a brain stem injury. For instance, you may have trouble swallowing, raising the risk of choking on food. You may not breathe normally at first, so you may need a respirator for a time.

Balance and muscle coordination can also be significant challenges. This can make it much more difficult to engage in the same activities you took part in before the crash.

Many victims need physical therapy, speech therapy and other specialized care. While they are unlikely to ever return to their pre-injury state, they may regain some lost function and control.

Securing Compensation for Brain Stem Injuries Caused by Crashes

Brain stem injuries can cause long-term social, emotional and financial challenges for victims and their families. While no amount of compensation can reverse the damage, compensation does play a pivotal role in helping families manage these challenges.

Compensation can cover victims’ long-term medical care, which may help enhance quality of life. Compensation can also cover caregiving services, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

The pursuit of full compensation is a complex process, and the liable insurance company is going to try to lowball you. This is why victims and their loved ones may greatly benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer. The attorneys at Sigman Janssen have significant experience securing favorable compensation for crash victims. We know how to evaluate catastrophic injuries and gather the detailed evidence we need to build a strong case.

Call To Discuss Your Crash and Possible Legal Options

Brain stem injuries are extremely expensive to treat. This is mainly because the treatment is ongoing and often lasts the rest of the victim’s life.

Despite the seriousness of this injury, liable insurance companies are not going to simply pay all the compensation victims need. This is why hiring an experienced lawyer is so important.

At Sigman Janssen, we have decades of experience securing compensation for those injured in crashes. Our services require no upfront costs. The initial consultation is also free of charge.

Sigman Janssen. Experienced Lawyers. No Upfront Costs. Call: (877) 888-5201.