Types of Injuries
After you’re injured in an accident caused by someone else’s wrongdoing, you might want to pursue compensation. At the Johnson Injury Firm, we have helped clients seek compensation for a wide range of serious injuries, including those listed below.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of a blow or violent jolt to the head or body.
There is a misconception that all brain injuries are caused only by a blow to the head. However, any blow to the body could potentially cause the head to snap back and forth, rocking the brain inside the skull. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading causes of TBIs include falls, motor vehicle accidents, and strikes to the head.
While this life-altering injury can have symptoms that include loss of consciousness, seizures, subdural hematomas, amnesia, skull fractures, dizziness, sensory loss, depression, and tinnitus, milder forms of TBI can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. TBI victims often incur significant medical expenses and may require ongoing rehabilitation and care.
Treatment for the TBI itself revolves around treating symptoms. Many patients will recover on their own if given enough time. They can take painkillers to manage their pain, depression, and sleeplessness.
Those with moderate or severe TBIs often need rehabilitation, including speech therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, and occupational therapy. It is even possible for some people with serious TBIs to make some improvement. However, others may be left with lifelong impairments.
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury, and like many TBIs, they are most commonly caused by a sharp blow to the head or body. According to the Mayo Clinic, concussions are most commonly the result of falls, but they can also be caused by contact sports, violent assault, motor vehicle accidents, and other types of accidents.
The signs and symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, vomiting, coordination problems, short-term memory loss, confusion, sluggishness, sensitivity to light, and mood swings. Sometimes, the blow to the head can cause the victim to briefly lose consciousness. Not all symptoms of a concussion show up right away, and some may not appear for hours or days after the initial injury. That’s why it is critical for anyone with a concussion to be monitored by a friend or family member for a few days.
Most doctors recommend physical and mental rest for a few days following a concussion. This gives the brain time to recover. Vigorous physical activity can also make symptoms worse or lead to a second concussion, which could cause serious health issues. After resting for a few days, patients with concussions can gradually start to engage in physical activities again. Doctors may also prescribe over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Advil for pain relief.
Traumatic amputation, or the loss of a body part (such as a finger, toe, hand, arm, or leg) in an accident, is a devastating injury that can completely alter the victim’s life. According to Johns Hopkins, approximately 45 percent of all amputations are traumatic. They can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, defective products, and combat.
Individuals who lose limbs may face a variety of complications, including:
- Phantom limb pain. It’s common for amputees to experience phantom limb or pain in the part of the limb that isn’t there anymore. The treatment for phantom limb pain is most often easing the discomfort with medication. A nerve block can also be used to reduce pain.
- Increased risk of falls. If a person loses a foot or leg, they may have a harder time maintaining their balance, which could lead to falls.
- Illnesses and infections. Losing a limb can expose a person to illnesses and infections, including sepsis, gangrene, and necrosis.
- Although prosthetics can theoretically improve an amputee’s quality of life, defective or poorly fitted prosthetics also have the potential to cause pain and irritation.
Some of the barriers that amputees face as they try to navigate life after losing a limb include ongoing medical care and physical rehabilitation. They may also need vocational therapy so that they can continue in their present job or obtain the necessary education and training to do a different job.
Two of the most common causes of bone fractures include trauma and overuse. Bone fractures are usually painful and cause swelling and bruising. In serious cases, a broken bone can even penetrate the skin.
Some of the most common types of fractures include:
- Stable fractures: A break in which the bone is still aligned in its original position
- Compound fractures: When the skin is pierced by a broken bone or by the physical trauma that caused the fracture
- Oblique fractures: A fracture that occurs at an angle across the bone
- Transverse fractures: A fracture that occurs horizontally along a bone
Broken bones are diagnosed using X-rays, which can reveal the type and location of the fracture. Treatment for broken bones typically involves wearing a cast to immobilize the bone while it heals, securing the bone from outside the skin with pins, screws, and bars (external fixation), or piecing the bone together and securing it beneath the skin using screws, metal plates, or rods (internal fixation). Depending on the severity of the fracture, broken bones can take between several weeks and several months to heal fully.
Fusion refers to fusing two bones or vertebrae together to form one piece. Spinal fusion is the most well-known type of fusion surgery. Spinal fusion involves permanently linking two vertebrae, often for the purpose of correcting deformities or stabilizing the spine. Fusion eliminates motion between the vertebrae, which can reduce back pain and prevent injuries. It is a common treatment for scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), spinal fractures, and degenerative disc disease.
When one of the jelly-like discs that act as a “cushion” between vertebrae pushes out through a crack in the hard external casing, the disc is considered to be “herniated.” Herniated discs are sometimes referred to as slipped discs or ruptured discs. Herniated discs can cause pain in the legs and arms (if the affected disc is in the lower back) or in the shoulders and arms (if the herniated disc is in the neck portion of the spine). It can also cause numbness and tingling, as well as muscle weakness, which can lead to a lack of coordination and an inability to lift.
Herniated discs are often caused by disc degeneration over time as a person ages. Physical trauma can also cause herniated discs and accelerate the rate of disc degeneration. Herniated discs are usually diagnosed using scans and nerve tests. Treatment typically consists of over-the-counter pain medications, prescription pain medications, muscle relaxers, and corticosteroids. Herniated discs usually improve within several weeks, but if they don’t, surgery may be needed to remove the portion of the disc that is poking out of the casing.
Knee injuries are commonly caused by trauma during an accident, as well as by repeated stress on the knee (for instance, regular heavy lifting in the workplace). Some common types of knee injuries include:
- Knee fractures
- Dislocated knee
- ACL injury
- Meniscal tears
- Tendon tears
Physicians will typically recommend “RICE” immediately following a knee injury — rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For less serious knee injuries, immobilization (placing the knee in a brace so that it cannot move), physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs are often sufficient to treat and heal the injury.
For more serious knee injuries, surgery may be needed. Injuries such as ACL tears are typically only mildly invasive and can be performed with small incisions, while surgery for fractures tends to be more invasive. Large incisions may be necessary to repair fractures properly.
Paralysis is a life-changing condition that often stems from a damaged spinal cord. When a person becomes paralyzed, they are unable to voluntarily move their muscles. Paralysis can be partial (meaning some muscles can be controlled, but not all) or total (no muscles can be controlled).
There are numerous categories of paralysis, including:
- Monoplegia: Paralysis occurs in a single limb
- Diplegia: Paralysis occurs in the same region of the body on both sides
- Hemiplegia: Paralysis occurs in both limbs on one side of the body
- Paraplegia: Paralysis happens in the bottom half of the body
- Quadriplegia: Paralysis occurs in all four limbs
Some types of paralysis are temporary and may dissipate when the swelling from an injury decreases. However, paralysis can become a lifelong disability if the spine is permanently damaged.
The most common causes of paralysis include medical conditions (such as a stroke) and traumatic injuries (especially spinal cord injuries). It is typically diagnosed using X-rays, other imaging tests, spinal taps, and EMG (electromyogram) tests, which analyze electrical activity in the body. Individuals with permanent paralysis may need adaptive equipment to complete certain tasks, including eating and driving, and might need to use a wheelchair, scooter, or cane for mobility purposes.
Spinal cord injuries typically occur due to physical trauma. Motor vehicle accidents, gunshots, slip and falls, and medical malpractice can all cause spinal cord injuries. Complete spinal cord injuries involve permanent damage to the spinal cord, frequently resulting in paralysis. Incomplete spinal cord injuries cause partial damage to the spine and can range from moderate to severe.
There are four levels of spinal cord injuries:
- Cervical: Cervical spinal cord injuries are the most serious type. They affect the head and neck area of the spine.
- Thoracic: Thoracic spinal cord injuries occur in the torso and can affect the chest, mid-back, and abdomen.
- Lumbar: Lumbar spinal cord injuries impact the legs and hips. Individuals with lumbar spinal cord injuries may not be able to get around without the help of a wheelchair or leg braces.
- Sacral: Sacral spinal cord injuries impact the pelvic area, hips, buttocks, and hamstring area. People with sacral spinal cord injuries can usually get around without assistance.
A damaged spinal cord can also affect various bodily systems and functions, including the bladder, bowels, metabolism, blood pressure, and muscle reflexes.
Tendons are responsible for binding muscles to bones. Tendons can rupture over time due to normal wear and tear, but they can also suffer damage due to sudden trauma in an accident. When a tendon is injured, it will immediately become inflamed. The inflammation usually leads to pain and swelling at the site.
For mild tendon injuries, the typical treatment involves “RICE.” After an extended period of rest, a doctor may recommend exercises to strengthen the affected area, as prolonged inactivity can have a negative effect on the injury.
For more severe cases, surgery may be required to help the torn tendon heal properly. Once a surgeon has repaired the torn tendon, they will likely prescribe a period of rest and physical therapy to strengthen the tendon.
When someone is killed due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, the responsible person can be sued for wrongful death. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include motor vehicle crashes, pedestrian accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, and faulty products. While wrongful death is often the result of negligence, it can also be the result of an intentional act such as vehicular homicide.
Families of wrongful death victims can pursue compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses incurred by the victim prior to their death, loss of companionship, lost future income, and other non-financial losses. In Virginia, the executor of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members.
Getting the Compensation You Need
At The Johnson Injury Firm, our team has assisted people in getting compensation for past, present, and future medical expenses, including at-home help if a person is permanently disabled. Other compensation can cover lost income (including lost future income), property damage, and pain and suffering.
Serious injuries take a toll on the entire family, and spouses might qualify for loss of consortium when an injury leaves their spouse permanently impaired. Contact The Johnson Injury Firm at (804) 262-9000 to find out how our attorneys can help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.