Car Accident Caused a Brain Injury?

This video features Rebeccah Graham, a Personal Injury attorney based in Washington.

Washington Lawyer Helps People with TBIs

Video Transcript:

Rebeccah Graham: 

We talk about lawyers are... We get money for our clients, right? That's great, but what's more important is that we can help you get better, because I bet you dollars to donuts that every single client I have would rather be healthy and well, than have all the money in the world.

Rob Rosenthal: 

If someone you love is seriously injured in a car crash, how do you know if they have a brain injury and how do you get help? We're gonna find out, because that's the question we're gonna ask right now on this episode of Ask The Lawyer. Hi again everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com. My guest is Washington State attorney Rebeccah Graham. I wanna remind you right at the outset, if you'd like to ask Rebeccah questions about your situation, it's easy, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top that says Ask a lawyer, or you can call the phone number that you'll see on the screen during our conversation. Rebeccah, it's good to see again, thank you for answering our questions today.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Oh, good morning, Rob, thanks for having me. Great to be here.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Sometimes Rebeccah I hear a brain injury referred to as the invisible injury, explain why that might be.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Sure, that's a great question, Rob. Because a lot of times people who have been injured in an auto collision or when they've been injured on someone else's premises, they hit their head in some fashion, sometimes it's just a matter of hitting their head on the back of the headrest, and they can have a what we call a mild traumatic brain injury, what we know colloquially as a concussion, but those symptoms of that brain injury aren't very apparent right away, and it often takes days or weeks for it to become apparent that the person isn't functioning like they used to. And so it's really important for that individual to get appropriate treatment, appropriate diagnostic care, to really make sure they're addressing all of the symptoms of their brain injury, 'cause those injuries can last for a long time. It can take up to two years to fully recover, and then sadly, there are a large proportion of people who just simply never recover and are always gonna have a deficit for the rest of their lives.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So even if someone goes to the hospital and they go to the emergency room, the brain injury might be missed or just not even looked for is that... That happens?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Sometimes that happens, but more often, what we see is someone goes to the emergency room and they are diagnosed with a concussion, but most people expect that those symptoms are gonna resolve within a short period of time, the problem is they often don't. And so people who have symptoms of a brain injury such as memory loss, sleep issues, visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting is a big one, that's a huge red flag but they're much more subtle signs of having a brain injury. And oftentimes the person who's suffering from a brain injury doesn't even notice because they have what we call a cognitive deficit. And so it's really important to talk to friends and family who are close to that person to see if they think that they aren't the same. Oftentimes, people just aren't the same after a brain injury, and it takes them a long time and a lot of work to recover.

Rob Rosenthal: 

To say someone's not the same, that can affect their livelihood or how they make a living, or their relationships, all that sort of thing, I would guess.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Absolutely, and oftentimes, it's really hard to diagnose because these subtle brain injuries don't come up with traditional diagnostic testing. So for example, we have a client currently who was hit pretty hard at 60 miles an hour, and she's been suffering for over a year with the memory loss, headaches, all kinds of sleep problems, and she's not been able to work since this happened. So this can certainly affect your work, it can affect your livelihood, it can affect your relationships with your friends and family and spouse and kids, sometimes people who have a brain injury find themselves depressed, that's a common symptom, they find themselves more irritable, another common symptom, it's really important to get treatment for that. The treatment's not amazing, that's one of the problems is that it just can take a long time and a lot of work to recover.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Well, let's talk about that a little bit. Other than paying for medical bills, what type of damages could someone expect to recover who may have gotten a brain injury and say in a collision, something like that. How can you help them?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Well, what we do is we help people, we're not doctors, but we help guide people in their journey to get better, and also we have a wealth of experts whose specialty is dealing with people who have brain injuries, and so we will go ahead and send a client to these experts who can really help diagnose the specific problem. So it's really important to have that diagnostic ability to be able to say to the person who injured our client say, Here are all the damages that this person has suffered, it's not just a broken bone it's not just a back injury, it's not just... I broke my leg, but I can't function like I used to. My memory is not as good as we used to, look the fact is, is that we all use our brain every single day. And so if you have a deficit in your brain, forgetfulness, memory loss, sometimes you have ringing in your ear, we call that tinnitus, and those can be debilitating injuries for people when you have a constant ear ringing or you can't sleep. These injuries can be debilitating for a long time, so we wanna get maximum recovery for those debilitating injuries, and the way we do that is to document it.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Is it important, Rebeccah, for someone to get an attorney to help them who has experience specifically with traumatic brain injuries or can just any attorney handle this?

Rebeccah Graham: 

Well, I think you have to be really able to assess the subtle signs. Oftentimes, I see people who don't realise, clients who don't realise that they've suffered a brain injury, and you know I might be the first person who's asked them questions about that. And I'll go through a checklist, and they'll say, "Oh yeah, I have this and I have that," and I'll say, "Well, you need to go to your doctor and get this checked out, so that your doctor has a record and your doctor can make referrals appropriately." Oftentimes, a client who's got a brain injury over time, not immediately, but they're gonna get sent to a neurologist to see what's really going on, they're going to get... They might be sent to physical therapy, they might be sent to speech and occupational therapy. There's a lot of different therapies that they can do to get better, but unless they know what's going on, they're not gonna get those therapies. So it's oftentimes that the lawyer is actually the first person who's discovering what's really going on with that person. And we don't make diagnoses of course, but we say this is something that you should get checked out.

Rebeccah Graham: 

So I do think it's important that lawyers who have some specialty dealing with traumatic brain injuries are helping these clients, 'cause if you don't have that specialty, you don't know what you're looking for, and you don't know what the appropriate referral sources are. So in our practice, we've been doing brain injuries for a long time, we have a network of experts who we've worked with who are really great and caring people who wanna help people get better, 'cause part of our job, we talk about lawyers are... We get money for our clients, that's great. But what's more important is that we can help you get better, because I bet you dollars to donuts that every single client I have, would rather be healthy and well than have all the money in the world.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Absolutely, lots of really helpful information as always, thank you for making some time to answer our questions, I appreciate it.

Rebeccah Graham: 

Alright, thanks very much. Talk to you later.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That I'll do it for this episode of Ask The Lawyer. My guest has been Washington State Attorney, Rebeccah Graham. And remind you again, if you'd like to ask Rebeccah questions about your situation, go to askthelawyers.com, there's a button at the top that says Ask A Lawyer, you click on that and it doesn't cost you anything to ask some questions. Thanks for watching everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask The Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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