Louisville Brain Injury Lawyer Tad Thomas

This video features Tad Thomas, a Medical Malpractice attorney based in Illinois.

Common Causes of TBI and How an Attorney Can Help

Video Transcript:

Tad Thomas:

You definitely need someone who understands the medicine and dealing with this type of case.

Rob Rosenthal:

How do you know if your injury is a traumatic brain injury and when do you need to get a lawyer involved? Well, that's what we're going to find out right now as we ask the lawyer.

Hi again, everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com, and my guest is Kentucky attorney Tad Thomas who's had a lot of experience helping people who have been injured with traumatic brain injuries. I want to remind you that if you want to ask questions about your specific situation, you can go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top of the page that says, “Ask a Lawyer,” and it'll walk you right through the very easy process right there.

Tad, good to see you again. As always, thank you for helping us out and answering our questions.

Tad Thomas:

Happy to be here, Rob.

Rob Rosenthal:

So let's just talk about brain injuries in general. How common are they in the United States?

Tad Thomas:

They're actually very common. Sadly, the CDC has estimated that over 5 million people are currently living with a permanent brain injury; over a million people suffer some sort of traumatic brain injury every year, and about 50,000 people die from brain injury each year, so it's a pretty prevalent issue. Motor vehicle collisions are actually the leading cause of traumatic brain injury.

Rob Rosenthal:

Now, when you talk about traumatic brain injury and brain injuries in general, it's a spectrum, right? It covers a wide area. Touch on that a little bit for us. Everything from, I'm guessing, a bump on the head to something much more catastrophic; tell us about that a little bit.

Tad Thomas:

Yeah, absolutely. You have, unfortunately, catastrophic injuries where someone loses the ability to care for themselves and feed themselves and communicate without the assistance of devices where they may be in a persistent vegetative state; all the way down to a minor transient brain injury where you have a concussion for a short period of time. So there's a wide variety. There's different testing out there to kind of gauge what that level is. Some brain injuries can be severe though, and not show up on a CT scan or an MRI. So the more severe they become, the more obvious they are on the different radiological testing.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned that automobile accidents are the number one cause, so what are some other ways that could cause brain injuries, especially where there might be legalities involved.

Tad Thomas:

Sure. Obviously you get them in sports and things like that, where there's no cause of action for that kind of injury, but, you know, premises liability cases, drowning, if you suffocate while you're in the process of drowning and your brain loses oxygen, that's a brain injury. Construction accidents, all sorts of tractor- trailer collisions, motorcycle collisions, even a motorcycle collision where you're actually wearing a helmet; you can still have a very serious traumatic brain injury.

Rob Rosenthal:

What about trip and falls? It seems to me, a lot of times people might hit their heads when they fall. Is that a pretty common thing?

Tad Thomas:

Yeah, actually. I had a client that slipped and fell on ice coming out of a store, and unfortunately she suffered a pretty severe brain injury because of how she fell unfortunately. So you do see it quite a bit. In terms of premises liability cases, things falling in a store like a Lowe's or a Home Depot, or something falling off of a high shelf; you can see brain injuries in cases like that as well.

Rob Rosenthal:

And how does someone know, Tad? How do they decide, “Okay, my brain injury is such that I need to get an attorney involved like yourself?”

Tad Thomas:

You know, the only way you know is by calling an attorney. Any attorney that works in this field should work on a contingent fee basis, and any attorney working in this field should, first of all, give a free consultation. So it shouldn't cost you anything to call, tell them the facts of your case, and ask an attorney if you have a case. If it's an attorney who's worth their while, they’re going to give you the time of day, they're going to listen to your story, or have one of their staff listen to your story, and then tell you whether or not it's something worth pursuing.

Rob Rosenthal:

It occurs to me too that—and this may be a whole other interview—but there could be times that people have a brain injury, and especially the person who's injured, may not realize it. Like some of the examples you mentioned, something like falling, getting hit on the head, and now you say, “Oh, I've got a headache,” or “I’ve got a bump.” But it could be much more serious than they realize. Do you find that to be the case?

Tad Thomas:

It actually happens more often than you think, Rob. What'll happen is you'll have some sort of an injury, whether motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall, things like that, and the client will go to the hospital and have a scan, like a CT or an MRI, and the doctor will say, “Hey, we don't see anything here. You may have suffered a mild concussion or a mild TBI.” Well, a mild TBI is still a brain injury. A lot of times you'll see that the families will be the first ones to notice that there's a problem. You'll see changes in personality; they'll become more aggressive. Sadly, I had a client once upon a time that was a dog person who loved his dog, and then suffered a TBI as result of a collision, and would kick the dog that was his favorite, and he just had a total overnight change in personality. You couldn't tell from the scans, but clearly he had a brain injury.

Rob Rosenthal:

And obviously the person injured couldn't say, “Oh my personality has completely changed.” That’s got to make it a little more difficult for someone who's trying to represent them in a case when the person injured can't really tell you that they're injured.

Tad Thomas:

That's right. It comes down to the family. It's a tremendous burden on families to have to care for someone with a brain injury, to deal with someone that they've loved that becomes essentially a different person as a result of those injuries. We have to be understanding. We may be talking to a client on the phone about their case and they just go into a rage, and we as attorneys and counselors have to understand that that's not that person, that's not who that person is. This is an injury; it's almost like a disease. So we have to be compassionate and caring and patient with our clients that have suffered this type of injury.

Rob Rosenthal:

I think that's why it's especially important to find an attorney who has experience with these kinds of things, because without that experience you might not know to even look for that.

Tad Thomas:

Yeah, absolutely. If you have a case involving someone that has a brain injury, you need to inquire of the attorney that you hire, have they dealt with these kinds of cases before, and how often. Do you know the medicine? Do you know the test? Do you have the right experts that you can call to help the client with their situation? Many times we actually try to help our clients get treatment as well. There's a residential treatment facility here in Kentucky that we recommend oftentimes, so you definitely need someone who understands the medicine and dealing with this type of case.

Rob Rosenthal:

It’s always informative whenever we talk, Tad. Thank you so much for answering our questions again.

Tad Thomas:

Rob, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Rob Rosenthal:

That's going to do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Kentucky attorney Tad Thomas. Remember, if you want to ask questions about your specific situation, just head over to askthelawyers.com, hit the button at the top of the page that says, “Ask a Lawyer,” and you can ask away right there. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with
AskTheLawyers™.

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