Brain Injury Lawyers in San Francisco
Organic Brain Injuries & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Emotional distress following a traumatic brain injury can be both real
and debilitating. Often times, severe emotional distress will mimic many
of the characteristics of organic brain dysfunction. It is the treatment
that differs in each case, however.
In the litigation setting, it is common for insurance companies, and their
lawyers, to contend that the dysfunction and deficits experienced by the
victim did not result from any trauma sustained, but rather from pre-existing
emotional difficulties. So standard is this defense that it is encountered
in virtually all cases of “mild” traumatic
brain injury. Therefore, for purposes of treatment, and in order to prevail over unmeritorious
defenses, it is important to understand the distinction between an organic
brain injury and a debilitating emotional injury.
If you are dealing with an organic brain injury or Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) after being involved in a negligence-related accident,
you may be unsure how to proceed or where to go for help. These kinds
of cases require the attention of a knowledgeable and diligent attorney
with decades of experience as a brain injury advocate. We invite you to
contact Scarlett Law Group for an initial consultation.
We proudly offer
free case reviews
to our potential clients. Call (415) 688-2176 to schedule yours.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is an emotional injury that occurs when someone experiences a traumatic
event. While most individuals associate PTSD with war veterans, it can
also occur to civilians as well. For example, it is not uncommon for some
individuals to give up driving after experiencing a serious car accident
due to their debilitating trauma.
Symptoms of PTSD can include the following:
- Avoiding places or activities related to the traumatic event experienced
- Recurring flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleeping trouble
- Emotional numbness and decreased responsiveness to the outside world
Acute PTSD involves symptoms lasting less than three months, while chronic
PTSD involves much longer-lasting symptoms. Symptoms that don’t
present themselves until six months or more after the traumatic event
signify delayed onset PTSD.
Severe car accidents or other threatening life events can trigger PTSD.
TBI patients who have intrusive memories of the traumatic event, and who
experienced fear and helplessness in avoidance of the event, are likely
to develop PTSD. In a vicious cycle of compounding symptomology, PTSD
has been found to exacerbate the cognitive deficits experienced in mild TBI.
Organic Brain Injury
Also called “dementia due to head trauma” by the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual – IV (DSM IV), organic brain injury involves
the impairment of cognitive functioning such as memory and attention.
Neuropsychological assessment is helpful in diagnosing an organic brain
injury and aids in allowing prompt treatment to ensue.
Organic brain injury typically involves the following symptoms:
- Severe short-term loss of brain function (delirium)
- Long-term loss of brain function (dementia)
Perhaps the easiest manner of determining whether a particular victim is
suffering from PTSD-related symptoms only, versus organically based brain
impairments, involves analyzing the overall pattern of neuropsychological
assessment results. For example, if the victim demonstrates problems with
motor or sensory abilities isolated on one side of the body (or other
abilities governed by one hemisphere of the brain), such injuries are
more likely to be the result of actual organic brain damage than due to
interference in efficiency of thinking due to PTSD or other emotional
distress. Maximum recovery from organically based brain injury, at least
in terms of thinking skills, typically occurs soon after the event in
question, with gradual recovery continuing throughout the first year to
two years post-injury.
Schedule a Free Consult with a San Francisco Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Unfortunately, it has become a popular defense in the litigation arena
to blame cognitive deficits and changes in behavior on alleged “pre-existing
emotional disorders” rather than on the trauma. It is therefore
absolutely necessary to seek the help of an attorney who can determine
and corroborate premorbid levels of function and fight for just compensation.
Dealing with an organic brain injury or PTSD can be alienating and frustrating
as you try to seek help and recover. We can help you obtain the due monetary
compensation you need to treat your injuries so that you can move on with
your life as quickly as possible. Your traumatic accident shouldn’t
dictate how you live the rest of your life.
Speak with our California catastrophic injury lawyers
about your brain injury case today.