Working Through Emotional Trauma
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Working Through Emotional Trauma

I still remember my accident like it was yesterday. One minute I was driving my daughter to school and the next I was waking up in a hospital bed. It was frustrating to deal with the emotional trauma of forgetting an entire week of my life, in addition to stressing about my small child. Fortunately, we were both able to recover, but it wasn't easy walking dealing with the medical bills that accompanied the accident. I found myself struggling with things as simple as answering the phone, because I was nervous about dealing with another insurance adjuster. Fortunately, by working with a lawyer, I was able to make sense of my situation. I know that you can overcome difficult challenges too, which is why I shared my story on this website.

Working Through Emotional Trauma

Lingering Violence: Domestic Abuse Survivors May Suffer From Undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injuries

Debra Hawkins

Each year, over 10 million Americans suffer abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Not only does the abuse cause mental, emotional, and physical damage when it occurs, it can lead to the onset of injuries that have a long-lasting negative impact on the victim's health. Recently, attention has been drawn to the fact that many domestic abuse survivors suffer traumatic brain injuries that frequently go undiagnosed but, nevertheless, hurts their ability to function in the world. Here's more information about this issue and the possibility of holding an abuser financially liable for the injuries he or she caused.

Domestic Abuse and Traumatic Brain Injuries

The brain sits suspended in liquid in the skull. It's only attached to the body at the base where it's connected to the spinal cord. If a person is hit hard enough, it can cause the brain to move around in and even hit the skull. Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence are subjected to a variety of physical abuses that can lead to traumatic brain injuries such as being hit in the face and head with fists, feet, or hard objects. This can lead to injuries such as:

  • Damage to brain cells at the point of impact
  • Tearing of blood vessels and other tissues in the brain and neck
  • Bleeding and swelling in the brain
  • The formation of blood clots that cut off oxygen to the brain
  • The embedding of bone fragments if the blow damages the skull itself

The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may manifest immediately or may not show up until years after the fact. Some signs of a brain injury include:

  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or an inability to balance or coordinate movements
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sensory issues such as blurry vision or ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • The sudden onset of depression or anxiety
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilation of the pupil in one or both eyes

Immediate treatment is often necessary to mitigate the effects of the injury. Many abuse victims, though, only seek out medical care if their injuries are severe (e.g. broken wrist) and may not be examined for a head injury at all when they do unless it was obvious they sustained one. Even with treatment, though, the person may still suffer from the effects of the brain injury for years after the incident.

Pursuing Compensation for Damages

Domestic violence is assault, pure and simple, and there are legal remedies victims can use to make the perpetrators pay for the physical damage they caused. If you win your case, you may be awarded money for medical bills, lost wages, relocation expenses, and possibly punitive damages.

However, there are many challenges involved in litigating a personal injury lawsuit against an abuser. Perhaps the most pressing is that you will be forced to confront the defendant in court, which may not be easy or safe. You also have to consider whether the person has the financial resources to pay the court award. There's no sense in putting yourself at risk if the abuser doesn't have the money to pay.

Possibly even more challenging, though, is connecting your brain injury to the abuse you sustained. Since traumatic brain injuries can be caused by other things besides domestic abuse, you'll need to clearly demonstrate to the court's satisfaction that the defendant is at fault. The more time that has passed between the assault and the court case, the more difficult it may be to connect the dots.

If you're suffering from a traumatic brain injury and want to pursue compensation for damages, connect with a personal injury attorney who can help you put together a compelling case so that you achieve the outcome you want. To find out more about personal injuries, contact someone like Goldman & LeBrun.