Accidents cause a variety of injuries. Spinal cord injuries and brain injuries are common accident injuries. Injuries to either of these vital areas can result in permanent impairments and disabilities.

Brain stem injuries can interrupt the automatic functions of our body that are essential for survival. Individuals who sustain brain stem injuries in an accident could face a lifetime of debilitating effects. Understanding the causes and effects of brain stem injuries can be helpful when pursuing a personal injury claim.

What Is the Brain Stem?

The brain stem is located at the base of the brain. It connects the brain to the spinal cord. The brain stem is made up of three structures.

Each part of the brain stem controls certain body functions. Damage to one or more of the sections of the brain stem could result in debilitating conditions.

The parts of the brain stem are:

  • Medulla Oblongata, which helps control the body’s heart rate, respiratory functions, and blood pressure.
  • Pons, which helps control posture, senses, equilibrium, bladder control, and swallowing.
  • Midbrain, which helps control motor functions, sleep, temperature regulation, vision, and hearing.

The location of the brain stem injury and the severity of the injury determines the extent of the disruption to body functions. In severe cases, brain stem injuries may result in life-threatening conditions when critical body functions are disrupted.

Immediate medical attention is required for a brain stem injury. A physician should diagnose any injury to the neck or head. Quickly identifying a brain stem injury can save a person’s life and allow the physician to develop a treatment plan that gives the patient the best odds of survival and recovery. 

Effects of a Brain Stem Injury

The effects of a brain stem injury can be devastating for a patient. Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient could require round-the-clock personal and medical care. 

Some of the effects of a brain stem injury include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Blurred vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Problems swallowing
  • Paralysis
  • Slurred speech
  • Hearing loss
  • Decreases in motor function
  • Loss of smell or sense
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns or insomnia
  • Interruption or loss of bodily functions
  • Breathing problems 
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Altered heart rate
  • Vomiting, nausea, and/or dizziness

While it is wise to seek medical attention after any head or neck injury, accident victims should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of brain injury. Prompt medical attention also increases the chance that you can recover full compensation for damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

Causes of Brain Stem Injuries

Brain stem injuries can result from any trauma or accident. Intentional acts of violence, sports, and recreational activities can also result in a brain stem injury.

Some common accidents that can lead to a brain stem injury include, but are not limited to:

When another party is responsible for causing the accident or situation that results in a brain stem injury, that party could be responsible for the victim’s damages. New York personal injury laws give victims a legal avenue to seek compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages. 

Damages Available for a Brain Stem Injury Claim

Because the effects of a brain injury can result in the need for 24/7 care, the damages in a brain stem injury claim can be substantial. Some individuals may require personal and medical care for the rest of their lives. Other individuals may face a lengthy recovery that results in months of intense therapy and time away from work.

Even though a patient may recover and return to work, that patient may need months of occupational therapy and vocational therapy before he or she can return to work and normal activities. The cost of care, treatment, and therapy can total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition to the financial losses caused by a brain stem injury, victims often suffer intense physical, emotional, and mental suffering and anguish. For victims who have a permanent impairment because of the brain stem injury, they must adjust to a change in their living style. They may also experience a decrease in their quality of life.

All of these damages are included in a brain stem injury claim. Valuing some of these damages can be difficult. It is impossible to place a price tag on your pain and suffering, but that is what you must do.

With the help of an experienced brain injury lawyer, you can maximize the value of your damages to receive the highest value for your brain stem injury claim.