Within the next two years, hospitals across the nation may be able to use a simple blood test to diagnose traumatic brain injury in accident victims. Such a tool could mean that thousands of brain injury victims each year start getting the compensation and insurance benefits they desperately need without as much hassle, frustration and aggravation.
Right now proving that an accident victim suffers brain injury and proving that the injury was caused by their accident is a complicated, drawn-out process requiring a highly skilled personal injury lawyer. All too often efforts to obtain benefits end in failure because of the difficulty, and failure usually means the victim gets stuck with the hospital bill instead of their insurance company or the parties at fault for the accident.
However, the Army Times reported in August that testing and FDA approval of a device developed by the Army that detects traumatic brain injury within hours of an accident or other traumatic event could be complete within two years. The device looks for traces of proteins that are found in the blood only after damage occurs to brain cells. Work on the blood test and device for testing began as a way to determine whether combat soldiers incurred concussion or brain injury when exposed to a concussive blast or a bang on the head in order to remove them from active duty and begin treatment.
Traumatic brain injury is notoriously difficult to prove in the courtroom because the damage and effects of such injury is rarely obvious. Brain injury can occur without any visible, exterior injury and currently can only be diagnosed using a C.T. scan or observing patient behavior over an extended period. Neither of these methods is entirely reliable and can fail to detect an injury. Additionally, it can be difficult to connect brain injury to a particular incident because symptoms often don’t manifest or get noticed for days or even weeks after the accident that caused the injury. An injury that can’t be seen or observed by a jury and wasn’t noticed by the injury victim or physicians until days or weeks later presents a challenge for even the most experienced personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies are reluctant to acknowledge and pay for the treatment of traumatic brain injury because it is expensive and continues for years, often being required for the rest of the patient’s life. Such prolonged costs hurt their profit margins. To avoid paying these costs, insurance companies take advantage of the fact that brain injuries are difficult to prove and frequently deny brain injury claims from customers involved in an accident.
The personal injury lawyers at Sachs Waldman, P.C. are hoping that, once the FDA approves the Army’s device for detecting traumatic brain injury via a blood test, there will be a dramatic change in how brain injury cases are handled in the United States. Instead of waiting days or weeks for symptoms to show or tests to reveal the injury, doctors and hospitals will be able to test right away for brain damage after an accident. This will permit treatment to begin early, which improves recovery rates for victims, and force insurance companies to acknowledge the presence of brain injury and the fact that it was caused by the accident. This should speed up the process and result in many more brain injury victims receiving the insurance benefits they need and are entitled to.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and suspect you have incurred a brain injury – no matter how slight you think it is – contact a qualified personal injury lawyer immediately. An attorney can help you document symptoms and gather medical records necessary to prove your injury to your insurance company or to a jury.
In Michigan, the personal injury lawyers at Sachs Waldman, P.C., have extensive experience in documenting traumatic brain injury and forcing insurance companies and at-fault parties to pay the benefits and damages brain injury victims are entitled to. Call our Detroit personal injury lawyers’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.