Concussion Complications - Bailey Javins & Carter

Caring for a Loved One with a Traumatic Brain Injury

There are roughly 2.5 million hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room each year for traumatic brain injury (TBI), and more than 5 million Americans are living with a TBI-related disability. When someone suffers from a TBI-related injury, it affects everyone around them. Loved ones are suddenly called upon to become caregivers, and most do not have any prior experience dealing with someone who has this type of condition.
Traumatic brain injury is different from most other medical conditions. The effects of TBI are unique to each individual who suffers from it, and the type of rehabilitation required as well as the amount of time needed for recovery varies widely from person to person. Unlike most other injuries, TBI affects the whole person; i.e., physical, cognitive, emotional, etc.
Physical issues related to traumatic brain injury can include dizziness, headaches, balance problems, and even problems seeing. Cognitive issues can include problems with focus and concentration, processing and understanding information, reasoning, solving problems, making decisions, and in some cases, memory loss. Emotional issues can include impulsive and often inappropriate behavior, mood swings, and general difficulty controlling emotions.
What Can Family Members do for TBI Sufferers?
From the moment you learn that a loved one has traumatic brain injury, your role in their life changes dramatically. For example, you may need to relate to a spouse who has TBI more like a child. The same holds true for children whose parents develop TBI, in this case, it may be a complete role reversal. Adjusting to your new role can be highly stressful, and this makes caring for a loved one with traumatic brain injury an emotionally draining experience.
Here are five important tips to help caregivers of loved ones with traumatic brain injury cope with this difficult situation:
Get Plenty of Rest
Caring for a loved one with traumatic brain injury is both physically and emotionally exhausting. This makes it critical for the primary caregiver to rest as much as possible. This might require some short-term changes while you help your loved one recover. For example, you may need to take some time off from work. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most employers are required to give up to 12 weeks off during a 12-month period to care for a loved one with a serious medical condition. Finally, enlist other family members or friends or even an in-home caregiving service (if your budget allows) to help care for your loved one’s needs.
Rest is not only important for the caregiver, it is also important for the TBI patient. Rest is essential to allow their body and brain time to repair and recover. Be sure your loved one is getting the amount of rest he/she needs to (hopefully) recover more quickly from their brain injury.
Follow all Doctor’s Orders
The recovery path for traumatic brain injury is unpredictable. This makes it all the more important to follow the advice of your doctor. Check in with your doctor before having your loved one resume activities such as driving, exercise, or going back to work. Your doctor will also most likely tell you not to allow your loved one to use alcohol or tobacco. It is very important to follow this advice, because these substances can hinder or even reverse the progress of recovery and do additional damage to the brain.
Be Patient
Caring for a close family member with TBI is not unlike caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Those who have been through that experience will tell you that you need to develop (seemingly) infinite patience. To help with this, learn as much as you can about traumatic brain injury, and get connected with some type of support group either online or locally. The more you know and understand about this condition, the easier it will be to exercise patience and cope with the situation.
Be Mindful of the Impact on Younger Family Members
When a family member develops TBI, it affects everyone in the house, even your youngest children. They feel stress like everyone else, but they may deal with it in a different way, depending on their age. Take some time to speak with your family members about what is happening and find out how they feel about it. Do not just assume that because they appear okay on the surface, they are handling it well. It is best to find out as soon as possible if they might need some additional help in dealing with the situation.
Look into a Medicaid Waiver Program
Many states have waivers available for Medicaid eligibility for patients with severe cases of TBI. This may allow your loved one to qualify for Medicaid even if the household earns too much income under normal eligibility guidelines. If you are a resident of West Virginia, you can apply for a traumatic brain injury waiver through the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services.
Covering your Legal Bases
If your loved one developed traumatic brain injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, you may be entitled to both economic damages (e.g., medical and rehab costs, lost earnings, etc.) and non-economic damages (e.g., physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, etc.). To ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
A seasoned injury attorney will be able to thoroughly assess the severity of the injury, how it occurred, and other critical details of the case and let you know your best legal options. Before accepting any kind of settlement offer from an insurance party or anyone else, make sure you consult with skilled legal counsel so you are able to make the most informed decision possible regarding the legal path you want to pursue.

Hurricane damage and power lineman

The Hazards of Working as a Power Lineman after a Hurricane

It’s hurricane season again, and we can expect several storms to hit the East Coast in the coming weeks. Hurricanes are a concern even in states like West Virginia, where remnants of these storms have been known to cause high winds and heavy rainfall; resulting in mass flooding, power outages, and similar hazards. Enduring a hurricane and its aftermath is hard enough but having to go out and work in the midst of the storm takes exceptional bravery and courage.

Most of us stay inside and hunker down during a major storm, but a few brave souls are called upon to help keep order, tend to those who are hurt, and repair the damage. These include law enforcement and military personnel, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and power linemen/electrical workers. Even on a clear and sunny day, the job of a power lineman is extremely dangerous. When you add heavy rain, floods, downed lines, and downed trees tangled with the power lines to the mix, the hazards of this job are multiplied exponentially.

There are several extreme hazards power linemen face when working after a hurricane. These include:

Poor Driving Conditions

During and after a hurricane, utility workers often have to deal with heavy rains and flooding, causing slippery and hazardous roadways. As a side note, power linemen in Appalachia have to deal with snow and ice sometimes too, particularly when the remnant of the storm hits some of the higher elevations. Pressure to move quickly to and from downed power lines makes things worse and can result in motor vehicle accidents with severe injuries and fatalities.

Slips and Falls

Working in high elevations makes power linemen susceptible to serious falls during the normal course of work. When you add wet, slippery, or even icy and snowy conditions, the dangers of slipping and falling are vastly increased. There is also a greater danger of falling on slippery walkways even when they are on the ground.

Falling Objects

Downed lines, downed trees, and nearby structures that may be damaged combine with high winds to put utility workers in the crosshairs of dangerous debris that may be blowing around. Being struck by hazardous objects can cause a worker to fall from a high place. But even if they are hit while on the ground, this type of incident can cause a serious injury. This makes it all the more important for power linemen to be mindful of their surroundings and wear the proper safety equipment at all times.

Burns and Explosions

When high voltage power lines are damaged, severed, and/or downed, there is a danger of explosions, fires, electrocution, and other hazards for those working to repair the lines. Again, having the appropriate safety and protective equipment is absolutely critical. It is also important that workers be properly trained to deal with these types of situations.

Stress from Long Hours

A major hurricane can cause thousands, even tens of thousands of consumers to be without power. Cleanup and power restoration can take weeks or months, and in some extreme cases, nearly a year. When this happens, a power lineman can expect to work long hours for an extended period of time. The stress of working massive amounts of overtime can wear on a body, making utility workers more susceptible to injuries and occupational illnesses.

Keeping Power Linemen Safe after a Hurricane

It is incumbent upon those who employ utility workers to take all legal and appropriate measures to ensure they are safe during and after major storms such as hurricanes. Unfortunately, these employers do not always put the safety of their workers first. When they fail to follow the law and take reasonable steps to ensure that their employees stay safe, they must be held accountable.

Power line workers have multiple potential legal options when they are injured on the job. The first step is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Beyond that, however, some states also allow you to sue your employer if their negligent actions placed the worker intentionally in harm’s way. If the injury resulted from a dangerous or defective product, or because of the negligent or reckless acts of a third party, they may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, or a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

If you or a loved one suffered severe injury or death while working as a power lineman/utility worker during a hurricane or another type of storm, it is important to understand your rights and options. As soon as possible, get in touch with a seasoned personal injury lawyer, preferably one who has specific experience with power lineman injury cases. These types of cases are highly complex and difficult to pursue, and you need a skilled attorney by your side who is able to explore all potential legal avenues toward recovering full compensation.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter, we have several decades of experience representing workers injured in accidents resulting from another party’s negligence. We have been at the forefront of this area of the law for many years, and we have represented countless workers who perform dangerous jobs (such as power linemen). Our lawyers thoroughly understand the complexities of these types of cases, and we have the skills, resources, and dedication to successfully pursue full damages for our clients.

Dangers of working as a Power Lineman - Bailey Javins & Carter

The Dangers of Working as an Electric Power Lineman

Electric power and cable linemen have one of the most dangerous jobs in America. They are routinely asked to work in high places with power lines that carry large amounts of electricity. On new construction projects, they are the ones building or upgrading the lines to meet codes and specifications. When bad weather hits and thousands of consumers lose power, they are also the ones out there braving the storm, so we can turn our lights back on.

It is the responsibility of power companies and other entities that employ power linemen to ensure that they are fully prepared to perform their job safely. Unfortunately, many of these companies have cut corners by not hiring adequate staff and not properly following job safety requirements. This causes them to be exposed to a wide range of hazards.

Some of the most common dangers power linemen face on the job include:

Not Using the Required Protective Equipment

Using proper safety and protective equipment is important for all types of work, but when you are working with high-voltage power lines all day, it is especially critical. Employers need to make sure that power line workers are equipped with the right type of gloves, burn-resistant clothing, and other gear that will help keep them safe out there.

Working at Dangerous Heights

As mentioned earlier, power line workers frequently have to work in high places, such as the top of a telephone or electric pole. If they do not have a stable platform when they are that high up, they become susceptible to falls that can result in serious and catastrophic injuries.

Working in Confined Areas

Not only do they have to work in dangerous altitudes, power linemen also frequently need to work in a confined space when they are putting up or repairing a portion of a line. Working in a closed-in space puts lineman at risk of hazards such as becoming trapped if there is an explosion or fire.

Welding Accidents

One of the jobs electrical linemen often do is weld together parts of the power line. This is often done in a high place or confined area. Welding accidents can cause cuts, bruises, burns, and other types of injuries.

Working in Adverse Weather Conditions

Power linemen tend to work the most hours when there are power outages because of bad weather. Since companies want to restore power as quickly as possible, they often send their workers out in very hazardous weather conditions. This makes an already dangerous job even worse.

Working Long Hours

The stress of working as a power lineman is bad enough on a full-time schedule. But when poor weather hits and there are mass outages as a result, they can end up working 60, 70, even 80 hours in a week. Working that many hours exposes linemen to a wide range of injuries and illnesses due to stress and other factors.

Compensation for Power Lineman Injuries

Electrical workers who become injured in an accident at work have several potential legal options. One of the first places to recover compensation is through workers’ compensation. Most companies are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, so an injured power lineman should be eligible for benefits. That said, the claims process can be complicated and confusing, and employers often throw up unnecessary road blocks that prevent workers from obtaining the benefits they are entitled to.

Other legal avenues for injured power line workers may include:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Employer: Some employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. In such cases, you may be able to sue them directly for a workplace injury. Some states also allow for an employee to sue an employer if their negligence deliberately caused them physical harm.
  • Product Liability Claim: If there is a product that is responsible for a power lineman’s injury or death, the injured party (or their family) may be able to sue the product manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or sales person.
  • Third-Party Injury Lawsuit: If an accident resulting in severe injury or wrongful death was the fault of a party other than the employer (such as a subcontractor working on site), it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party.

The Importance of Experienced Legal Counsel

Power lineman have hazardous jobs, and when they become injured, they need to make sure their rights and interests are fully protected. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter, our skilled personal injury lawyers have been standing up for working people for many years. We have in-depth experience with the complex issues involved with power lineman injury cases and other types of workplace injuries, and we fight hard to ensure that our clients are fully compensated.

brain injury attorney - Bailey Javins & Carter

5 Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that traumatic brain injury (TBI) contributes to roughly 30% of all injury-related fatalities. The CDC report goes on to say that more than 150 people die from TBI every single day. In addition, over 2 million Americans seek emergency room treatment for TBI each year, and more than 5 million are living with a TBI-related disability.
Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone. The head is a very fragile area of the body, and even a seemingly minor incident can result in a severe head injury that affects the brain. These types of injuries can cause severe and lasting consequences, especially when they are not diagnosed and treated right away.
There are numerous ways a brain injury can occur. Here are five of the most common causes:
Falls
Approximately 40% of brain injuries in the U.S. are caused by falls. Everyone has fallen down multiple times in their lives, and most of the time, there are no lasting effects. However, when you fall hard and/or from a high elevation and hit your head, it can cause severe head injuries. This can happen due to slipping or tripping in a poorly maintained premises, at work, or any of a number of other places.

Falls can be especially dangerous for those who are most vulnerable, which include children, the elderly, and those who are disabled. Among those groups, the percentage of brain injuries related to falls is over 50%. This makes it especially critical for places like daycare centers, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes to be well-staffed and to have their staff adequately trained and able to ensure that those they are caring for do not suffer this type of injury.

Being Struck by an Object
Approximately 16% of traumatic brain injuries occur because the victim is struck on the head by a loose object. This type of injury is especially common on construction sites and other outdoor worksites, where heavy machinery is sometimes used recklessly, and loose objects are often floating around and hit workers in the head. This type of injury also occurs frequently in the military.

Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, and other accidents involving collisions with motor vehicles account for almost 15% of all brain injuries. These types of accidents are often characterized by swift jerks to the head, causing whiplash and related injuries. Brain injuries can also occur when the head is thrown into the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield.

Assaults
About 11% of brain injuries happen because of an assault. People getting in fights at a bar, burglaries gone bad, and domestic assaults are just a few examples of incidents that can lead to a severe head injury that affects the brain. The worst assault-related injuries tend to happen to defenseless children as young as babies and toddlers.

Other Causes
Brain injuries can happen for a number of other reasons. Examples include birth injuries, gunshot wounds, explosions, medical conditions such as a stroke, and contact sport collisions.

When Brain Injuries are Caused by Negligence

Some traumatic brain injuries occur because of unforeseeable accidents. Far too many, however, are the result of the careless or reckless actions of another party. When brain injuries occur because of another party’s negligence, injury victims who suffer damages deserve to be compensated.

Damages for traumatic brain injuries can be divided into three general categories:

• Economic: These are calculable and quantifiable damages the victim incurred. Economic damages may include medical expenses and loss of earnings (both present and future).

• Non-Economic: These are damages that are difficult to quantify, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

• Punitive: These are damages meant to punish the responsible party and deter them from repeating the actions that led to the injury. Punitive damages are rare and usually awarded only in cases involving especially egregious conduct.

Brain injury cases can be complicated, and there are numerous factors that go into the success or failure of the case. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the complexities of these types of cases. A strong traumatic brain injury attorney will be able to thoroughly assess your case and advise you on the best legal option to ensure you obtain appropriate relief.