The implications of moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in infants and children (under the age of 16) can be profound, given the ongoing neurodevelopmental processes during these years. In the early stages of life, the brain is continuously developing and evolving, pruning unnecessary neuronal pathways, and laying down myelin for enhanced conduction. A serious injury to a child’s developing can interfere with these processes, disrupting cognitive development, executive functioning, language acquisition, memory formation, social skills, and physical coordination.
Even more important, research indicates that traumatic injuries to a child’s brain may not immediately reveal their full impact, as the deficits may become more noticeable as the child matures and the brain demands exceed the injured brain’s capacity.
Comparatively, an adult’s brain, having already reached its developmental milestones, deals with TBI differently. Adult TBI typically results in a loss of previously acquired skills or abilities, while pediatric TBI can result in both loss of skills and potential derailment of future development. Medical studies suggest that even with comparable injury severity, children generally have poorer outcomes than adults. This is mainly due to the inability to reach expected cognitive and functional milestones rather than a loss of previously established abilities. Furthermore, childhood TBI often leads to long-term consequences affecting education, vocation, and interpersonal relationships, as it impacts the acquisition of new skills. Early intervention, comprehensive evaluation, and targeted rehabilitation services are thus essential to optimize recovery and mitigate the potential long-term effects of pediatric TBI.
If your child has suffered a serious traumatic brain injury call our child Injury Lawyers today. We are located in the heart of Hamilton, and serve families all over Ontario. Call us toll free at 1-844-LALANDE or local in Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website and we will get right back to you to set up your free consultation.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in kids are classified into three major categories: mild, moderate, and severe, primarily based on the initial presentation of symptoms, duration of loss of consciousness, and findings on neuroimaging studies.
Mild TBIs, often referred to as concussions, typically present with temporary disorientation, confusion, or headache, but standard neuroimaging studies like CT or MRI scans are usually normal. Concussion symptoms in children generally resolve over a period of weeks to months, although some kid may experience persistent post-concussive symptoms for a very long time.
Moderate TBIs are characterized by a longer period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury, typically ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. Neuroimaging studies may reveal physical damage to the brain such as bleeding or swelling. Symptoms in children are more prolonged and may include cognitive and behavioral changes, physical impairments, and emotional disturbances.
Severe TBIs in children, which is what we are concerned with – involve an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the event. This could last from several hours to days, weeks, or even longer in some cases. Neuroimaging typically reveals significant structural damage to the child’s brain, including widespread axonal injury, contusions, or hematomas. These injuries can lead to severe cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments, which can permanently alter a child’s life.
Severe traumatic brain injury in kids often require intensive medical and surgical interventions, and the recovery process may take years or be lifelong. Kids with severe TBI may need extensive rehabilitation to regain lost skills or learn new ways of performing tasks, and some level of permanent disability is common. The course of recovery and degree of residual deficits after severe TBI can be highly individual, influenced by factors such as the specific nature of the injury, how young the child is, pre-injury health, and the timeliness and quality of medical and rehabilitative care.
In our experience as Hamilton Personal Injury lawyers who have helped families all over Ontario for the past 20 years, serious head injuries in children result in a wide range of traumatic injuries to the scalp, skull, and brain that are quite similar to those in adults but differ in both symptoms and management. Severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children can occur due to various incidents and accidents, most often due to the following circumstances:
Falls are the most common cause of severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in children, particularly those who are very young and still learning to navigate their surroundings. The possibility for falls exists in a multitude of settings, from homes to playgrounds to public places. A child might fall over a trip ledge, out an unsecured window in an apartment or rental unit, down the stairs, or off equipment at a day care facility while unsupervised, for instance.
Negligence can often play a significant role in these incidents. This may take the form of inadequate supervision or unsafe environments. Children, particularly young ones, frequently lack the full comprehension of risks associated with certain actions or environments. Without sufficient adult supervision, they might engage in risky activities such as venturing too close to open windows, stairs or balconies. Each of these actions holds a significant risk of falling and potentially incurring a TBI.
Furthermore, negligence could manifest in the form of an unsafe environment. This could include a lack of appropriate safety measures such as window guards or window latches.
Even a minor crash can generate forces enough to severely injure a child who is not properly restrained. The child could be thrown around helplessly inside a vehicle or even ejected from the car, leading to life-threatening injuries or serious head trauma. In Ontario, kids must be in car seat or booster seat in a vehicle based on their weight, height, and age.
Infants should use a rear-facing car seat until they weigh at least 9 kg (20 lbs). The law then mandates a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness for children weighing from 9 kg to 18 kg (20-40 lbs). Children from 40-80 lbs, standing less than 4 feet 9 inches, or under the age of 8 must use a booster seat. Once children surpass these limits, typically at 8-10 years old, or when they are 4’9″ tall, they can use a regular seat belt. These rules are minimum requirements, with safety experts recommending keeping children in each car seat stage as long as possible based on their size, development, and car seat manufacturer’s guidelines.
Secondly, if a child is in a car seat but is not safely attached or the safety harness is not properly used, the protective function of the car seat would be compromised. In a collision, a loosely harnessed child might be partially or fully ejected from the car seat. Even if the child remains in the seat, the improper positioning of the harness could lead to injuries. For example, if the harness is too high, it could lead to abdominal injuries. If it is too low, it could cause neck or head injuries – thus causing a serious traumatic brain injury.
Finally, even with the child securely harnessed, an unsafely installed car seat poses significant risks. If the seat is not tightly secured to the vehicle seat, it can move or tip over during a crash, increasing the risk of extremely serious injury to the child. Furthermore, an incorrectly installed car seat may not adequately protect the child from the forces of a crash. For instance, a forward-facing car seat that is reclined too far can cause the child to slide up and out of the harness in a crash. If you don’t know how to install a car seat – there are plenty of resources and car seat clinics in most towns and cities. You can also ask a local police or OPP officer to help install your child’s car seat.
Severe car accidents, particularly high-speed collisions or head-on crashes, pose a major risk of causing severe pediatric brain injuries due to the intense forces and abrupt deceleration involved.
In a high-speed crash, the vehicle and everyone inside it are moving at the vehicle’s speed. When the vehicle suddenly stops or slows down due to a sudden crash, everything inside continues to move at the original speed until something stops it. This is due to Newton’s first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia.
If the child is in a vehicle that involved in a head-on collision, and they are not adequately secured in a car seat, they can be thrown forward with an unexplanable amount force. The child’s brain, being inside the skull, also moves at this high speed. When the child’s head abruptly stops or hits a part of the car, the brain can slam into the inner wall of the skull. This can lead to bruising (contusion), bleeding (hemorrhage), or swelling (edema) of the brain, causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) – if the child even survives. Even in cases where a child is properly restrained, the sudden deceleration can cause the brain to move within the skull, potentially leading to a form of TBI known as a diffuse axonal injury.
Rollover accidents are another type of severe car crash that can cause pediatric brain injuries. In a rollover, the car tips over onto its side or roof. Depending on the number of rolls and the force involved, occupants can be severely jostled or even ejected, leading to possible TBIs.
Similarly, side-impact or “T-bone” crashes can also result in severe brain injuries. In these crashes, the side of the vehicle receives the impact. This can lead to significant lateral movement of the child’s head, causing the brain to move and potentially injure against the side of the skull.
Severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in kids can happen during bicycle accidents a variety of ways – most mostly in serious crashes. When a cyclist falls off their bicycle or collides with a vehicle or stationary object, the head can directly impact the ground, vehicle, or object with considerable force. Depending on the severity of the crash, this can result in skull fractures, intracranial hemorrhage, and contusions that constitute a TBI.
In a high-speed accident, the rapid deceleration of the head can cause the brain to move and strike the inside of the skull, leading to coup-contrecoup injuries. In this type of injury, the brain is damaged at the point of impact (coup injury) and on the opposite side (contrecoup injury), where the brain rebounds and hits the inner skull. This can lead to diffuse axonal injuries where the long connecting fibers of the brain (axons) are sheared, disrupting normal brain function and often leading to a coma.
While wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of severe TBI, but unfortunately it doesn’t eliminate the risk of head injury entirely. High-impact crashes can still result in very severe injuries. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, helmet use reduced the odds of head injury by 58% and severe head injury by 61% among injured bicyclists, but severe injuries can still occur.
A comprehensive review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also concluded that helmet use is associated with reduced odds of head and facial injuries in bicyclists, regardless of age. Still, they noted that helmets do not prevent all TBIs, particularly in high-speed motor vehicle collisions.
It is absolutely crucial to encourage helmet use and safe cycling practices – but it’s also important to understand that while bicycle helmets reduce hard to the brain, severe bicycle accidents can still lead to TBIs due to the forces involved.
When kids are hit by cars, the risk of traumatic head injury is extraordinarily severe. In such accidents, children can be thrown onto the pavement or against another object, resulting in a direct impact to the head, or they might be run over, leading to crushing injuries. Both scenarios can result in severe TBI.
The seriousness of the TBI in these circumstances is influenced by several factors, including the speed of the vehicle at the time of impact, the height and weight of the child, and the point of impact on the child’s body. Generally, higher speed impacts result in more serious injuries.
Upon impact with the vehicle, the child may can projected forward, upward, or onto the ground. When the head strikes the pavement or another hard surface, it can result in direct damage to the skull and brain tissue, causing contusions, skull fractures, and intracranial hemorrhages.
If the child is thrown in the air and lands on their head, it can cause the brain to move violently within the skull, leading to diffuse axonal injuries. These injuries involve the tearing of the brain’s long connecting fibers (axons) and are among the most damaging types of brain injury, often leading to permanent disability or death.
Moreover, a severe impact can cause an abrupt rotational movement of the head, which can also result in significant brain injuries. This type of injury, often referred to as a rotational injury, can lead to a more widespread damage, as different parts of the brain move at different speeds, leading to shearing forces that can damage nerve fibers and lead to diffuse axonal injuries.
If your child has suffered a brain injury after being hit by a car it is vital that you contact our Personal Injury Law firm to learn what options your child has in terms of rehabilitations and future protection.
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children in the Canada, and may be associated with long lasting or permanent impairments into adulthood.
Severe pediatric brain trauma presents a multitude of potential dangers and risks which our Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyers have seen repeatedly over the years. At the time of incident, pediatric head trauma can result in brain swelling and bleeding, which can be life-threatening. Over the long term, these injuries can change the way a child thinks, moves, behaves, and interacts with others.
What’s important to understand is that the brain of a child is still growing and developing. When a child suffers a severe brain injury, this development and pattern of neurocognitive growth can be disrupted. For example, the brain of a child is continuously making new connections, a process called synaptogenesis. It’s also trimming or pruning away unneeded connections, in a process called synaptic pruning. Lastly, the brain is wrapping nerve fibers in a fatty coating called myelin to help signals move faster, a process known as myelination. All these processes are important for learning and maturing, and an injury can slow them down or stop them.
Another thing our child injury lawyers have noticed is that when the brain’s development is disrupted by injury, problems might not show up right away. Instead, they might become more noticeable as the child gets older and is expected to do more things. For instance, an injury that happens before a child has fully developed the ability to think abstractly or use language might not cause obvious problems until the child reaches an age when these skills are expected.
A child’s brain is different from an adult’s because it is still growing and developing. This means it has more capacity to heal and reorganize (known as plasticity), which can be a good thing. But it also means that a severe injury can cause a child to miss important stages of development, leading to more challenges over time compared to an adult who suffers a similar injury.
Whether the age a child is when they get the injury strongly predicts how they’ll do afterward is a complex question. Research suggests that it can matter, but it’s not the only factor. The severity of the injury, the child’s environment after the injury, and how the child was doing developmentally before the injury also play a role.
In addition to these points, it’s important to understand that severe traumatic brain injury in children can have impacts on their entire life. It can affect their education, their ability to work when they’re older, and their relationships with others. Getting help and support early on is crucial for improving these long-term outcomes.
Deciding whether to hire a Child Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer can depend on several factors. If your child’s severe traumatic brain injury was caused due to the negligence of another party – for example, a careless driver, a negligent daycare provider, or due to a poorly maintained public space – you may have grounds for legal action.
In determining this, one significant factor to consider is the permanency of the injury. Severe brain injuries can result in lifelong disabilities, requiring continual medical treatment, care, and rehabilitation – which all cost an extensive amount of money. Occupational therapists and life care planners can provide invaluable support, helping to outline a comprehensive plan for your child’s ongoing needs. These services, however, can be expensive. very expensive.
In Ontario, accident benefits, offered through your own auto insurance company can help cover some of these costs, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is part of Ontario’s no-fault insurance system. These benefits can cover various expenses, including medical and rehabilitation costs, care costs, and potentially even lost educational expenses. In Ontario, a child is entitled up to $1,000,000 in benefits, for life if he or she suffers a traumatic brain injury, if that brain injury meets certain legislated criteria
A lawsuit against the negligent party is another avenue to secure compensation for your child’s injury. This could help ensure adequate financial support for your child’s future, including their ongoing medical and therapeutic needs.
Given these complexities, hiring an experienced Child Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer from Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can be a crucial step in protecting your loved one’s future. We can help navigate the legal processes, ensure that all potential sources of compensation are explored, and advocate for the maximum compensation available to support your child’s long-term needs.
If your child has suffered a permanent severe traumatic brain injury, his or her life is going to change. It will never be the same. Severe traumatic brain injuries have profound implications on a child’s life, greatly affecting their development, capabilities, and relationships. A child with a severe head injury will experience significant challenges which requires comprehensive care and assistance to navigate life.
Physically, children with severe TBIs often struggle with basic motor functions, depending on the specific location and severity of their injury. These challenges may range from slight coordination issues to profound difficulties with mobility, possibly necessitating the use of assistive devices such as wheelchairs. Regular physical therapy, essential for improving motor skills and maintaining physical health, can be quite costly, given the need for specialized equipment, therapies, and care personnel.
Cognitive impacts will affect a child’s memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities. They may need specialized education and continuous cognitive rehabilitation therapy to enhance their cognitive function and learning capabilities. Such services, often not fully covered by insurance, can be extremely expensive.
In terms of emotional and psychological impacts, a child with a severe TBI may exhibit changes in personality, emotional regulation, and social behavior. This can lead to challenges in forming and maintaining relationships, especially as the child grows into adolescence and adulthood, a time when social dynamics become more complex. Psychotherapy and counseling are invaluable but also contribute to the financial burden.
Life for a child with a severe TBI often requires around-the-clock care and constant monitoring, especially in the earlier stages post-injury. Full-time care, whether provided by healthcare professionals or family members, can be a tremendous financial strain. The ongoing cost of medical equipment, medications, and home modifications for accessibility further add to this burden. The expenses can be staggering, often reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
The child’s relationships are also deeply affected. Parents and siblings may experience distress and grief due to the drastic change in family dynamics. Siblings may feel neglected as parents focus on the injured child, while parents might experience significant emotional and financial stress. Psychological support and counseling are crucial for the entire family.
As the child matures into a teenager and an adult, the struggles and costs persist. They may require ongoing physical, cognitive, and occupational therapy to improve self-care skills, vocational abilities, and independent living. The cost of future care, including residential and long-term care facilities, should also be considered, especially as parents age and may not be able to provide the same level of care.
Moreover, the individual may face considerable social isolation due to difficulties in forming meaningful relationships. They might also struggle with romantic relationships, impacting their psychological wellbeing. Support groups and therapeutic interventions can help them navigate these challenges, but again, these are additional costs to bear.
A child growing up with a severe traumatic brain injury faces a challenging life journey that significantly impacts their development, capabilities, relationships, and the economic wellbeing of their family. It is vital that you hire a lawyer experienced in pediatric litigation to be able to help navigate the complex no-fault benefits system, as well as
Similar to adults, children are able to claim compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, damages for the loss of the “future ability to work” and future care costs to assist with daily living.
One of the most difficult heads of damage to quantify is a child’s future loss of income. Firstly, the most important thing is that your Child Injury Lawyer need only to establish that the future income loss is “probable” – meaning, it will probable happen. However, in case of a child, due to lack of evidence related to child’s potential – which often times is simply unknowable – courts may refer to parents’ background to assess the child’s future loss of income. We often examine the parents’ education and career path, which may in all probability, influence a child’s career or educational goals. We examine the home environment, the resources made available and the expectation of success and support in whatever direction a child’s interests or talents may lead him or her. It has to do with role models established by the parents. Statistical evidence may also be used to assess the future loss. In making the assessment, courts should also consider future contingencies.
Pain and suffering belongs to a class of damages called “general damages”. General damages are awarded to compensate child for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities. In assessing general damages, a court will typically look at similar cases as yours. However, each case must turn on its own unique facts. No two personal injury claims are identical and awarding damages involves an exercise of judgment
Factors which are normally taken into account when assessing a child’s pain and suffering are the child’s age; the nature of the child’s injury; the severity and duration of the child’s pain; present and future disability; the child’s emotional suffering; impairment of family, impairment of the child’s social relationships; impairment of the child’s physical abilities; loss of the child’s lifestyle.
The cost of future health care is another award that a Court will take into account. The purpose of an award for future care is to compensate a child for costs which reasonably may be expected to be incurred to preserve and promote the his or her mental and physical health. A Court will look at whether the costs are reasonable and whether the items are medically necessary – and in doing so, a court will consider whether the child would likely use the items or services in the future. Normally our child accident lawyers would retain life care planners, occupational therapists and accountants to calculate the losses – although the cost of future care is an assessment and not a precise accounting exercise. For example, some of the future care costs we have seen claimed over the years by brain injury victims have been:
If your child has suffered a severed traumatic brain injury there will be serious economic costs to contend with now, and as your child ages into hir or her teen years, then into adulthood. Hiring a child injury lawyer with experience in pediatric litigation is paramount. It is critical that your child injury lawyer obtains the proper opinions and valuations to ensure your child’s economic protected as best as possible.
The complexity and emotional weight child injury law require compassionate advocates who are well-versed in the intricate medical background, compensation assessment, negotiation intricacies and if necessary – the trial experience associated with pediatric brain injuries.
Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers are able to safeguard the rights of your child and your family, ensuring that you receive the comprehensive support, rightful compensation, and peace of mind you deserve during this challenging time. Protecting your child’s future demands is the most important thing at the moment – and we have the skill and experience to help you in this time of need.
To schedule your free consultation with our child accident lawyers, call us toll-free, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-888-LALANDE or local throughout Southern Ontario area at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can chat with our live operator 24/7 or send an email through our website and we will be happy to get right back to you.
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Symptoms can include persistent headaches, repeated vomiting or nausea, seizures, inability to awaken from sleep, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the limbs, and dilated eye pupils. Emotional changes such as increased irritability, confusion, restlessness, or mood swings are also common.
Causes can include falls, falls from windows, sports injuries, bicycle accidents, car accidents, and child abuse. Other less common causes include gunshot wounds and incidents of shaken baby syndrome.
Diagnosis usually involves a combination of a physical examination, a detailed patient history, and diagnostic tests such as CT scans and MRIs. Neuropsychological assessments can also be performed to evaluate cognitive function.
The effects can be physical, cognitive, and behavioral, including issues with motor skills, speech, memory, attention, emotional regulation, and social interactions. The impact can last a lifetime and may require ongoing therapy and support.
An experienced lawyer can help families navigate the complex legal and medical issues surrounding the injury, ensuring the child and family receive the full compensation they deserve. They can provide legal advice, gather and analyze evidence, handle insurance companies, and if necessary, take the case to court.
A brain injury lawyer with experience in pediatric cases can help navigate the complex medical and legal processes associated with a child’s severe traumatic brain injury. They understand the intricacies of these cases and can help ensure your child and family receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, future care needs, pain and suffering, and other damages.
It is advisable to contact a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after your child’s injury. Early legal intervention can help ensure that crucial evidence is preserved and that your child’s rights to compensation are protected from the start.
Most brain injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they successfully recover compensation for you. The fee is typically a percentage of the settlement or judgment obtained. It’s important to discuss fee arrangements upfront with any lawyer you’re considering.
An experienced brain injury lawyer can provide legal advice, gather and analyze necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if needed. They can also collaborate with medical professionals to fully understand the scope of your child’s injury and long-term care needs.
A qualified brain injury lawyer should have substantial experience in handling similar cases and a solid understanding of medical terminology and procedures related to traumatic brain injuries. They should have a proven track record of successful outcomes in brain injury litigation, and ideally, they should also have specialized experience in pediatric cases.
During your first meeting, the lawyer will likely ask for detailed information about your child’s injury, the circumstances surrounding the injury, and the impact of the injury on your child’s life. They will also explain the legal process, discuss potential strategies, and answer any questions you might have.