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Diffuse Axonal Injury Lawyer

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A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may present in various forms, including a diffuse axonal injury (DAI). This occurs from blunt trauma to the head. This condition is a clinical diagnosis and may involve extensive neurological dysfunction. The most common etiology of DAI is traffic collisions at high speeds. The white matter tracts of the brain are affected by this condition from the shearing forces that result from accelerating and decelerating motion. This may cause the axons in the brain to sustain gross and microscopic damage, specifically at the junction of the white and gray matter. DAI has been found to commonly affect the white matter tracts in the brainstem and corpus callosum. Given that this type of TBI may cause significant changes in the lives of the patient and their family, it is essential to have an interprofessional team that includes a neurosurgeon, neurologist, and other medical professionals.

A diffuse axonal injury from an accident may result in mounting medical bills and time away from work for recovery. If you have suffered DAI or another type of traumatic brain injury, contact our personal injury lawyers in California for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Cognitive impairments, behavioral changes, and physical disabilities due to traumatic brain injuries are significant sources of morbidity for an affected person and their family. When an individual has sustained head trauma and diffuse axonal injury in an accident through no fault of their own, they may have grounds for a personal injury claim. It is essential to have an attorney on your side who has the experience, knowledge, and resources to secure the maximum compensation you need to move forward. At AutoAccident.com, our skilled personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience. When you turn to us for assistance, we will stop at nothing to obtain the justice and maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for free, friendly advice on your diffuse axonal injury case.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Diffuse Axonal Injury?

A diffuse axonal injury is a clinical diagnosis. Its presentation is associated with the severity of the condition. For instance, a patient with a mild DAI may report symptoms consistent with a concussive disorder, such as fatigue, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

A patient with a severe case of diffuse axonal injury may experience a loss of consciousness or stay in a persistent vegetative state. In the first year after the head injury, a small percentage of severe diffuse axonal injury patients will regain consciousness.

Dysautonomia is another common neurological manifestation. The signs and symptoms of dysautonomia may include hyperthermia, abnormal muscle tone, vasoplegia, diaphoresis, tachypnea, and tachycardia.

How is a Diffuse Axonal Injury Classified?

A patient with DAI may present with bilateral neurological deficits affecting the brainstem, corpus callosum, and temporal and frontal white matter. The Adams Classification is utilized to grade diffuse axonal injury based on a pathology:

  • Grade I: A mild diffuse axonal injury may involve lesions to the cerebellum or the subcortical lobar white matter.
  • Grade II: A moderate DAI with diffuse axonal damage and a focal lesion in the corpus callosum.
  • Grade III: A severe diffuse axonal injury involves diffuse axonal damage and focal lesions in the dorsolateral quadrant of the rostral brainstem and the corpus callosum.

A focal lesion may include hemorrhage and infarct. While focal lesions may be identified through microscopic evidence, Grade II and Grade III is considered severe if the lesions are apparent on a macroscopic level.

How is a Diffuse Axonal Injury Evaluated?

DAI is generally considered a severe form of TBI. With this in mind, advanced trauma life support protocol is necessary for a patient with head trauma. In a clinical setting, the diagnosis of diffuse axonal injury may be made through the implementation of radiographic findings and clinical information. The mechanism of injury may help facilitate a differential diagnosis of this condition. A patient who has suffered an acceleration and deceleration or rotational closed head trauma should be expected to have a diffuse axonal injury. This is generally diagnosed after a TBI with a GCS of 8 or less for more than 6 consecutive hours.

The imaging modality of choice for diagnosing a diffuse axonal injury is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Studies have suggested a low yield in the detection of DAI in cases involving computed tomography (CT) head findings. If there is no improvement for a patient that has received surgical evacuation of epidural or subdural hematomas, there should be a strong suspicion of diffuse axonal injury. Conversely, if there is drastic improvement after this procedure, there may not be a presence of DAI. While there are no laboratory tests for the diagnosis of diffuse axonal injury, there is ongoing research on identifying molecular markers in the serum of TBI patients.

How is Diffuse Axonal Injury Treated?

The purpose of treatment for DAI is to provide supportive care, facilitate rehabilitation and prevent secondary injuries. Case studies have reported increased mortality from secondary injuries, such as intracranial hypertension, edema, and hypoxia with coexistent hypotension. Immediate medical treatment is necessary to prevent elevated intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral edema, hypoxia, and hypotension. While there is no definitive treatment that exists for diffuse axonal injury, dysautonomia is often reported as a complication of this condition.

The priority of initial treatment for a patient with a TBI is resuscitation. In a patient with a GCS of 8 or less, ICP monitoring is indicated after neurosurgery consultation. Other intracranial pressure monitoring considerations may include patients who cannot undergo continual neurological evaluations. This is generally for patients that receive sedation, opioid analgesia, and general anesthesia. Intracranial pressure monitoring and cerebral oxygen saturation monitoring may be used in the assessment of oxygenation. For the prevention of early post-traumatic seizures, anticonvulsant treatment may be utilized, generally on a short-term basis.

Can You Seek Compensation for a Head Injury from an Accident?

Motor vehicle collisions are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries and diffuse axonal injuries. If the incident was the result of another party’s negligence, an injured person may file a personal injury claim against the other side. Given that a diffuse axonal injury is a severe form of TBI that may result in lasting impairment, substantial medical treatment and time missed at work for recovery may be necessary. If the at-fault party has insufficient or no liability coverage, an injured party and their family may be in a financial predicament. In such situations, UM and UIM protection may come into play and cover losses up to their policy’s limits.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, an injured party may be eligible to receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning potential, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, and more. In a case involving a diffuse axonal injury, it may be necessary to work with expert witnesses such as a medical expert, accident reconstruction expert, and economist who can provide their opinion on the matter based on their specialized training. Since a traumatic brain injury case may be challenging and time-consuming, an injured party and their family should entrust their case to a skilled diffuse axonal injury lawyer. Watch this video for suggestions on what to look for in an injury attorney to handle your case.

Is There a Deadline That Applies to Personal Injury Cases?

It is essential to note that California imposes a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. In other words, there is limited time to file a case in civil court against the party or entity responsible for the incident. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, a two-year time limit generally applies. However, the deadline in cases involving public entities may be reduced to six months. Since the statute of limitations is strictly enforced, it is essential to discuss your case with an experienced accident attorney immediately.

Contact a Diffuse Axonal Injury Attorney Today

A diffuse axonal injury is a severe type of TBI that may devastate the lives of an injured party and their family. If you need an experienced attorney with a history of successful settlements and verdicts, look no further. Our legal team is prepared to protect your rights and best interests. Serving Sacramento County and across California, our attorneys invite you to contact us for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Our compassionate and skilled brain injury lawyers look forward to meeting with you, reviewing the details of your case, and helping you start the healing process.

Photo Source: “KarolinaGrabowska” on Pixabay

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