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Brain Injury Articles

Observing Brain Injury Awareness Month

The human brain is wonderful, complex, and controls our ability to function in every area of life; but it is also extremely sensitive and subject to damage.  When the brain is injured, any of our abilities can be affected, and severe symptoms from paralysis to death may result.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIA), over 1.5 million people face traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year, and at least 50,000 individuals will die from their injury.  Approximately 80,000 will face life-long injuries and rehabilitative care from their injuries, and there are currently about 5 million Americans suffering from some form of TBI disability.

To make the public aware of the importance of the brain, recognize the growing prevalence of traumatic brain injuries, and to help make lives better for brain-injured individuals, the BIA leads a nationwide Brain Injury Awareness Month Campaign each March. To participate, the BIA suggests public activities that include:

  • Learn about traumatic brain injury
  • Invite a speaker for an educational workshop
  • Post support on social media
  • Donate and fundraise
  • Attend an awareness event planned by your state chapter of the BIA
  • Distribute literature on brain injury
  • Volunteer with an organization and help an individual or family in need.

What if You are Injured?

Brain injuries can be devastating to both the injured person and their family. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses to help pay for medical bills, therapy, rehabilitation costs, and loss of life’s pleasures. However, due to the complexity of issues involving brain injuries, your case must be handled correctly and competently, or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to. 

The experienced and compassionate Pennsylvania brain injury attorney Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters knows how debilitating TBI is and understands what you are going through. Our attorneys have helped any number of Pennsylvania individuals and families who have suffered these devastating injuries win a good settlement.

We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your individual situation, so contact us at our office or online today.

Causes of Brain Injuries

Severe brain injury is often caused by a sudden, violent blow to the head. Any force that penetrates or fractures the skull may cause severe brain injury.  Tissue damage may occur from destructive shock waves, from bone being pushed into the brain, or when forces cause the brain to collide against the inside of the hard skull. Bruising of the brain (contusion) and bleeding (hemorrhage) cause injury in parts of the brain closest to the point of impact.

Common causes of brain injuries are motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, sports injuries, obstruction of the airway, near drowning, toxic exposure, heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, and electrical shock. Brain injuries may occur at birth through medical negligence or errors made by doctors, nurses, and hospitals, or other healthcare personnel.


Symptoms from brain injuries depend on the area and extent of damage and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or numbness in the extremities
  • Loss of coordination
  • Agitation
  • Emotional or behavioral problems
  • Seizures

If injuries are on the left side of the brain, there may be:

  • Difficulties understanding language and speaking
  • Catastrophic reactions (depression, anxiety)
  • Impaired logic and sequencing difficulties
  • Decreased control over right-sided body movements.

If injuries are on the right side of the brain there may be:

  • Visual-spatial impairment
  • Visual memory deficits
  • Inattention to the left side of the body
  • Decreased awareness of deficits and loss of “the big picture” type of thinking
  • Decreased control over left-sided body movements.

A severe brain injury may cause the individual to experience an unconscious state, or coma, appearing to be in a deep sleep but unable to be aroused or respond purposefully.

Trust Our Firm for Honest Answers

Brain injuries negatively impact quality of life, and they require substantial and expensive medical and rehabilitative care. Juries tend to be sympathetic to these injuries, especially when they involve loss of cognitive function or other permanent disabilities, and there have been large settlements in many Pennsylvania cases.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you should take steps to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Brain injury cases are complicated, and it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Whether gathering evidence, dealing with medical professionals and insurance companies, negotiating settlements or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, the skilled and experienced Pennsylvania brain injury attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters has spent decades successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. Our attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation.

Cliff Rieders is a Nationally Board-Certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure, a cum laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University as well as Georgetown University Law Center.  Rieders is a life member of the American Law Institute, which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States.  He is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.  Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award.  Cliff Rieders was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years.  Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir.  Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers.  Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice.  Cliff Rieders was involved in the writing of the Mcare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania, and he wrote the book on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the state.  Cliff has authored a number of other textbooks and articles and he frequently teaches the law to other experienced lawyers.   Cliff Rieders is admitted in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.  He is a Nationally Board-Certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure and is admitted in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

If you or your loved one has suffered harm from someone else’s negligence, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters by calling or using our online contact form.

Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters.   More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.

Pennsylvania brain injury: Types, causes and treatments

There are at least 11 different types of brain injuries. Each of those can be classified into one of two groups — traumatic brain injury (TBI) or acquired brain injury (ABI). A TBI is the result of an external force — such as a blow to the head. An ABI, on the other hand, does not require a direct injury to the head and may occur as a result of a medical issue, lack of oxygen or electric shock — among other potential causes.

Information from the Centers for Disease and Control Injury Prevention Center suggests that falls are the leading cause of brain injuries in the United States. Motor vehicle accidents, assaults and various other events are also common causes. Approximately 52,000 people die annually due to brain injuries, nearly 300,000 are hospitalized and over two million are treated and released from emergency departments.

The treatment of a brain injury will depend on its severity. Surgery, medication and rehabilitation services are often utilized after such an injury occurs — all of which can be physically and emotionally draining, as well as financially devastating. Those in Pennsylvania who have suffered brain injuries due to the negligent actions of others may have legal recourse. Through litigation, compensation may be sought for any resulting damages which — if successful — could truly help victims and their families afford the help they need in order to move forward.

Source:, “About Brain Injury“, Accessed on June 18, 2016

A brain injury can affect the victim’s entire family

Brain injury rehabilitation is often referred to as a marathon. There is no quick sprint to the finish line. The length of time it takes to recover depends on the person and the severity of the injury suffered, and there are those who will, sadly, never regain full function. During the recovery process, brain injury victims depend on their loved ones and other caregivers to do almost everything. This can take a heavy emotional and financial toll on both the patient and the caregiver/s.

Finding ways to manage this new way of life can certainly be challenging. Victims of brain injury just want their lives back to normal, and family members want to see their loved one heal. However, getting access to services that can help accomplish this is not always easy or affordable.

When a brain injury occurs due to another party’s negligence, the victim or his or her representative may have legal recourse. Civil claims may be filed against the individual deemed responsible in a Pennsylvania civil court. If negligence can be established, monetary relief may be granted. That could certainly help the victim and his or her family members get the help they need now and in the future. Contact our experienced brain injury attorneys for more information.

Source:, “Brain Injury Family and Caregivers“, Accessed on March 23, 2016

Guardian claims substandard medical care led to woman’s injury

In another state, the guardian of a woman has filed legal claims against a hospital and several medical providers, alleging the woman has severely suffered as a result of a delayed diagnosis, which is said to have led to a brain injury. This type of case is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Numerous individuals in Pennsylvania may also feel that they have suffered brain or other injuries as a result of substandard medical care. In such incidents, victims may have legal recourse.

According to a recent report, the plaintiff claims that the victim was admitted to the hospital at 35 weeks pregnant in 2008 for symptoms including nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and dizziness. An emergency C-section was performed, and the woman was transferred to an intensive care unit for treatment. According to the complaint, her symptoms failed to subside. After several days in the ICU she was transferred to another medical facility where she was diagnosed with Wernicke’s encephalopathy.

The plaintiff asserts that the failure to obtain a proper diagnosis upon the victim’s initial hospital admission has resulted in the patient suffering permanent damage. The victim’s guardian is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. At this time, it is unknown if court dates have been scheduled for this case.

When one believes that he or she, or a loved one, has experienced substandard medical care leading to brain damage or any other injury, he or she would be well within his or her rights to take legal action. An experienced malpractice attorney can assist in such cases by investigating the claim and all available records, and pursing the best course of action for the needs of the client. These cases can take time to resolve, either in a Pennsylvania civil court or through out of court settlements; however, with assistance victims or — in the events of fatality — surviving family members may be able to achieve maximum compensation for their losses.

Source:, “Local hospital sued over woman’s brain damage“, Robert Hadley, Jan. 23, 2016

Pennsylvania brain injury: 2 kinds of strokes

Most people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have heard the word stroke before, but not everyone may know exactly what it means or that there are actually different kinds of strokes. A stroke is a brain injury that can have a number of severe consequences. This is particularly true if it is not treated appropriately.

There are two basic kinds of strokes, and the first is called a hemorrhagic stroke. This type occurs when there is bleeding in the brain from a ruptured blood vessel. The bleeding can be very mild to extremely severe.

The second type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke. This type occurs when there is some sort of artery blockage. This blockage will reduce the overall blood supply that reaches the brain. This will cause a lack of oxygen and therefore cause cellular death. This type of stroke makes up for 85 to 90 percent of all strokes.

Regardless of what type of stroke one may suffer, the cell death that occurs as a result can have significant if not fatal consequences. This is why receiving appropriate medical treatment promptly is so important. However, if a stroke is improperly diagnosed or the wrong treatment is provided, this can only increase the severity of brain injury one may experience. In cases of medical error, legal claims may be filed in an effort to seek monetary relief for any resulting losses. A medical malpractice claim may be handled in a Pennsylvania civil court or through out of court negotiations, and may help the victim achieve fair and full compensation.

Automobile accident victim testifies against driver

According to a recent report, the accused, a 24-year-old male, allegedly entered the driver’s seat of his friend’s car and sped off when he saw a police officer. He is said to have reached speeds of up to 100 mph during the chase that ensued. Ultimately, this individual crashed the vehicle, which resulted in one person being thrown from the car and caused some of the other passengers to suffer injuries as well. After the wreck, the accused allegedly fled the scene and took off in another vehicle. Law enforcement officials claim he eventually attempted to run over a state trooper who was assisting in the case.

A few of the victims testified during the trial, one of whom was the woman who was thrown from the vehicle. Of all of the victims, this individual suffered the most severe injuries and was swiftly transported to a hospital via helicopter after the crash. Due to the extent of the damages suffered, she required extensive medical treatments and therapies during her recovery.

This automobile accident affected the lives of so many individuals. Apart from the criminal charges filed against the accused, the victims may choose to pursue personal injury claims in a Pennsylvania civil court in an effort to seek compensation for any losses sustained. Monetary judgments may be awarded for those claims that are navigated successfully.

Source:, “Glen Rock man accused of trying to run over cop goes to trial“, Steve Marroni, Sept. 15, 2015

Pennsylvania car crash results in multiple fatalities and injury

A accident in Pennsylvania resulted in the deaths of three individuals and unspecified injuries to another. The collision occurred on a section of Interstate 81 in the southern end of the state. Unfortunately, the damages suffered in this car crash are fairly common for interstate driving.

According to a recent report, the driver of a small sedan crossed his vehicle over the median from the northbound lanes into the southbound lanes of I-81 and struck another vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle, a 52-year-old male, was injured in the crash and was transported to a trauma center for treatment. He is said to be in stable condition. A passenger in this individual’s car, a 49-year-old female, was killed in the collision.

After impact, the sedan apparently caught on fire after hitting an embankment. Both the driver — a 49-year-old male — and passenger — a 48-year-old female — were killed in the wreck. At this time, it is unknown what may have caused this driver to cross into oncoming traffic.

Sadly, accidents like this are more common than one would hope. Those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a car crash, whether on the interstate or elsewhere, will likely experience severe losses from which they may struggle to recover. While the driver believed liable for this particular incident may not have survived, it is still possible for the surviving victim and the family members of the deceased to seek compensation by filing legal claims against his estate. Legal actions that are litigated successfully in a Pennsylvania civil court may receive monetary judgments for any and all damages that are deemed recoverable in accordance with state laws.

Can I seek compensation for a brain injury?

There a number of reasons as to why a person might suffer trauma to his or her head. A brain injury may simply be the result of an unfortunate accident, or in some cases, it could be attributed to another person’s negligence. A Pennsylvania resident who has experienced the latter of the two may be entitled to compensation for any losses sustained as a result.

Wondering if one can seek damages for a brain injury is completely understandable. This type of injury can have drastic effects on a person’s life and the lives of his or her family members. After experiencing a form of head trauma, the injury may limit one’s ability to work and take care of him or herself and others. The financial as well as emotional and physical limitations this type of affliction can cause are often felt for the remainder of one’s life.

In choosing to pursue legal actions, if done so successfully, one may receive compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, long-term care, lost wages and benefits and other monetary losses. Damages may also be awarded for pain and suffering and mental anguish as well. The amount awarded or received through settlement would depend on the specifics of a particular case.

There are a variety of claims that may be filed in a Pennsylvania civil court that would allow a victim or his or her family members to seek compensation for a brain injury. These include personal injury and medical malpractice claims, among others. An experienced attorney will be able to offer guidance as to what type of claim one might have, and follow through on what is decided to be the best course of action for the situation.

Moving forward after a brain injury can be challenging

Is it possible to fully recover from a brain injury? Yes, it is. However, the extent of the damage and the exact location of the injury will make all the difference in the ability to recover, how well one might recover and how long it will take to improve.

When it comes to serious brain damage, commonly referred to as a traumatic brain injury, how long it takes a person to gain full consciousness can help medical providers determine how well a person might recover. This is, though, an educated guess of sorts. At the end of the day, it takes time to fully understand how this type of injury will affect a person. This time can take months to years, costing more than most can afford, which can make moving forward challenging.

A brain injury can occur from a number of things, including an auto collision, a slip-and-fall accident and substandard medical care — among various other causes. If such an injury occurs due to the negligent behavior of another, Pennsylvania law allows victims and/or their family members to seek compensation through legal means. If this route is chosen, legal assistance is available to file all necessary documents and provide representation in court or during out of court negotiations. Fair and full compensation can be achieved for claims that are managed successfully.

Source:, “The Recovery Process For Traumatic Brain Injury“, Thomas Novack and Tamara Bushnik, Accessed on June 13, 2015

Have you or a loved one suffer a brain injury? Help is available

While the cause of some brain injuries are completely accidental and can’t be attributed to other individuals, there are those that happen due to someone else’s actions. Common causes of brain injuries include car accidents, birth injuries, medical errors and slip-and-fall accidents. Regardless of how this type of injury happens, the results can be devastating, often life-changing or even fatal.

Diagnosing and treating brain injuries is not necessarily an easy task. In many cases, the full effects of this type of injury are not immediately known; however, it is not uncommon for those injured to need specialized treatment — temporarily or permanently. While a lot of variables are involved, at the end of the day, the costs experienced by the victims and their family members can be severe. More information about brain injuries, causes and legal remedies is available on our website.

brain injury not only affects the victim but his or her loved ones as well. If you or a family member has experienced the devastating effects of this type of injury, a variety of legal remedies may be available to help you seek compensation for any losses sustained. An attorney who has experience with all kinds of brain injury cases can answer any questions you may have, and assist you in fighting for any and all damages deemed recoverable in accordance with the laws of Pennsylvania.