A brain stem injury is a serious and potentially life-altering condition that occurs when the area of the brain responsible for vital functions like heart rate, breathing, and consciousness suffers damage due to trauma or disease.

A brain stem injury can be catastrophic and change the way of life for those affected. Once suffered, there may be no reversal of the damage that has occurred. You and your family members now face a life you never anticipated. If you or a loved one suffered a brain stem injury due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act, you deserve to recover compensation.

You may be dealing with the expenses of ongoing medical care, assistance with daily tasks, occupational therapy, and other services. Brain stem injury cases are complex and require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Read on to learn more about brain stem injuries and their symptoms and what a brain stem injury attorney can help you recover

brain stem injury

What Is the Brain Stem Injury?

The brain stem is an essential group of nerves linking your brain to your spinal cord and performs critical functions like regulating circadian rhythm, balance, breathing, and heart rhythms. The brain stem’s role is also closely connected to our ability to swallow and control facial movements. 

What Causes a Brain Stem Injury? 

Brain stem injuries usually occur due to a traumatic brain injury. Common causes of brain stem injury include the following: 

  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents;
  • Accidents associated with recreational activities like boating, diving, horseback riding, and skateboarding; 
  • Workplace falls, especially falls at greater heights;
  • Slip and fall accidents; 
  • Construction accidents;
  • Accidents caused by assaults or other acts of violence; and
  • Accidents resulting from the use of defective products. 

Evidence of a brain stem injury may not be immediately apparent. For example, a concussion injury may become more severe if not treated immediately. Complications of a concussion may result in brain swelling, which puts pressure on the brain stem and damages its function.  

Damage to the brain stem that is severe enough to stop blood and oxygen from reaching the brain may result in brain death. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Stem Injury? 

Any disruption of transmitting messages from the brain to the rest of the body may manifest in various ways. Common signs of a brain stem injury involve a person not being able to function as they should. Symptoms of a brain stem injury include the following: 

  • Disrupted sleep patterns; 
  • Dizziness;
  • Nausea or vomiting; 
  • Balance issues;
  • Inability to cough or gag; 
  • Difficulty eating, drinking, or swallowing;
  • Slurred speech; 
  • Inability to control bodily movements; 
  • Decreased motor functions;
  • Abnormal breathing;
  • Impaired vision or nystagmus; 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; 
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Altered heart rate;
  • Paralysis; and
  • Coma.

If you believe you suffered a head injury, seek immediate medical attention immediately. Your doctor may order the required tests to diagnose a potential brain stem injury so you can receive the proper treatment before further harm is done. 

Can Brain Stem Damage Be Repaired? 

While recovery from a brain stem injury is possible, the road ahead may be long and difficult. Medical professionals must undertake multiple neurological tests and imaging to determine the brain stem injury’s location and severity. 

A brain stem injury that limits motor functioning requires intensive therapy and rehabilitation. Most of this therapy must be done at a hospital or specialized facility before an injured victim can return home. 

Once a person can return to their home, there will likely be additional therapy to continue for an extended period. Regaining strength and relearning skills only be possible with medical care and support. 

Recovery may take years. In some situations, a victim may never fully recover. Fortunately, technological advances provide those suffering from brain stem injuries with a new way forward. However, many of these advances are not possible without financial support. That’s why speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after your accident is vital so you and your family can get the compensation you deserve. 

What Can I Recover?

California law permits victims of a brain stem injury to recover economic and non-economic damages

Economic damages represent specific and calculable losses stemming from a victim’s injury. These damages include the following losses: 

  • Medical expenses, 
  • Lost wages, 
  • Loss of future earnings, and
  • Property damage.

A brain stem injury changes the way of life for a victim. There may not be a way for a victim to return to the job they previously held, yet their medical needs may continue for the foreseeable future. Getting the compensation needed is vital to their recovery. 

Non-economic damages include psychological and emotional losses resulting from brain stem injury. These losses include the following:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, 
  • Loss of consortium, 
  • Permanent injury or disability, and
  • Disfigurement. 

The severity of a brain stem injury may have profound and devastating impacts on a victim’s mental health.

Brain stem injuries can cause loss of strength, sex drive, cognitive problems, and paralysis. For a person who previously moved their body freely and without pain, the reality of their brain stem injury may make their new way of life challenging to accept. Non-economic damages compensate for the invisible, life-changing losses experienced by victims of this catastrophic injury. 

Contact Us 

For over forty years, GJEL Accident Attorneys have provided exceptional legal representation to hundreds of California victims that experienced personal injuries due to no fault of their own.

Our firm has an undisputed track record of success and has recovered over $950,000,000 in compensation with a 99% success rate for our clients. We know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve after such a traumatic experience. We hold wrongdoers responsible so you can focus on your recovery.

Every member of our firm prioritizes the one-on-one relationships cultivated with our clients, and we maintain friendships with our clients long after we’ve won their cases. If you suffered a brain stem injury in San Francisco or Northern California, we encourage you to contact our offices immediately. Our attorneys are standing by, ready to answer any questions you may have for us and provide you with a free, confidential evaluation with no obligation.  

Visit our office nearest to you.