Near-Drowning Accidents and Anoxic Brain Injuries
Among Florida’s greatest assets are its coasts, which draw millions of people to sunbathe, swim, snorkel, or scuba dive. Unfortunately, some people can suffer serious brain injuries if equipment malfunctions or they are swept out to sea. If you have sustained an injury while on the water, please contact Dolman Law Group for a free consultation.
What Are Anoxic Brain Injuries?
Your brain needs oxygen to work properly. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain cells can die, and victims can sustain permanent brain damage. Fortunately, the brain can last about 4 minutes without oxygen, but after that point the lack of oxygen causes damage. When your brain is totally deprived of oxygen, you suffer an anoxic brain injury. A partial deprivation of oxygen can cause a hypoxic brain injury.
Anoxic brain injuries have the following symptoms:
- Syncope or coma
- Unresponsiveness if awake
- Memory loss
- Trouble processing information
- Speech problems
- Impaired judgment
- Convulsions or other involuntary movements
- Inability to perform simple tasks like hold a spoon
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weakness in limbs
If you detect any one of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one after a near-drowning accident, go to the doctor immediately. The earlier you receive medical intervention, the greater your chance of recovery.
How Are Anoxic Brain Injuries Diagnosed?
Your doctor will want information about the events leading up to your symptoms, so you should talk about how your near-drowning experience happened. Your doctor will also need to perform certain tests, such as:
- CT Scan
- Blood tests for oxygen in your blood
The doctor will also want to monitor your condition to see if you improve or if your symptoms persist for an extended length of time.
What Treatments Are Available?
For some patients, brain damage is irreversible. However, other patients might be able to regain function or learn new ways of doing familiar tasks. To help you cope, you will likely need therapy, including:
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Recreational therapy
Depending on the severity of the anoxic brain injury, you might need to relearn simple tasks and actions, such as eating, talking, walking, and dressing yourself. Many people find that anoxic brain injuries put a great deal of strain on their families, so all family members can benefit from mental health counseling and support groups.
What Factors Influence Whether Treatment Is Successful?
Some patients with anoxic brain injuries make a full recovery. However, many struggle with irreversible long-term disabilities. If patients are able to learn new ways of doing things, then many patients consider their treatment a success even if they do not return to their old lifestyle.
Like other brain injuries, anoxic brain injuries differ by the patient. However, doctors have noticed some factors that likely influence the speed and extent of your recovery:
- How long you were in a coma. Generally, the longer the coma, the less likely a person will make a recovery. If the person wakes up within 12 hours, then they have the best chance of success.
- How soon you started therapy. The sooner the better.
- Age. Patients under 25 tend to have a better chance at recovery.
- Whether there is continued brain activity in the affected area. If there is, then a patient might make greater strides to recovery.
Will My Loved One Need At-Home Care?
Possibly. As mentioned above, people with hypoxic brain injuries often struggle to perform daily tasks such as eating, washing themselves, and getting dressed. More severe anoxic injuries might leave the person bedridden and generally unresponsive. At-home care workers can help people who do not have family members and those whose family members need to work during the day.
Can I Receive Compensation?
This depends on the cause of the near drowning. In some cases, no one is to blame for the accident. However, some people nearly drown because of someone else’s fault, including:
- Boating accidents, where the victim is thrown overboard and almost drowns.
- Scuba diving accidents where faulty equipment leads to oxygen deprivation.
- Snorkeling accidents, where the company that organizes the excursion takes you to a dangerous area.
- Swimming pool defects that trap a person underwater for a length of time, such as when a pool drain lacks a proper safety cover.
In each of these cases, someone else’s negligence is a substantial contributing factor to the accident that caused the anoxic brain injury, so that person may be liable for compensation.
Everything depends on the facts. To make out a case for negligence, you will need to show how the person responsible did not use reasonable care. If you almost drowned because of a product, you will need to show how the product is unreasonably dangerous because of a defect.
Our clients have received compensation for:
- Medical expenses to treat the anoxic brain injury, including rehabilitation costs
- Future medical care, including at-home care, if the injury requires future treatment
- Lost wages, for the time missed from work because of the brain injury
- Reduced earning capacity, if you cannot return to your old job or any job because of your brain injury
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Your spouse might also have a legal claim for “loss of consortium” for negative changes to your marriage. Because each case is different, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss whether you can bring a lawsuit and the compensation that may be available.
Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Clearwater, Florida
After a brain injury, victims and their families struggle to adjust to a new definition of “normal.” They also worry about a lack of resources to cover medical care and replace lost income. At Dolman Law Group, we have years of experience helping anoxic brain injury victims recover the financial compensation they need to heal and move forward with their lives. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 727-451-6900 or sending an online message.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765