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Post Traumatic Epilepsy – Frequently Asked Questions

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Posted on December 30, 2021

Brain Injury & Epilepsy FAQ

What is Epilepsy? According to the Epilepsy Foundation , “Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures.” Typically, patients are diagnosed with epilepsy when their seizures were not the result of a reversible medical condition (such as withdrawals or low blood sugar).  These epileptic seizures are most commonly caused by one of two main issues: a brain injury or genetics.

What Is Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE)?

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy is a type of epilepsy that is an effect of a prior brain injury, often involving the frontal and temporal lobes. PTE is not related to genetics. Which is to say that you are not born with it. It is almost always the result of an injury involving head trauma.

PTE is diagnosed when seizures last longer than a week after head trauma. When a person has Post-Traumatic Seizures (PTS), the seizures come in the week following a traumatic brain injury and are considered to be directly related to the head trauma. It is when the seizures persist after a week that it is considered PTE. This can also be called late PTS.

Post Traumatic Epilepsy Statistics

Reports show that there are as many as 1.7 million people that suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year. And on top of that, the CDC reports that one in ten of those who are 15 years or older will be diagnosed with epilepsy in the following three years. This makes traumatic brain injury and PTE a big concern, since many times they are preventable.

Around 10% of people who have had a TBI will experience an early seizure afterward.  An early seizure is a seizure that occurs within the first week of the brain injury. Approximately 25% of these occur within the first hour following the TBI, while 50% occur within the first 24 hours. Those individuals who experience early seizures are at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. When a TBI victim experiences a seizure more than one week after the TBI, it is known as a late seizure. Late seizures are symptomatic of serious brain cell injury. Late seizures are also indicative of the individual developing post-traumatic epilepsy.

Post-traumatic epilepsy is a condition in which an individual is at risk for recurrent seizures as a direct result of brain injury. An individual who has experienced a TBI has a 2% chance of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. The majority of those individuals, approximately 80%, will experience focal seizures. 50% of people with post-traumatic epilepsy develop it within one year of the TBI. However, it can develop in as long as 15 years after the traumatic incident.

What are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Epilepsy

Seizures are classified into two types: generalized seizures which affect both sides of the brain, and focal seizures which are located in just one area of the brain

            What are Generalized Seizures?

Generalized seizures can include absence seizures or tonic-clonic seizures. Absence seizures are more mild, causing rapid blinking or temporary staring into space. Tonic-clonic seizures include the symptoms most commonly associated with seizures. These cause individuals to cry out, lose consciousness, fall to the ground, or have muscle jerks and spasms.

            What are Focal Seizures?

Focal seizures include simple, complex, and secondary generalized. A simple focal seizure can result in twitching or sensation changes (experienced through strange tastes and smells). A complex focal seizure results in a more serious confusion or daze. Secondary generalized seizures begin as focal seizures, in one part of the brain, and then spread to both sides of the brain, becoming generalized seizures.

If you have had a TBI it is important to note that there are many different types of seizures described here. It is prudent for you to speak with a medical professional who understands these issues and can correctly diagnose your symptoms in order to help treat your underlying issues. Seizures may last as long as a few minutes. If you experience a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes, call 911. Emergency personnel should also be called when an individual hurts themselves during a seizure. If you believe you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury and epilepsy as a result due to the careless actions of another person, you might qualify for legal assistance to help with the cost of treatment. Continue reading to learn more about your options and how our qualified attorneys can help.

Can You Sue For Getting Epilepsy Related to a Brain Injury?

In many instances, epilepsy from traumatic brain injury is the result of another’s careless or negligent actions. For example, brain injuries can be caused by:

In such cases, it may be necessary to pursue legal action.

If a brain injury can be traced back to the negligence or carelessness of a party or person, you may be able to sue for all damages you have suffered as a result of that, including those caused by epilepsy. This is known as a personal injury lawsuit.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive For a Post Traumatic Epilepsy Injury?

In most personal injury suits claimants are seeking compensatory damages. These damages are meant to put you in the same position you were in prior to the incident. The damages recoverable are split into economic and non-economic damages.

                Economic Damages

Economic damages include anything which has a quantifiable economic value. This includes loss of income, medical expenses, property damage, loss of future income, cost of assistance, and so on. The list of economic damages is not listed. As long as it could be shown that the expense would or will be incurred because of the harm, that it was foreseeable prior to the incident, and the defendant was the cause of it occurring, then it is generally recoverable.

                Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are meant to compensate personal injury victims for intangible harms resulting from injury. These damages place an economic value on the pain and suffering that one incurred as a result of the injury they suffered. The harms here can be wide-ranging. A personal injury victim should seek recovery not only for the pain incurred as a result of the injury, but the inconvenience of the process. A number can be placed on the loss of joy one is able to experience because of the injury. Where a person’s quality of life has decreased an experienced attorney should seek monetary damages to compensate for the loss.

How Haffner &Morgan Can Help

If you are experiencing PTE symptoms the attorneys at Haffner & Morgan can help you in both your financial and physical recovery. Consultations are available at no cost to you, and no fees are taken unless you obtain a settlement or positive jury verdict. Our first step is always to make sure you are getting the treatment you want and need.

The information provided in this blog is not meant to be legal advice. It is provided as an informative guide only.  If you have any questions regarding a personal injury, contact a lawyer today. The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan offer no cost consultations and are happy to answer any questions you may have.