Meningioma After a Brain Injury From a Car Accident
Pennsylvania car accidents can leave people suffering from both obvious and hidden injuries. In some situations, the victims might suffer injuries in multiple areas of the body simultaneously. Collisions can throw people around inside their vehicles, causing them to strike flying objects and parts of the vehicle with a high degree of force. The forces involved in a motor vehicle collision can cause fractures, internal bleeding, and other injuries, including trauma to the head. Some head injuries resulting from crashes can be traumatic. When someone suffers head trauma and a resulting brain injury in a car crash, they might subsequently develop a meningioma. Here’s some information from Raynes & Lawn about meningiomas following car crashes and your ability to recover compensation when the collision was caused by the negligence of someone else.
What Is a Meningioma?
A meningioma is a type of tumor that can develop and grow in the brain. It is a tumor that involves the meninges, which are the protective membranes that surround the spinal cord and brain. A meningioma can place pressure on the blood vessels, nerves, and brain tissues and cause potential damage and is the most common type of brain tumor. In most cases, meningiomas are benign. However, some meningiomas can be malignant and potentially life-threatening.
How Are Meningomas Different From Other Types of Brain Tumors?
Unlike other brain tumors, meningiomas grow in the membrane layers that surround the spinal cord and brain instead of the brain tissues. Between 90% to 95% of meningiomas are classified as benign, which means they are not malignant and unlikely to spread through the body. These tumors tend to grow slowly for months or years. Unfortunately, however, a meningioma can grow to be large, crowding the brain and other structures contained within the skull.
Symptoms of Meningiomas
The symptoms of a meningioma will vary based on size and location. A small meningioma might be asymptomatic and only discovered when a doctor examines you for sinus problems or an unrelated head injury. However, as a meningioma grows, it can increase the pressure inside the skull and cause the following types of problems:
- Vomiting caused by pressure
- Nausea caused by pressure
- Headaches caused by pressure
- Location-related symptoms, including vision problems, speech problems, balance problems, or motor skills problems
- Seizures caused by electrical disturbances
- Numbness of the face
- Weakness of the legs and arms
- Personality changes
- Muscular spasms in the face
In some cases, a victim might not know that they have a meningioma until it grows large enough to cause these or other symptoms.
Types of Meningiomas
Multiple types of meningiomas can grow in different areas. While it might be unclear what causes a meningioma to begin growing, it can start because of trauma caused by a car accident. Some of the types of meningiomas that someone might be diagnosed with following a car crash include the following:
- Convexity meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow on the surface of the meninges and are the most accessible, so they can generally be completely removed
- Falcine and parasagittal meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow near the falx, which is the thin membrane that separates the two sides of the brain
- Olfactory groove meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow in the membrane surrounding the olfactory nerve that runs from the brain to the nose and can result in a loss of smell and taste and can impact vision and lead to headaches and other issues
- Tuberculum Sellae meningiomas – Meningiomas that can grow into one or both optic canals and cause blindness
- Sphenoid wing meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow near the sphenoid bone and can cause speech impairments and epilepsy
- Posterior fossa meningiomas – Meningiomas that form on the underside of the brain and can place pressure on the cranial nerves, leading to hearing problems and facial issues
- Foramen magnum meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow in the foramen magnum in the occipital region of the brain and are among the most difficult to treat because of their proximity to the medulla oblongata
- Spinal meningiomas – Meningiomas that arise in the meninges surrounding the spinal cord and most commonly arise in the thoracic region
- Intraorbital meningiomas – Meningiomas that grow around the eye sockets and can cause blindness
- Intraventricular meningiomas – Meningiomas that can grow very large and most commonly arise in the lateral brain ventricles
Causes and Risk Factors of Meningiomas
Meningiomas do not have a clear cause. However, a meningioma can arise when something changes the cells of the meninges and causes them to excessively multiply and form a tumor. Some of the potential causes of meningiomas include genetics, trauma, and others. The risk factors that might make someone more susceptible to developing a meningioma include the following:
- Radiation treatment involving the application of radiation to the head
- Females because of female hormones
- Hormone replacement therapy and birth control
- Genetic nervous system disorders
- Head trauma caused by an accident
In some cases, people develop meningiomas following blunt force trauma to the head or brain. This type of trauma can happen in serious car accidents. If you develop a meningioma after suffering a traumatic brain injury or another type of head injury in a car accident caused by someone else, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia at Raynes & Lawn.
How Meningiomas Are Treated
The treatment of meningiomas depends on their location and size. For a small meningioma that isn’t growing too close to critical blood vessels or nerves, a doctor might recommend careful observation and monitoring. You might have to see your doctor for a brain scan every three months during the first year after being diagnosed with a small meningioma.
Since most meningiomas are noncancerous, surgery is the most common treatment used. Doctors prefer to completely remove meningiomas to reduce the chances that the tumor will return. If a meningioma can’t be surgically removed, or the patient is not a good candidate for surgery, radiation therapy might be used to reduce the meningioma’s size. Radiation might also be used to treat small portions of a meningioma that remain following surgery.
After your doctor diagnoses you with a meningioma, you will be referred to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon will assess the meningioma’s characteristics, size, and location to determine the best approach.
A craniotomy might be performed to remove an accessible meningioma. In this procedure, a small window will be opened in your skull so that the tumor can be removed through the opening. At the end of the procedure, the opening will be closed. In this type of procedure, doctors typically make incisions behind the hairline so that they won’t be obvious once they heal. In some cases, a meningioma might be accessed through the nose using an endoscope for removal.
If you have a convexity meningioma, removing it surgically should be a straightforward process. However, if you have a meningioma deeper within your brain, it might not be removable or might require the surgeon to move some of your brain tissues aside to reach it.
If a meningioma has grown into a blood vessel, it can be problematic. Those that have grown into the sinuses can be difficult to manage, meaning that early surgery is best since the surgeon might have to cut the blood vessel or clip it, which can lead to a potentially fatal blockage of the blood flow or lead to brain swelling. If a meningioma has completely blocked one of your sinuses, it can be cut since the blood vessel has already been cut off and your body has found other pathways for blood flow.
Sphenoid wing meningiomas behind the eye can be difficult to remove because they grow near a critical artery and the visual nerves. Similarly, meningiomas in the foramen magnum at the base of the skull can be difficult to remove and might require a multidisciplinary team.
Brain Injuries and Meningiomas Following Car Accidents
If you suffer a brain injury and a resulting meningioma following a car accident, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, you will need to get help from an experienced injury lawyer to help establish causation for your meningioma. Our attorneys are experienced in handling serious brain injury cases, including those involving meningiomas following car crashes.
Proving Negligence Following a Car Accident
To win a claim against the at-fault driver who caused your accident and resulting injuries, you will need to be able to present evidence to prove each of the following elements of negligence:
- The defendant driver owed a duty of care to drive with reasonable caution to prevent an accident.
- The driver breached the legal duty they owed to you.
- The driver’s breach of the duty of care was the cause of the accident and the resulting injuries.
- You suffered calculable damages as a result.
If you present evidence meeting your burden of proof for three of the elements but fail to prove the fourth, you will not win your claim. Because of the importance of proving each element by a preponderance of the evidence, your attorney will carefully investigate your case and gather relevant evidence to help you prove each of the elements. Here is a closer look at what these elements are.
1. Duty of Care
Before a negligence claim can be filed, it will be necessary to determine whether the defendant owed you a legal duty of care. In some situations, the nature of the relationship between a defendant and plaintiff will give rise to a legal duty. For example, all Pennsylvania motorists are expected to drive cautiously and safely to prevent accidents and injuries. For this reason, proving that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care will likely be relatively straightforward.
2. Breach of the Duty of Care
The second element of a negligence cause of action is a breach of the legal duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff. This will involve evaluating whether the defendant did something or failed to do something that a reasonably prudent driver in the same circumstances would have done. For example, a defendant will likely be found to have breached the duty of care if an average person would not have responded in the same way under the circumstances. A breach of the duty of care might involve engaging in problematic driving behaviors, including speeding, running a red light, inattentive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, or other similar actions that could increase the risk of an accident. Proving a breach of the duty of care might involve investigating what happened and gathering evidence to demonstrate the driver engaged in risky driving behavior in violation of the traffic laws or that was unreasonable under the circumstances.
Proving that a driver’s negligence caused your injuries and resulting meningioma might be the hardest. You will need to show that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused your injury and resulting meningioma. The defense will likely argue that your meningioma arose because of something else rather than your accident. You won’t be able to recover damages unless you can present evidence showing a link between the driver’s negligence and your resulting injuries. Your attorney might gather your medical records and other evidence to help support your claim. For example, if you received immediate medical attention after your accident, and your medical records show that you suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by your accident and subsequently developed a meningioma in the same region as the damage, this might help to support the element of causation.
To recover compensation in a negligence claim for a meningioma and other injuries caused by a car accident, you will need to present evidence of your damages. These are the economic and noneconomic losses that you suffered because of your accident and resulting injuries. In a car accident claim, this might include compensation for both your medical expenses and property losses as well as for some more intangible losses for pain and suffering and others.
What If You Were Partially at Fault?
In some car accidents, both drivers will share some of the blame for the collision. For example, if you were speeding and the other motorist turned left across the highway in front of you, both of you might be partially at fault.
Under 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, Pennsylvania follows a rule of comparative negligence. When both drivers are partially at fault for an accident, the court will evaluate each party’s degree of negligence. Being partially at fault will not bar you from recovering damages as long as your percentage of fault was not greater than that of the defendant. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault the court attributes to you.
For example, if the jury awards a gross verdict of $500,000 in your favor but finds that you were 20% at fault, your gross verdict award will be reduced by 20% for a net recovery of $400,000.
If you are determined to be 51% at fault, the comparative negligence law means that you won’t be able to pursue a damages claim.
Even if you think that your collision was your fault, there might be some details that you don’t know about. Don’t apologize for your collision or admit fault. Instead, you should consult an attorney to learn about your potential ability to recover compensation.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
The best time to contact a lawyer is immediately after you have sought and received treatment for your injuries. When you retain a lawyer early, your attorney will have more time to work with accident reconstruction experts and investigators to determine the contributing factors, find and interview witnesses, and gather evidence to support your claim.
Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations for car accident injury claims found at 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524. This law places a deadline for filing a lawsuit following a car accident that results in injuries. You will have a maximum of two years following your car crash to file a lawsuit under Pennsylvania law. If you wait to file your claim until after the deadline has passed, the court will dismiss it. This means that you will be barred from pursuing compensation for your losses.
The compensation that you might be able to recover after you develop a meningioma as a result of brain injuries from a car accident will depend on multiple factors. Because of this, an attorney can’t provide you with a quote of the value of your claim over the phone and will instead need to review the evidence in your case.
Compensatory damages are monetary awards that might be recoverable for the economic and non-economic losses you have suffered. The economic damages are referred to as special damages and include the following types:
- Past and future medical expenses incurred to treat your injuries
- Past and future rehabilitation costs
- Past and future wage losses
- Property losses
Your non-economic damages are more difficult to value and include the following types:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Reduced ability to enjoy life
Depending on the facts of your case, punitive damages might be available. These are monetary awards that are only given in rare cases in which a defendant’s conduct was reckless, wanton, or willful. If punitive damages are awarded, they will be capped at no more than twice the amount of your economic damages.
Contact an Attorney
Filing an injury lawsuit to recover compensation for meningiomas and brain injuries caused by car accidents can be difficult. You need to retain a law firm that understands how to competently investigate your case and gather evidence to show that your injuries were caused by the accident and the at-fault driver’s negligence.
The attorneys at Raynes & Lawn are zealous advocates for our clients and have successfully represented plaintiffs in negligence lawsuits for more than five decades. We have recovered tens of billions of dollars for our clients and have substantial experience handling cases involving serious brain injuries, including meningiomas. To learn more about your rights and the legal remedies that might be available, call us today to request a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.
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