Dedicated Richmond Attorneys for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Victims

We Have the Resources and Experience to Handle Complex Brain Injury Cases

Traumatic brain injury cases can be challenging for victims and their attorneys because the signs and symptoms of these injuries vary so widely from person to person. Symptoms of a brain injury can range from mild to severe, depending on many factors. Some symptoms might show up right away, while others may not appear until several days or weeks after the brain injury. And some brain injuries show up in diagnostic tests like MRIs, while others are difficult to detect despite causing serious symptoms.

If your case involves a traumatic brain injury, it will likely require a lot of medical evidence and expert testimony to prove the cause and extent of your injuries, which is why it’s important to work with an attorney who has the experience, knowledge and resources needed to handle highly complex injury claims.

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At Phelan Petty, we devote ourselves to handling only a small number of complex cases in Virginia so we can help the victims who need our expertise the most. We work with world-class experts, investigators, and consultants so we can handle cases that would overwhelm other personal injury law firms, including traumatic brain injury claims that require cutting-edge investigative methods and legal techniques.

To get a free, no-risk assessment of your brain injury case from an experienced attorney, contact us right away.

Brain Injury Glossary of Terms

Brain injury cases involve lots of technical language that most people won’t be familiar with. We hope the list of definitions below will help anyone who has been affected by a TBI.


Aboulia (or abulia): A disorder characterized by “lack of initiative,” including the inability to make decisions, provide long or detailed responses to questions, or react quickly.


Anosognosia: A term that describes a brain injury victim’s inability to recognize or understand their impairments.


Anoxia: A lack of oxygen to the brain, which can cause brain damage and brain death.


Aphasia: The inability to understand language or to speak. Aphasia is caused by lesions in the language area of the brain.


Ataxia: The loss of full control of bodily movements.


Brain Plasticity: The brain’s ability to have unused parts of the brain take over functions normally done by the areas of the brain that are damaged.


Closed–Head Injury: A type of brain injury where the skull remains intact. These injuries often involve the brain knocking against the inside of the skull due to violent motion or force.


Concussion: A type of brain injury. Doctors sometimes refer to concussions as “mild” traumatic brain injuries (or mTBIs). They can occur from a blow to the head, but they may also happen due to violent shaking or rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head. Most concussions occur without the victim being knocked unconscious. Repetitive brain injury or concussion can cause permanent damage to the brain.


Coup and Contrecoup Injuries: The brain floats within the skull and has a gelatin-like consistency. During an event like a car crash, the skull will rocket forward and then slam to a stop. However, the brain will continue to accelerate even after the skull has come to a stop. This rapid acceleration and deceleration causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull, especially in the frontal and temporal regions. These areas of the brain are important for controlling behavior, memory, and personality. If the brain suffers trauma in the area directly beneath the point of the brain’s impact with the skull, the lesion is called a “coup” lesion. If the brain becomes injured on the side of the brain opposite the site of the impact, the lesion is a “contrecoup” lesion.


Cranial Nerves: There are 12 cranial nerves that originate within the brain and brainstem and exit the skull to connect with the head and neck.


Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): The stretching and tearing or shearing of axons in the brain characterized by injury to the brain’s white matter. Neuroimaging tests like MRI often fail to detect DAIs.


Dysarthria: Difficulty pronouncing words.


Dysphasia: Impaired speech and comprehension of speech.


Edema: A fluid buildup that causes swelling.


Emotional Lability: Describes mood swings that can occur rapidly and without apparent reason.


Glasgow Coma Scale: A widely-used numerical scale designed to assess a person’s level of consciousness after an acute trauma.


Hematoma: The buildup of blood in tissues that occurs after an injury.


Hippocampus: An area of the brain responsible for memory storage. Even mild damage to this area can cause considerable memory loss.


Hypoxia: An insufficient amount of oxygen to a person’s organs.


Intracranial Pressure: Pressure that occurs in the brain from cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain.


Locked-In Syndrome: A paralyzed state where the brain injury victim can’t communicate or move but is awake and completely aware of their surroundings.


Persistent Vegetative State: A condition in which the victim shows no response to outside stimuli and no signs of higher brain function.


Seizure: Uncontrolled movements and convulsions of the body due to the discharge of nerve energy. Seizures can cause loss of consciousness and behavioral changes.


Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS): The name of a group of signs and symptoms that often appear after a mild traumatic brain injury. They include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hypersensitivity to light or sound, anxiety, and depression, among many other possible symptoms.


Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA): Refers to the condition in which the person is unable to recall day-to-day events after an injury. The amnesia is thought to be a direct result of diffuse damage to brain tissue from the shearing forces of acceleration and deceleration. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to remember information about ongoing events, while retrograde amnesia is the inability to recall information from before the injury.

To get a free, no-risk assessment of your case from an experienced Virginia injury attorney, please contact us right away.