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Personal Injury

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Brain Injuries


According to the Brain Injury Association of Hawaii, every 21 seconds, one person in the U.S. suffers a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). These injuries most often result from falls, traffic accidents, or violence and can be one of the most debilitating and difficult injuries to overcome. In many cases, victims are left with diminished cognitive abilities and motor function that lead to physical and emotional problems. A TBI victim may not be able to work for a living and some are even paralyzed.

When another person’s negligence causes a brain injury, victims may seek restitution for their expenses and other associated losses. Victims of serious brain injuries can rely on the legal experience of Leavitt Yamane & Soldner to help them obtain justice. Our Honolulu TBI attorneys have helped victims recover both financially and emotionally from these life-changing injuries.

Symptoms of a serious TBI include:
• Confusion
• Visual – spatial impairment
• Memory deficits
• Reduced attention and concentration
• Fatigue
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Impaired thinking ability
• Decreased control of body movements
• Language difficulties

Contact Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner for more information

We know the devastating impact of brain injuries. Leavitt, Yamane and Soldner has a long track record of obtaining substantial recoveries for brain injury victims and their families.

+ Brain Injury Questions

We at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner believe that being well-informed about your injuries, options, and rights is an excellent foundation for any legal situation. Because of this, our knowledgeable Honolulu personal injury attorneys have collected some of the most common questions regarding brain injuries we encounter and have provided the answers below. We hope this information helps you take legal action for yourself or a loved one who is currently dealing with this serious injury.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury is a common injury that results when brain tissue is damaged by the back and forward motion of the head, such as whiplash motion during a car accident. Traumatic brain injuries can also occur when the head is hit against a hard object or surface. Traumatic brain injuries can be closed-head or open-head injuries. Open-head injuries occur when an object pierces the skull. Closed-head injuries aren’t so obvious because the damage is internal.

Is a mild traumatic brain injury case for concern?

A mild traumatic brain injury, while not as serious at first-glance as severe traumatic brain injuries, still requires prompt and serious medical attention. The effects of a mild traumatic brain injury can be subtle, which can make it difficult to detect. Some symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries include poor concentration, temporary hearing loss, vision problems, mood changes, mental slowness, and irregular sleeping patterns.

What signs indicate that a brain injury persists after an accident?

If you have a feeling that something is still wrong after you or a loved one is discharged after an accident, it is better to be safe than sorry. We recommend that you see your primary doctor again or visit the emergency room in order to determine if you sustained a minor traumatic brain injury. These kinds of injuries can be difficult to detect.

What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

Post-Concussion Syndrome refers to the group of symptoms that a person can experience after an accident or receiving a blow to the head. Behavior and physical changes such as changes in personality and chronic headaches can occur. These symptoms can persist for weeks and months after an accident. Other individuals suffer from depression and anxiety as a result of Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Why should I hire Leavitt Yamane & Soldner to represent me?

You should consider hiring our firm to represent you because we have handled many traumatic brain injury cases over the years. Since 1971, we have been representing injured individuals across the Hawaiian Islands and have been successful in recovering compensation on their behalf. We also offer initial consultations, free of charge, to our prospective clients. If you are unable to meet with us in person, we are ready and willing to travel to meet with you in your home or hospital room. Nothing is more important to us than the needs of our clients.

+ Concussion Side Effects

Concussions can result not only in balance problems, an interruption in normal cognitive function, impaired memory and mood changes, but they can also change the underlying structural cells of the brain. Repeated concussions can result in an increased risk of dementia as well as other health issues. Even a single concussion can affect cognitive abilities over the long term. In fact, one recent study showed that a diffusion MRI revealed differences in the brains of concussion victims four months after a mild head injury.

The effects of a more severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are often much worse. TBI’s account for nearly a third of trauma-related deaths in the U.S. TBI’s can cause permanent, life-changing impairments for those who survive them. You may be entitled to compensation if someone else’s negligence caused your brain injury. You should consult with a TBI lawyer at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner if you or a close relative has suffered a brain injury.

Our Honolulu personal injury attorneys can answer questions such as:

Who may be held responsible for my concussion or TBI?
What kinds of compensation could I receive if I have suffered brain damage caused by someone else’s negligence?


If someone else’s careless behavior causes your brain injury, that individual or company may be held legally liable for your losses.

To obtain compensation for a brain injury, you will need to prove:
• That you suffered a brain injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence
• That the TBI has caused losses that you can be compensated for
• The extent of your losses

Brain injuries can come from open or closed head wounds. Symptoms may not be apparent right after an accident. That means it is very important to seek medical treatment after any trauma to the head.

Any person or entity that caused you to suffer a head injury may be held legally responsible for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses related to the TBI.

While there is an almost limitless number of ways a brain injury can occur, some of the most common causes include:
• Falls
• Car accidents
• Sports activities
• Violence

Examples of potential defendants in a TBI claim include:
• The owner of a business where a fall occurs on a slippery floor
• A driver who causes a car accident
• Schools, coaches and athletic associations that fail to provide adequate supervision, fail to warn players of risks, or do not have proper protocols for responding to head injuries
• Anyone who commits an intentional act of violence that causes a head or brain injury

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to head injury cases. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim and, if so, how you can maximize your potential compensation.


You may be entitled to compensation for all losses resulting from your concussion or other traumatic brain injury. Make sure you know the full extent of your symptoms and of the expected costs of future care to make sure you are fully compensated for these and other brain injury consequences.

This may include compensation for:
• Past and future medical treatment costs
• Lost income
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Loss of enjoyment of life
• Wrongful death of a family member

The impact of a brain injury is dramatic.
A person who suffers from a TBI may experience:
• Seizures
• Ringing in the ears
• Mood changes, including aggression and irritability
• Cognitive impairment
• Balance problems
• Memory loss
• Speech and language processing problems
• Confusion
• Impulsive behavior
• Difficulties with touch, temperature and other sensory functions
• Hearing and vision loss
• Chronic pain

Get Help from Our Honolulu Personal Injury Lawyers

A Honolulu personal injury lawyer at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner can assist you in many ways after an accident that causes a concussion or TBI. Our attorneys can evaluate your case at no charge to you. We can identify potential defendants, investigate and build a strong case against them, negotiate a settlement or make a compelling argument to persuade a jury to compensate you in full.

+ Facts About Brain Injuries

Our Honolulu brain injury lawyers at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner have more than 100 combined years of legal experience helping injury victims and families just like yours. We represent individuals who have been injured and have sustained serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries.

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a:
• Bump
• Blow
• Jolt to the head
• A penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain

Brain injury can also be caused by disease and birth defects. The severity of a TBI may range from a mild injury involving a brief change in mental status to a severe injury with an extended period of unconsciousness followed by lasting deficits.


Most of the TBIs that occur every year are mild, and are commonly called concussions. But a severe TBI is a disabling injury requiring treatment with medication as well as ongoing physical and psychological therapy. After one brain injury such as a concussion, the risk for a second injury is three times greater; after the second injury, the risk for a third injury is eight times greater.

Injured? Contact Our Experienced Honolulu Personal Injury Lawyers in Hawaii.
If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident in Hawaii, you may have a right to compensation that will be of great assistance to you and your family in the days of recovery and adjustment ahead of you. We can help you recover compensation for your traumatic brain injury.

+ Symptoms of Brain Injuries

The effects of brain injury are unpredictable, and no two brain injuries are exactly alike. According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), brain damage can change many aspects of an individual, including the way the person feels, thinks, behaves, and controls the body.

When a brain injury disrupts the functions of the neurons and nerve tracts, messages to the brain may not be properly transmitted, affecting:
• Thought
• Emotions
• Movement of the body
• Body temperature regulation
• Blood pressure
• Bowel and bladder control


According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be evident immediately after an injury, while others may take days or even weeks to appear. The symptoms can be physical or mental.

Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can be life threatening. Get emergency medical treatment immediately after an injury if TBI is suspected. A Medical professional can generally tell from the symptoms when severe brain injury has occurred. However, with milder trauma, they may need to conduct further evaluation and testing to diagnose a brain injury. Doctors use imaging technology to obtain more information about brain injuries and to determine severity, location, and type of injury.

In some cases, a neuropsychological assessment may be done by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist to determine which areas of the brain and abilities of the patient have been adversely affected by the injury. This assessment can be useful in developing a long-term treatment plan and provide information to the victim and family members about what to expect in the future.

Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner: Offering Legal Help for Brain Injury Victims

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can alter all aspects of a brain injury survivor’s life, including relationships with family and ability to hold a job. It may change the lives of victims and their families. If you have suffered a TBI, ongoing medical care and physical therapy may be an integral part of your recovery and your future health.

At Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, our compassionate Honolulu traumatic brain injury lawyers help victims recover both financially and emotionally from the life-changing effects of TBI.

+ Types of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can affect one area of the brain, multiple areas of the brain or the brain as a whole, depending on which parts of the brain sustained the most damage. No two accidents or injuries are exactly the same, and the type and extent of damage from a brain injury can vary dramatically. The two primary types of brain injuries are traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries.


When external force is applied to the skull by either a violent jolt or blow to the head, it can result in traumatic injury to the brain. As reported by the CDC, there were more than two and a half million Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) in the United States in a recent year. While many of the TBIs occurred as a result of a direct injury to the head, sustaining a TBI in conjunction with another type of injury is not uncommon. If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, it will fall into one of the following categories.


Any injury to the head or brain is traumatic and can be capable of causing substantial damage. Individuals who have sustained concussions often require only observation and may require little treatment and not need extensive rehabilitation or surgery. There are cases that may necessitate additional or long-term treatment programs, depending on the extent of the injury and damage.

A concussion is the most common type of TBI and can be caused by a whiplash type injury from:
• An auto accident
• A blow to the head
• A gunshot wound
• Violent shaking of the head
• An open or closed head injury

Not all people with TBI will experience a loss of consciousness. Some may simply feel dazed and confused. Concussions do not always show on a CAT scan or other type of diagnostic imaging test. This type of injury can result in intracranial swelling, blood on the brain or blood clots. Most concussions cause only temporary damage and recovery can be achieved in as little as a few months.


A contusion is a rupturing of blood vessels resulting in bleeding on the brain. Contusions are primarily caused by a direct impact to the head. In severe cases, a cerebral contusion may have to be surgically removed to prevent further damage from being caused.

Coup – Contrecoup

Coup-contrecoup is a term used to describe a traumatic brain injury resulting in a cerebral contusion both at the point of impact and on the opposite side of the brain. This type of TBI occurs when the impact of the blow is forceful enough to cause the brain to bounce back and forth inside the skull.

Diffuse Axonal

A diffuse axonal injury is one of the more common types of traumatic brain injuries. It is also one of the most severe. If left untreated, a diffuse axonal closed head injury may result in death. One of the most common signs of a diffuse axonal injury is unconsciousness. The term “diffuse” describes the widespread damage that occurs from an axonal injury. In a diffuse axonal injury there will be excessive tearing of the nerve tissue in the brain. There also will be a temporary or permanent disruption of nerve cells, thus inhibiting the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body.

This type of injury can be seen in:
• Auto accidents
• Falls
• Domestic violence
• Shaken Baby Syndrome
• Sports accidents


This type of TBI is self-explanatory in that it results from the penetrating impact of a knife, bullet or other sharp object. In this type of injury, the force of the impact can cause hair, skin, bone fragments and various contaminates to be lodged in the brain. When bullets or other objects bounce around within the skull, the damage to the brain can be extensive. These types of TBI often result in permanent damage or death.

Acquired Brain Injuries: Anoxia & Hypoxia

Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) differ from traumatic brain injuries in that these types of injuries are typically caused by injuries caused after birth, such as those stemming from a degenerative disease, substance abuse, strokes, tumors, oxygen deprivation, toxins, near drowning or infection. An ABI is not necessarily caused by a blow to the head.

Anoxia is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is completely deprived of oxygen for a period of time. This type of brain injury can be caused by a lack of oxygen, blood containing insufficient oxygen or toxins interfering with the body’s ability to effectively use the oxygen found in the blood.

Hypoxic brain injuries are also caused by oxygen deprivation. In this type of acquired brain injury, oxygen is getting to the brain, but it is not enough to allow the brain to function in its usual capacity. Hypoxic brain injuries often occur when there is a dramatic drop in blood pressure or the flow of blood to the brain has been hindered. What are the symptoms associated with each of the different levels of brain injury?

There are three levels of brain injury:
• Mild traumatic brain injury
• Moderate traumatic brain injury
• Severe brain injury

The severity of an individual’s brain injury can be measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which is the standard scoring system used to determine the neurologic state of a recent head trauma victim.
• A GCS score between 13-15 indicates a mild traumatic brain injury
• A GCS score between 9-12 indicates a moderate traumatic brain injury
• A GCS score below 9 usually indicates a severe brain injury

Possible Symptoms of Mild, Moderate, & Severe TBI

Individuals who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries will often experience a brief loss of consciousness, or at the very least feel somewhat dazed and confused. Tests and scans will usually appear normal. This may make diagnosis impossible until or unless the individual exhibits signs of altered brain functionality, as can be seen with concussions.

When an individual receives a violent blow to the head, or a vicious shaking, it may result in a moderate TBI. In these instances, unconsciousness could last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. Disorientation and confusion can be prolonged for weeks. Depending on the severity of impact, the victim of a moderate TBI may experience some level of physical, cognitive or behavioral deterioration on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Severe brain injuries are the most life-altering type of brain injuries commonly resulting in permanent, irreversible damage to the brain. This type of injury can lead to neurological defects, degenerative brain disorders and other long-term problems.

Symptoms may include:
• A long period of unconsciousness
• Comas
• Confusion
• Loss of memory

Deficits or difficulties involving cognitive, speech, sensory, perceptual, physical, social, emotional, and other functions are extremely common. Most individuals who sustain severe brain injuries will never fully recover.

What Are the Signs of Secondary Brain Damage?

Following a traumatic head injury, it is important that victims watch out for signs of secondary brain damage.

Some of the most common signs of secondary brain damage are:
• Swelling on the brain (edema)
• Intracranial pressure
• Seizures
• Inexplicable fever
• Changes in blood pressure
• Anemia
• Hematoma
• Cardiac issues
• Lung difficulties

Physical & Cognitive Problems Experienced by Injured Victims

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to a number of serious and life-altering problems. If you have sustained a TBI, these are some of the physical, cognitive and communication problems you can expect to endure:

Physical problems can include:
• Loss of hearing
• Headaches
• Seizures
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Blurred vision
• Decreased sense of smell or taste

An individual’s strength, coordination and ability to concentrate can also be affected. Cognitive problems will often appear as an inability to concentrate (particularly when there are external distractions), difficulty processing new information, short-term memory loss, impulsive reactions or trouble carrying through tasks to completion.

Communications problems that may develop include an inability to stay on a particular topic of conversation, difficulty discerning sarcasm, trouble responding to non-verbal communications (facial expressions or body language) and problems keeping up in a conversation. Emotional outbursts are more common after a TBI as well.

Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries

Receiving proper treatment after a TBI is essential to an individual’s recovery. Once emergency medical care has been completed, many doctors will employ a combination of treatment methods including medication, rehabilitation and in some cases, surgery.

Diuretics may be prescribed to help reduce pressure inside the brain. Anti-seizure drugs can significantly reduce an individual’s chances of having a life-threatening seizure, particularly within the first few weeks following your injury. In cases where the TBI was sufficiently severe to require the patient be put into a coma, coma-inducing drugs may be administered. Surgery can be beneficial in the removal of hematomas or cerebral contusions that have been putting pressure on the brain. Surgery can also be used to repair skull fractures or open a portion of the skull to release pressure and drain excess fluid.

Rehabilitation is the lengthiest portion of a TBI patient’s recovery program. The level of severity will determine what types of rehabilitation specialists a patient may be required to see, as well as how long treatment will need to be continued.

Rehabilitation specialists can include:
• Psychiatrists
• TBI nurse specialists
• Physical therapists
• Rehabilitation nurses
• Occupational therapists
• Neuropsychologists
• Speech and language pathologists
• Social workers

Following through with a doctor’s recommended treatment plan will help dramatically reduce of the risk of secondary or further damage being caused to the brain.

Honolulu Personal Injury Lawyers: Offering Trusted Legal Representation

Surviving a traumatic brain injury, or taking care of an individual who has sustained a traumatic brain injury, can be very difficult. Rest assured you are not alone. There are countless resources and support programs that you can access to help you along the way. Our firm is also here to provide you with trusted legal representation, particularly in cases where a TBI has been caused as a result of another person’s negligence or neglect. Leavitt Yamane & Soldner is Hawaii’s trusted injury law firm.

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Helping You Get Your Life Back on Track

Since 1981, each Honolulu personal injury lawyer at Leavitt Yamane & Soldner has stood up for the legal rights of injured people throughout Hawaii. We are aggressive when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. We won’t accept unreasonable delays or denial of a valid personal injury claim. We are also passionate about helping victims and their families to get their lives back on track. We truly care about our clients and want to do whatever we can to secure their future.

It’s important to get in touch with us as soon as possible after your accident or injury. It takes immediate action to preserve evidence, document medical treatment and interview witnesses. It’s also crucial to begin reviewing all available insurance coverage in your case. We provide free and confidential case reviews, with no strings attached. If we take on your case, you won’t pay a cent for our legal services unless we win or settle your case.
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