A traumatic brain injury is a serious medical condition that occurs after surviving an impact to the head. Regardless of how mild or severe your accident is, you might end up with lasting effects that impact your daily life. Whether you fell down a flight of stairs or were a victim of a violent crime, someone must pay for your damages.
When you hold a negligent party responsible for your injury, you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation. Securing this compensation requires help from experienced lawyers who can navigate the laws related to head and brain injuries.
Brain injuries are more complex than other types of personal injuries, requiring help from specialists in the field to get you the maximum amount you deserve. Here is a look into the complex nature of traumatic brain injuries to help you understand what your rights are.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury or TBI is a major cause of disability and death in the U.S. About 166 TBI-related deaths occurred every day in 2019. Anyone is at risk of getting this type of head injury, which affects how the brain works.
You might get a TBI after suffering impacts to the head, including blows, bumps, and gunshots. TBIs may lead to further health problems, lasting between a few days and the remainder of one’s life.
Short-term symptoms associated with mild TBIs include:
- Physical Symptoms: Dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, loss of balance, nausea, speech problems, and vomiting are signs of a brain injury.
- Sensory Symptoms: People who sustained mild TBIs may develop sensitivity to light or sound. They may also incur sensory problems, including bad tastes in the mouth, blurred vision, changes in smelling abilities, and ringing in the ears.
- Cognitive Symptoms: Behavioral and mental problems also develop from TBIs. Patients might have difficulty sleeping or find themselves sleeping more than usual. TBIs can also result in short losses of consciousness, feeling dazed, confused, or disoriented, experiencing memory loss and concentration issues, mood swings, and overall depression and anxiety.
Moderate and Severe TBI
Brain injury survivors may experience long-term symptoms that include the signs of mild TBI injuries, with further symptoms developing within hours or days after suffering impact to the head.
These are the most common symptoms associated with a moderate or severe TBI:
- Physical Symptoms: These signs include loss of coordination, numbness in fingers and toes, failure to wake from sleep, clear fluid coming out the nose or ears, dilated pupils, convulsions, seizures, constant vomiting and nausea, persistent headaches, and extended loss of consciousness that can last for multiple hours.
- Cognitive or Mental Symptoms: Feeling agitated and combative are usual signs of moderate or severe TBI. Profound confusion, slurred speech, and comas are also long-term symptoms associated with head injuries.
TBI in Children
Young children that suffer head injuries might struggle to communicate their symptoms. Watch out for the following signs among infants and other young children that may have brain damage:
- Change in sleep habits
- Depressed behavior
- Disinterest in activities and toys they usually like
- Easy irritability
- Impaired attention span
- Inconsolable crying
- Unusual eating or nursing habits
What Is Needed for a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
You can file a brain injury lawsuit if you want to hold another person responsible for the impact to your head. Your case must have sufficient evidence to claim another party’s negligence in your injury. Along with hiring an attorney to represent your best interests, you must collect proof of negligence that caused your head trauma, including:
A Duty of Care
Begin your TBI claim by establishing a duty of care. Put simply, a duty of care is a person’s legal obligation to protect others from harm. For instance, suppose you suffered a brain injury because a car crashed into your motorcycle. The car’s driver has a legal duty to operate the vehicle safely. Proving a duty of care in such a case is usually easy.
However, some cases can be challenging to prove a person’s duty of care. Defendants can dispute their duty to protect you against harm, especially when your injury occurred on another person’s property. Duties to protect visitors vary depending on multiple factors, giving defendants the legal right to deny responsibility for your injury.
Breaching the Established Duty
Once you have proven another person’s duty of care in your case, you must verify that they breached the established duty they owe. Most TBI claims center around whether or not the defendant breached the duty of care. Answering this question will depend on the facts of your case.
Breaches usually involve acts that are either careless, intentional, or reckless. Whoever committed actions of such nature that resulted in your injury could have breached the duty of care. Most cases that involve breaches to established duties include:
- Trips and Falls: Property owners might have failed to secure handrails or have faulty stairs that cause people to fall and suffer head injuries. Older adults often experience accidents of this nature.
- Vehicular Collisions: Reckless drivers and people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs might cause accidents that result in brain injuries.
- Violence: Traumatic brain injuries can result from violent assaults, including domestic violence and gunshot wounds. Some cases involve child abuse where a person violently shakes an infant, causing a TBI known as “shaken baby syndrome.”
- Medical Errors: Doctors performing surgery on your head might be doing so in a manner that goes against the medical community’s standards. This unacceptable behavior is a breach of their duty as medical professionals.
- Sports Injuries: High impact and extreme sports, such as baseball, boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, and skateboarding, may cause head injuries that result in TBIs.
This element of a brain injury lawsuit involves the monetary compensation that the negligent party owes you for causing the damages. Expenses attached to the damages of your TBI are also tied to a defendant’s breach of their duties.
You must establish a link between the damaging actions and your brain injury. Otherwise, you cannot claim monetary compensation from the responsible party. Injuries that occurred before the defendant breached the established duty have nothing to do with your TBI claim.
In other words, causation is about tying the defendant’s negligence to your brain injury and related damages. Establishing this responsibility unlocks the monetary compensation the defendant owes you.
Finally, you must prove the damages you suffered as a result of your TBI. Establishing that negligent parties are responsible for TBI damages is usually easy, depending on the severity of the injury.
It can be easier to establish responsibility for minimal damages than major damages. Defendants who cause minor TBI damages usually admit liability. Meanwhile, major damages could prompt a defendant to contest your claim and lessen their responsibility for the damages.
In any case, your TBI claim must come with a plaintiff (you or someone who can file a claim on your behalf) proving the damages involved. Plaintiffs can pursue claims for economic and non-economic damages. Such damages include medical costs, disability expenses, continued treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Filing a Brain Injury Lawsuit — How a Lawyer Can Help
Once you gather evidence to file a brain injury lawsuit, insurance companies will pull out all the stops to discredit your injury. Insurers make these attempts because their primary goal is to provide as little compensation as possible.
Brain injury lawyers can help you navigate this reality. Legal professionals can fight for your right to receive the monetary compensation you deserve. Attorneys specializing in TBI cases can fight insurance companies by gathering all the evidence proving a person’s negligence that resulted in the brain damage you have suffered.
Whether you suffered a mild, moderate, or severe TBI, reliable brain injury attorneys can substantiate your injury’s severity. They have years of experience dealing with insurance companies. This experience has prepared them to negotiate fair amounts of compensation that work for everyone involved.
Without an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, you risk settling with an amount that fails to cover all the damages you incurred. Malicious insurance companies may even take advantage of your situation as a brain injury survivor and attempt to convince you to accept the compensation they presented.
Consider the following tactics that some insurers might try to use against you.
Insurers May Claim You Do Not Have a TBI
A common claim that insurance adjusters attempt to make is that your medical tests do not consider your case a TBI. While the diagnostic testing you underwent might not have conclusively established a TBI, there are strategies to prove a TBI.
The brain injury lawyers on your side can counter insurance adjuster claims by collaborating with neurologists. Despite the advancements in medical testing in the past decades, most MRIs cannot identify microscopic brain lesions. Negative MRIs that still show cognitive or functional impairment are common in neurological tests.
Still, signs indicating damage to the neurons are important to establish a TBI. With brain injury attorneys gathering evidence of your head injury, neurologists can use this information and relevant medical records to diagnose a TBI. This teamwork can help establish your TBI even with inconclusive diagnostic testing that insurers may try to hold against you.
Insurers May Claim Your TBI Is Minor
When you determine that your TBI is moderate or severe, a defendant’s insurance lawyers and claims adjusters might allege that your injury is minor. By minimizing the extent of your brain damage, they would pay less than what they might truly owe you in damage compensation.
Many insurance adjusters might get away with this tactic because moderate and severe TBI symptoms include the signs you would find in mild cases. However, experienced brain injury lawyers understand this tactic and prove how your seemingly mild TBI may persist after a year.
Persistent headaches and dizziness may leave brain injury survivors suffering chronic disabilities. Such cases even happen to people who experienced minor accidents. Unless neurologists determine that these low-impact accidents caused a TBI, insurers can minimize your claim.
Consider getting legal assistance when filing a brain injury lawsuit. Reliable brain injury lawyers work with firms connected to medical experts who can prove your claims. As a brain injury survivor, you may already be struggling. You should not have to get cheated out of the money you deserve for someone else’s negligence.
What Should I Do in the Days Following a Possible Brain Injury?
Your top priority is to heal. Seek immediate medical attention after you suffer an impact to the head. Recovering can be slow, and you might experience uncomfortable signs of a TBI in the days following your injury.
When you notice symptoms of a TBI, consider the following strategies to improve your condition:
- Get Medical Advice: When you seek medical attention from your primary healthcare provider, be sure to get written instructions about your condition. These instructions will serve as professional advice to know when you can return to your regular activities safely. Having a written copy will also be helpful as evidence in your brain injury claim.
- Take Time Off: Consider taking a break from school or work. Most survivors take two or three days to get settled. Time off from your regular schedule can help you monitor your symptoms and take immediate action should they develop into something more serious.
- Get Rest: Try to take things easy and avoid performing any intense or strenuous regular activities. Give your body a chance to recover from the mild head injury or concussion you survived. Such accidents could develop into severe conditions if you push yourself too hard.
You can gradually get back to your non-strenuous activities once you begin feeling better. Avoid stressful activities that would trigger your symptoms or worsen them. For instance, if you experience mild headaches after an injury, try to avoid overstimulating your senses with too much television or social media. Consider limiting your media consumption while recovering.
When your symptoms are nearly gone, you can try extending your activities and see if you get any worse. Regular activities that do not trigger your symptoms can mean that they are alright and safe for you to do. Report to your doctor immediately should your symptoms persist longer than expected. They could refer you to a specialist to assess your condition and determine underlying issues.
Also, consider contacting a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your head injury might be more serious than you believe. With legal professionals specializing in TBI cases, you have better chances of getting compensation for the damages you survived than when you go about your recovery alone.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire a TBI Lawyer?
Expect to pay a TBI lawyer between 33% and 40% of your overall compensation from your case. However, consulting with a brain injury attorney is free. So, you have nothing to lose when discussing your case with someone who can get the compensation you deserve.
TBI lawyers charge clients on a contingency fee basis, much like any other personal injury case. This arrangement means that you will only pay your legal representatives once they recover damages. So, TBI lawyers will only collect a fee if you get any monetary compensation from your brain injury lawsuit.
Sample Contingency Arrangement Case
For instance, suppose your TBI lawyer’s contingency arrangement is 33% or 1/3 of the total compensation they obtain. Your total monetary compensation in a brain injury case is $10,000. First, they will deduct the costs that went into processing your case to get your settlement.
Suppose the processing fees totaled $1,000. You are left with $9,000 from your compensation. Your lawyer will take 1/3 of that amount or $3,000. In the end, you have $6,000 to cover damages in your brain injury case.
Is It Worth Hiring a TBI Lawyer?
Considering that you have suffered enough from surviving a head injury, holding people responsible for your damages is fair. Hiring an experienced professional to navigate your case to get the compensation you deserve is always worth the effort. You have better chances of getting fair compensation when you have someone with your best interests at heart.
Whether you are getting legal assistance for yourself or a loved one who suffered a TBI, consider getting someone who can fight for your rights. Professional brain injury lawyers will gather evidence to secure the maximum amount you can receive while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
What Compensation Could I Receive?
You are entitled to monetary compensation for your head injury that caused brain damage. How much you can claim will depend on the details of your case, mostly the specifics surrounding the severity of your injuries. Ideally, this money will cover the costs for:
- Medical Expenses: You may be eligible for monetary coverage of hospital bills, medical bills, and medicines. The compensation you receive should cover your present expenses and any future costs. Some head injuries might require further tests and treatments before you recover completely.
- Rehabilitation: You can claim monetary compensation for the long-term treatment expenses and services that you expect to need after surviving a traumatic brain injury at the negligence of another party.
- Lost Income: Your injury may have diminished your capacity to earn money for yourself and your family. Using income statements, you can claim compensation for the money you lost, are losing, and will lose because of the brain injury you sustained.
- Property Damage: Depending on the accident that led to your brain injury, your or someone else’s property may have gotten damaged. Suppose you got into a vehicular accident where a truck crashed into your motorcycle, destroying it in the process. You can claim monetary compensation to cover the costs for your damaged motorcycle.
- Pain and Suffering: Putting a price on this factor is difficult. You must convince insurers that the head injury you sustained has significantly impacted your well-being and personal relationships to validate the money you are asking to cover the social, emotional, and mental damage the negligent party has caused.
When pursuing compensation for these reasons, consider getting legal assistance to ensure you have all the necessary evidence establishing your TBI. Without experts working on your case, insurers could minimize your claim and deny you some or all of the compensation you need and deserve.
Laws surrounding traumatic brain injuries involve getting the money you deserve to compensate for various damages. Apart from medical bills and lost income due to your inability to work, surviving a brain injury might affect your personal relationships.
Brain injuries can range from mild to moderate or severe. Most mild cases are easy to settle because many defendants admit liability immediately. Moderate and severe TBI cases may require legal assistance to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation to cover your losses.
Determining the extent of your brain injury requires that you gather evidence for a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. These details will prove that a person was negligent and must be held responsible for their actions that resulted in your TBI. However, insurers will try to discredit your claims and pay you as little as possible.
Secure the maximum monetary compensation you are entitled to receive by seeking legal advice. Consider getting a brain injury attorney from the Law Offices of John J. Perlstein. Our team of legal professionals will fight on your behalf to get the money you deserve. We can gather the necessary evidence and work with medical specialists to establish your TBI claim. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.