TBI stands for traumatic brain injury, which is a serious injury that leads to millions of emergency room visits and about 64,000 deaths per year in the U.S. These injuries typically occur when a person sustains a forceful blow to the head or an object penetrates their skull.
Individuals can prevent TBIs. They can wear a seatbelt in a car. This simple action may prevent their head from striking something in their vehicles, such as the headrest, steering wheel, or window, in a forceful crash. If riding a motorcycle or bicycle, they should always wear a sturdy, well-constructed helmet. The same is true if they participate in contact sports like football.
Even when individuals take these precautions, the force of a head impact might still cause serious injuries. When that happens, the accident victim’s first step should be to seek prompt medical treatment at a local hospital or urgent care center. In addition, the accident victim should speak with a knowledgeable brain injury lawyer in their area as soon as possible.
If you or someone you care about suffered a TBI in a negligence-related accident, your brain injury lawyer can assist you throughout every step of the legal process. First, your lawyer can investigate the accident circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. If you are, your lawyer can assist you throughout the claims-filing process and help you negotiate a fair settlement offer with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the full damages you deserve for your TBI, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in court and litigate your case to an efficient conclusion.
Even if you do everything right to prevent TBIs, others can cause accidents and injuries that change your life. Always have the right medical and legal help you need after a TBI.
Types of TBI
TBIs can range in severity of symptoms. Some people experience chronic headaches from a forceful impact. The headache might occur in the front portion of the accident victim’s head, or the pain may radiate down their neck or back. While minor headaches can last a day or two after the accident, more serious migraines may occur intermittently for weeks or even months following an accident. While headaches might not sound serious, they can plague a victim and affect their daily lives in many ways.
In addition to headaches, an accident victim might also suffer a concussion. A concussion, or brain bruise, usually happens when the accident victim’s brain strikes the side of their skull. This movement can disrupt the neurons and axons, which serve as the brain’s internal wiring network. As a result, the accident victim may black out or experience short-term memory losses. They might also suffer headaches that last for several days after the accident.
More serious TBIs can cause permanent damage to the accident victim’s brain. They may wind up in a coma, wheelchair, or permanent vegetative state. Moreover, they may suffer such serious brain damage that they cannot care for themselves for the remainder of their lives. Therefore, they may require around-the-clock care at an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Just like the injuries themselves, TBI symptoms can vary. Some common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, lack of concentration, insomnia, head pain, and short-term memory loss. Long-term symptoms typically include long-term or permanent memory losses, dementia, and coma. Each victim will experience unique symptoms that might last days, weeks, months, or years.
When an accident victim wears a helmet and takes other precautions, they might lessen the severity of a head blow—and consequently the symptoms they experience. However, they may still need to undergo treatment for their TBI.
The most important step after a head injury is to seek follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility. The medical provider on duty can order a CAT scan, MRI, or another imaging study, to determine if you suffered a TBI. If so, the medical provider can render the treatment you need. The provider can also recommend follow-up treatment with a specialist, such as a neurologist.
Failing to seek same-day medical treatment can be a serious mistake. This is because many TBI symptoms do not appear until days or weeks after the accident. Therefore, if a TBI goes untreated for a significant period, it can worsen.
Moreover, if the accident victim fails to seek prompt medical treatment, the insurance company will likely become skeptical about the TBI. Many adjusters assume that accident victims who delay their medical treatment did not suffer a serious TBI—or that they failed to make their medical treatment a top priority after their accident. Consequently, the adjuster may be unwilling to offer significant monetary compensation to settle the pending personal injury claim.
While you focus your attention on seeking treatment and recovering from your TBI, your brain injury lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your claim. First, your lawyer can gather your medical treatment records, bills, photographs, wage loss documents, and impact statements and assemble this information into a settlement demand package. Once your treatment is complete, your lawyer can send the demand package to the insurance company and begin negotiating a favorable settlement offer on your behalf.
Accidents That Can Cause TBIs
Even when accident victims take the necessary precautions, a serious enough accident can still leave them with a debilitating TBI.
Some of the most common causes of TBIs include defective products, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slips and falls:
- Defective products – Product manufacturers must safely design and construct their products. They must also perform the necessary tests before making their product available for distribution and sale. When a product explodes or malfunctions, it might strike the consumer’s head, resulting in a TBI. There is very little that a consumer can do to anticipate or prevent one of these injuries. They typically occur totally out of the blue, even when the consumer uses the product correctly. If the injured consumer can demonstrate that their TBI resulted from a product defect, they can bring a claim against the product manufacturer, distributor, or other entity in the chain of product distribution.
- Sports injuries – When school-age children engage in contact sports, such as football, they increase their chances of sustaining a TBI. This is especially true if someone tackles them on the field and they fall on the ground, landing directly on their head or neck. To help prevent TBIs, players should wear helmets and other protective gear when they are on the field. Coaches, teachers, and other adults also must be on the lookout for concussion symptoms. If they believe that a student-athlete has suffered a concussion, they must take the player out of the game and insist they obtain medical treatment. When a coach or other adult ignores TBI symptoms and medical treatment gets delayed, a student can suffer a serious injury that results in permanent complications.
- Motor vehicle accidents – Many car and truck accidents occur when drivers behave recklessly or carelessly under the circumstances. For example, a negligent driver might operate their vehicle while intoxicated or fail to watch the road. They might also violate one or more road rules, such as speeding, failing to use a turn signal, failing to yield the right-of-way, aggressively weaving in and out of highway traffic, or tailgating another vehicle. The force of a head-on collision or rear-end impact might cause an accident victim’s body to move forward and backward abruptly. As a result, their head might strike something in the vehicle, like the window, door frame, steering wheel, or headrest, resulting in a TBI.
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents – Motorcycle and bicycle accidents can also result from driver negligence. However, road defects and defective parts may also cause a severe crash. When the impact force knocks a cyclist to the ground, they can suffer a serious TBI if they strike their head. Cyclists can help prevent TBIs by wearing helmets and other protective cycling gear. However, even well-made helmets can sometimes crack in an accident, resulting in serious injuries.
- Pedestrian accidents – Just like cyclists, pedestrians have very little protection when on a sidewalk or in a parking lot or parking garage. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, they do not have an outer metal shell surrounding them in an accident. If a car or truck strikes them directly, they can fall to the ground and suffer a broken bone, traumatic head injury, or another serious injury that requires prompt medical treatment.
- Slip and fall accidents – Property owners must always maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. In addition to repairing or warning about known dangerous conditions on their property, they must regularly inspect their properties for unknown hazardous conditions. If a slippery surface or defective staircase causes a slip and fall in which the accident victim suffers a head injury, the property owner and their insurance company can be responsible.
If you suffered a TBI in one of these occurrences, you should speak with an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can explore and evaluate your legal options and help you decide upon the best course of action for your case. Your lawyer can then file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf and pursue monetary damages for your TBI.
Pursuing Monetary Recovery for a TBI
TBI victims who successfully prove the legal elements of their brain injury claim can recover various damages. To recover damages, the accident victim must first demonstrate that their accident resulted from someone else’s negligence. They must also have a medical expert on board in their case who can causally connect their TBI to the occurrence. The expert might also state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that they suffered a permanent TBI.
The damages that an accident victim may recover for their TBI will depend upon various factors, including the type of accident that occurred, the seriousness of their TBI, the medical treatment they underwent, their treatment costs, and other related factors. Generally speaking, accident victims who suffered a permanent TBI are likely to recover greater damages than if they suffered a minor headache or concussion in their accident.
As part of their claim, accident victims can pursue compensation for their related medical expenses, as well as for any lost wages they incurred. They can also recover compensation for their inconvenience, emotional distress, pain and suffering, permanent disability, lifetime care costs, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of spousal consortium and companionship.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can let you know which of these damages you may be eligible to recover in your case and can file the necessary claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
Call an Experienced and Compassionate Personal Injury Lawyer about Your TBI Today
While individuals can lessen the severity of a TBI, these injuries may still result when others are negligent. If you suffer a TBI in an accident someone else caused, you have legal options.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you recover the monetary damages you deserve for your TBI and its aftermath. Your lawyer can determine if you can file a claim, and if so, begin the claims-filing process on your behalf.
If the insurance company refuses to compensate you reasonably for your TBI and its consequences, your lawyer can file a lawsuit, litigate it to a conclusion, and pursue the damages you deserve. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.