Traumatic brain injuries, sometimes called TBIs, may affect accident victims for the rest of their lives. Accident victims with TBIs may experience ongoing migraines, pain, and other physical symptoms. The most seriously injured accident victims may never again care for themselves and must rely on others for around-the-clock care.
You have legal options if you or someone you love suffered a TBI in an accident someone else caused. A TBI attorney in your area can discuss your accident and injury with you, as well as your medical prognosis.
Your lawyer can also develop a plan of action to move your case forward and recover the monetary compensation you deserve. For example, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit and litigate your case through the court system.
Your attorney will guide you to make informed decisions throughout your case, including whether or not to accept a particular settlement offer from the insurance company or litigate your case through the court system to an efficient resolution.
Types of TBIs That Accident Victims May Suffer
TBIs can vary significantly in their size and scope. While some TBI sufferers experience ongoing head pain, others may wind up completely debilitated and needing medical care for the rest of their lives.
The severity of a TBI depends on many different circumstances, including the type of accident that occurs, the force involved in the accident, and the amount of force applied to the victim’s head in the accident.
TBI accident victims often suffer headaches. Some accident victims suffer migraines and remain in pain for months or years. Often, when an accident victim suffers from continuing migraines, they must seek regular treatment from a neurologist or other medical professional.
In addition to headaches and migraines, concussions are another common type of TBI that accident victims may suffer. A concussion damages an accident victim’s brain when their brain strikes the side of their skull in an accident. Sometimes, this force causes bruising or bleeding in the brain. The brain’s movement may also disrupt the neurons and axons that relay messages between the brain and other body parts.
Concussions can also lead to both short-term and long-term symptoms. Some common short-term symptoms of concussions include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and short-term memory loss. However, more serious concussions may lead to long-term or permanent memory losses, as well as post-concussive migraine syndrome, which results in ongoing headaches and prolonged pain.
Another common head injury is a puncture wound to the outside of the accident victim’s head. This type of injury can happen when a blunt object strikes the head and penetrates the skin – and sometimes the skull.
Finally, some accident victims who suffer head injuries may end up in a coma. When an individual is comatose, they are normally unresponsive to various external stimuli. In the worst-case scenario, an accident victim might fall into a permanent vegetative state, relying on life support.
If you or a person you love suffered one or more of these head injuries in a recent accident, you can take legal action against the at-fault party or their insurance company. An experienced TBI attorney can explore your legal options and handle the insurance claim and litigation processes.
Accidents that May Involve a TBI
Many types of accidents can lead to a serious TBI that leaves an accident victim incapacitated for a significant time. In most situations, these accidents occur because another individual or entity is negligent in some way.
Some of the most common types of occurrences that can lead to a TBI include:
- Passenger vehicle accidents, especially where a driver or passenger strikes their head on the steering wheel, headrest, or window in their vehicle – or suffers a soft tissue whiplash injury that affects their head
- Sports injuries, where a ball or other object forcefully strikes the accident victim’s head, or the accident victim’s head strikes the ground – especially after someone strikes or tackles them
- Slip and fall accidents, such as at a restaurant or a grocery store, where the accident victim strikes their head on a hard ground surface
- Motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents, where the accident victim is directly exposed to their surrounding environment and strikes their head on the ground
- Swimming pool accidents, where an accident victim strikes their head on the bottom of the pool or a concrete pool deck
- Boating accidents, where an individual slips and falls on the deck of a boat or ship, hitting their head on the ground
- Building and construction site accidents, where an individual suffers a head injury while working near dangerous equipment and machinery – or falls from a tall ladder or scaffolding and hits their head forcefully on the ground
If you sustained a head injury in one of these accidents, seek a TBI attorney to represent you in your case as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate the strengths of your claim and file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Your lawyer can negotiate a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company that fully and fairly compensates you for your head injury.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim that Involves a TBI
To recover monetary compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit that involves a TBI, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof in the case. In other words, the at-fault party who caused the subject accident does not need to satisfy any legal burden of proof or prove anything at all in the case. Rather, the sole legal burden rests with the injured accident victim.
First, the accident victim must establish that the other party owed them a legal duty of care. For example, if a car accident causes a head injury, other drivers automatically have a legal duty to drive carefully and safely. They must abide by all traffic laws and regulations.
Similarly, if a slip and fall accident leads to a head injury, most premises owners have a duty to warn about or repair known dangerous conditions on their premises within a reasonable amount of time.
Next, the accident victim must establish that the at-fault party somehow breached their legal duty of care. For using a car accident scenario, another driver must ordinarily have violated one or more traffic laws while driving.
Using the slip and fall accident example, on the other hand, the premises owner must ordinarily have failed to clean up a spill or warn about/correct some other hazardous condition on their premises within a reasonable timeframe.
In addition, the accident victim must demonstrate that as a direct result of the other party’s breach, both their accident and head injury occurred.
In some cases, insurance companies will dispute liability for an accident. In other words, they may contend that the insured individual or entity whom they represent was not negligent under the circumstances and did not do anything wrong.
In those situations, your lawyer can retain a qualified accident reconstructionist who can piece together exactly how the accident occurred and who caused it. For example, the accident reconstructionist can review incident or police reports, visit the scene, or speak with witnesses to conclude why and how the accident likely occurred.
Additionally, your attorney can retain a medical expert who can causally connect your injuries to the subject accident. These are usually treating healthcare providers who can relate a particular head injury or injuries to certain accident-related circumstances. A medical provider can also establish that you suffered one or more permanent head injuries in your accident.
Filing a Successful Personal Injury Claim for Your TBI
A TBI attorney can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, seeking the monetary recovery you deserve. As part of your claim, your attorney can gather the necessary supporting documents, including copies of incident reports, police investigation reports, medical records, permanency evaluations, medical bills, imaging studies of your head injury, and photographs of the incident scene.
Your lawyer can then send these documents to the insurance company for review and evaluation on your behalf. Then, your lawyer may assist you during all insurance company settlement negotiations.
Even in serious head and brain injury cases, insurance companies are unlikely to offer accident victims the full monetary compensation they deserve right away. It may take several rounds of settlement negotiations before the insurance company adjuster increases their offer significantly.
Insurance companies have very little incentive to favorably settle an accident victim’s case since the company can potentially stand to lose a lot of money from paying out a large financial settlement, binding arbitration award, or jury verdict.
However, the right TBI attorney can advocate for your legal interests. Your lawyer can point to pertinent medical records, introduce favorable medical testimony on your behalf, and argue for your right to recover fair monetary compensation for your TBI. If the insurance company adjuster still refuses to offer you the financial recovery you deserve, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation in the court system and, if necessary, file a timely lawsuit on your behalf.
Recovering Compensation for a TBI
As part of a TBI claim or a lawsuit, accident victims can recover various types and amounts of monetary damages. The total damage award that an accident victim receives for their TBI will depend on the severity of their injury, the injury they suffered, the medical treatment that they underwent, the medical treatment that they may need to undergo in the future, and the cost of that treatment.
First, TBI victims can pursue monetary recovery for their related past and future medical expenses. Moreover, if they had to miss time from work to seek medical treatment or recover from their TBI, they may recover lost income compensation.
They can also recover compensation for loss of earning capacity if they suffer a permanent impairment that prohibits them from working at the same job or occupation in the future.
In addition to recovering compensation for their tangible losses, TBI victims may recover various damages for their non-tangible injuries.
These damages may compensate accident victims for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use certain body parts due to their TBI
- Lifetime care costs
- Permanent cognitive disabilities and impairments
Your attorney can determine the value of your TBI case and aim to maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries.
An insurance adjuster will tell you what they believe your claim is worth, but you should never trust them. Their goal is to convince you to accept as little as possible, so they will not offer an accurate estimate. This is particularly true with brain injuries, as the effects of the injury are highly subjective and vary widely. Insurance companies regularly grossly underestimate what brain injury victims deserve.
Rely on an injury lawyer to review your past and future losses and conduct accurate calculations. They will never underestimate the intangible effects of your TBI on your life.
Call an Experienced TBI Attorney in Your Area Today
If you recently suffered a TBI in a preventable accident, always obtain the legal representation you need as quickly as possible. Accident victims in many states only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for monetary compensation.
If they file their lawsuit after the statute of limitations has already expired in their case, they effectively waive their right to recover the monetary damages they deserve. Therefore, you must act right away to secure legal representation in your case.
A skilled personal injury attorney will maximize the monetary compensation you recover by aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives on your behalf and forcefully litigating your case through the court system.