When an accident victim strikes their head, they may suffer serious and debilitating traumatic head and brain injuries. While some TBIs are more serious than others, most TBIs lead to painful symptoms and medical treatment.
In addition to seeking prompt medical care at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility, a TBI victim may need to consult with a neurologist or other medical expert, miss time from work, and endure ongoing pain and suffering.
Fortunately, accident victims who sustained TBIs due to someone else’s negligence may be eligible to recover various monetary damages. A knowledgeable TBI lawyer in your area can review the circumstances of your accident with you, discuss your injury and medical treatment, and determine if you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages.
If you are eligible, your traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you file your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, negotiate with the adjuster handling your claim, and, if necessary, litigate your case in the court system.
Your lawyer will do everything they can to help you maximize the monetary compensation you recover for your injury and its consequences.
What Is a TBI?
A TBI can occur when an object strikes or penetrates an accident victim’s head or when a person’s head becomes subjected to a significant amount of force. For example, in a slip-and-fall accident, an accident victim may strike their head or neck on the ground, causing them to suffer a severe TBI. Alternatively, in a motor vehicle accident, the force of the collision might cause an accident victim to strike their head on the door frame, window, steering wheel, headrest, or dashboard, causing them serious injuries.
Some of the most common TBIs involve skull fractures, concussions, and even coma. When an accident victim strikes their head on something, they may experience a headache that lasts for a few days. However, a more forceful collision may cause an accident victim to experience a concussion, which has many additional effects.
Essentially, a concussion is a brain bruise where the accident victim’s brain strikes the side of their skull. This movement may disrupt the “internal wiring system” of the brain, preventing the brain from communicating with other body parts.
When an individual suffers a concussion injury, they may experience both short and long-term symptoms. Possible short-term symptoms of a concussion include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and short-term memory loss. They may also lose their ability to concentrate for a relatively brief time. Some of these so-called short-term effects can persist for months or even years in some cases.
Long-term symptoms of a concussion might include ongoing migraines that occur several times per month, frequent pain at the back of the accident victim’s head, long-term or permanent memory loss, and a lasting loss of cognitive functioning.
An individual who suffers a severe concussion or another traumatic head injury in an accident may need to reside at a nursing home or long-term care facility for ongoing medical care. These individuals may rely upon caregivers to satisfy all of their daily needs.
Finally, some brain injury victims may fall into a temporary or permanent coma or end up in a permanent vegetative state. In that instance, the accident victim must rely upon a ventilator to stay alive.
If you or someone you care about suffered a TBI in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you have legal rights and options available. A knowledgeable and compassionate TBI lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of the accident and your injuries and develop a plan for moving your case forward successfully.
Accidents That Can Lead to TBIs
Several types of negligence-related accidents can lead to a serious TBI. An individual or entity is negligent when they act unreasonably under the circumstances. In other words, they might do something that a hypothetical reasonable person should not do under the same circumstances. Alternatively, they might refrain from doing something a reasonable person should have done in the same situation.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to TBIs include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, when a driver operates their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, violates one or more traffic regulations, drives distracted, or drives aggressively, causing injuries to other drivers, passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
- Slip-and-fall accidents, when a property owner fails to warn about or repair a dangerous condition on their property within a reasonable amount of time, and an accident victim hits their head on the ground.
Traffic accidents are a leading cause of TBIs, and anyone in a collision can suffer head trauma. This is especially true for victims who are not occupants of cars or trucks. For example, a pedestrian has zero protection when a car hits them, and they can often hit their heads on the vehicles, pavement, or a nearby object.
Even though many motorcyclists and bicyclists choose to wear helmets for head safety, these helmets are not infallible. Helmets can crack and fail, or the trauma can be violent enough that a helmet does not provide sufficient protection. Many cyclists suffer head injuries with or without a helmet, and this is a common traumatic injury when someone is riding near traffic.
If you or someone you care about suffered a TBI in one of these occurrences that resulted from negligence, you should consult with a knowledgeable TBI lawyer right away. Your lawyer can discuss the circumstances of the occurrence with you and determine your eligibility for filing a prompt personal injury claim or a lawsuit. If you are eligible, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claims-filing process and work to recover the total monetary damages that you need to become whole again.
Proving a TBI Claim or Lawsuit
In every TBI claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Specifically, they must establish that another person deviated from the standard of care and caused their accident. To prove this element, it may become necessary to retain an accident reconstructionist or another expert who can visit the scene of the occurrence, speak with witnesses, review investigation reports, and piece together exactly how the incident happened and who caused it.
An injured accident victim will also need to demonstrate that they suffered a TBI due to their accident. In establishing this medical causation, an accident victim’s lawyer will likely need to retain an expert medical provider who can testify at a deposition or in court. The medical provider, such as a neurologist, can establish that the accident victim suffered the TBI in their accident rather than in a previous accident or due to a pre-existing medical condition. Furthermore, the expert may establish that the TBI is permanent in nature or that it is unlikely to improve over time.
A knowledgeable TBI lawyer can help you prove the legal aspects of your case and recover the full monetary damages that you deserve to recover from your injury.
Negotiating With Insurance Company Adjusters
In most cases following a TBI, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters in TBI cases is often an uphill battle. This is because insurance companies will do everything they can to deny liability – or at least offer as little monetary compensation as possible to settle the TBI case.
Insurance companies frequently take this attitude because they are big businesses. In fact, they make money only when they collect premium payments from their insurants. However, they lose a significant amount of money when they have to pay out large personal injury settlements, jury verdicts, and binding arbitration awards.
In an attempt to offer you as little money as possible to settle your case, the insurance company may subpoena your past medical treatment records, especially if you have a history of migraines or previously received treatment from a neurologist. The insurance company will then try to relate your current TBI injury symptoms to pre-existing accidents, injuries, or medical conditions.
When the insurance company raises this argument during settlement negotiations, your lawyer can aggressively fight for your legal rights. For example, your lawyer may demonstrate any prior issues you had resolved long before the current accident. Moreover, your current symptoms and pain may be far worse than anything you experienced previously.
Your lawyer can assist you during all settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the insurance company does not increase its offer appropriately, your lawyer can threaten them with litigation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court on your behalf. Even after filing a lawsuit, your case can still settle at any point along the way. Otherwise, your lawyer will assist you throughout the litigation process.
Deadline to File a TBI Lawsuit
When a person suffers a TBI, time is of the essence. This is because head and brain injury victims, like other accident victims, have a limited timeframe in which to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking damages. Specifically, TBI victims have only two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit in the court system. If the accident victim files their lawsuit belatedly, they will not be eligible to recover any damages for their TBI. Therefore, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable TBI lawyer to represent you as soon as possible in your case.
If the two-year statute of limitations is almost up, your lawyer can promptly file a lawsuit in court and begin litigating your case. Even during litigation, your lawyer can receive a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company adjuster and help you bring your case to a conclusion. Otherwise, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings, including your jury trial, and aggressively fight for your right to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Recoverable Damages in TBI Claims and Lawsuits
TBI victims who can prove the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit may be eligible to recover various damages.
Potential monetary damages the TBI victims may recover in their case include compensation for:
- Lost earnings, when accident victims must attend medical appointments and miss work time
- Loss of earning capacity, when a cognitive impairment prevents an accident victim from working or when they have to switch to a different job and take a pay cut due to their impairment
- Mental distress and emotional anguish resulting from their TBI and related medical treatment
- Lifetime care costs, when a TBI victim must reside in a nursing home or assisted living facility for ongoing monitoring and care
- Permanent cognitive disabilities, when TBI victims suffer irreversible complications, such as permanent memory losses
- Loss of the ability to use a body part, when a TBI leads to full or partial paralysis that prevents them from using one or more body parts
- Loss of life enjoyment, including the inability to socialize with friends and family members, due to cognitive impairments
A knowledgeable TBI lawyer can determine which of these damages you may be eligible to recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Call an Experienced TBI Lawyer Today
If you suffered a TBI because someone else acted recklessly or carelessly, you should immediately consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can assist you during all settlement negotiations with the insurance company and aggressively fight for your right to favorable settlement compensation.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair damages you deserve for your TBI, your lawyer can file a lawsuit, litigate your case in court, and, if necessary, take it to trial. Moreover, your lawyer may consider alternative dispute resolution options, like mediation or binding arbitration, to resolve your case favorably.
Your lawyer will do everything in their power to help you maximize the monetary damages you recover for your TBI, either through settlement or litigation in court.