Serious car crashes, slips and falls, and other accidents may lead to traumatic head and brain injuries. While some brain injuries cause accident victims to suffer headaches and other complications, others may leave an accident victim in a permanent coma or vegetative state when they must rely upon others for around-the-clock medical care.
If you or someone you love suffered a head or brain injury in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you should seek the legal help you need sooner rather than later. Waiting too long to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit may jeopardize your right to recover the monetary damages you deserve for your brain injury.
A knowledgeable brain injury lawyer in your area can help you take the necessary legal steps to pursue monetary damages, including filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company or filing a lawsuit and litigating your case to a favorable resolution in the civil court system. Your lawyer will be by your side each step of the way, advocating for you aggressively during settlement negotiations and in court.
Common Brain Injuries That Result From Others’ Negligence
When an accident victim strikes their head in an accident, they may suffer a severe external or internal head injury. External head injuries occur when an object strikes the outside of an accident victim’s head. If the object penetrates the skull, a brain injury may result.
Internal head injuries that affect the brain often happen when an accident victim strikes their head on something in an accident. For example, in a car accident, a victim may knock their head on the doorframe, window, headrest, or steering wheel. In a slip-and-call accident, a victim might hit their head on the ground and suffer a brain injury.
Internal head injuries often vary in size and scope and may include concussions, migraines, or comas.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when a blow to the head causes an accident victim’s brain to move around inside their skull. In the process, the brain strikes the side of the skull, causing a bruise. Moreover, the brain’s neurons and axons, which serve as the brain’s internal hardware system, may experience disruption, leading to numerous complications.
Common short-term symptoms related to a concussion may include:
- Frequent migraine headaches
- Short-term memory loss
Some concussions may result in:
- Permanent memory loss
- Cognitive difficulties
- Post-concussive migraine syndrome
Some accident victims may suffer head injuries that leave them in a permanent coma or a permanent vegetative state. In these instances, the accident victim may require long-term medical care, such as at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
If you sustained one of these head or brain injuries in a recent accident, you should immediately talk to a personal injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a claim and if so, can help you pursue the monetary compensation you deserve to recover.
Legal Elements of Proof in a Brain Injury Case
To recover monetary compensation in a personal injury case that stems from a brain injury, an accident victim must first satisfy their legal burden of proof. First, the accident victim must establish that the responsible party owed them a legal duty of care under the circumstances. For example, if they suffered their head injury in a slip-and-fall accident that occurred on someone else’s property, they must show that they were legally present on the property when the accident occurred and that the property owner owed them a duty of care.
Next, the accident victim must show that the property owner violated their legal duty of care in some way. For example, the property owner might have failed to clean up a spill within a reasonable period of time, causing the accident victim to slip, fall, and strike their head on the ground.
A head injury victim must also establish that the at-fault party’s negligence was a cause of the subject accident. Finally, the accident victim must establish through medical testimony that their head injury directly resulted from the accident.
In some situations, it can be challenging to prove the legal elements of a personal injury case. Fortunately, an accident victim or their lawyer can retain one or more experts who can provide favorable testimony in the case. For example, an accident reconstructionist can visit the scene of the accident, speak with any eyewitnesses who come forward, and piece together the likely cause of the accident.
Similarly, a medical expert, such as a treating doctor, can establish that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their accident and causally relate the injuries to the subject accident.
A personal injury lawyer in your case can help you satisfy the legal elements of your brain injury claim or lawsuit by retaining experts to testify in your case and aggressively fighting for your legal interests, both during settlement negotiations and in court.
Compensation You May Recover for Your Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic head and brain injuries can lead to various complications and mounting expenses for accident victims. An accident victim who suffers a head injury may be unable to work for a significant amount of time, resulting in a considerable loss of earnings. Moreover, an accident victim may suffer a permanent head injury that prevents them from continuing their current employment. In that situation, the accident victim can pursue compensation for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to these actual economic damages in a head injury case, an accident victim can pursue non-economic damages for their head injury. These damages compensate accident victims for their inconvenience, past and future pain, and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, permanent inability to function, permanent disabilities, and lost quality of life.
Since every head injury case is different, the types and amounts of monetary awards that accident victims may receive will differ, depending upon the circumstances.
Some factors that influence the amount of financial recovery that a head injury victim receives include:
- The type of head injury that the accident victims suffered
- Whether or not a medical provider deems the head injury permanent
- The specific circumstances surrounding the accident
- The amount of force that the accident involved
A skilled brain injury lawyer in your area can determine which of these damages you can recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will then aggressively fight for your legal rights during settlement negotiations, as well as during the litigation process, to maximize the overall monetary award you recover in your case.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Monetary Compensation
The first step to recovering monetary damages in a head injury case is for an accident victim to file a personal injury claim. When a premises accident causes a head injury, the accident victim or their lawyer can file this claim with the property owner’s insurance company.
Moreover, if the accident victim suffers a head injury in a car crash that resulted from someone else’s negligence, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer.
If the other driver did not have insurance, a lawyer can pursue an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with the accident victim’s own insurance company or file a claim with the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Program.
To recover monetary damages in a personal injury claim, an accident victim’s lawyer may send copies of the accident victim’s medical records and lost income statements to the insurance company. Other important documents include copies of incident reports, police investigations, accident scene photographs, and imaging studies that show brain damage.
Most brain injury cases do not settle right away. This is because insurance companies are often skeptical about these injuries especially when the medical documentation is unclear.
Some insurance companies will try to point to pre-existing accidents, injuries, or medical conditions to explain away a brain injury victim’s current symptoms. Therefore, a personal injury lawyer may need to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster several times before reaching a favorable deal in the case. If that does not happen promptly, a lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit.
A traumatic brain injury lawyer in your area can answer all of your legal questions and guide you through the settlement and litigation processes. Your lawyer can also advise you about whether you should accept a pending settlement offer in your head injury case or whether you should litigate your case in the court system to achieve the highest possible result.
Litigating Your Case in Court
Some brain injury cases must proceed to litigation. Litigation becomes necessary when the at-fault party’s insurance company denies fault for the subject accident or simply fails to offer the accident victim significant enough monetary compensation for their accident-related losses.
Litigating a brain injury case typically involves the following components:
- Filing a lawsuit in the court system
- Designating a medical expert (such as a neurologist)
- Answering discovery questions from the defense lawyer
- Attending a discovery deposition
- Attending one or more mediation sessions or settlement conferences with the court
- Resolving the case or taking the case to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing
Your personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether to accept a settlement offer or pursue your case to a resolution in the court system.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Brain Injury Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you sustained a brain injury in an accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you should take the necessary legal action right away. Brain injury victims only have two years from the date of their accident to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages.
Absent certain exceptions, such as a qualifying disability, accident victims who fail to file the necessary lawsuit within the proper time period automatically waive their right to recover any monetary compensation.
A brain injury lawyer in your area can take action in your case right away, especially if the statute of limitations deadline is looming. Edmonton personal injury law firm can help you file a prompt claim or lawsuit, safeguarding your right to recover brain injury damages. Your lawyer will then guide you throughout the process and help you make intelligent and informed decisions in your case.