Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most common injuries people sustain in accidents. These injuries change the sufferers’ and their loved ones’ lives forever. Survivors struggle with emotional, communicative, cognitive, psychological, and physical impairments. Treatment often requires years of rehab and assistance.
TBI survivors have the right to seek compensation when injured by someone’s negligent actions. Compensation is challenging to obtain for these cases, and you should speak with a local traumatic brain injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Causes of TBI
Traumatic brain injuries can have many serious effects, even resulting in permanent impairments. These injuries can impact speech, movement, memory, and more.
A common misconception is that you need a direct blow to the head to suffer a TBI, but these injuries can happen due to direct trauma or when the skull experiences a sudden jolt during an impact.
Other causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Sports and recreation
- Slip and falls
- Truck accidents
- Acceleration and deceleration events
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents
- Dog bites
Many of these accidents are the fault of another party, and that party should be liable for all resulting medical bills and other losses.
Severity and Symptoms of TBIs
The symptoms of these injuries will vary by individual, depending on the location and severity of each victim’s brain damage. Sometimes they worsen over time, especially without treatment.
After a traumatic event, look for signs like:
- Persistent headache
- Memory loss
- Coordination problems
- Light sensitivity
- Trouble sleeping
- Vision problems
- Changes in personality or temperament
Many of these symptoms might eventually resolve with treatment, though many TBI victims experience long-term effects that will stay with them for years or their lifetime.
Some long-term effects are:
- Motor sensory complications
- Cognitive defects
- Perceptual and sensory defects
- Language and communication issues
- Psychological concerns
- Functional difficulties like being unable to complete daily tasks
- Traumatic epilepsy
- Social and psychiatric changes
- Loss of life
Treating Your TBI is Costly
Treating a traumatic brain injury requires extensive medical treatment and comes with high costs, all of which you must consider in your injury claim. Medical treatment causes a financial burden and can lead to bankruptcy. Accident victims should not have to bear this burden when someone else was at fault.
A lawsuit can seek compensation to cover:
- Initial emergency transportation and trauma care
- Hospitalization or ICU stays
- Surgeries due to skull fractures or excessive intracranial pressure
- Psychological treatment
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation centers
- Neurologist appointments
Treatment costs are high, often from tens of thousands to millions of dollars over the person’s lifetime. These losses do not even consider lost income, emotional or physical issues, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Proving a TBI Case
By presenting evidence to the insurance company, your TBI lawyer will connect your injury to the traumatic event and show the extent of the injury. They will also prove that you suffered neurological effects and other impairments from the injury. Getting prompt treatment can help to demonstrate that the accident resulted in your injuries and symptoms.
Establishing causation is vital to proving a TBI case, and your TBI attorney will use your medical records to prove the cause of your brain injury. You must also prove who caused the accident.
The police report can be an essential element of the investigation process. They are not always admissible in court but can serve as evidence to support your insurance claim. Paramedic and ambulance reports provide information regarding your initial symptoms and assessment at the scene of the accident.
Documents and other records are necessary to prove a traumatic brain injury case. Emergency room records are essential because that is the first time a person gets evaluated for possible injuries and receives treatment after an accident. You need to ensure all medical professionals who treat you keep thorough records that detail every symptom of your brain injury and the recommended treatment.
Sometimes, your attorney will advise you to keep a journal of your symptoms and limitations. This is important with an invisible injury, as you need to paint a picture of the injury’s effects to the insurance company. Your family and friends can also testify regarding how your injury has changed your life and your struggles.
Each TBI case is unique, and your attorney can determine what types of evidence you need to prove your case.
Showing the Extent of the Traumatic Brain Injury
Imaging scans are how doctors might diagnose a serious brain injury, and this is an important way you can show insurance companies that you have a very real and serious injury.
Imaging that can confirm or rule out intracranial injuries include:
- SPECT scans: Radionuclides are injected into the bloodstream to measure blood perforation. It will map out the blood that travels to various brain areas. When there is an injury, less blood flowing to an area indicates an injury.
- MRIs: These scans have high resolutions and are rarely done during an initial observation. They might happen later when there are cognitive abnormalities or unusual behavior.
- CT Scans: these scans assess intracranial hemorrhaging and can detect intracranial injuries. They might miss subtle injuries and primarily focus on severe trauma.
- PET scans: similar to SPECT scans, these create maps of the amount of glucose in the brain. Damaged or dead cells will have lower glucose counts.
- MEG brain scans show doctors’ physical evidence of brain injuries. They are more extensive than MRIs and challenging to find but exceptionally accurate.
Your attorney can present your imaging results in an understandable manner to insurance companies.
Calculating Your Damages
The medical expenses from a traumatic brain injury are only one type of loss you can seek compensation for. There are many hidden costs of living with this injury, and you need to have a local TBI lawyer review your injury and how it impacts your life. You must seek a fair amount to cover your injury expenses and long-term losses.
These cases are complex, and calculating damages is critical to obtaining enough to cover your losses.
Damages for traumatic brain injuries include:
- Lost income: time off work for treatment, loss of job, inability to earn future income
- Medical expenses: hospital stays, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, doctor’s visits, and more
- Pain and suffering: physical and emotional distress from the injury, loss of quality of life, inability to participate in pre-injury activities
- Loss of companionship: family and loved ones can seek compensation for the loss of companionship, service, and society they used to get from you before the injury
How the Insurance Company Will Fight Your Claim?
The insurance company uses many tricks when fighting traumatic brain injury cases.
Some of the arguments or defenses they will use are:
- A TBI is a pre-existing condition.
- The TBI is not as severe as the victim claims
- The victim did not need all the medical treatment or rehabilitation they received
- The TBI should not prevent the victim from working or engaging in their usual activities
The good news is you do not need to worry about these challenges with the right attorney handling your claim. They can handle all communications with the insurance company and present evidence to support your claim.
Who Can Sue for TBIs?
Anyone who suffers traumatic brain injury from the misconduct of another entity is eligible to file a claim seeking compensation for losses. The spouse of an injured person can bring a claim for loss of consortium and other damages. When someone dies from a traumatic brain injury, the next of kin or dependents can file wrongful death claims.
Defendants in Brain Injury Lawsuits
Anyone contributing to an event resulting in a brain injury can be a defendant in an injury claim. Many circumstances can lead to an injury, and any contributions by specific parties result in their liability during an accident.
Possible defendants arising from vehicle collisions that cause TBIs are:
- Motorcycle operators
- Drivers and vehicle owners
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Bus drivers and companies
- Boat operators and owners
- Taxi companies and drivers
- Bicycle operators
- Repair shops
- Product manufacturers
Aside from vehicle collisions, other events can lead to an accident, and you can name many different parties in a lawsuit:
- Public entity for a dangerous condition on the property
- Business owners
- Airplane owners and operators
- Any entity that initially causes a TBI
- People with special duties that fail to act
Your TBI lawyer will determine every party you can name in a lawsuit.
Role of Brain Injury Lawyers
When a person with a TBI hires a lawyer, there are many tasks the attorney will perform on their behalf. An attorney might need to consult with close family or friends if the brain injury victim’s symptoms make it difficult for them to understand the legal process. A lawyer should also determine whether the client can make critical decisions about their claim if their mental capacity is diminished.
A TBI lawyer will protect their client and represent their best interests in an insurance claim or lawsuit. They should collect and organize documents and relevant information. They will handle negotiations with the insurance company and fight for a fair settlement offer. If a lawsuit is necessary, a brain injury attorney can navigate the litigation process. Lawyers must also adhere to HIPAA laws and maintain attorney-client privilege during all interactions.
Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996
Congress passed a bill in 1996 shedding light on traumatic brain injuries for the first time. The bill aimed to improve access to TBI health services and reduce the incidence of TBIs. The bill opened the door for more research from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. The research has found 1.5 million Americans suffer new TBIs annually, with 50,000 dying and 90,000 suffering long-term disability.
Congress reauthorized the act in 2018. This law matters because with more research, more options for diagnosis and treating the condition become available. Research also shows how preventable the injury is.
All of this information can help with brain injury cases. Your traumatic brain injury lawyer can use brain injury research to help you prove your claim and work with doctors to diagnose and correlate it to your injury.
Speak to a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Today
After a brain injury, many patients suffer from cognitive, psychological, and emotional challenges, plus immeasurable chaos. The last thing they might think about is their legal options. However, as a TBI survivor, you can file a claim and seek compensation.
Schedule an initial consultation with a local personal injury lawyer in Denver if you or your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence. Never wait to protect your legal rights.