Brain injuries can have disastrous consequences, bringing a slew of unique challenges to an individual’s life. You will need a lawyer who understands your legal options if another party’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional actions caused your brain injury.
Below, we will explore the different categories of brain injuries and how they may affect a victim’s life. We will also review legal options available to those seeking compensation for their suffering and losses and how an experienced brain injury accident lawyer can help you.
Types of Brain Injuries That Can Result in a Legal Claim
These injuries can result in short-term effects or lifelong impacts:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): A TBI occurs from a sudden and violent blow or jolts to the head, disrupting the brain’s normal function. TBIs are commonly caused by car accidents, falls, physical assaults, and sports injuries. The severity can range from mild (a brief change in mental state) to severe (an extended period of unconsciousness). Legally, TBIs can form the basis of a personal injury claim if you prove that the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence or intentional actions.
- Concussion: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body. Concussions are common in sports, car accidents, and slip and fall incidents. Severe or repeated concussions can cause permanent damage. Like TBIs, concussions can lead to legal claims if caused by negligence or intentional acts.
- Anoxic brain injury: A lack of oxygen to the brain causes this type of injury, resulting in the death of brain cells. Near drowning, suffocation, carbon monoxide poisoning, severe asthma, or heart attacks often cause anoxic brain injuries. They can lead to significant, permanent disabilities, and legal remedies may be available against parties whose negligence caused oxygen deprivation.
- Acquired brain injury (ABI): An ABI refers to brain damage from illnesses or exposures, not from external physical forces. Causes include strokes, infections, tumors, or exposure to toxic substances. The severity of ABIs can range from mild to debilitating. Legal claims for ABIs typically allege negligence by medical professionals, product manufacturers, or parties responsible for exposure to a toxic substance.
The most common basis for liability is negligence, defined as the failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care.
To prove negligence in a brain injury case, the plaintiff must show:
- The defendant owed a duty of care: For example, all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road.
- The defendant breached that duty: For example, driving while drunk or texting constitutes a breach of the obligation to drive carefully.
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injury: The defendant’s negligent actions directly caused the events leading to the brain injury.
- The injury resulted in specific damages: The brain injury led to compensatory economic and noneconomic losses.
When a brain injury results from an intentional act, such as an assault or battery, the defendant can be held liable for the foreseeable consequences of their actions. Other intentional torts that may lead to brain injuries include false imprisonment or deliberate infliction of emotional distress.
Determining Your Legal Options
To better understand who or what caused your brain injury, discuss your case with an experienced brain injury accident lawyer. Your attorney can review your case and determine who caused your brain injury. Furthermore, your lawyers can hold those at fault accountable for your losses by recovering the maximum compensation you deserve.
Legal Remedies for Brain Injuries
Once a court has established another party’s liability for your brain injury, you may be entitled to pursue compensation, including the following types of damages:
These damages should compensate the victim for losses suffered because of the brain injury.
- Medical expenses: Compensation for medical treatment, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation relating to the brain injury. This includes past expenses, and those anticipated in the future.
- Lost income: Compensation for revenue lost due to time off work during treatment or recovery or losses from a diminished ability to earn income in the future.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the brain injury. This is difficult to quantify and is calculated based on severity and permanency of the injury.
- Loss of consortium: Compensation for the impact of the injury on the relationship between the victim and their spouse or family. For example, loss of companionship and intimacy.
Besides the above damages, a court may award punitive damages. However, the court will only do so when the defendant exhibited particularly reckless or malicious behavior. The court awards these damages to punish the defendant for their egregious actions and to deter similar conduct.
Other Types of Damages
In some cases, you may recover damages for loss of enjoyment of life (inability to take part in hobbies and activities previously enjoyed) or restitution (compensation for financial losses unrelated to the brain injury itself).
The damages awarded make the victim whole again through compensation, to the extent possible, given the often-devastating consequences of brain injuries. While money cannot undo the damage, it can help ensure victims get the ongoing medical care and financial security they need.
Strategies for Building a Strong Brain Injury Case
Contacting an experienced brain-injury accident attorney as soon as possible is important to recover total compensation. Once you have retained legal professionals, they can begin to:
These lawyers can obtain relevant evidence to prove liability and substantiate damages.
- Medical records: Records from emergency responders, hospital treatments, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and therapy. These establish the severity of the injury and prognosis.
- Accident reports: Any reports from police, workplace, or property owners relating to the events that caused the brain injury that may help establish liability.
- Witness statements: Written statements from witnesses about the accident or events that led to the brain injury. Witnesses can also testify in person at a trial.
- Defendant statements: Any statements made by the defendant relating to the incident, including apologies. These types of comments might show liability or causation.
Experts in medicine, psychology, economics, and other fields can provide testimony to help the jury understand the complex issues relating to brain injury.
Lawyers may consult:
- Medical experts: Neurologists, neuropsychologists, physiatrists, and rehabilitation specialists who can testify as to the victim’s injuries, prognosis, and expected future medical needs.
- Economic experts: Economists can calculate the financial losses from medical bills, lost work, loss of earning capacity, and other damages. They can estimate total lifetime losses and the present value of long-term losses.
This evidence includes visual aids demonstrating the extent of harm caused by brain injury. They may include:
- Medical illustrations: Diagrams showing the areas of brain damage and the expected impacts.
- Before-and-after videos: Videos showing the victim engaged in activities before and after the brain injury illustrate the loss of ability and disability caused by their injury.
Demonstrative evidence can assist juries in understanding how the plaintiff’s injury has reduced their capabilities and quality of life. Powerful visuals and solid witness testimony are often compelling evidence that improves the chances of a favorable outcome at trial.
Issues to Watch Out for in a Brain Injury Case
While brain injury victims have legal rights to pursue compensation, these cases can face significant challenges due to:
- Proving causation: Linking the defendant’s actions to the brain injury can be difficult, especially if intervening events or preexisting conditions exist. Plaintiffs must show that the injury would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the defendant’s negligence or intentional acts. Defendants may even try to argue that the plaintiff’s actions or other factors were the cause of the injury.
- Assessing the extent of damages: Calculating damages for a brain injury requires assessing how the injury will impact the victim over their lifetime. However, a prognosis may evolve or be unclear, creating uncertainty in the projection of future losses. Defendants may argue that damages should be lower based on alleged uncertainties or a better medical outcome than projected.
- Time limitations: Each state has its own statutes of limitations setting deadlines by which plaintiffs must file personal injury claims. You may permanently lose compensation and the right to pursue it if you miss the deadline. Victims and their families must talk to legal counsel quickly after any brain injury accident to preserve their ability to hold the responsible parties liable. Though the statute of limitations in most states is multiple years long, that time can slip away quickly, and evidence and witnesses often go with it.
While brain injury cases present complex issues, an experienced brain-injury accident attorney knows how to articulate a compelling theory of liability, work with medical professionals to substantiate a prognosis, calculate economic losses, and overcome common defense strategies. Many brain injury victims can secure compensation and regain control over their futures with thorough case preparation and a committed legal team.
Contact an Experienced Brain Injury Accident Attorney Today
Brain injuries can happen in an instant but last a lifetime. While no amount of compensation can undo damage to the brain, legal remedies provide a path for victims and their families to gain financial security, necessary medical care, and closure. By understanding the types of brain injuries, how the law determines liability, and the remedies available under the law, victims can make informed decisions about pursuing claims against those responsible for their suffering.
More importantly, while brain injury cases face substantial challenges, experienced brain injury accident attorneys are adept at overcoming obstacles and fighting for optimal client compensation and outcomes. With medical experts to establish prognosis, economic experts to calculate losses, and a range of visual evidence to demonstrate disability, even defendants with strong defenses can end up liable for the harm they caused.
If you suffered an accident resulting in a brain injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Denver as soon as possible to schedule a free case consultation and learn more about how they can help you, your claim, and your future.