A TBI is a traumatic brain injury. This injury occurs when the head takes a severe blow, causing the brain to crash against the skull. A TBI is most common among males and those 65 years or older. This prevalence may be due to seniors losing their balance and coordination because of age, but even infants can experience TBI if they fall from a bed or a changing table.
People in certain professions are also prone to receiving a TBI, such as athletes (especially in football), military members, police officers, and construction workers.
However, many TBIs happen in avoidable accidents due to another party’s negligence. When this occurs, the brain injury victims can hold the negligent party liable for their medical bills and other losses. This is important because the losses from a TBI can be overwhelming.
Obtaining compensation for your brain injury is often challenging. TBIs are complex injuries that can have many invisible effects. Insurance companies regularly minimize TBI claims, and you do not want to accept a lower settlement than you deserve.
The best thing you can do is contact a personal injury lawyer who represents TBI victims. Once your physical condition is stable, never wait to seek a free consultation and begin the legal process.
How Does a Person Get TBI?
A victim can obtain a TBI in countless situations.
Some common accidents that lead to brain injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Falls from high places
- Slip and falls
No matter what type of accident happens, always get checked for a possible concussion or TBI if you feel anything out of the ordinary.
How Do You Prove TBI?
Physicians diagnose a TBI by performing two imaging tests: a head CT and a brain MRI. The CT uses X-rays to quickly visualize fractures and any bleeding that the hard blow to the head may have caused. It can also detect blood clots (which can lead to a stroke), bruised brain tissue, and brain tissue swelling. A brain MRI uses magnets and waves to create a detailed view of the brain but usually gets conducted after a person’s condition stabilizes.
Doctors might also rate the severity of a TBI upon diagnosis. However, this rating only refers to the symptoms at that time and does not indicate an overall prognosis. Ongoing medical treatment records can help to prove the lasting effects of your TBI, regardless of your initial diagnosis, as this injury can change over time.
What Are The Effects of a TBI on Life And Employment?
Aside from the immediate effects, a TBI can lead to many more devastating outcomes. Some victims may need physical rehabilitation to regain basic skills like walking. They may need to see a speech and language therapist because their speech may be significantly affected, and they may not know how to pronounce words correctly anymore.
The other types of disabilities involved may include:
- Cognitive impairment
- Vision problems
- Difficulty moving objects with their hands
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hormonal changes
- Memory problems
These issues can interfere with the injured victim’s daily life and employment.
If the injured party cannot perform the basic activities they used to do, they may be unable to return to any form of employment. This condition results in a loss of wages over time until they can obtain help from the state or federal government if any, and it can take a very long time for the application and documents to process.
If they suffer hearing and vision issues from a TBI, they will constantly need the assistance of others. This dependency can make them angry, depressed, unmotivated, and irritable. A TBI from a motor accident can lead to so much more than just what happens at the scene, and these factors can help determine the amount obtained from a settlement.
What is The Compensation Range For a TBI Case?
TBI injuries are expensive: they cost the U.S. about $60 billion in direct medical costs yearly. This number also includes a TBI patient’s loss of wages and reduced productivity. It’s difficult to tell precisely how much a plaintiff can receive from a TBI case, as many factors influence the outcome of each unique claim. Compensation directly depends on the severity of the victim’s injury and losses.
Some common losses that TBI victims might seek compensation for include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost income
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Permanent disabilities or impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The effects of a TBI are wide-ranging, and so are the settlements and awards to TBI victims. Always have an experienced brain injury attorney value your claim to ensure you account for all eligible losses.
The intangible losses from a TBI can be particularly challenging to prove. Most effects are cognitive, and they are not measurable or visible to insurance companies. Do not allow an insurer to underestimate the effects of your TBI on your life, both physically and mentally. Your attorney can help tell your story and relay the extent of how your TBI altered your life.
Influence of Maximum Medical Improvement on Settlement
Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, happens when the injured party’s damage from the accident will not improve anymore with medical treatment. The doctor will sign off on this after they conclude that they can do nothing else to better their condition.
MMI does not necessarily mean that the patient has fully recovered. It means there is no further treatment to help their condition except for time if that. A crucial point to remember is that the MMI should usually occur before negotiating an injury settlement.
You want a clear picture of your future condition and medical needs, so you can request compensation for future losses. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot ask for more later. If your condition becomes unexpectedly worse after your case is over, you cannot use this as grounds for receiving even more compensation.
What Other Factors Affect Compensation?
Besides the obvious economic factors, like loss of wages and medical expenses, there are other elements to consider when calculating damages. Some non-economic components, although more challenging to define and calculate, include wrongful death, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, loss of relationships, and pain and suffering. These can all bring in many therapies and psychiatrist appointments, which add to more medical expenses.
There are also punitive damages to consider. These damages may not be to award or compensate the injured party, but they do punish the liable party for highly reckless or malicious actions. If a TBI resulted from another driver intentionally causing a road rage crash, for example, punitive damages might apply.
A Common Misconception About TBI and Helmets
Motorists make a widespread misconception about bicyclists that if bicyclists wear helmets, they cannot sustain a brain injury because the helmet fully protects their head. A study found that cyclists wearing protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing motorists because they seem more experienced.
Drivers tend to pass by closer to those cyclists who are wearing helmets. A helmet can help reduce the impact of a blow to the bicyclist’s head, but that doesn’t mean a TBI can’t happen. Motor vehicle operators should never assume they can be less cautious around bicyclists wearing helmets and appropriate gear because they look more professional.
When Is the Right Time to Contact an Attorney for a TBI?
After a traffic crash involving a bicyclist and a TBI, the best time to contact an attorney is as soon as possible. Once everything at the scene is recorded and reported, and the injured victim has obtained their medical treatment and is now resting, they should contact a brain injury attorney immediately.
It is easy to say something to an insurance adjuster that unknowingly jeopardizes your claim. A brain injury can only add to confusion and communication issues, which can hinder your claim even further. You never want to communicate with adjusters on your own – instead, have your lawyer handle all communications and negotiations.
The time to contact an attorney about your TBI is as soon as possible when your condition allows.
What Type of Attorney is Best For a TBI?
Brain injury victims will need to file personal injury claims to obtain compensation, so they want to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle the case. The right lawyer should have experience working with TBI victims and an understanding of how this complex injury affects your life.
These lawyers will know exactly what a client needs regarding medical treatment and the care they may require for the rest of their lives. They will especially be ready to assist in fighting an insurance company that tries to minimize or deny the injury claim.
If you suffered your injury in a car crash, seek help from an attorney who regularly handles car accident claims. The same goes for commercial truck accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accidents.
Types of TBIs
All TBIs refer to damage to brain tissue due to a traumatic event. Other types of brain injuries happen due to a lack of oxygen, but these are not TBIs.
Direct trauma or a violent jolt can injure the brain in different ways, and the following are some examples of TBI diagnoses.
- Concussion – This is the most common TBI, and it occurs when your brain suffers damage from hitting the inside of the skull. In the past, doctors thought concussions were minor injuries, but research shows these are serious and life-changing injuries with potentially lasting effects.
- Contusion or hemorrhage – A contusion is a bruise on your brain from mild bleeding. Some contusions develop into hematomas and require surgical removal. A hemorrhage involves uncontrollable bleeding in your brain, and it can be life-threatening without treatment.
- Coup-contrecoup – This refers to damage to two different sides of your brain, and it occurs when the brain bounces in the skull, hitting opposite sides. The effects can be more varied when this occurs, as different parts of the brain suffer damage.
- Diffuse axonal injury – This injury involves the shearing of axons (brain fibers), and it is one of the most serious types of TBIs.
- Penetrating brain injury – Unlike a “closed” TBI, a penetrating injury happens when something contacts your brain tissue and causes direct damage. Common examples are gunshot wounds or stabbings that make it to the brain. You can also suffer this injury if you have a bad skull fracture and a piece of bone penetrates the brain tissue.
In addition, there are complications of brain injuries, including post-concussion syndrome, second impact syndrome, or intracranial pressure.
All brain injuries are serious and need medical treatment immediately. Even if you do not feel symptoms right away, always see a medical professional if you hit your head or suffer a sharp jolt of your head.
What Else Can I Do Going Forward?
Once the attorney has all they need to fight for your case and compensation, you must focus on resting. A TBI, even if deemed “mild,” is no joke, and you will be unable to return to employment or activities until your doctor gives you the green light. Until then, rest up and attend your physical therapy appointments (if any). Make sure you answer any questions your lawyer may have regarding your case as quickly as possible to ensure the settlement outcome is timely.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
When someone suffers a TBI, it can change not only their lives but the lives of all those around them. Depending on the severity of the injury, you or your loved one might require significant care for the rest of your life. If you suffered a TBI in an accident, you must speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible about your injury and the compensation you can seek in a claim against the at-fault party.
Do not waste any time. Once you have a diagnosis and treatment plan, reach out for legal assistance.