Traumatic Brain Injuries: What You Should Know About Your Rights
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. These types of injuries can happen due to anything from minor accidents like falls or major events such as car accidents. In fact, traumatic brain injuries are responsible for about 30% of all deaths resulting from injuries every year.
TBIs can have effects that range from mild problems that last a few days, such as memory loss or impaired thinking, movement or sensory impairment, to severe issues that affect the victims daily functioning for their entire lives. These life-changing concerns can be physical, emotional, or both, and they take a toll on the individual suffering from them as well as their friends and families.
If you or someone you love is the victim of a traumatic brain injury accident stemming from neglect, you may be entitled to compensation if you pursue legal action against the individual or company responsible for your injuries.
Before you decide whether or not to file a lawsuit against the other party, you need to know a little bit about TBIs, your rights, and what to expect throughout your case should you follow this course of action.
What Exactly is a TBI, Anyway?
When an impact to the head, whether it is a slight bump or a hard blow, disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, it is considered a traumatic brain injury. This doesn’t happen with every impact every time someone receives a head injury, but when it does, it can result in mild to severe changes in your mental status or consciousness.
Most TBIs are mild, but when they are not, they are always life-changing.
The statistics surrounding TBIs are scary. In 2013, these types of incidents accounted for 2.8 million emergency visits and hospitalizations in the United States alone. 50,000 of these cases resulted in deaths.
Sports and recreation-related accidents comprised a large portion of these injuries in children aged 19 or younger. In 2012, diagnoses of concussion in children under 19 were numbered at an estimated 329,290.
You are not alone if you are one of these statistics.
What Causes TBIs?
The main cause of TBIs is considered to be normal falls (slip and falls, tripping, etc.), comprising 47% of the hospitalizations and deaths reported. Data shows that these types of injuries mostly occur in children under 14 and in adults aged 65 and older.
Right behind falls is the incidence of being struck by an object, or against one. Motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Intentional self-harm, while not as high in numbers, caused the second-highest amount of deaths.
While not all of TBI accidents are the result of neglect, when they are, they are often brought to court by the victims in a personal injury lawsuit.
How Can a TBI Affect Someone’s Daily Life?
Brain injuries vary, so the effects they can cause differ by the individual and their injury, as well as their treatment opportunities. However, in general, these injuries can cause cognitive deficiencies that prevent a person from being able to use their brains in a demanding capacity. Some damages may be severe enough to warrant the need of another person to be able to do certain tasks for the injured.
Patients who sustain traumatic brain injuries often need help with physical activities on a daily basis. They may need the support of physical aids like canes or walkers. They may also need the help of another person to fulfill their activities of daily living, all of which can significantly diminish their quality of life.
Depending on the type of injury, the effects may also impact the emotional systems in the brain. This can make the injured victim prone to outbursts and oversensitivity, making it difficult for them to keep a job or have successful relationships.
What Legally Constitutes a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
To file a brain injury lawsuit, you have to prove you, or the person you are filing on behalf of, was injured due to negligence. This means that you, the plaintiff, has to show strong, compelling evidence that the party that you are suing, or the defendant, is responsible for the injury in question.
In order to prove this without a doubt, there are a few things you and your lawyer will need to present to the court. These include:
- That the defendant owed you, the plaintiff, a “duty of care,” meaning that the defendant was required to be careful within reason;
- The defendant failed in this requirement;
- The failure to act, or the neglect of acting, caused the injuries in question;
- And you, the plaintiff, suffered measurable injuries and losses as a direct result of these injuries.
Being able to show all of this without a doubt to the court can be difficult, but that is why it is so important to work with a reputable attorney that you can trust, like us here at Hershey Law. By working together, you and your attorney can gather evidence and display facts that will correlate your injury directly to the defendant’s actions.
What are Some Examples of Brain Injuries Resulting from Negligence?
Car accidents are a very common cause of neglect that results in wounds like head and brain injuries. When a driver is not paying attention – for example, if they are on the phone or texting – they are not acting in the responsible manner that the law expects.
Because of their actions, they may have caused an accident that resulted in injuries. This is the direct result of neglect.
Another example of neglect resulting in injuries happens in defective products. Using a product that was defective or dangerous and you did not know this could result in injuries such as TBIs. In cases like these, the companies that were involved in the product’s distribution would be liable for those injuries, should they be directly linked and neglect proven.
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury through circumstances that arose from neglect, including slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, or intentional harm done to you, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover your losses and costs that you have encountered as a result of the injury.
What to Expect During Your Court Case
Once you have researched attorneys that are knowledgeable and experienced with traumatic brain injury cases, call to schedule a meeting to discuss your case. The attorney will most likely ask you many questions about your accident to determine whether it is probable that you will be able to draw a clear line of neglect to the intended defendant.
At Hershey Law, the consultation is free and we have “no recovery, no fee” options.
If you have documentation, bring it to your meeting. This can include things like medical records where you received treatment and police reports if there were any involved. This documentation will help your attorney pinpoint exactly what happened and get an understanding of what will be involved if you do decide to file a lawsuit.
Remember that it is common for people with TBI to experience memory loss, so having documentation can help you and your attorney in the event that you don’t remember everything clearly.
Once you both determine to go ahead and initiate a lawsuit for neglect against the person or company responsible for your injury, your attorney will begin to work on your behalf to collect evidence. As long as you are completely honest with your lawyer, he or she will be able to gather documentation, speak to sources and witnesses, and collect facts and data to present during your court case.
Like any personal injury case, the length of time that your lawsuit may extend from start to finish is unpredictable. During this time, you and your attorney may decide on a settlement, or an agreement between both parties on a negotiated compensation, or it may go to trial. Having an experienced attorney guide you through these difficult times is imperative.
The damages you may be awarded depends on the seriousness of your injury and how it has negatively impacted your life. You want to ensure that your compensation includes coverage for long-term cognitive, psychological, or physical therapy as necessary. It should also cover your inability to work if your future potential to make a living is limited.
Find Out if You are Entitled to Compensation for Your Traumatic Brain Injury Today
The effects of serious brain injuries can impact not just you and your loved one, but your friends and family as well. These impacts have huge consequences that can change your life forever.
Working with an attorney to successfully bring your lawsuit to completion can never get you back to the way you were before your accident, but it can help you to get closure and be financially supported as you heal and adapt to your new life.
Call us today for your free consultation to see how we can help you through this difficult time.