Car accidents, slip and falls, and other common accidents can lead to traumatic head and brain injuries. Although the medical community considers some traumatic head injuries “mild,” all head and brain injuries can result in painful symptoms and other concerning complications, including memory loss and inability to concentrate.
Victims of traumatic head and brain injuries may need to undergo surgery or another medical procedure, along with therapy and other treatment. If you or a person you care about suffered a head or brain injury in an accident that someone else's negligence caused, an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer in your area can explain your legal options and file a claim for damages.
Your lawyer can then help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve to recover—not only for your medical bills but also for your pain, suffering, inconvenience, and long-term complications stemming from your head or brain injury.
Minor and Major Traumatic Head Injuries, Symptoms, and Complications
Any accident victim who suffers a traumatic head or brain injury, regardless of how “mild,” should treat the injury seriously and with a high degree of care. First of all, if you suspect that you suffered a head injury after your accident, you should immediately seek follow-up medical care and treatment at an emergency room or urgent care center.
The healthcare provider on duty can undertake the necessary brain scans and other imaging studies to ascertain the full extent of your medical condition. Once those studies are complete, the provider should make a more accurate diagnosis of your actual medical condition. They can also determine if you suffered a concussion or other severe head injury in your accident.
Even though accident victims should take any head injury seriously, some traumatic head and brain injuries are more serious than others. Common minor head injuries include bruises, headaches, and some concussions. A concussion is a brain bruise that occurs when the accident victim sustains a blow to the head, and a concussion’s effects will vary significantly from one victim to another. Some victims experience symptoms for a few days or weeks, while others feel the effects for months or years.
The force of the blow can cause the accident victim's brain to move around inside the skull—and strike the side of the skull, bringing about the concussion. Headaches and other relatively minor head injuries can be treatable with medication and other non-invasive measures. However, other head and brain injuries, including concussions, can cause more serious and lasting effects.
A concussion often qualifies as a serious traumatic brain injury. The accident victim may suffer temporary or even permanent memory loss with a serious concussion. They may appear dazed and confused, and they might not concentrate for long periods.
When an accident victim suffers a major head injury, the neurons and axons that provide the internal wiring for the brain can become severed. As a result, the brain may not communicate with certain parts of the accident victim’s body. In the worst brain injury cases, an accident victim can fall into a coma and may even enter a permanent vegetative state.
Accident victims also suffer serious head injuries when they sustain a wound to the head. For example, in a car accident, a piece of metal from the car can penetrate the accident victim’s head or the skull, resulting in a permanent injury or even death.
You have legal options if you have suffered head injuries in a motor vehicle crash, pedestrian accident, slip, fall, or another incident. After your accident, you should get medical attention and then call a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area.
Your lawyer can begin gathering up your medical treatment records, bills, investigation reports, and other documents that you need to file a claim with the insurance company. While your lawyer handles all of the legal aspects of your claim, you can focus your needs and full attention on getting better and recovering to the greatest extent possible.
Common Accidents That Can Lead to a Brain Injury or Head Injury
Several types of accidents can lead to a traumatic head or brain injury. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of head injuries. The force of an impact can cause the accident victim’s body to move around inside the vehicle. Moreover, the impact might cause the accident victim’s head to strike something in the vehicle, such as the headrest, steering wheel, or window. This can lead to a concussion or other serious head injury.
Rear-end impacts and head-on collisions are likely to lead to a head injury. In a rear-end accident, the force of the impact from behind might thrust the accident victim’s head forward and backward very quickly, resulting in an injury.
In a head-on collision, where the fronts of two vehicles collide with one another, the windshield or window can break, and glass can penetrate the accident victim’s head. The driver or passenger’s head can strike something in the vehicle, leading to a serious head or brain injury.
Car accidents are not the only type of accident that can lead to a debilitating head or brain injury. A slip and fall accident on someone else's premises can also lead to one of these injuries. This is especially true if the property owner fails to maintain reasonably safe premises and the accident victim falls and strikes their head.
Pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle collisions can also lead to a head or brain injury. In these types of accidents, a negligent motor vehicle driver—or one who is distracted or intoxicated—may strike another vehicle or a person.
Cyclists and pedestrians have limited protection in a collision. With the possible exception of their helmets, these individuals do not have an outer shell or covering protecting them at the time of impact. Therefore, if a speeding motor vehicle strikes them and knocks them to the ground, their head and face are directly exposed, and they may suffer a severe injury.
Many of these accidents happen because someone else behaves carelessly, unreasonably, or recklessly. If you suffered a serious head or brain injury due to another person's negligence, you might file a claim with that individual or entity's insurance company. Your lawyer can assist you throughout the claims-filing process and will work to get you the compensation that you deserve, either through settlement or litigation.
Proving Fault in a Brain Injury Case
In a head or brain injury case, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. Therefore, they must show that another individual or an entity did something wrong or behaved unreasonably under the circumstances.
For example, in a car accident claim, the injured driver or passenger must demonstrate that another driver violated a traffic law or behaved unreasonably under the circumstances. They must also show that the accident occurred due to the driver's negligence.
Finally, they must demonstrate, often through expert medical testimony, that they suffered a brain or head injury in their accident. In other words, the accident must have been at least one cause of the head or brain injury that they suffered.
Proving these legal elements can be more challenging than you might think. A knowledgeable traumatic head and brain injury attorney in your area can assist you with proving all of the legal elements of your case and getting you monetary damages that fully and fairly compensate you for everything you experienced.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in a Brain Injury Case and Filing a Lawsuit
If you have suffered a head or brain injury in an accident that was not your fault, you might be in a position to file a claim. In most instances, personal injury lawyers file these claims with the insurance company for the at-fault person or entity.
Your lawyer can submit a settlement demand package, including copies of your medical records, medical bills, lost wage documents, photographs of your injuries, photographs of any property damage, and a victim impact statement. Your lawyer can then negotiate with the insurance company adjuster after they make an opening offer to settle your case.
It usually takes several rounds of negotiations before the adjuster eventually increases their offer. At other times, the parties will reach an impasse, and the accident victim’s lawyer will have to file a lawsuit in court. Even after filing a lawsuit, the parties can continue negotiating a favorable settlement in their case.
However, if that is not forthcoming, you will have the option of taking your case to a jury trial and letting the jury decide the outcome of all the disputed issues, including monetary compensation and damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer near you can help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or litigate your case in court.
Potential Damages in Brain Injury Cases
Victims of traumatic head and brain injuries have the potential to recover various types of damages. No two accident cases are the same, and likewise, head and brain injuries are not the same. Therefore, different accident victims will recover different types and amounts of damages.
The damages that an accident victim can recover will depend upon the injury, the extent of their injuries, whether they were permanent, the medical treatment they underwent, and the cost of that medical treatment.
First of all, in a traumatic head or brain injury case, the accident victim can pursue monetary compensation for all of their related medical treatment bills. They can pursue this compensation even if health insurance pays for some or all of the related medical treatment. If they had to miss time from work because of their injury, they can bring a claim for lost wages. They might also pursue and recover other out-of-pocket costs.
In brain injury cases where an accident victim loses their ability to focus and concentrate or suffers memory deficiencies, the accident may not return to their former job post-accident. As a result, they might have to switch jobs or stop working altogether.
In these types of cases, the accident victim can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. In addition, head and brain injury victims can seek damages for their mental distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of life enjoyment, memory losses, and loss of the ability to focus or concentrate.
If you or a person you care about has suffered a severe head or brain injury in an accident that negligence caused, a skilled lawyer in your area can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. Your lawyer can then negotiate with the insurance company adjuster for you.
If the insurance company refuses to fairly compensate you, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court. Your attorney can then litigate the case - either at a jury trial, mediation proceeding, or binding arbitration hearing.
Talk With a Traumatic Head and Brain Injury Attorney Today
When seeking monetary compensation for a head or brain injury, the insurance company is never on your side. Some insurance companies and their adjusters will try and point to something other than the accident to explain away your symptoms and complications.
Having a knowledgeable legal team or brain injury lawyer on your side is one of the most important steps that you can take. Your lawyer can help you relate your injuries to the subject accident, retain the necessary experts, and represent you at all legal proceedings in court.
This is not a process you should try to handle while you have a brain injury, but help is available.