When people think about traumatic brain injuries, high-impact contact sports and catastrophic accidents may first come to mind. Injuries to the brain, after all, must take an enormous force to occur. However, the reality is that a TBI can happen to anyone. For example, a slip on wet pavement, a seemingly minor fender bender, or an object that falls onto your head unexpectedly can cause injuries within the brain even if, on the outside, everything appears normal.
TBIs can result in costly losses and expenses for a victim. If you are a victim of a traumatic brain injury, you may be unable to keep up with your medical bills or daily living expenses because of the negative effect of your injury then contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer. Getting to the bottom of how your traumatic brain injury occurred and who may be responsible can reveal your legal options to seek damages.
Do TBIs Heal?
Not all traumatic brain injuries will heal. Even minor TBIs can involve a prolonged recovery depending on the symptoms that develop and subsequent impacts on your day-to-day life. Surgery, rehabilitation, and medications are all options that a doctor may take to help you heal as best and as quickly as possible. Sadly, not all TBI victims will reach maximum recovery, and some suffer lifelong disabilities. However, they might see some improvements as time goes on.
TBI Nationwide Statistics
In the U.S., traumatic brain injuries are rampant and affect people of all ages. Reports indicate that over 1.7 million individuals will sustain a traumatic brain injury yearly. This number includes approximately 60,000 people that will not survive the injuries to their brain and over 200,000 victims that survive but require hospitalization.
The highest risk of a TBI and death from a TBI is in the elderly population. However, children are also vulnerable to serious consequences as they account for over 16,000 hospitalizations and nearly 3,000 deaths annually due to brain injury.
Your Risk of a TBI Due to an Accident
In sports brain injuries, one can take measures to lessen but not eliminate the risk of a severe traumatic brain injury. Taking safety measures, including adequate safety equipment or avoiding certain sports, can drastically decrease your risk of injury.
However, in cases of TBIs that arise from accidents, many of them occur unpredictably and may happen because of the actions of another party or individual. These categories of traumatic brain injuries are hard to predict and almost impossible to protect yourself from.
The CDC indicates that the most common causes of TBI come from three areas. Of the three most common causes, two originate from accidents often caused by others: motor vehicle accidents and falls. However, falls and car accidents are not the only examples of TBI accidents.
Other TBI causes may include:
- Sport injuries
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boat accidents
- Recreational vehicle accidents
- Tractor-trailer accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
How Can a TBI Affect Your Life?
Traumatic brain injuries can significantly alter your life and affect your future. The recovery from a traumatic brain injury can be a long and arduous process with many frustrations and unknowns. A TBI can hurt your work, cause you to miss out on your favorite activities, and leave you with lasting consequences.
In vulnerable groups such as the elderly population, a TBI may end in death. At the same time, children who suffer a TBI while their brain is still developing can have devastating outcomes that alter their ability to live their life to the fullest potential.
The High Costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs are some of the costliest injuries. A TBI requires expensive medical care, specialization in this area of medicine, long-term rehabilitation, and the widespread impact of a brain injury on an individual’s productivity and future disability.
How Will You Pay for Medical Care and Living Expenses If You Sustain a TBI in an Accident?
If you are a victim of a TBI, it will not take long for you to become overwhelmed by the medical bills and expenses that arise in the aftermath of your injury. Emergency room treatment, hospital stays, and follow-up care combined with missed work and uncertainty of your return to normal makes it all the more difficult to manage and plan to pay for these expenses.
If you have medical insurance, you may get some relief but will still need to come up with the money for copays and deductibles and to pay for your living expenses as you recover.
When you are a victim of a TBI due to an accident caused by another’s fault, you may have options to seek compensation through an insurance claim or file a lawsuit for your damages. You do not need to face the burden of a traumatic brain injury alone. The reality is that the cost can become burdensome, and many people do not have the financial resources to cover these costs and losses. As a victim, you have the right to fight for compensation on your behalf.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Claim or Lawsuit for a TBI?
The amount of money a victim will receive for a traumatic brain injury will vary. Factors that influence how much money a victim receives include the severity of the TBI, how the TBI affects your ability to work, and how the TBI limits your life and normal functions.
You can expect the costs associated with a TBI to be significant and often unpredictable. Medical care and rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury can continue for many years following an accident.
A definitive prognosis for a TBI can be difficult, and while your doctors may give you a timeframe for when they expect you will heal or reach your maximum recovery possible, you may face unexpected complications or regressions that prolong your need for medical support. As part of your claim for damages or lawsuit, you can include all costs that relate to your TBI medical care, including future costs.
TBIs can cause you to feel unlike yourself and inhibit your ability to go about your day as you did before the accident. It can be difficult to think, plan and function normally. This is likely to have a negative effect on your ability to work. Whether you must lessen your workload or you can no longer meet the demands of your work responsibilities, a TBI can cause you to lose earnings in the short and long term if you develop a disability because of the injury.
Income losses are often some of the greatest financial damages in a TBI case. When a victim sustains a disability that will now remain throughout their life, their ability to make money and improve their financial security will be greatly limited.
Pain and Suffering
Not all losses that occur because of a TBI are tangible losses, such as medical bills and lost paychecks. Your physical pain, discomfort, and the emotional toll and turmoil of dealing with a traumatic brain injury constitute personal pain and suffering. The law allows accident victims to seek compensation for their pain and suffering.
Valuation of pain and suffering damages for a TBI can be challenging, but an attorney can help you gather evidence of the severity of your injuries and other critical factors to seek the maximum damages possible in your case.
The severity of a TBI may lead to rapid deterioration or complications that ultimately lead to a victim’s death. If a victim loses their life because of a TBI, the surviving family may have a basis to file a wrongful death action when the cause of the injury is negligence. Wrongful death claims and lawsuits differ in their purpose in that the victim is no longer the one fighting to receive compensation but rather the victim’s family pursues compensation.
Wrongful death damages may include funeral expenses, loss of family support, loss of the victim’s income contribution, loss of guidance and their integral role to a family, and loss of inheritance and benefits.
What Should You Do if You Suffer a TBI Because of Another Party’s Acts?
If you are a victim of a TBI that you believe is due to another party’s negligence, there are actions you can take to protect your rights from insurers or the at-fault parties. Preparing to file a claim with an insurer or a lawsuit in court can take time, but taking the following steps after your accident can help you be in the best position possible to pursue compensation for your losses.
Continue With Your Medical Care
Traumatic brain injuries are often frustrating injuries to deal with. When things begin to improve, they might change and regress. The most important thing you can do as a victim of a TBI in a potential negligence case is to follow up with your medical providers and continue with all rehab and appointments. You must do everything you can for your health and to prove to the insurance companies and parties responsible you are doing your part to reach the maximum recovery possible for the severity of your injuries.
From the police report, you may receive at the scene of a crash to the medical records or messages you get from an interested party, each of these examples is evidence that could help your case. Choose a safe place to collect all evidence you accrue in the aftermath of your injury. This includes photos, documentation, or anything you believe could be relevant to your injuries, your recovery, or the events of the accident itself.
Contact a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
A TBI is complex medically and legally. Traumatic brain injuries may not always have clear and definitive projections on recovery. As a victim of a TBI, seek support from a TBI lawyer who will represent you, prove the extent of your injury, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies and the party that caused your TBI likely have their own lawyers to help them. You need experience, professionalism, and knowledge to keep you in an advantageous position and fight for the compensation you need to recover and move forward after a traumatic brain injury accident.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Claim for Losses Related to a TBI?
While you may worry more about your immediate recovery following a TBI than the what-ifs down the line, you have limited time to file a claim for damages. Each state has statutes of limitations that indicate how much time a plaintiff has in a particular type of case to take legal action against the parties at fault. A statute of limitations offers little wiggle room. Whatever your legal timeframe, you must follow it to ensure you retain options to seek compensation in your case.