A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a severe injury that occurs when an accident victim suffers a powerful blow to the head.
In some circumstances, the accident victim might strike their head on the ground or other objects with a significant amount of force, leading to ongoing medical complications.
As a result of a TBI, an accident victim may experience persistent symptoms, including migraines and memory loss, sometimes for the rest of their life. The sad thing about many TBI cases is that the accident which brought about the TBI was completely preventable.
If you or a person you care about suffered a TBI in a recent occurrence that resulted from someone else's negligence, you are not alone.
In addition to seeking medical care and treatment for your TBI, you need to consult experienced brain injury lawyer who can review your accident and medical circumstances with you and file a personal injury claim with the at-fault's insurance company on your behalf.
Your attorney can also handle the legal aspects of your case while you attend medical appointments and concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
For example, your lawyer can submit a claims package to the insurance company, aggressively negotiate fair settlement compensation on your behalf, or litigate your case in the state court system.
When insurance companies and their adjusters become difficult, your lawyer can aggressively advocate for your legal interests, answer all your case-related questions, and pursue the full monetary recovery you need for your TBI.
Types of Negligence That Can Lead to a TBI
When people behave in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner, they may cause an accident, leading to a severe TBI for the accident victim.
Individuals are negligent when they act unreasonably under the circumstances, such as by taking some action that a hypothetical reasonable person would not have taken or by refraining from taking some action when the action was appropriate.
Some of the most common occurrences that can lead to a debilitating TBI include motor vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall accidents that occur on others' premises, boating accidents, pedestrian accidents, escalator and elevator accidents, and mass transit accidents.
If you or someone you love was recently involved in an accident that led to a TBI, you need to consult legal counsel as quickly as possible about your options. Your attorney can discuss your accident circumstances with you and develop a plan of action to maximize the monetary recovery you ultimately receive.
First, your attorney can prepare the necessary documents to file an insurance claim on your behalf. Then, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company adjuster in pursuit of the fair settlement recovery you deserve for your TBI.
Seeking the Medical Care You Need for a TBI
Before talking with a lawyer about your case, you need to begin your post-accident medical treatment. Since TBI symptoms do not always appear right away, you need to obtain initial medical treatment at an emergency room and follow through with all prescribed medical treatment.
For example, you may need to consult your primary care doctor or with a specialist, such as a neurologist, about your ongoing symptoms. Additionally, depending on the specific injury you suffered, you might need to undergo a specialized medical procedure to recover from your injury.
During your medical treatment, you need to treat continuously and refrain from significant treatment gaps. Do not discharge yourself from a medical facility. Failing to treat continuously for injuries following a TBI may raise a red flag for insurance company adjusters.
Specifically, the adjuster handling your case may assume that you did not take your medical treatment seriously or that you did not suffer a severe head injury in the occurrence. As a result, they may be unwilling to fairly compensate you for your TBI.
However, if you receive continuous treatment for your injuries and follow through on all recommended medical treatments, you increase your chances of achieving a higher settlement offer from the insurance company adjuster.
While you treat your injuries, your personal injury lawyer can take care of the legal components of your case, including requesting medical records, medical bills, and other documents and assembling those documents into a settlement demand package.
Proving a TBI Claim or Lawsuit Successfully
To receive favorable settlement or litigation compensation in a TBI case, you will need to establish your legal burden of proof. Consequently, you will need to satisfy several legal elements in your case.
First, an individual who suffers a TBI in an accident must show that the at-fault party owed them a legal duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. Many TBIs occur in motor vehicle accidents. In those scenarios, drivers have a duty to drive in accordance with all prevailing traffic laws and regulations.
They also have a duty to refrain from distracted, reckless, or intoxicated driving maneuvers. Second, if you suffer a TBI, you will need to demonstrate that the at-fault party neglected their legal duty of care or violated it in some way.
Third, you will need to demonstrate that the subject occurrence that led to your TBI directly resulted from the other party's negligence. Again, in a car accident scenario, the other driver's reckless or negligent act must have been both the factual and the foreseeable cause of the crash.
Finally, you must demonstrate that you suffered your TBI as a direct and foreseeable result of the occurrence.
Many insurance company adjusters will dispute fault or liability in a TBI case. They may also deny that a causal connection exists between the subject occurrence and the TBI.
To establish this causal connection, your attorney may retain a medical expert in your case, such as a treating neurologist. A neurologist can physically examine you, review all your medical records, and make a determination about causation.
For example, the medical provider can state in a written report, and to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that your head injury occurred as a result of the subject accident.
A qualified medical expert can also determine that your TBI is permanent and can speak to the likely symptoms that you may suffer for the rest of your life due to your injury. Furthermore, a medical expert can draft a written report, testify at a discovery deposition that takes place during litigation or testify as a witness during a civil jury trial.
Your attorney can retain the experts necessary to satisfy the legal burden of proof in your case, making you eligible to receive favorable monetary compensation for your head injuries and other losses.
Recovering Financial Compensation for a TBI
TBIs often require expensive medical care and treatment. Moreover, an individual who suffers a TBI may experience painful symptoms, including headaches, for the rest of their life.
As a result, an individual who suffers a TBI in an accident resulting from someone else's negligence may be in a position to receive various types of financial compensation.
Since TBIs are different, and because all personal injury cases are different, not every accident victim who suffers a head injury can recover the same types and amounts of monetary damages. Instead, the compensation award that an accident victim receives is very case-specific.
First, an accident victim may receive compensation for their related past and anticipated medical expenses. Furthermore, if they have to take time off work to treat their head injury and recover from their symptoms, they can bring a lost-wage claim.
If their head injury prevents them from returning to their former occupation, they may pursue a claim for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to recovering out-of-pocket costs and expenses, a head injury victim may be eligible to receive non-economic damages for their intangible losses.
These monetary damages compensate head injury victims for all the following: the loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, past and anticipated pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, inconvenience, permanent disability, permanent cognitive impairments, and long-term or lifetime care costs.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for TBI Compensation
A skilled personal injury attorney can handle every step of the claims-filing process in your TBI case.
First, your attorney can gather essential documents which may serve as the basis for your claim. Those documents and other evidence may include medical treatment records, expert reports for medical providers, medical bills, lost income documentation, imaging studies including head scans, incident reports, and police reports.
The insurance company adjuster handling your case will use all this documentation when making an evaluation and offering you settlement compensation.
Maximizing settlement compensation from an insurance company in a TBI case is often an uphill battle. Insurance companies, in an attempt to save money, frequently look for ways to deny liability in a head injury case or lessen the monetary compensation that an accident victim receives.
For example, the insurance company might argue that the accident victim is exaggerating their symptoms, that their injuries are not severe, or that they did not suffer a permanent head injury in their accident.
In response, your attorney can point to favorable expert evaluation, medical reports, and other documentation to show that you suffered a severe head injury.
Moreover, if the insurance company still refuses to budge on their offer, your lawyer can pursue litigation in court, file a lawsuit, handle the discovery process, and bring your case to an efficient resolution.
Even after filing a lawsuit in your case, your legal matter may still settle out of court at some point in time. In fact, all involved parties have an incentive to settle, given the high costs and expert fees associated with litigating a case in the state court system. If your legal matter does not resolve, however, then you have several options.
First, you may take your case to a civil jury trial and allow a jury to evaluate the evidence and decide on monetary compensation. Instead of taking your head injury case to a civil jury trial, you can pursue one or more types of alternative dispute resolution or ADR.
For example, if you take your case to a mediation session, a neutral mediator can direct the settlement discussions and bring the parties closer to a settlement. Similarly, at an arbitration proceeding, an arbitrator will evaluate the case and determine the amount of monetary compensation you can recover.
Your attorney can help you make the decision between settling your case or litigating your case in a court system to a favorable resolution.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Right Away About Your TBI
If you or someone you love suffered a TBI in an accident that a negligent individual brought about, time is of the essence. According to the state statute of limitations, an accident victim must file a personal injury lawsuit for monetary compensation within three years of the accident date.
Unless some extraordinary circumstance applies, which is usually not the case, an accident victim who files their lawsuit belatedly will be unable to recover any monetary damages for their head injury. If they file a lawsuit, the court will promptly dismiss their case.
If the statute of limitations is about to run out in your case, a personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf right away. Additionally, your attorney can handle all settlement negotiations and correspondence with insurance company representatives and zealously represent you at all litigation proceedings.
With the stakes so high, consult a Columbia personal injury attorney. Your attorney will maximize the compensation you receive for your head injury so that you become whole again as much as possible.