A traumatic brain injury can change your life – or the life of a loved one – forever.
These devastating injuries may occur due to car accidents, medical errors, slips or falls, or under any circumstance when another party’s actions lead to an accident.
In the U.S., head injuries are an all-too-common cause of catastrophic injury and wrongful death.
After any catastrophic injury, your medical bills begin to accumulate.
If you cannot work, you will have no way to pay your emergency treatment bills or household expenses or to obtain the comprehensive medical care you need to recover.
Recovering compensation can be daunting, especially if you’re fighting with the effects of TBI. For help, call on a traumatic brain injury lawyer in Birmingham. You don’t have to fight this battle alone.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The Brain Injury Association of America defines TBI as an “alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.”
TBI is a form of a neurological disorder that requires expert trauma care, highly specialized support services, and comprehensive disease management, potentially for the duration of the patient’s life.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically results from a blow to the head, penetrating object, or severe jolt that disrupts brain function. These injuries can be closed or open, ranging from mild to severe. Head injuries are highly complex, often consisting of multiple types of damage.
Some of the most common types of brain injuries are as follows.
Intracranial hematomas occur when blood vessels rupture. As a result, blood accumulates and clots inside the brain or between the brain and the skull.
Fractures to the skull can cause damage to brain tissue and allow an infection to penetrate.
Fractures can be linear (a thin crack), depressed (breaking or crushing inward, placing pressure on the brain), or basilar (occurring at the base of the brain and potentially allowing cerebrospinal fluid leakage).
Brain contusions result in the bruising of brain tissue and lesions at the point of impact. These injuries occur most typically when the head is propelled rapidly forward and backward, such as in a car accident.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
In a DAI injury, the connections of the brain can sustain damage in a twisting or rotational movement. These injuries result most often when the victim sustains a blow to the head.
According to the Love Your Brain Foundation (LYB), the prevalence of traumatic brain injury in the United States is significant. Two key statistical highlights support this assertion:
- Over 2.8 million TBIs occur every year in the U.S., and
- 3.2 – 5.3 million U.S. residents currently live with a TBI-related disability.
In Birmingham, brain injury law firms assist thousands of injury accident victims every year in their fight to recover the compensation they deserve. Although no settlement can undo the pain and last effects of a TBI, recovering fair financial compensation can provide for the victim’s treatment and care and provide peace of mind for the future.
Why Is a Brain Injury Worse Than Other Kinds of Injuries?
When a victim suffers a serious head injury, they may lose their cognitive abilities, physical abilities, or both.
TBI can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional effects. For many victims, these symptoms never resolve, leaving them permanently affected.
Physical Effects of TBI
- Chronic pain,
- Loss of balance and coordination,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Headache, and
- Vision problems.
Cognitive Effects of TBI
- Communication problems,
- Memory loss,
- Concentration problems, and
- Sensitivity to sound and light.
Emotional Effects of TBI
- Uncooperativeness, and
- Lack of self-sufficiency.
Victims of brain injuries experience a wide range of behavioral challenges, including poor judgment.
Many victims become addicts or substance abusers. Another common problem associated with TBI is aphasia, the loss of effective speech and language production. Victims may lose their ability to hold a job, socialize, or maintain close relationships.
Unlike many other types of physical injuries, few TBIs get better over time. For most victims, neither surgery nor medication can do much more than manage symptoms. In fact, many severe head injuries are untreatable and permanent.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?
According to the National Aphasia Association (NAA), traumatic brain injuries cause or contribute to almost a third of injury-related deaths in the U.S. each year. Brain injuries occur frequently due to falls. However, car accidents and commercial trucking accidents also cause many severe brain injuries.
Some of the most common brain injury causes are as follows:
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Being struck by an object, and
- Assault or violence.
By age group, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the most common causes of TBI include:
- Victims aged 65 and above: slip and fall accidents; and
- Victims aged 15-24, 25-34, and 75 or older: motor vehicle crashes.
For victims under the age of four and over the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits. Falls are the most common reason for hospitalization for victims up to age 17 and over age 55. For victims aged five to 15, being struck in the head by an object is the most common TBI-related reason for going to the emergency room. Car accidents are the most common reason for TBI-related hospitalization for adolescents and victims aged 15 to 44.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention After a Head Injury?
Any type of head injury can lead to serious complications and negative health outcomes—even those that may not seem significant at the time.
BrainLine lists the following brain injury symptoms as strong indicators that you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Memory loss,
- Feeling confused,
- Inability to concentrate,
- Feeling moody (sad, irritable, apathetic),
- Head pressure,
- Balance issues,
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears),
- Blurred vision,
- Dilated pupils (one or both),
- Sensitivity to noise or light,
- Feeling unusually sleepy,
- Feeling unusually wide awake,
- Slurred speech, and
- Numbness or weakness in the extremities.
Sometimes the symptoms of TBI do not present for days or possibly even weeks after sustaining head trauma.
For this reason, you should seek medical attention after any type of accident that involves being hit in the head.
A medical professional can assess your potential injuries and conduct testing to determine the extent of the damage. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcome may be. Seeing a doctor or another medical practitioner immediately can also provide critical evidence that your attorney can use to document your claim.
If you aren’t sure what to do after you sustain a head injury, contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer for help.
Can You Recover Compensation for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
If someone else’s actions caused you or a loved one to suffer a brain injury, you may have the legal right to recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
The medical costs for treating a head injury can easily grow into the millions of dollars. And, if you require further treatment or long-term care, the costs will continue to mount. If you are unable to work, you will have no way to pay your bills or keep a roof over your head.
These are just a few of the scenarios in which you could have a valid legal claim for compensation.
- Motor vehicle accident – if the accident resulted from someone else’s actions;
- Medical malpractice – including diagnostic and treatment errors or inaction on the part of a medical practitioner;
- Slip and fall accident – if the property owner failed to maintain safe conditions or warn visitors about potential hazards; and
- Criminal attack or violence—if the incident occurred due to unsafe conditions in the workplace or a public location.
Almost any type of accident or injury that resulted from a person’s or company’s careless or negligent actions may qualify you to pursue legal recourse. Your lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid claim and whether someone’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries.
What Is the Value of My Traumatic Brain Injury Case?
To determine the value of your claim, your traumatic brain injury attorney will consider some or all of the following:
- Current medical bills and care costs,
- Future medical bills and care costs,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future income potential,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of life enjoyment.
Your lawyer will assemble medical bills, wage statements, and other relevant documents to prove current costs. To project future costs, your lawyer may call on the opinion or testimony of neurologists or other medical experts.
This is especially important for long-term or permanent disability, as the insurance company is likely to argue that your injuries will not have a long-term effect on your life.
In the event that a TBI leads to the victim’s death, the victim’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death action. A Birmingham wrongful death lawyer can provide the answers and guidance you need to pursue compensation.
How Does a TBI Lawyer Prove Liability for a Catastrophic Head Injury?
To establish fault for your accident, your lawyer must demonstrate the four elements of a personal injury claim.
1. Duty of care – the person or business responsible for the injury owed you a duty of care. For example, a property owner has a duty to provide a generally safe environment for visitors.
2. Breach of duty – the responsible party somehow breached their duty. In this example, a lawyer must prove that a property owner breached his or her duty because they knew (or reasonably should have known) that their badly broken sidewalk posed a trip hazard.
3. Causation – the unsafe conditions caused your accident. In this example, a brain injury attorney must prove that the injury occurred when the victim tripped and fell because of the broken sidewalk.
4. Damages – the injury resulted in provable monetary damages. Your attorney must provide documentation to substantiate the amount of the brain injury claim.
To support your claim, your traumatic brain injury attorney may use statements from medical experts, eyewitness testimony, or accident scene reconstruction.
Related Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Personal injury lawyers assist victims of brain injuries as well as other types of catastrophic injuries. A catastrophic injury is any injury that is life-threatening or that has a significant or long-term impact on the victim’s life. In many cases, victims suffer more than one type of injury when they are involved in an accident.
Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries that victims experience in conjunction with TBIs include:
- Loss of sight or hearing,
- Neck or spinal cord injury,
- Nerve damage,
- Internal injury,
- Severe burns,
- Loss of digits or limbs,
- Scarring and disfigurement,
- Paralysis, and
- Para- or quadriplegia.
Catastrophic injury attorneys understand the implications of these conditions for the victim and the victim’s family. Talking to an attorney will help you understand your options for holding the at-fault party accountable and seeking fair compensation for your losses.
Choosing a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer in Birmingham, AL
Time is of the essence if you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain or head injury.
The longer you wait to engage the services of a brain injury lawyer, the harder it becomes to track down critical evidence.
You and your family deserve representation for a compassionate firm that will work diligently on your behalf, protect your legal rights, and fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve
At the Fob James Law Firm, our brain injury lawyers assist Birmingham TBI victims and their families, providing compassionate and highly personalized representation.
Your future may depend on your ability to recover compensation for your losses.
Don’t leave your future health and well-being to chance. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced Birmingham brain injury lawyers.