Traumatic Brain Injury

Anyone who was in an accident that results in an injury to their head may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Car accidents, falls, and deliberate actions such as a beating or attack from behind can result in a victim suffering one of these life-altering injuries. We are going to answer some of the common questions about TBI for victims and their families.

What Can Cause a Traumatic Brain Injury?

As a victim of a car accident or other type of accident, you may be wondering why your doctor diagnosed a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The fact is, any time your head is bumped or jolted, your brain is in danger. Types of head trauma include jolts to the head, bumps, blows, or when an object penetrates the skull.

Like all injuries, TBIs occur in stages from mild to severe. Even a mild TBI may affect a person for the rest of their life.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Victims often do not understand how easy a TBI can occur. If you have recently been diagnosed with a TBI, it may be because you were involved in one of the following types of incidents:

  • A car accident
  • A slip and fall accident
  • A deliberate blow to the head during a fight
  • An accidental blow to the head during a sporting event
  • A gunshot wound or knife wound to the skull
  • Items falling on your head from a height

These are a few of the types of incidents that may have resulted in your TBI. Any accident that strikes your head can cause a TBI.

What Signs Should I Watch for Which Indicate a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A head injury victim should watch for signs of a serious TBI. Some signs are physical, others emotional, and some are sensory issues. Any one of these symptoms may not seem significant on its own, but if you find multiple symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Beware of:

  • Physical issues – always seek medical attention for a lack of coordination, numbness in your extremities, uncontrollable headaches, or other signs that may indicate a problem. Remember, every person’s physical health is different, and your symptoms may signal a more serious problem.
  • Emotional issues – a TBI victim may lash out at those around them for no apparent reason. A sudden lack of control over one’s emotions, memory issues, unexplainable mood swings, and other emotional issues could be signs of TBI. You know yourself better than anyone and you alone can determine what abnormal behavior is.
  • Sensory issues – some TBI victims complain about ringing in their ears, a bad taste in their mouth, nausea, and other symptoms that other problems can’t explain. Make sure you consider the source of these symptoms and if they are unexplained, seek medical advice.

Remember, these are only some of the signs you may be suffering from TBI-induced issues. Anytime you have suffered a head injury, you need to pay attention to the signals your body sends you.

What Are the Mildest Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Victims often vomit and experience fatigue, a loss of consciousness, temporary conditions including confusion, lack of coordination, and headaches following a concussion. These symptoms may never resolve. Take care when performing any tasks that require decision-making or physical stress.

How Do I Prove Negligence for a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Every personal injury lawsuit requires proof of negligence. You must demonstrate three basic elements before you can hold someone accountable for your TBI.

They are:

  • The person owed you a duty of care
  • The person breached their duty of care to you
  • Had the duty of care not been breached, you would not have suffered a TBI

Here are some examples which can help you further understand these elements:

Scenario OneA car accident: You are traveling home from work and stop at a red light. The light turns green, and you begin moving forward through the intersection. Suddenly your car is broadsided on the passenger side. As a result, your head strikes the driver’s side window.

You pull over to the side of the road and the driver who struck you pulls up behind you. The driver gets out of their car and comes up to your car to inquire about your condition. You smell alcohol on their breath. The police come to the accident scene, and you are taken to the hospital by ambulance because you lost consciousness at the scene. The police cite the other driver for driving under the influence (DUI).

At the hospital, tests show you suffered a brain injury when your head struck the window.

Elements: (a) every driver owes other motorists a duty of care; (b) drunk driving is against the law, but it also jeopardizes everyone on the road; (c) you would not have a TBI were it not for the fact the driver collided with your car. This car accident was not your fault and the at-fault driver should be held accountable.

Scenario TwoItems dropping from heights: You are in a supermarket where an employee puts items on shelves. As you walk down the aisle, the stock person knocks a large can of juice off a top shelf, and it strikes you in the head. You fall to the floor striking your head on the ladder the employee was standing on.

Because you fell, someone contacted emergency medical services. When they arrive, you go to the hospital. In addition to requiring stitches, doctors tell you that you have a concussion. Later tests reveal the head injury you suffered resulted in a moderate TBI.

Elements: (a) a store owner owes those who enter their premises an element of safety; (b) had the employee worked stocking shelves off-hours, or set up a warning sign, you would have received a warning that items may fall; (c) had it not been for the can striking your head, you would not have fallen and hit the ladder resulting in a TBI. A premises liability lawyer could help address this situation.

As you can see, in very different situations, you can show the liability of another party for the harm you suffered. Remember, each situation is unique. Call a Charleston brain injury lawyer to get the best advice possible about your specific situation.

How Much Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Victim Claim in Damages?

No two TBI situations are equal. Because every situation is different, it is nearly impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer that will apply to every TBI victim.

Here are some damages that most people who suffer an injury due to the negligent behavior of another party may claim:

  • Medical expenses – if your medical insurance does not cover all the medical costs associated with your injury, you have the right to include the excess expenses as part of your claim. If your TBI requires lengthy medical care, your TBI lawyer can find experts to estimate future medical care costs.
  • The income you lose – your wages may be the only income your family depends on and when you suffer an injury, your whole family suffers. During your recovery, you may need to use sick days, personal days, and vacation days. This means, in addition to taking home less money, you are losing benefits you could otherwise use at your own discretion. You may include these losses in a claim. Remember, if you are unable to return to work, there are ways to determine what you will lose in future income and include that figure in your claim.
  • Other losses – you may have to spend money to modify your home to make it accessible. You can include these modifications in your claim. If your family member lost their life due to a TBI, you may include expenses for a funeral and burial.

These are general categories of damages and, again, we remind you that every case is different. Your case may involve other damage, including property damage. Your personal injury legal team can help make sure your claim is thorough and that you are getting the maximum possible compensation for a TBI.

Should I Discuss the Extent of My Injuries With the Insurance Adjuster?

No—at least not until you have spoken with a lawyer to get legal advice. You should be aware the insurance company is not likely going to want to wait to make you a settlement offer. In some cases, the earlier an insurer pays a claim, the less they must pay.

Once you have accepted a settlement offer, the insurance company has no further liability. Therefore, until you are certain about the long-term consequences of your TBI, you should not accept any offer made by the insurer. Your best bet is to allow your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company and explain your options.

What Steps Will a Lawyer Take to Protect Traumatic Brain Injury Victims?

When you hire a personal injury attorney to seek a settlement for your TBI, their goal is to make sure you get the maximum potential compensation. Naturally, regardless of the past results an attorney may have, there is never a guarantee of success in your case.

There are some steps an attorney will take care of on your behalf to protect your interests including:

  • Handling insurance claims – an experienced attorney knows how to deal with an aggressive insurance adjuster. The lawyer will handle all paperwork and make sure you don’t sign anything that will endanger your rights. Additionally, they will discuss all offers that the insurer makes and explain the pros and cons of accepting them.
  • Contacting expert witnesses – while many personal injury claims do not wind up going to trial, the fact is medical and financial experts are a necessary part of ensuring your settlement demand is as complete as possible. An experienced lawyer knows which experts could help with your case.
  • Obtaining evidence and statements – an important aspect of a TBI case is the evidence of the injury and statements from witnesses to the incident. An attorney knows how to get the relevant evidence, including surveillance video that may get erased after 30 days. This is why a victim must speak to an attorney early in the process.
  • Prepare for trial if necessary – while trials are the exception for a lawsuit, find a lawyer who will prepare for one just in case. South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-3-530 gives you only three years to file suit, so if the insurance company will not act in good faith, your lawyer must fully prepare to move forward with a lawsuit.

These are only some of the matters a law firm will do if you hire them to handle your TBI claim.

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Lawyer for My Traumatic Brain Injury Case?

It will cost you nothing upfront to hire the Hughey Law Firm. You can call us today for a free consultation with no obligation. Furthermore, when you decide to hire us, we will work on a contingency fee basis. This means unless we successfully obtain a settlement or judgment for you, you will not need to pay us.

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Call the Hughey Law Firm’s Charleston Brain Injury Lawyers Today

Whether you suffered a TBI or you are a family member who lost a loved one because of an accident resulting in a TBI, the time to contact a Charleston brain injury attorney at the Hughey Law Firm is today. We will inform you about your options and protect your legal rights.

You can get in touch with us at any time, day or night, at our Charleston office at (843) 881-8644 or through our website’s contact form.