The brain is one of the body’s most important, if not the most crucial, organs. It is a powerful part of the body that controls everything from thoughts and memories to breathing and hunger. An injured brain can cause many symptoms and effects on the body.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result from trauma to the head and body. These brain injuries can range in severity but frequently lead to troublesome symptoms and could even end a person’s life. Not only does a TBI affect a person’s health and well-being, but it also brings extensive medical bills and other financial trouble.
If you suffer a TBI due to someone’s negligent or intentional wrongdoing, you may have the opportunity to take legal action. Taking action against a liable party allows you to hold them accountable for their actions while seeking the financial recovery you need.
Handling a brain injury claim alone can leave you feeling lost and confused, but a brain injury lawyer is best equipped to provide legal guidance. So when you need it most, count on a knowledgeable attorney to help get you on the path to financial recovery for your injuries and losses.
What Is a TBI?
A traumatic brain injury commonly results from a sudden and violent jolt to the head or body or the penetration of an object into the brain. Therefore, a person can sustain either a closed brain injury or an open brain injury.
TBIs include several brain injuries, including:
- Brain hemorrhages
- Intracranial hematomas
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI)
- Penetrating brain injuries
TBIs can affect people in various ways, depending on the TBI type and severity level. The effects of TBIs on a person’s health can be short-lived or could last an extended period. In the most unfortunate cases, suffering a TBI can result in death.
Symptoms of TBI
The symptoms of a TBI are typically associated with the severity of the injury. TBIs vary by level, including mild, moderate, or severe.
TBI symptoms can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Loss of consciousness
- Confusion or memory problems
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal
- Persistent headaches
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Inability to wake up
- Numbness in extremities
- Change in behavior
- Slurred speech
Symptoms of TBIs can appear immediately after the incident or take hours or days to appear.
Potential Long-Term Effects of a TBI
Proper treatment can alleviate many of the severe symptoms accompanying a brain injury. However, for some unlucky victims, the effects of a TBI can last long after they receive medical treatment.
The trauma the brain experiences during a TBI can leave many permanent problems.
Some of the long-term effects of a brain injury include:
- Persistent and severe headaches
- Memory loss
- Dizziness and problems with balance
- Visual changes
- Mood swings
- Impact on language skills and speech
- Sleep disturbances
- Mental health concerns, including depression
Permanent effects resulting from TBIs can significantly impact a person’s life, making it challenging to live and function normally. These health issues can also require additional medical treatment well into the future.
Diagnosing a TBI
Doctors use several tests to diagnose a TBI, including:
Computerized Tomography Scan (CT Scan)
A CT scan takes multiple X-rays at different angles to produce a complete picture of the brain. It is one of the more rapid tests, allowing doctors to quickly assess brain damage.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI uses magnets and radio waves to create a higher-quality image than a CT scan. However, it is often not used as the first type of test to diagnose a TBI, as MRIs take quite some time to complete.
Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)
The GCS can provide answers about a person’s brain function using exams to test three key areas:
- Ability to speak
- Ability to move
- Ability to open eyes
The doctor performs specific tests to assess how well the patient can function in these areas, and the result is a score from 3-15. A score of 3-8 indicates a severe brain injury, 9-12 is a moderate brain injury, and 13-15 is a mild brain injury.
In addition to the above tests, doctors may also perform additional testing, including:
- Blood tests
- Speech tests
- Cognitive tests
- Neuropsychological assessments
The healthcare provider can perform multiple tests to help diagnose the TBI and determine the severity of the injury.
Treatment for TBIs
Treatment for a TBI rests upon the type of TBI and the seriousness of the injury.
For mild TBIs, there is usually no substantial treatment involved. Instead, doctors often recommend plenty of rest, no strenuous activity, and pain relievers. Additionally, mild TBIs require time off from work, school, or other activities.
While mild TBIs don’t need extensive treatment, patients still need monitoring, as new symptoms could arise or existing symptoms can worsen.
For moderate to severe TBIs, treatment can include:
After formally diagnosing your TBI, your doctor can provide a plan to treat your TBI and accompanying symptoms.
Common Incidents Causing Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls, motor vehicle accidents, and assaults are among the most common events that lead to traumatic brain injuries.
Aside from these events, TBIs can arise from many different scenarios.
You can get a TBI after experiencing:
- Other types of accidents, including truck, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Intentional acts of violence
- Use of defective products
- Negligence of a healthcare provider
- Explosions and other incidents that jolt the body
If you experience an accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury, discuss your situation with an experienced brain injury lawyer. An attorney can review the details of your case and determine the best legal course of action.
Liability for TBIs
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable for the actions that resulted in your injuries.
Many brain injury lawsuits rest upon the legal theory of negligence.
To hold a party responsible for their actions, you must first establish the elements of negligence:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- Their breach caused your accident and injuries
- You suffered injuries and losses
So for example, if you get a TBI from a car accident caused by another driver, you would be responsible for proving that driver’s negligence.
You could assert that the driver owed you a duty of care to drive responsibly. They breached their duty of care by speeding. Speeding caused your accident, and you sustained a traumatic brain injury and other losses.
In a situation like this, you’d successfully establish the other party’s negligence, allowing you to proceed with pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Establishing liability is one of the most critical parts of a TBI case, but it is also particularly challenging. A brain injury attorney can gather relevant evidence and use their knowledge and resources to prove the other party’s negligence and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Insurance Settlements for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Depending on the details of the incident resulting in your TBI, your case may involve insurance companies. For instance, if you get a TBI after experiencing a truck accident, you’d likely pursue financial recovery from the trucking company’s insurer.
Seeking compensation from insurance companies is particularly difficult. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to limit liability and avoid paying you what you are entitled to receive. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have a hard time working with insurance companies.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny claims or refuse to settle for what your claim is worth. Fortunately, a brain injury lawyer knows how to battle with insurance companies and fight for your right to fair compensation.
Damages for TBIs in Florida
Damages represent the tangible and intangible losses you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury.
In Florida, damages for a TBI could include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost ability to earn
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Calculating damages in a brain injury case is typically difficult, but a brain injury lawyer knows how to perform this crucial task. Assigning a monetary value to your case helps your attorney pursue the fairest possible settlement.
What Is an Average Settlement for a TBI?
There is no average settlement you can expect to get for a brain injury. Every situation and case is different; therefore, no two settlements are alike.
What Factors Affect the Value of a TBI Claim?
To determine how much your case is worth, your brain injury attorney needs to examine various details of your situation.
Some of the factors lawyers review to calculate damages include:
- The type of brain injury
- The severity of the injury
- The medical expenses incurred
- Whether you’ll require additional medical treatment in the future
- The time it takes you to recover from the brain injury
- The total amount of lost wages
- The time you had to take off from work
- Whether your injury resulted in a permanent disability
- Any other tangible or intangible losses you suffered as a result of your TBI
Your lawyer thoroughly reviews your case to determine the actual value of your case before pursuing maximum compensation for your losses from the responsible party.
Should I Settle With the Insurance Company?
After experiencing an incident that results in a TBI, the insurance company may attempt to settle with you as soon as possible to avoid further legal action. However, in most cases, it is not wise to settle with the insurance company right away.
The insurer will likely provide a low and unfair initial settlement offer, hoping you’ll agree. If you’re unrepresented by an attorney, the insurance company will take full advantage of this—believing you are none the wiser—and will jump at the opportunity to settle.
It is important to note that once you agree to a settlement with the insurance company, you’re agreeing to avoid taking any further action, meaning you won’t have the chance to pursue additional compensation in the future.
Even if the insurance company makes a settlement offer, do not make any decisions without first discussing it with a brain injury lawyer.
Your attorney works on your behalf to protect your rights and best interests. Therefore, you can trust your lawyer will give you the best legal advice, whether that means agreeing or disagreeing with an initial settlement offer.
A Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help You Fight the Insurance Company
Fighting the insurance company after a TBI is not a one-person job—you should never attempt it alone. A brain injury attorney does everything necessary to handle your case and work toward the most favorable settlement.
Your brain injury lawyer will manage your case from inception to completion, taking on the essential tasks, including:
- Investigating your brain injury case
- Calculating the value of your case
- Gathering relevant evidence
- Interviewing experts and witnesses
- Communicating with the insurer and opposing parties
- Reviewing and negotiating settlement agreements
Whether your case settles outside of court or goes to trial, you can count on your brain injury lawyer to do whatever is necessary to get you the best outcome.
After Suffering a TBI, Consult a Brain Injury Attorney
Traumatic brain injuries are among some of the worst types of injuries. They can require extensive treatment and leave victims with life-altering consequences and medical troubles.
If you suffer a TBI, you’re not alone. Fighting the insurance company can seem scary and daunting, but you won’t have to do it alone with the help of a brain injury attorney. Contact a lawyer to give you peace of mind knowing your case is in the best hands and allows you to focus on your physical and mental recovery.