Houston Traumatic Brain Injury Legal Issues
If you have a traumatic brain injury, you are not alone. Each day, 611 Americans go to the hospital for a traumatic brain injury (TBI). And unfortunately, 176 people die from a TBI every day.
But there is good news. If your TBI resulted from an accident, you might be able to file a Houston traumatic brain injury lawsuit. This is especially the case if someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
You may also be in for a pretty significant payday. You can receive compensation for your medical bills, days lost at work, future earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Want to know more about TBIs, TBI personal injury lawsuits, and where to find the best personal injury attorney in Houston? Then keep reading this guide for answers to all your questions.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Industry (TBI)?
Traumatic brain injuries occur after someone receives an aggressive blow to the head, and TBIs are also common after a violent jolt from a car accident. And less commonly, people who survive gunshot wounds to the brain or severe skull fractures develop TBIs.
The most well-known type of TBI is a concussion – this is a type of mild TBI. But there are also more serious TBIs, which doctors call moderate to severe TBIs.
Mild TBIs may only cause temporary injury and symptoms. But when a TBI is moderate to severe, it can result in extensive damage to the brain, and this damage can cause long-term, debilitating symptoms or even ultimate death.
What Are the Symptoms of Mild TBI?
A mild TBI causes temporary damage to the brain, and it may only affect a few brain cells, which the brain can recover from.
Mild TBIs also cause the following symptoms:
- Speech difficulties
- Changes to taste or smell
- Sensitivity to sound
- Light sensitivity
Additionally, many people experience cognitive symptoms. These include feeling confused, having trouble with memory, difficulty concentrating, violent mood swings, and sleep disruptions. People with mild TBI may also experience feelings of anxiety or depression.
What Are the Symptoms of Moderate to Severe TBI?
People who experience moderate to severe TBIs have some long-lasting injuries, and this is due to the more extensive damage that occurs to the brain.
Symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI include:
- Losing consciousness
- Headaches that last for minutes to hours
- Repeated episodes of vomiting or nausea
- Pupil dilation
- Nose or ear drainage
- Difficulty waking up
- Numbness in the extremities
- Balance issues
Like mild TBI, moderate to severe brain injuries also impact your behavior and mental health. People with these injuries sometimes experience profound, long-term confusion and slurring speech. They may also present with behavior or personality traits they did not possess before the accident.
Is TBI Common After an Accident?
Yes. Accidents are the two most common causes of TBI in the US. Car accidents cause about 17.3% of TBIs, and slips and falls cause a whopping 35% annually.
Falling typically causes a direct blow to the head, and this can lead to a brain bruise, at the least, or damage to neurons and even blood vessels, at worst.
Car crashes can also cause TBIs due to a direct blow. But more commonly, car accidents cause TBIs because of whiplash. Whiplash is a violent jolt to the head, which causes the brain to make contact with the skull.
Negligence: The Basis for TBI Lawsuits
TBI lawsuits fall under the area of law known as personal injury. And to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove negligence. More specifically, your attorney has to show that someone else’s negligence caused your accident.
But what exactly is negligence? In Texas, the law defines four different kinds of failure. Your attorney must prove the four essential elements of negligence to win your case.
We are talking about each of these next.
Types of Negligence
Texas law recognizes many types of negligence, including the following:
- Comparative negligence
- Vicarious liability
- Gross negligence
- Criminal negligence
Comparative negligence is most common in Texas personal injury cases. Also known as a comparative or shared fault, this type of negligence allows injured persons to collect damages even if they are partially to blame for the accident.
For example, consider a case where another driver’s negligence caused an accident, and the other driver gets injured. As long as the other driver was less than 50% responsible for the accident, they can file a claim.
Essential Elements of Negligence
So, how exactly do attorneys prove negligence during traumatic brain injury litigation? Negligence has five essential elements your Houston attorney must prove:
- Breach of Duty
- Cause in Fact
- Proximate Cause
- Measurable Injuries or Losses
“Duty” refers to the negligent party’s duty to act with a reasonable amount of care. When they fail to provide reasonable care, they have committed a “Breach of Duty.”
“Cause in Fact” means that the negligent party’s Breach of Duty directly or indirectly caused your injury. Furthermore, your lawyer must prove that the negligent party knew that their Breach of Duty could cause harm to you or any other person. This latter element is what we mean by “Proximate Cause.”
“Measurable Injuries or Losses” means the injured party’s lawyer must prove that they suffered injury or some other loss (e.g., loss of income). For example, a personal injury attorney may not be able to prove mental injury.
Personal Injury Lawsuit FAQs
We hope this guide has helped you better understand personal injury law and negligence. Now, we wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about TBI lawsuits.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits?
A statute of limitations is a deadline by which you must file a lawsuit or else forfeit your case. Statutes of limitations vary by case and by state, and in Texas, personal injury cases’ statute of limitations is two years.
In other words, you or your lawyer must file your lawsuit within two years of the accident that caused your injury. If you do not file within that timeline, you can not file a case for your damage in the future.
The only exception to this rule is if you are filing a case against the Texas State Government. Then, you have to file a formal claim within six months.
Is Texas a No-Fault State?
No-fault states ban people from filing personal injury lawsuits if they had any blame for the accident causing their injury. You can’t file if you are even 1% to blame for the accident. Luckily, Texas is not a no-fault state.
Remember when we talked about comparative negligence? That is the type of fault-based system Texas courts use. That means two things:
- If you are found 50% or more to blame for the accident, you can not collect damages from the other party.
- If you are found more than 1% but less than 50% to blame for the accident, the court will reduce your award proportionally.
An example of the second point is if you win $100,000 for your TBI, but the court finds you 2% responsible for the accident. The judge would subtract 2% from your award, leaving you with $98,000.
How Much Can I Win in a Texas Personal Injury Case?
The amount of damages you can win in a Texas TBI lawsuit depends on a few factors. These factors include your share of contributory negligence, the extent of your injury, and the experience of your injury lawyer.
An example of a TBI case from a car accident happened in 2017, where a woman developed a TBI after a car collision. She ultimately collected $135,375 from the lawsuit.
One thing to note is that Texas places no caps on personal injury awards. You can recover thousands or even millions depending on the particulars of your case. Your award might only see a cap if your TBI occurred due to medical malpractice.
Need a Houston Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer?
Accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries. If your accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to file a lawsuit and win damages for your medical bills and more.
Are you searching for a Houston traumatic brain injury attorney to help you win your case? We offer free consultations for all our prospective clients. Contact us today to schedule yours!