Are you aware that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the number one cause of permanent disability and death in the United States for children and adults alike?
In the United States, over 64,000 TBI-related deaths were recorded in 2020. In Texas alone, an estimated 479,000 individuals acquire disabilities caused by TBI. Most of them have limited options for long-term and extensive medical support. More or less, 144,000 Texans sustain a TBI yearly, 80% of which are mild cases and 20% are moderate to severe cases. Those at greater risk of TBI include, but are not limited to, military members and the national guard, police and law enforcement, athletes, construction workers, domestic violence victims, individuals with mental conditions, and individuals with substance use disorders.
Despite emerging technologies and research to treat TBI, chances of rehabilitation and full recovery are slim.
The principal question to consider is this: How can one sustain the steep costs of a traumatic brain injury to attain a complete and functional recovery? Most people do not have the resources to treat a traumatic brain injury or any TBI-related disabilities. In reality, the expensive medical costs prohibit the best outcomes for individuals with traumatic brain injury. According to a study, the lifetime costs of a traumatic brain injury patient run from $85,000 to $3 million. This is worth more than any average person can save in his lifetime.
To get a substantial amount of compensation, hiring an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer, therefore, is the best course of action.
Read on to learn all the information you need to know if you have a traumatic brain injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
To say that a traumatic brain injury dramatically affects people’s lives is an understatement. It is thus crucial to know the types of traumatic brain injury for early detection and treatment.
Closed-brain or closed-head injuries happen when there is a non-penetrating injury to the brain without a break in the skull. The damage to the brain can be in the form of bruising of the brain, a concussion, or can cause bleeding in or around the brain. Although there may be no physical signs of injury, the brain can swell inside the skull. This puts intense pressure on delicate tissues and nerves, causing permanent damage.
The most common causes of a closed-brain injury are concussions, mass lesions, diffuse injuries, falls from a substantial height, sports injuries, and motor vehicle accidents. The same is common to babies suffering from the so-called “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”
Closed-head injuries that involve bleeding and swelling can be severe. Urgent medical treatment is required to relieve the increased pressure surrounding the brain.
Penetrating Brain Injuries
Penetrating brain injuries or open-head injuries occur when an object breaks the skull and harms the brain. One perfect example is when a bullet pierces through the brain.
In addition to the physical damage to the brain, open wounds in the skull may be infected, resulting in complications. Skull fractures and penetrating brain injuries are life-threatening where urgent medical attention is needed.
The nuances of a traumatic brain injury case largely depend on several factors — the complexity of the case, the nature, and severity of the injuries, the losses of the claimant, and the specific amount sought, among others. Fortunately, there is no fixed guideline on the amount of compensation you can get.
Typically, damages are awarded as monetary compensation to the injured party. These are imposed if the court finds merit that the party at fault violated the injured party’s rights.
In Houston, Texas, the average amount for a traumatic brain injury claim amounts to at least $100,000, but many claims hit the $1 million mark. However, if you are experiencing a severe traumatic brain injury, a $1 million-hospital bill and aftercare in one year is not impossible.
Brain injury compensation claims are complex. It requires the expertise of a traumatic brain injury lawyer to ensure that the claim is dealt with correctly.
What, then, are the kinds of damages that you can claim in a traumatic brain injury case?
Economic damages refer to compensation for actual and direct financial losses of the traumatic brain injury victim, including but are not limited to, loss of employment, lost of
earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, property damage or replacement costs and attorney’s fees, among others.
If your injury is fatal, the injured party’s family members are entitled to the economic damages that the victim would be entitled to if he had survived. The family members can also claim burial and funeral expenses.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for subjective and non-monetary losses, such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, emotional distress, trauma, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.
These are less concrete than economic damages and are subjectively evaluated by the court.
When to File a Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
Houston, Texas, has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
If you happen to suffer from a traumatic brain injury due to another’s negligence, you have a period of two years from the date of the accident within which to file a claim against the party at fault. Otherwise, the claim is barred forever.
Depending on the nature of the injury and the surrounding circumstances, the amount of compensation you will get may be based on the following factors:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Loss of past and future earnings;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Loss of use of property;
- Costs of repair or replacement;
- Loss of employment of business opportunities;
- Loss of wages and other benefits;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Pain and suffering.
In essence, you must be able to prove that 1) you have sustained a traumatic brain injury, 2) the injury was not pre-existing, and 3) the injury resulted from the reckless or negligent act of the responsible party.
What will happen if you are incapacitated or unable to appear or file a traumatic brain injury claim personally? Your spouse or any family member may be able to file on his behalf.
What if you died from a brain injury accident? Your spouse or family member may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
Remember that the majority or, if not all, traumatic brain injury compensation claims are settled before trial. It is thus essential to hire an expert traumatic brain injury lawyer with your best interests at heart during negotiations to get the compensation you deserve.
How to Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
In traumatic brain injury cases, the victim’s lawyer must be able to prove the fault of the responsible party on the grounds of negligence or comparative negligence, intentional wrong, or strict liability.
Negligence is defined as the omission of that level of care which a reasonable and prudent would do under the same circumstances. To put simply, negligence is the failure to behave with the degree of care which someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under similar circumstances. As a consequence, the omission of the required degree of care which one owes to another in a situation causes another person damage, injury or loss.
As a traumatic brain injury victim, you must be able to show that the responsible party caused the injury or did not take action to prevent the injury.
Comparative negligence, on the one hand, is based on the negligence contributed by each party in an accident. It is a tort principle used by the court to reduce the amount of damages the injured party can recover in a negligence-based claim according to the degree of negligence each party contributed to the incident. In some situations, more than one person may be at fault for the injury.
If your actions contributed to your injury or have made it worse, you be held partially responsible for your injuries. The compensation will thus be equitably reduced.
An intentional wrong is an act or omission taken or omitted by a party with knowledge or intent that injury or damage could reasonably be expected to result. If the responsible party deliberately harmed the injured party, it is considered an intentional wrong.
In such cases, you only need to prove that the responsible party intended to cause you harm.
Strict liability exists when a responsible party is liable for an action, regardless of their intent or mental capacity. In this case, the responsible party can be held liable for a traumatic brain injury claim caused by a dangerous or defective product, even if they are unaware of the defect.
Here, you only need to prove that the product was indeed defective and that the defect caused the injury.
Remember that having a traumatic brain injury is different from proving it, especially if another’s negligence caused such damage.
Therefore, a reputable traumatic brain injury lawyer is one of your best shots to obtain sufficient compensation based on your medical needs.
What are you waiting for?