Traumatic Brain Injury
Every year in America, there are approximately 1.7 million traumatic brain injury (TBI) related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits. If you or a loved one has suffered TBI due to the careless actions or negligence of a third party, our Boston brain injury lawyers can advise you of your legal rights and help you secure appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Survivors of traumatic brain injuries often face lifelong challenges when learning to cope with permanent damage, such as the loss of various physical and mental abilities. In many cases, it will also affect the survivor’s family and loved ones, who may struggle to afford the daily care and medical treatment of traumatic brain injury that is often necessary after such serious trauma and damage. The financial costs of living with a TBI can quickly add up and deplete a family’s life savings in a short amount of time.
This article discusses the common causes of traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms, the types of legal cases that victims can pursue, the available compensation for victims, and how the experienced brain injury attorneys at Swartz and Swartz can assist in the recovery of such compensation.
What Accidents Cause TBIs?
Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by a variety of accidents and medical conditions. Most commonly, head injuries occur due to one of the following types of incidents:
- Car and Auto Accidents. The blunt force associated with car and auto accidents has the potential to cause traumatic head injury to the vehicles’ occupants. Even if everyone seems to be unharmed and feeling fine right after the car accident, it is possible to have sustained an injury to the brain that will become evident in the days that follow. The force of the collision or the rollover accident, can cause the skull to be shaken by having the head thrown forward and then snapped back, movement that can be sufficient to cause swelling, increase intracranial pressure or small fractures in the skull. It can also cause diffuse axonal injury which occurs as widespread lesions instead of a specific area in the brain, due to traumatic shearing forces when the head is rapidly accelerated or decelerated. However, many victims do not display symptoms of TBI until weeks or even months have passed.
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents. Bicyclists and pedestrians, are at a heightened risk of head injury in a collision, even while wearing helmets. Like auto vehicle accidents, the brain is susceptible to swelling and fracture when a collision occurs, and those involved in such collisions should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a TBI.
- Slip, Trip and Fall Events. When falling, it is possible to strike the head on the way to the ground or when landing. If the impact on the head is strong enough, it is possible to suffer a brain damage. Again, it is very important that anyone that has suffered a fall accident where the head is impacted should be alert to potential brain injury symptoms in the days and weeks that follow.
- Medical Malpractice. During certain surgical procedures where the patient is positioned face down, it is possible for circulation to the brain to be cut off for an extended period of time. In such circumstances, if the patient is not properly monitored, he or she could suffer a TBI. It is the responsibility of the attending medical staff to monitor blood oxygen levels and to ensure that the patient’s heart and brain are receiving an adequate supply of oxygen to prevent damage to vital organs.
- Injuries During Birth. The process of delivering a child can involve trauma to the newborn’s head if not professionally and skillfully managed. In addition, the use of devices to assist with delivery may cause damage to the head if not used properly. It is important that doctors and attending staff are vigilant in monitoring the child’s vital signs for symptoms of fetal distress that can be indicative of child injury.
- Miscellaneous. Firearms, violent assaults, sports injuries, drug injuries, construction accidents, explosions, and defective products can also cause TBIs.
Typical Symptoms of Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries have a variety of possible symptoms. However, it is important to note that some people will only exhibit one or two symptoms, while others may show multiple effects. Symptoms, which can happen immediately after a traumatic event, or weeks or months later, may include the following:
- Loss of consciousness;
- Confusion and difficulty remembering recent events;
- Vision changes (blurred vision or seeing double, inability to tolerate light, blindness, loss of eye movement);
- Dizziness and balance problems;
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body;
- Coma or semi-comatose state;
- Paralysis and difficulty moving body parts;
- Loss or diminished sense of smell and taste;
- Problems reading, speaking, writing;
- Difficulty understanding spoken words;
- Slow pulse;
- Slow breathing rate with increase in blood pressure;
- Spinal fluid coming out of the ears or nose;
- Ringing in ears;
- Difficulty with thinking skills (memory problems, poor judgment, inability to pay attention);
- Loss of bowel control or bladder control; and
- Body numbness or tingling.
Pursuing a Legal Claim for Brain Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered a head trauma, and you believe that someone else may be at fault for what happened, you may want to consider bringing a lawsuit to recover compensation for the damages that you suffered. Consulting an experienced personal injury law firm is the best way to protect your legal rights. There are many types of legal claims that can be pursued, however most will fall within the general category of a “negligence” claim. For a brain trauma caused by someone else’s action or inaction, the victim may pursue a negligence claim, which involves proving (1) that someone owed the victim a legal duty of reasonable care, (2) that they failed to fulfill that duty, and (3) that as a result of that failure, the victim suffered injuries. One specific type of negligence claim, for example, is a “product liability” claim, which is pursued when the injury is the result of the use of a defective product or piece of equipment, sold following negligence during the design, testing, or manufacturing. Regardless of the specific cause(s) of these significant injuries, such claims require sophisticated, experienced head injury lawyers to represent the victim and help secure just compensation.
What Injuries and Damages Can Be Compensated in a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
In pursuing a lawsuit after suffering a traumatic brain injury, individuals may be able to recoup compensation for both out of pocket economic damages, and non-economic damages based on a decreased quality of life. Specific types of recoverable damages include:
- Medical Bills: In a TBI lawsuit, victims may seek compensation for any medical bills related to the injury, such as medical expenses related to doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, ambulance services, rehabilitation, and occupational therapy.
- Lost Wages: Individuals who suffer head injuries may miss substantial time from work. By filing a brain damage lawsuit, accident victims may be able to recover workers compensation for any lost wages that resulted from the head trauma. Additionally, victims may also receive compensation for any damage to their future earning ability.
- Pain and Suffering: Victims of head injuries may be eligible to pursue monetary damages for any lasting physical or emotional distress and pain, which many suffer on a daily basis after suffering the injuries.
- Loss of Life’s Enjoyment: In a successful brain injury lawsuit, the plaintiff may also be entitled to compensation for his or her inability to participate in activities that they once enjoyed prior to the head trauma.
- Wrongful Death: When a head injury is fatal, the victims’ family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In these cases, the family can pursue compensation for financial damages, such as funeral costs, resulting from their loved one’s death, as well as the unique losses they face, including loss of care, comfort, companionship, and support of their loved one.
It is important to note that even when negligence and causation can be established, obtaining appropriate compensation can be challenging, since the burden of evaluating and presenting evidence of the long-term impact of a head trauma remains with the brain injury victim or victim’s family. Likewise, it can be difficult to quantify the value of such injuries and determine the appropriate compensation. Collecting and outlining all of the immediate and future medical costs, as well as the potential non-economic damages relating to quality of life, requires extensive research and investigation, review of existing medical records and input from qualified expert witnesses, such as neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, economists, and other professionals. The Boston brain damage attorneys at Swartz and Swartz are dedicated to aggressively evaluating, investigating, and litigating these cases to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve. Also, Boston Massachusetts is a hub for several head and brain injury support, treatment and rehabilitation clinics such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
What Types of Brain Injury Cases Do Our Attorneys Handle?
Brain injury cases can be very complex. These types of cases require both legal and medical teams and expertise. It is vital to have legal help at these times from a team with the experience and legal resources to do all that is necessary to ensure your interests are protected. If you or a loved one has suffered from a head injury, the Boston TBI lawyers at Swartz & Swartz can help you understand your legal options and may be able to help you file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your losses.
Swartz & Swartz has access to a nationwide panel of medical experts, with the ability to evaluate brain and spinal cord injury and present a qualified medical expert opinion at trial to address the diagnosis, prognosis, and causal connection of the injury to the traumatic incident. We also consult nationally with a team of forensic economists, who are prepared to substantiate and project future losses, as well as current and prior economic loss.
Our Massachusetts attorneys experienced in handling brain damage lawsuits arising from the following types of accidents and trauma:
Car, Truck, Motorcycle and Train Accidents: In brain injury lawsuits involving motor vehicle driving accidents, the defendant is commonly a driver who failed to operate his or her vehicle responsibly. In fact, motor vehicle and car accidents were the leading cause of TBI related hospitalizations for people aged 15 to 44 years old, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Medical Malpractice/Birth Injury: Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital or other healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care expected in the medical community, resulting in injury to the patient.
At-Work Accidents: When a worker suffers a brain trauma on the job, they may be able to recover compensation if a third party was negligent in causing them harm. Third parties include manufacturers and distributors of tools and equipment, individuals and companies charged with servicing and maintaining equipment, and sub-contractors and general contractors on job sites responsible for oversight and safety.
Product Liability: Our firm has a national reputation for successfully representing consumers and their families who have been victimized by hazardous products, resulting in severe and catastrophic injuries.
You want a traumatic brain injury attorney and law firm that is prepared to expend the necessary resources to ensure no stone is left unturned. Our law firm has been in practice for over 40 years, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of clients. We have the demonstrated record of competence, ability, and relevant experience to guide, advise and support you and your family during challenging times arising from the effects of severe injuries.
It is critical to note that statute of limitations require that claims be filed within a certain period of time, so do not hesitate to contact our office for your free, no obligation case evaluation.
Elements of a Brain Injury Lawsuit
To file a lawsuit, the brain injury victim must have suffered trauma as a result of another’s negligence. In a negligence claim, the attorney representing the injured party needs to prove the following:
Duty of Care: This refers to a legal obligation that requires an individual to exercise a reasonable level of care to prevent harm to others. For instance, a doctor has a duty to perform in adherence to the standard of care established by the medical community.
Breach of Duty: An individual or entity may be considered negligent if they breach their duty of care. For example, if a doctor performs an operation in a manner considered unacceptable by the medical community’s standards, they may have breached their professional duty.
Causation: The defendant’s negligence must have been a direct and proximate cause of the injuries alleged. The law, however, does not require that such negligence be the sole cause of the plaintiff’s damages – only that it be a substantial one.
Damages: For a victim to file a claim, the injury must have caused economic or non-economic damages.
If we agree to handle your case, there is no legal fee unless we are successful in achieving a recovery. A lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a Statute of Limitations, so please contact us right away if you have questions about how to protect your legal rights.
Getting Legal Help –Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, call our Boston Massachusetts lawyers at Swartz & Swartz at (617) 742-1900, or submit an inquiry for a free online case evaluation.