TBI From An Accident: Legal Implications If You're A Victim

tbi from an accident

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe head injury caused by a sudden, traumatic blow to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, can also cause TBI.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of disability and death in America, constituting 30% of all injury deaths.

This can be debilitating for victims and can restrict them from returning to their normal activities. Many of these injuries happen due to unforeseen accidents, although some of them may have been avoidable.

A traumatic brain injury may also be the result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Fortunately, as the injured party, you are not totally hopeless in regaining a semblance of your life before the accident.

Common Accidents that Cause TBIs

A TBI from an accident may occur without the event of an open head wound or a skull fracture. Loss of consciousness or blurred vision may not always materialize after the moment of head impact, as well. In the United States, a majority of brain injuries are caused by the following accidents:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Due to the force that results from an accident, motor vehicle crashes can lead to severe injuries. Beyond skull fractures, the back-and-forth movement of the brain inside the skull can cause bruising, blood clots, and the tearing of nerve fibers. Bleeding in the brain or high blood pressure can cause intracranial pressure that leads to headaches. The CDC reports that motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of nonfatal traumatic brain injuries in America.

Although car accidents may affect any person of any age, from children to adults, this type of accident was found to be the leading cause of TBI-related deaths among children and young adults. More than 2,000 children aged 0 to 17 died due to traumatic brain injury in 2020.

Seat belts are a crucial precaution to help prevent and reduce serious injury and death. Age-appropriate car seats are a must when traveling with small children, and all drivers should avoid driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you suspect someone on the road is driving while under the influence, stay as far away as you can.

Motorcycle Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shares that per the vehicle miles traveled in 2020, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic accident. Traumatic brain injury was the main cause of death and severe head injury in motorcycle accidents.

The number of risk factors of motorcyclists sustaining catastrophic injuries in an accident is much higher than that of other motorists due to their lack of protection. On account of this, certain precautions have been put into place to avoid further injuries.

Under California law, motorcyclists are required to wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet and are urged to wear other forms of protective gear while on the road.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents account for nearly half of all traumatic brain injuries. They are also the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths. Traumatic brain injuries due to a fall are extremely common among older adults.

Older adults are more likely to seek hospital treatment or medical care after sustaining a brain injury. Despite their likelihood of seeking the opinion of a health care provider, it is more probable that a traumatic brain injury will be missed or misdiagnosed in an older individual due to the overlapping of another possible neurological disease and condition in adults of a certain age.

A patient will need to undergo brain scans along with other neurological exams and diagnostic tools to determine whether or not they have sustained a traumatic brain injury. These screening tools and tests are especially important if the accident led to a loss of consciousness, even if they seem to be mild injuries. Even mental health conditions and cognitive difficulties stemming from a slip and fall might not manifest until much later. 

Nonslip mats, handrails on stairways, and grab bars are must-haves when caring for older individuals, and using these devices can prevent common injuries and should become part of their environment and daily activities.

Sporting Accidents

The CDC reports that about 15% of all American high school students self-reported one or more recreation or sports-related concussions in 2019. Although most sporting accidents are inevitable and most TBIs from sports injuries are caused by the physical nature of the sport, some of the most common injuries in sporting accidents may also be caused by defective products.

An average of 283,000 American children aged 17 years and below make emergency department visits for sports and recreational-related TBIs. All athletes are urged to wear properly fitted helmets to protect themselves from possible injury. This is also the case for individuals participating in recreational activities that may cause head and spinal cord injury.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

Depending on the severity of the injury, a TBI may result in many persistent symptoms that affect normal brain function, such as cognitive deficits and emotional difficulties that greatly affect a patient’s daily activities and way of life.

As previously stated, many traumatic brain injuries are caused by accidents, which is why legal issues for TBI should be discussed. Motor vehicle crashes, falls, sporting accidents, and other occurrences that result in a bump to the head may cause axonal injury or brain damage. Oftentimes, these accidents are the result of actions caused by negligent parties.

Negligent parties may be one individual or a group of individuals whose careless actions directly or indirectly caused a patient to sustain a primary brain injury. In the case of a car accident, the party responsible may be a third-party driver who neglected to stop at the appropriate signals or a distracted driver who was on the phone and collided with the car in front of them.

Brain damage from a slip and fall accident may be the result of a negligent property owner or manager who failed to warn store visitors of a wet floor or an establishment that failed to provide handrails on stairways.

If an individual sustained a brain injury due to a defective product or faulty sports equipment, the manufacturer or other parties involved in the manufacturing process may be held liable for a victim’s injuries.

Other responsible parties such as government entities or companies may also be considered at fault for an accident that has caused a brain or spinal cord injury, depending on whether or not they breached their duty of care.

What Should You Do Next?

Those who suffer brain injuries as a result of an accident may need extensive medical treatment strategies to make a complete recovery, if at all possible. Seeking aid from a health care provider, a medical facility, or a specialized trauma center can create accumulating medical bills.

This can put a strain on the financial and mental status of a patient, which could greatly affect their rate of recovery.

In cases where an individual has suffered a brain injury due to a negligent party, victims may have the opportunity and the right to recover compensation from insurance providers.

This compensation is meant to aid victims in covering expenses such as hospital bills, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, rehabilitation center expenses, neuropsychological tests, medical providers’ bills, or any other expenses that have been incurred due to the accident.

A victim may acquire this compensation by filing a personal injury claim. According to section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim for a brain injury is two years from the time of the accident.

It is advisable to procure legal representation from a personal injury lawyer with knowledge and experience handling brain injury cases.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim For Brain Injury

If you or somebody you know has suffered a brain injury in an accident caused by the negligence of another individual, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible.

The sooner you start taking legal action, the better your chances will be at recovering maximum compensation for your injuries.

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will give you the best chance at success and will allow you to focus on your complete recovery while leaving the legal complexities of your case to somebody who knows how to navigate them.

Some of the damages you can recover as a victim are:

  • Medical expenses: All the bills related to your medical care, including ambulance fees, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription costs, and more. These cover costs from the initial injury, secondary injury, and any other therapy-related interventions needed moving forward. 
  • Rehabilitation expenses: The costs of any cognitive rehabilitation therapy or other therapies needed to help you recover from your injuries
  • Lost wages: Wages you would have earned if not for your injuries
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for the pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress caused by your injuries

Suffered A TBI From An Accident? Help Is Available

If you or a loved one have sustained a brain injury, help is available to you. Contact the California Brain Injury Help Center immediately. We can help you get the medical assistance you need and the financial compensation you deserve.

If you decide to file a claim against the party at-fault for your brain injury, we can put you in touch with the best team of personal injury lawyers, medical specialists, and case managers in California. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to worry about paying us unless we win.

Time is of the essence.

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