More specific than the term “brain injury” (which may refer to any damage, slight or catastrophic) a TBI occurs when sudden trauma to the head disrupts the brain’s function. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” to “severe” — from a brief change in mental status found after a mild concussion without loss of consciousness to an extended period of unconsciousness, coma, or amnesia.
A landmark 2006-2010 study by the CDC discovered that among all age groups, the most common reasons for TBI were:
- Falls (40.5 percent)
- Unintentional blunt force trauma (15.5 percent)
- Vehicle accidents (14.3 percent)
- Assaults (10.7 percent)
- Other (unknown) causes (19 percent).
When considering number of deaths from TBI, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause – 26 percent – behind accidental slips and falls.
TBI can produce a number of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral effects. Many victims experience significant changes to otherwise normal lives. It is estimated that brain injuries have caused around five million Americans to need lifetime help in order to manage daily activities.
Featured Article: Concussion Awareness: It’s a No-Brainer
Justin Bieber ran into a glass wall; a backup dancer struck Lady Gaga on the head with a pole; Hillary Clinton hit her head when she fainted; Elvis Presley blacked out after banging his head on the side of a bathtub. It’s human nature to check for bleeding and, usually finding none, we rub the spot that hurts and carry on. But that’s the insidious nature of concussions – if there is any bleeding or swelling, it’s internal. Keep Reading
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injury can be complex and overwhelming. Our firm is here to help a wide range of TBI victims, such as those whose injuries arise from:
- Car wrecks
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Truck wrecks
- Defective products
- Gas explosions
- Slips and falls
- Workplace accidents
We know that many victims suffer their TBI injury in a vehicle accident (car, truck, motorcycle, ATV) or at work, though a significant number of victims were injured by a slip-and-fall injury in a public place, or from a sports injury.
- Vehicle Accidents – Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (14 percent). When looking at just TBI-related deaths, vehicle crashes were the third leading cause (19 percent) in 2013, according to the CDC.
A common explanation is that when a moving head comes to a quick stop, the brain still continues its movement, smashing against the skull’s interior. This can cause bruising of the brain (a contusion) and/or bleeding (hemorrhage), neither of which may be detectable immediately after the accident. Sometimes it can take a week or two for this kind of TBI to become apparent.
Blunt force trauma is a more serious type of vehicle accident-related TBI. A moving head strikes a stationary object like the windshield, dashboard or flying foreign object. Usually an open head wound accompanies such violent contact. Blunt force trauma can also happen when the victim is ejected from the vehicle. TBIs are common occurrences in bicycle, motorcycle, or ATV mishaps when riders don’t wear a protective helmet.
- Workplace TBI – According to a 2016 report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), of the 7,300 work-related fatalities it studied that year, 29 percent were due to head injuries associated with falls or being struck in the head by an object.
Certain industries pose a higher risk of TBI-related accidents, including construction, transportation, agriculture, forestry, fishing and emergency medical services. Construction workers are by far most likely to suffer a TBI on the job; 1,828 died from a workplace TBI in 2016, according to the NIH study.
Common reasons for workplace TBIs include failure to wear a hard hat or wearing a damaged or inferior quality hard hat, and suffering either a slip and fall or being hit by a falling object. Other workplace mishaps that can cause TBIs are machinery accidents and toxic chemical exposure.
Why You Need an Attorney
An attorney makes sure that their client’s interests are being met. This means getting the maximum amount of compensation and handling the routine work involved in personal injury claims. Attorneys do everything from filing paperwork to crafting a strategy that will be implemented in trial or settlement negotiations.
Without an attorney, you’d need to learn an overwhelming amount of information about personal injury law. The learning curve is rather steep in this area of the law. In a personal injury claim, you should leave as little to chance as possible. By hiring a skilled, experienced attorney, you’ll be placing your claim in the hands of someone who has a deep understanding of the routine procedures that must be followed and the big picture approach to a successful injury claim.
How do I know if I have a claim?
The biggest indicators of a potential injury claim are (1) the existence of costly injuries caused by (2) the negligence of another person. In other words, if you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury that was someone else’s fault, consider your legal options.
There are other indicators that you may have a valid injury claim, too. For example, if you were involved in a car accident and the police report suggests that the other driver was responsible, that’s a strong sign you have a viable claim. A skilled attorney will be able to evaluate your case to determine the likelihood of your claim’s success.
Statute of Limitations in Kentucky
There’s a time limit on how long you have to file an injury claim. This is called the statute of limitations. Kentucky’s statute of limitations is one year from the time you suffered the injury. This time limit in Kentucky is shorter than it is in other states. If you are considering filing an injury claim after suffering a traumatic brain injury, it’s in your best interest to act quickly.
We handle cases involving all types of brain injuries, including:
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Coup-contre coup injury
- Second impact syndrome
- Open- and closed-head injuries
- Penetrating injury
- Shaken-baby syndrome
- Locked-in syndrome
- Anoxic brain injury
- Hypoxic brain injury
How much does an attorney cost?
Attorneys can charge clients in many different ways. At the Johnson Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee, which means that we accept a fee only if we win your case. This takes the financial burden off our clients in the event that their claim does not result in compensation.
How does a settlement work?
A settlement is the result of negotiations between the parties involved in a lawsuit. The representatives of the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the negligent party) will seek a compromise in the form of financial compensation. Your attorney will attempt to make the settlement as substantial as possible by building a solid case and dealing firmly with the other side.
How does a trial work?
A trial occurs when no settlement can be reached. In a trial, the attorneys of the plaintiff and defendant make arguments on their clients’ behalf in front of a judge and jury. This process can be lengthy or brief, depending on the complexity of the case. Once the cases have been made, the jury decides whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and how the much the plaintiff is owed.
What leads to a successful lawsuit?
Attorneys prepare a great deal of paperwork, do a substantial amount of research and go through several necessary processes when filing a claim. But attorneys that achieve the biggest results for clients go much further than simply covering the day-to-day business of handling a claim. They consult expert witnesses, take several depositions, work with their client to prepare them for their own depositions, look for relevant rulings in similar cases and spend time explaining the progress of a case to their client.
A successful lawsuit requires a skilled, experienced attorney who knows how to get results that reflect the harm his or her client has suffered. This is particularly true of traumatic brain injury cases, which are known for their complexity.
What expenses are covered by an injury claim?
Brain injuries can be incredibly costly for a sufferer. The expenses suffered as a result of an injury are commonly referred to as damages. Damages include the economic impact of an injury, such as medical bills, property damages and lost income due to time missed at work or reduced earning capacity. Damages also include other consequences of an injury, such as pain, suffering and diminished quality of life. While these damages are more difficult to quantify, an experienced attorney will know how much to seek in non-economic damages.
Who can be sued for an injury?
The person who was at fault for a brain injury will generally be the party named as the defendant in an injury claim. In some situations, this is obvious. For example, a driver who falls asleep at the wheel and strikes another vehicle will be liable for the damage they have caused. In other cases, multiple parties might be responsible for someone’s injury, in which case several people might be named as defendants.
What does negligence mean?
Negligence means a failure to take a reasonable amount of care. Negligence is careless or reckless behavior. It is not necessary that someone intended to cause harm for them to be considered negligent — only that they acted in a manner which was irresponsible.
How is fault determined?
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you might have strong opinions about who was to blame for your injury. However, from a legal perspective, attorneys must consider several factors when determining fault. They’ll look at police reports, talk to witnesses and investigate the circumstances and contributing factors of an injury to find out exactly who should be held responsible.
Delayed Symptoms of TBIs
If you have been injured in an accident involving a blow to your head, it is important to understand the delayed path that brain injuries may take. Unlike cuts or broken bones, TBI symptoms may be delayed. Additionally, symptoms may be mild at first and worsen over time. You should seek medical attention if you experience:
- Balance problems
- Excessive drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Severe headache
- Slurred speech
- Vision loss
- Weakness in extremities.
What You Should Do after Being Injured
See a doctor immediately and tell someone in authority about the accident that led to the brain injury. In the case of a car accident, this means alerting the police about the crash. If you suffer a head injury on the job, alert your supervisor as soon as possible, preferably in writing once you are able to do so.
In the days, weeks and months that follow, keep copies of all documents related to your brain injury. This can later be used to determine how much you should seek in a claim. If you suspect that your injury is serious, and you are considering taking legal action, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Share on Social
Share / Embed this Infographic
Don’t Put off Seeking Medical Attention after a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, see a doctor immediately. Seeking immediate medical attention can mitigate the damage your injuries cause. Even if you aren’t sure how severely you’ve been hurt, you’ll want to seek attention promptly to make sure injuries aren’t worse than they appear.
Traumatic brain injuries are unique because they often aren’t visible or easily identifiable. This makes the process of see a doctor even more important for a TBI victim.
If you need to file a personal injury claim, your doctor visits can also serve as documentation of the injuries you’ve suffered. For this reason, do your best to keep track of any medical bills or other medical expenses you face following your injury.
A TBI is devastating and life-altering for the victim, as well as for family members. Compensation can often be significant due to potential life-time medical care needs. If you suffer that burden because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve the chance to hold that party responsible.
As a personal injury law firm, the Johnson Law Firm in Pikeville, Kentucky, has helped many clients suffering from brain injuries to obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you have been injured due of someone else’s carelessness, we can help.
If you or someone you love suffered a brain injury and need to speak with an Eastern Kentucky personal injury lawyer about your rights and options, we are pleased to offer a free consultation. Get in touch with us anytime through this website’s contact form or call. If necessary, we’ll come to you. If we take your case and you don’t collect damages, you owe us nothing.