Every year, thousands in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). If you sustain a traumatic brain injury because someone else was negligent in a traffic accident or some other accident scenario, discuss your rights with an Orange County personal injury lawyer.
Can you obtain compensation if you’ve been injured by negligence? What if you are disabled permanently? If you continue reading, you’ll find answers in this short discussion of traumatic brain injuries, the costs of TBI treatment, and your legal rights in California.
A brain injury may be caused by a bump, jolt, or blow to the head or by an object that penetrates the skull. Traumatic brain injuries range in severity from mild to severe. Concussions are usually considered “mild” injuries because concussions are rarely life-threatening.
Nevertheless, even a mild traumatic brain injury can become serious over time.
What Are the Causes of TBI?
Traffic accidents are a leading cause of TBI. If you suffer a brain injury in a car crash, and a car, bus, or truck driver or a motorcyclist was at fault, you have the right under California law to be fully compensated for your treatment costs, your lost earnings, and other TBI-related damages.
Brain injuries are also caused by sports accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, assaults, swimming pool accidents, and defective or dangerous consumer items. When another person’s negligence causes a traumatic brain injury, the law entitles the victim to compensation.
Any legal action related to a brain injury will depend on the details of how the injury happened.
What Will TBI Victims Pay For Medical Care?
The California-based Centre for Neuro Skills tells us that over a lifetime, a mild brain injury may cost over $85,000, a moderate TBI can cost $900,000, and a severe brain injury can cost $3 million. Most victims are going to need the maximum compensation amount that’s available.
In the United States, the estimated yearly cost of traumatic brain injuries exceeds $75 billion. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, this is what TBI patients can expect to pay:
- Outpatient therapy: up to $1,000 a day
- Residential facility rehabilitation: up to $2,500 a day
- Hospital-based rehabilitation: up to $8,000 a day
What Are A TBI Victim’s Options?
Healthcare activists are concerned that public funding is inadequate for the programs and facilities that TBI victims need. Unless they succeed with an injury claim, few families in California can afford long-term care for a loved one who has sustained a traumatic brain injury.
If an accident that causes a traumatic brain injury is job-related, a TBI victim may be eligible for workers’ compensation payments, but workers’ comp alone cannot pay for the quality, long-term care and treatment that most brain injury victims require.
A southern California personal injury lawyer can consider a TBI victim’s case to determine if there are adequate legal grounds to pursue an injury claim. Your lawyer may call upon medical specialists and accident reconstruction experts to produce the evidence you’ll need.
How Are Injury Claims Resolved in California?
Resolving a claim privately – outside of the courtroom – saves both parties the time and expense of a trial, and that’s how most TBI claims are settled in California. If a reasonable settlement offer isn’t made in negotiations, your attorney may recommend taking your case to trial.
Calculating the damages for a TBI settlement can be complicated, and a number of factors must be considered. Economic damages compensate victims for quantifiable monetary losses like medical bills and lost income.
What Else Must Be Considered When TBI Victims Seek Damages?
Noneconomic damages compensate victims for their personal pain and suffering, and in some cases, for the “loss of the enjoyment of life.” Depending on the severity of a brain injury, noneconomic damages typically amount to 1.5 to 5 times the sum of the economic damages.
What else must be considered when determining the value of a settlement or jury award in a TBI case?
- Liability: Cases with clearly established liability usually conclude with a more generous settlement than cases where liability is disputed.
- Multiple defendants: If more than one party is liable for the accident that causes a brain injury, and they each have different insurance companies, they may have to decide among themselves much each will pay.
- The victim: A TBI victim’s age, employment, and previous medical history will probably impact the value of the settlement or verdict.
How Are TBI Victims Affected by Their Injury?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 5.3 million people in the U.S. currently live with a TBI-related disability. Most TBI victims have difficulty concentrating and focusing. They often struggle with emotions, memory, and sleep difficulties.
TBI victims may manifest occasional, unexpected emotional outbursts. Many victims will suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, or other psychological conditions. A TBI victim may lose his or her ability to drive, to hold a job, or to be an effective parent.
Why is An Immediate Medical Examination So Imperative?
If you suffer any jolt, bump, or blow to the head – even if you don’t believe that you’re injured – undergo a medical examination within twenty-four hours. That examination can determine that you were hurt in a specific accident and that your injury was not pre-existent.
You’ll need medical documents if you and your injury attorney move forward with an injury claim. Without the right documentation, the negligent party that injured you may allege that you were hurt elsewhere or that you’re not actually seriously injured.
A personal injury claim can provide TBI victims and their families with the resources they will need in the years ahead. Here in southern California, if you are a TBI victim because someone else was negligent, arrange to speak at once with an Orange County personal injury lawyer.
Is There a Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives the injury victim two years from the date of the injury to take legal action. Don’t wait two years to seek a lawyer’s advice. It is critically important to put your case in the right attorney’s hands as quickly as you can.
If you wait, evidence can disappear, the memories of the witnesses will fade, and the medical expenses will pile up. If you suffer a brain injury because someone was careless, a good lawyer’s prompt assistance is your right, and the law in California will be on your side.