What Are Your Rights After a Brain Injury?
It takes time, money, and considerable effort to deal with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but if that brain injury is the result of another person’s recklessness or negligence, an Orange County brain injury attorney can help.
What types of brain injuries are commonly sustained in accidents? What are your rights if you suffer a brain injury in an accident that is not your fault? Can you take steps to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and related damages?
And when should you contact an Orange County brain injury lawyer? Keep reading this brief description of the brain injuries that happen in car accidents, falls, sports accidents, and swimming pool accidents for the answers that you and your loved ones may need.
What Should You Know About Brain Injuries?
Every brain injury is unique. The severity of a brain injury depends on the amount and type of force that impacts the head in an accident. A brain injury may impair only one part of the brain, several parts, or the entire brain.
Each year, over 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries are reported in the U.S. While most victims eventually recover, about 50,000 brain injury victims die every year, and over three million brain injury victims in the U.S. are permanently disabled.
How is a Brain Injury Classified and Defined?
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function or a brain pathology caused by an external force. The four types of brain injuries that are most frequently sustained in accidents are:
- cerebral contusions
- diffuse axonal injuries
- penetration of the brain by a foreign object
What Are Concussions?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a jolt or blow to the head or an impact to the body that causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. This movement can bruise the brain while stretching and injuring brain cells.
While most concussions are not necessarily life-threatening, the effects of a concussion may be severe and long-lasting. However, loss of consciousness may not occur, and a brain scan may not show anything at all wrong after sustaining a mild concussion.
Yet even mild concussions – which are common in traffic and sports accidents – may cause long-term difficulties. A second or subsequent concussion may cause cumulative cognitive and neurological problems, so repeated concussions must be avoided.
What Are Cerebral Contusions?
Cerebral contusions are bleeding bruises on the surface of the brain, usually along the poles and undersurface of the frontal and temporal lobes. Cerebral contusions may occur when the brain strikes a ridge on the skull or a fold in the dura mater, the brain’s hard outer covering.
Treatment for cerebral contusions may include ice, pain medications, and rest. A patient must be monitored for indications of increased intracranial pressure, that is, pressure inside the skull. The most serious cerebral contusions require surgery.
What Are Diffuse Axonal Injuries?
A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is the shearing or tearing of the connecting nerve fibers (axons) in the brain when the brain is injured as it rotates and shifts inside the skull. A diffuse axonal injury usually injures several different parts of the brain and may lead to coma or death.
High-speed accidents are the leading cause of DAI. A number of outcomes are possible. A study of 78 DAI patients published in 2016 in Frontiers in Neurology found that over an eight-month period, 30.8 percent of the patients died, but 45.1 percent recovered fully from their injury.
The severity of the damage to the axons, where that damage occurs, the treatment you receive, and how quickly you receive that treatment are some of the factors that determine whether a diffuse axonal injury patient will or will not make a full recovery.
What Happens When a Foreign Object Penetrates the Brain?
Foreign objects that penetrate the brain are dangerous and often fatal. Shrapnel, bullets, and bullet fragments, for example, pose substantial problems for detection, care, and patient treatment. Foreign objects may also penetrate the brain in traffic and construction accidents.
Despite improved medical imaging techniques, detection of a foreign object may be challenging because detection is dependent on the material of the foreign object, the affected location, and the severity of the injury. Symptoms will vary depending on the part of the brain that was damaged.
What Costs Do Brain Injury Patients Face?
In the U.S., the cost of brain injuries, including lost productivity, is estimated at approximately $75 billion annually. While some injuries are more costly to treat than others, the Brain Injury Association of America reports that these are the average costs facing brain injury patients:
- $8,000 per day for hospitalized rehabilitation
- $2,500 per day for residential rehabilitation
- $1,000 per day for outpatient therapy
What Are Your Rights as an Injured Victim of Negligence?
Any legal claim that you make regarding a brain injury – with the advice and help of an Orange County brain injury lawyer – will depend on how the injury happened. Car accidents, falls, and criminal assaults may generate premises liability or personal injury lawsuits.
Serious brain injuries may qualify a victim for a substantial damage award if the injury happened because someone else was negligent and caused an accident. A successful brain injury claim may provide the resources that victims and loved ones will need for treatment, care, and related costs.
California’s statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident, but don’t wait two years to speak with an Orange County brain injury attorney. Your attorney will need to see the evidence and speak to the witnesses as quickly as possible.
Who Should Be Your Brain Injury Attorney?
The award-winning California personal injury lawyers at Gibson & Hughes have decades of experience fighting for justice for the injured victims of negligence.
After a brain injury in a car accident, sports accident, slip-and-fall accident, a swimming pool accident, or a criminal assault, you’ll face some daunting personal challenges. At Gibson & Hughes, we help our injury clients move ahead with their lives confidently and constructively.
Here’s What Gibson & Hughes Will Do for You
We will identify the party that has liability for your injury and hold that party accountable. Most brain injury claims are settled out-of-court, but if no acceptable settlement is forthcoming or if the liability for your injury is disputed, we’ll take the case to trial and ask a jury to order the payment of your compensation.
If you are a brain injury victim, call us now for a free legal consultation and personalized legal advice. There’s no obligation. You’ll pay no attorney’s fee to Gibson & Hughes unless and until we recover the compensation that you are entitled to by law.
If you are injured – now or in the future – because someone else was reckless or negligent, as soon as you’ve been treated for your injury, call the law offices of Gibson & Hughes at 714-406-0998, and let us fight for you.