What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are severe injuries that occur due to a sudden, violent blow or jolt to the head. In the context of car accidents, these injuries are often a result of the head striking parts of the vehicle, or by the rapid acceleration and deceleration forces that occur during a collision. TBIs can range from mild (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss). They can result in short-term or long-term issues with independent function, cognition, vision, hearing, behavior, and emotional health.

How Can a TBI Impact My Life?

The impact of a TBI on your life can be profound. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may experience headaches, dizziness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Cognitive effects can include memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and changes in executive functions such as planning and organization. Emotional and behavioral changes can also occur, including depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, and social inappropriateness. In addition to these personal impacts, a TBI can also have significant financial consequences. You may face substantial medical bills for emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment.

What Legal Remedies Are Available If I Suffer a TBI in a Car Accident?

If you have suffered a TBI in a car accident in California, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In California, the law allows for recovery of these damages if you can prove that another party was at fault for the accident. This could be another driver who was speeding, distracted, or otherwise negligent, or it could be a company responsible for a defective vehicle or unsafe road conditions.

What If My TBI Symptoms Didn’t Appear Immediately After the Accident?

It’s not uncommon for symptoms of a TBI to appear days or even weeks after a car accident. This delay can complicate your claim, since an insurance company could argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident. However, medical experts understand that the onset of TBI symptoms can be delayed, and an experienced attorney can use this knowledge to counter such arguments.

Can I Sue If a Loved One Died from a TBI After a Car Accident?

If a loved one died as a result of a TBI sustained in a car accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, certain family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, can sue for damages if a loved one dies from someone else’s negligence. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit might include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship. An experienced attorney can help you assist you with the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What If I Was a Passenger in the Car?

If you were a passenger in a car and suffered a TBI in an accident, you have the same rights to compensation as the driver. For example, if you were riding with a friend who was speeding and lost control of the car, causing an accident, you could file a claim against your friend’s insurance company. If the other driver was also partially at fault, you should file a claim against their insurance company as well.

What If the Accident Was Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

Sometimes, car accidents are caused by poor road conditions. This could include things like potholes, inadequate signage, faulty traffic lights, or improper road design. If your TBI was caused by such conditions, you might have a claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the road.

What If the Accident Happened While I Was Working?

If you suffered a TBI in a car accident while you were working, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation in addition to any personal injury damages. Workers’ compensation can cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, workers’ compensation benefits can be limited, and you may still want to pursue a personal injury claim to recover additional damages. An attorney experienced in both personal injury and workers’ compensation law can help you navigate these complex issues and ensure that you receive all the compensation you are entitled to.

What If I Have Pre-Existing Conditions?

If you have pre-existing conditions, you might be concerned that this will affect your ability to recover damages for a TBI suffered in a car accident. However, under California law, you can still recover damages even if you had pre-existing conditions. The law recognizes the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which means that defendants must take their victims as they find them. In other words, if the accident aggravated your pre-existing condition and caused a TBI, the at-fault party is responsible for all the damages.

How Can an Attorney Help If I’ve Suffered a TBI in a Car Accident?

An experienced attorney can provide invaluable assistance if you’ve suffered a TBI in a car accident. They can help you understand your rights, gather and preserve evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Your attorney can also help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including future medical expenses and lost earning capacity, which can be particularly significant in TBI cases. They can bring in experts such as doctors, rehabilitation specialists, and economists to testify about your injuries, your prognosis, and the impact of the injury on your life and livelihood.

If you have been involved in a car accident, call Gibson & Hughes today at (714) 406-0998 for a case evaluation.