While injuries often result in severe consequences, few are as long-lasting as brain injuries. Because the skull and brain cells are fragile, severe brain injuries are often fatal. A Chicago brain injury lawyer can help you hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions if you’ve been involved in a car crash or other accident where you sustained a head injury,
You could be entitled to compensation for your losses if you can prove that negligence resulted in your traumatic brain injury (TBI). Filing a personal injury claim is a complex process, but offers brain injury victims the best chance of regaining control over their lives. To understand the process, let’s look at common accidents that cause head injuries.
Accidents Resulting in Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant cause of permanent disability and wrongful death in the United States. An estimated 155 people die from TBIs daily. At least 2.87 million annual emergency room (ER) visits and premature death incidents are attributable to brain injuries.
While some TBIs result from sports injuries, medical malpractice may be responsible for others, such as an acquired brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. TBIs also emerge after the following accidents:
Slip and Falls
CDC data shows that at least 50% of TBIs result from slips and falls attributable to factors including flooring integrity issues and inadequate lighting. Homeowners and property owners can be held liable through the filing of a premises liability claim if their negligence causes a visitor to suffer permanent brain damage.
Unmonitored fall-prone nursing home residents face increased slip and fall, and thus, TBI risks.
One in five permanent impairment brain injuries results from car accidents, which may occur when a vehicle occupant’s head makes contact with the car’s interior during a head-on collision. Injuries may be worse the faster a car’s speed or impact is.
Passenger car occupants’ head injuries are more likely to be more severe or fatal than truckers’ in truck-involved motor vehicle accidents due to the two automobile’s notable size differences.
Motorcycle accidents result in many brain injuries, especially among riders not wearing helmets. Motorcyclists struck by cars often face ejections, resulting in even more severe injuries.
Nearly 20% of TBI-related ER visits result from struck-by or against incidents. The following industries may be particularly hazardous, increasing the risk for brain injuries:
Although federal officials institute workplace safety standards, few employers follow them. Employees who suffer work-related TBIs may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
If an accident left you with a brain injury, then an experienced attorney can help you claim compensation for your losses.
Diagnosing and Treating a Traumatic Brain Injury
A person’s accident will dictate how severe their head injury is. For example, worse TBIs are more likely to result from motor vehicle crashes than sports injuries. Determining the severity of a brain injury is crucial to receiving proper treatment.
Mild TBI Symptoms
A mild TBI can result in tired eyes, ringing ears, and a bad taste in one’s mouth, in addition to cognitive and emotional symptoms like:
- Behavior and mood swings
- Memory and concentration troubles
- Interruptions to sleep patterns
- Personality changes
Moderate or Severe TBI Symptoms
Signs of moderate or severe TBIs are generally more severe and may include:
- Unrelenting headache or nausea
- Repeated vomiting
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech
- Mouth fatigue
- Weak or numb limbs
- Loss of coordination
Anyone who experiences these symptoms from external force to the head should see a medical professional. Emergency surgery to remove a blood clot, alleviate pressure, or repair the skull may need to occur.
Common Traumatic Brain Injuries
Time is of the essence when diagnosing your brain trauma. Common injuries our clients deal with include:
Concussions are typically mild TBIs and occur when the brain sustains a severe jolt inside the skull. Signs of concussions include:
- Painful headaches
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty maintaining consciousness for more than a few seconds
This mild form of brain injury generally disappears with rest over time.
The stretching, twisting, or tearing of the brain’s nerve fibers is a diffuse axonal brain injury. Patients may experience cross-regional permanent impairments and fall into a coma for at least six hours. An estimated 90% of patients with severe diffuse axonal injuries never regain consciousness.
Contusion or Coup-contrecoup
A contusion, or bruise, that results from bleeding among brain tissue is sometimes called a coup-contrecoup brain injury. A coup injury occurs when the brain slams against the skull upon impact, while a contrecoup brain injury is when the brain slides back, hitting the skull’s opposite side. Brain trauma like this often occurs in severe whiplash cases. Frontal lobe damage can:
- Diminish language skills
- Impair decision-making
- Decrease intelligence
Temporal lobe damage causes shifts in behavior, memory, and learning. Doctors best diagnose brain contusions by performing CT or MRI scans. These injuries often affect a large portion of the brain, causing permanent brain damage.
An intracranial hematoma occurs when blood vessels rupture inside the skull, causing bleeding or blood clots among surrounding tissue. Blood clots may become trapped between the skull and brain’s outer membrane or inside the brain tissue itself. Patients may require life support and surgery to avoid dying.
It’s imperative to receive immediate medical attention if an object penetrates the brain. Open head or penetrating brain injuries don’t only disrupt bodily functions, affecting one’s ability to perform basic living tasks and creating a lengthy recovery period, but are also life-threatening in that they cause blood loss and seizures. It’s quite possible for someone who survives a penetration brain injury to require partial removal of their skull, depending on its severity.
No matter what type of TBI you sustained, taking legal action is often the best way to ensure you have the means you need to recover as fully as possible.
TBI Medications and Therapies
Some TBI symptoms can be treated with medication. For example, a doctor might recommend anti-anxiety medication, anticoagulants, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, or stimulants.
Treating physicians may recommend that their patients with cognitive issues or motor skill changes take part in rehabilitation therapies. These treatments can help someone relearn to walk, cook, and perform self-care. Other therapeutic approaches may include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Vocational counseling
- Cognitive therapy
How long therapy continues may vary depending on the severity of the traumatic brain injuries.
When you work with a Chicago brain injury attorney, they’ll determine what both your current expenses are and how much you can expect your future medical bills to be. Your lawyer’s calculations will ensure you receive full and fair compensation for losses that someone else’s negligence caused.
Proving a Serious Personal Injury With a Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injury claims are similar to other personal injury claims. The four elements of negligence that your attorney must establish to pursue a successful brain injury claim include:
1. Establishing That a Duty of Care Existed
Brain injury attorneys must first establish that the party that injured you owed you a duty of care, which means they had a responsibility to act in a way that wouldn’t cause you harm. For example, in Chicago, IL, drivers have a responsibility to focus on the road and follow all traffic laws to minimize their auto accidents risks.
2. Showing That a Duty of Care Was Breached
Brain injury lawyers must show how a negligent party breached their duty of care by tapping into state law. For example, we may call upon medical negligence statutes if a doctor’s suspected error left you injured. Similarly, we may use evidence from the scene of the car accident or request their cellphone records to prove that they were texting and driving if suspected texting and driving is to blame for your Chicago, IL crash.
3. Documenting Damages
The third element is damages, which is what you’ve lost as a result of the accident. Our Chicago brain injury lawyers need to collect the following to gain a better understanding of your economic losses:
- Medical bills
- Property damage receipts
- Employment paystubs
Our attorneys will use medical reports to understand the future impact your injuries may have on your quality of life. And, in cases with more complex damages, we’ll call on expert witnesses, including medical professionals to provide insight.
4. Establishing Causation
Finally, our traumatic brain injury attorneys have to establish causation, which connects the other party’s negligence to your losses.
It’s only once our law firm has established all four elements that we can begin negotiating a settlement or file a brain injury lawsuit and proceed to trial to secure a verdict.
At Thomas Law Offices, all of the attorneys in our law firm have extensive experience handling personal injury cases. Thus, we have access to the resources and experts needed to build a strong brain injury case proving you’re owed compensation.
Recovering Compensation for Brain Injury Losses
Because of the complexity of a traumatic brain injury, it can be challenging to determine how much compensation to seek. Also, a traumatic brain injury can be unpredictable, causing varying short- and long-term effects for victims. Fortunately, our Chicago brain injury lawyers have extensive experience determining compensation for clients, so we’ll demand as much as you need when filing your personal injury lawsuit.
Damages are typically significant in brain injury lawsuit cases as they cover:
- Immediate and future medical expenses
- Property damage costs
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Lost wages and diminished future earnings
It can be challenging to assign a monetary value to physical pain and psychological suffering, but our Chicago brain injury attorneys will ensure you receive fair compensation.
Get Legal Help in Illinois
Brain damage claims can take a long time to settle, which is why you’ll want to contact us at Thomas Law Offices for a free case evaluation immediately following your injury incident. The sooner we start building your case, the better your chances of receiving the maximum compensation.
Filing a brain injury claim in Chicago, IL can seem intimidating, but we’ll help every step. Schedule a free case consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options. We’ll discuss your accident and injuries with the goal of determining what course of legal action may be appropriate to take to secure compensation for your future.