Has someone else’s negligence left you or someone you love with traumatic brain injury? Did this injury severely affect your quality of life or finances? If so, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. The San Jose personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC have been helping San Jose residents get compensation for their injuries for almost twenty years, and we have the knowledge and experience to do the same for you and your family.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is any injury that changes the way the brain functions. TBIs are characterized by any bump, jolt, or blow to the head, or any object piercing the skull. They are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, with over 61,000 people dying from TBIs in 2019. They can have a variety of causes, such as:
TBIs fall into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. There are two TBI classifications: primary and secondary TBI.
Primary TBI is any injury that is caused by the initial impact to the head. This can include concussion, hematoma, brain swelling, and skull fracture. Secondary TBI is any injury that occurs after the initial impact. Symptoms of TBI can sometimes take months or even years to manifest, and secondary injuries range from insufficient blood flow to meningitis or even epilepsy.
Mild TBI usually takes the form of concussions. A concussion occurs when a sharp impact, jolt, or shaking of the head causes the brain to impact the inside of the skull. Concussions are common among victims of falls or auto accidents and are usually treated with rest and over-the-counter medication. They can occur with or without loss of consciousness, and most symptoms will subside in less than 24 hours.
Moderate TBI is any brain injury that causes unconsciousness for more than 30 minutes but lasts less than 24 hours, excluding penetrating injuries. Moderate TBIs require more testing and observation to diagnose, and symptoms can be more severe than mild TBIs. Memory loss or disorientation are common with this type of injury.
Severe TBI includes penetrating injuries such as gunshots or other objects penetrating the skull, as well as impacts that cause unconsciousness for more than 24 hours. Severe TBIs can cause drastic changes in behavior and cognition and may have other debilitating effects that can take years to manifest, such as PTSD or depression.
Symptoms for mild TBI can include the following:
Symptoms for moderate and severe TBI include the above as well as other symptoms that can be more drastic, such as:
While it’s nearly impossible to estimate the amount of compensation you can get for your injury without a consultation due to the unique circumstances of each claim, determining how the amount is calculated is easier to understand. In general, the more severe your accident and injuries, the more compensation you should demand for your losses.
You can receive compensation for a variety of losses, or damages. Economic damages are any losses that affect your finances, such as property damage, lost wages, or increased living expenses. Non-economic damages are any intangible losses that affect your well-being or quality of life, such as reputational damage or mental distress. The first category is fairly simple to understand. Your lawyer can help you tally the various bills and invoices. The second category is a bit more fluid and can vary widely depending on the circumstances that caused your injury and the long-term effects it will have on your life.
There are many types of economic damages, such as:
Lost wages. If your TBI forced you to take time off work to recover, you can demand compensation to cover the lost income. Also, if you were forced to take time off to care for an injured family member or friend or they did so for you, compensation for their lost time may be included, as well. Compensation can apply to wages lost in the past or any wages you might lose in the future as a result of the injury.
Medical bills. If your TBI required any medical treatment, you can demand compensation for the financial loss. This can include doctor’s visits, emergency room fees, emergency transport, medical equipment, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Property damage. If the accident that caused your injury also damaged your personal property, such as your car if you were in an accident, you can demand compensation to pay for replacing or repairing it.
Household expenses. If your TBI left you unable to complete household chores and forced you to hire outside help, you can receive compensation for the added cost of living.
Non-economic damages may include the following:
Pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering is meant to help make up for the loss of your former quality of life and well-being after a TBI.
Loss of enjoyment of life. If a TBI leaves you unable to participate in the activities you once enjoyed, you can demand compensation for this loss.
Disfigurement. If a brain injury leaves you heavily scarred, you can be compensated for the resulting effect on your physical appearance.
Lost opportunity. If a TBI forces you to cancel future plans, such as a scheduled vacation or plans to start a business, you can demand compensation for the loss.
To prove that someone else was at fault for your injury, you must prove that they were negligent. Someone is negligent when they fail to use reasonable care in committing an act, such as driving while drunk. If you can show that the other party engaged in negligent behavior and that you were injured by that behavior, you might be able to hold them liable for their actions.
Imagine this scenario: A driver knows it is against California law to drive while drunk. They decide to drive anyway. This is negligent behavior. Imagine that then they caused a car accident that left you with a TBI.
If you and your attorney can prove, either in an injury claim or lawsuit, that the driver’s negligent actions caused your TBI, you may be able to obtain compensation.
California is also a comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found partially responsible for the accident that caused your injury, your financial compensation will be decreased by the percentage of responsibility you bear. Continuing with the example above, if it’s discovered that you were driving without your headlights on at the time of the accident, a judge may find you partially responsible. If the judge determines your liability to be 20%, any financial award the court deemed you were due would be reduced by 20%.
California also has a statute of limitation on injury claims. Per state law, you have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit for damages. If the injury was not discovered right away, you have one year from the date the injury was discovered. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed, a judge can dismiss the case entirely.
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Don’t let the aftermath of a TBI undermine your future. Call OnderLaw, LLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a debilitating accident. We’re standing by to take your call.