Brain and head injuries can completely alter a person’s life, as well as negatively affect his or her family. Even relatively minor head injuries could have long-lasting adverse effects on a person’s health, emotional status, personality, career, and relationships. Because a brain injury has a wide range of effects and because there is no simple, one-size-fits-all cure, the entire scope of a victim’s life can change, starting from the moment the injury occurred.
When someone sustains a brain injury in an accident that is the responsibility of someone else, for, the victim (or her family members on her behalf) can file a claim and seek compensation for damages. The damages for head injury claims can be quite substantial, so it is vital to have a Washington or Oregon personal injury attorney at Willis & Toews help you pursue the case and account for all of your damages. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined legal service; we know the ins and outs of personal injury laws and how to help brain injury victims maximize their recoveries.
Can I file a claim for a head injury?
Your eligibility to file a claim for a head injury depends upon the details surrounding your accident. If you were injured in an accident that was your fault, you will need to turn to your own insurer to pay for your needs. However, if another party (the defendant) caused or contributed to your accident, you may be able to seek recovery from him or her.
If you can prove that the defendant 1) owed you a legal duty of care, 2) breached that duty, and 3) caused you verifiable harm due to their negligence, you are most likely entitled to recovery. Head injury victims file claims after various type of accidents and incidents such as the following.
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Accidents at worksites
- Injuries resulting from defective helmets and other defective products
- Getting struck in the head with falling objects or equipment
- Slip and fall accidents and falls from heights
- Acts of violence
Getting Compensation for a Traumatic Brain Injury or Concussion
The most common traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), is a concussion, which occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. A concussion may seem like a mild injury; however, it can precipitate diffuse axonal injury (DAI). DAI, caused by violent shaking of the head (such as in a car accident), can cause short-term or lasting damage.
Other consequences from a head injury include damage to the structures of the inner ear (e.g. labyrinthitis), damage to the neurologic connection between the brain and the ears and/or eyes, and damage to the pituitary gland. The diagnosis and treatment of a pituitary gland injury is particularity important in children because of the pituitary gland’s production of growth hormone.
A TBI can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to heal. The leading causes of TBI are falls at over 40 percent, according to the BIAA, followed by motor vehicle accidents (14 percent) and other unknown causes (19 percent).
A mild to moderate TBI can have symptoms such as:
- Fatigue and/or sleep disturbances
- Balance issues
- Issues with concentration, memory, or attention span
- Visual disturbances
- Mood swings
A severe TBI may result in a coma or vegetative state, which may be long-lasting.
Recovering from this injury(s) is dependent upon the prompt diagnosis of your symptoms followed by consistent pursuit of any prescribed treatment/therapies. Resting and taking time away from work/activities is often the first step toward recovery. Use of some common medications, however, can interfere and prolong the recovery process. For those whose symptoms persist, speech, cognitive and other therapies may be prescribed. Referral to an audiologist and/or neurologist are also common.
Do not ignore these symptoms. It is critical that you make an appointment to discuss these symptoms with a physician familiar with head injuries as soon as possible.
What types of damages can I collect in a head injury claim?
You can collect a wide variety of damages in a head injury claim, including your current and future medical bills, lost wages, long-term disability, emotional damages, the effect of the injury on your relationships and daily life, and pain and suffering.