Securing Recovery After Suffering A Traumatic Brain Injury
Any injury has the potential to disrupt a victim’s life and ability to enjoy activities they love. This is very true for victims of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). There are a wide range of causes of a TBI, and victims suffer from different symptoms.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a TBI caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another party, you are entitled to recover for all the damages caused by the TBI. Read on to better understand common causes of TBI, symptoms suffered by victims, and what damages the defendant should cover.
Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI is any injury that disrupts normal brain function and is caused by either a blow to the head or a penetrating injury to the head. In 2019, there were approximately 61,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States, and each year there are around 288,000 hospitalizations. These injuries have resulted in an estimated 13.5 million people living with a disability because of a TBI in the U.S.
Causes of TBI
While any blow to or penetration of the head can cause a TBI, some causes are much more prevalent than others:
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Being struck against an object
Higher rates of TBI have been identified in children, the elderly, and males.
Symptoms of TBI
TBI victims suffer a wide variety of symptoms depending on the location and severity of the blow or penetration to the head:
- Physical Symptoms: Dizziness, vomiting, headaches, seizures, fatigue, facial weakness, nausea
- Sensory Symptoms: Diminished hearing, loss of vision, changes in sense of smell, sensitivity to light and sound
- Cognitive Symptoms: Difficulty focusing, mood changes, depression, anxiety, increased aggression or combativeness, memory trouble
Some TBI symptoms are present shortly after suffering the injury while others could show up over time. A TBI can also increase a victim’s likelihood of suffering from epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Certain symptoms will remain for the rest of the victim’s life while others might diminish or increase in intensity over time.
There are limited courses of treatment for TBI victims. An emergency doctor will work to stabilize the victim and determine whether surgery is necessary by performing necessary tests including a CT scan. The provider will need to determine if the brain is receiving sufficient oxygen, whether there are blood clots or skull fractures, and if it is necessary to relieve pressure inside the skull.
After emergency treatment, the patient and their doctor will work together to determine a long-term treatment plan which could include any of the following:
- Avoiding certain activities that could exacerbate symptoms
- Medications to reduce symptoms, including muscle relaxants, diuretics, anticonvulsants, and stimulants
- Medication to address emotional distress associated with the injury such as antidepressants
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Speech therapy
Some victims will only require medication or therapy immediately following the accidents while others may require this additional support for the rest of their lives.
Who Is Responsible for My Injury?
If another parties’ intentional or negligent actions caused the accident that resulted in your TBI, they are responsible for your damages. While the circumstances of each accident are unique, there are certain people that are more likely to be at fault, especially because car accidents and falls are leading causes of TBI in the U.S.
Work with your lawyer to assess the circumstances of your accident to determine liability. Potential liable parties include:
- Property Owners: Property owners owe lawful visitors to their property a duty of care called premise liability. If you suffer a fall on another person’s property because of a dangerous, unmarked condition, the property owner could be responsible. In Louisiana, property owners are required to provide reasonably safe conditions for guests and to provide warning of any known dangerous conditions or dangerous conditions the owner should have known about through the exercise of reasonable care. For example, if a grocery store owner was aware of a slipper, wet spot on the floor, they are obligated to remedy the dangerous condition or warn patrons. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs, they are responsible for the resulting injuries.
- Negligent Driver: Drivers must comply with all traffic laws and drive with the same level of care as any reasonable driver would exhibit in similar circumstances. Failure to do so constitutes negligence. Common negligent actions by drivers are speeding, driving under the influence, ignoring traffic signs or signals, and driving while distracted. If a driver’s negligent act causes an accident resulting in a TBI, they are responsible.
- Medical Professional: Similar to drivers and property owners, medical providers are also held to a certain level of care. This includes all medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, and hospitals. If a medical professional fails to exercise the appropriate level of care resulting in a TBI, the professional has committed medical malpractice and is responsible for the injury.
- Employer: Employers are responsible for the acts committed by their employees, so if your TBI was caused by the negligent or intentional act of an employee acting in the scope of their duties, you can seek recovery from their employer.
- Workers’ Compensation: If your TBI happens while you are at work, it is not necessary to show that your employer or any other party was negligent in order to recover. You can seek recovery for your medical expenses and temporary or permanent disability through Louisiana Workers’ Compensation.
Your lawyer will work with you to build a case against the responsible party which will include evidence of that party’s negligence. If possible, be sure to secure evidence from the scene of the accident.
What Is Included in a Damages Demand?
The estimated direct and indirect TBI costs each year in the U.S. are $76.5 billion. It’s not surprising this number is so high given the serious and long-term impacts a TBI has on a victim’s life. If your injury was caused by a negligent party, they are responsible for all your damages, including:
- Medical Costs: A TBI often requires serious and long-lasting medical support, including tests, surgery, medication, and a variety or rehabilitative therapies. The defendant is responsible for all medical costs associated with the injury.
- Lost Wages: If your TBI forces you to miss work either temporarily or permanently, the defendant is responsible for your lost wages and any future lost earning potential.
- Emotional Distress: A TBI can change a victim’s life as they knew it, and this can result in emotional distress including anxiety or depression.
- Loss of Enjoyment: A TBI can cause physical and mental limitations which can restrict a victim’s ability to participate in activities that were previously an important part of their life. Work with your lawyer to include appropriate compensation for this loss of enjoyment in your damages demand.
Preparing a TBI recovery case can be stressful and force you to relive a traumatic incident and the ways it has changed your life. It is necessary, however, to be comprehensive as you prepare your case in order to ensure you receive the recovery you deserve. An experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer will be an important partner in your pursuit for recovery. Contact Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC today at (504) 294-3910 or through our website to schedule a free case consultation.