Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are often referred to as silent injuries—yet they should never be confused with minimal injuries. TBIs, instead, can lead to personally devastating and life-altering damages that might not be evident to the outside world. A traumatic brain injury could transform your life in just one moment. It’s the outwardly invisible nature of many of these injuries that can further compound the seriousness of the physical and psychological damages they cause.
Recovering from a significant TBI can be a lifelong battle. Furthermore, the psychological, financial, and physical strain of these injuries and their prolonged recovery processes tend to burden not only the victim but also the victim’s family, loved ones, friends, and caregivers. If you or someone you care about has suffered a TBI that was caused by another’s negligence, seek skilled legal guidance. The San Antonio traumatic brain injury lawyers at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the experience, integrity, and knowledge to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
TBI Causes and Effects
TBIs are typically caused by blows to or the whipping back and forth of the head. The Mayo Clinic identifies several accident types that commonly lead to traumatic brain injuries:
- Falls – Falls, such as those sustained in slips and falls, are common. Though some lead to nothing more than embarrassment, others can be extremely dangerous. Falls are the most common cause of TBIs, and this is a particular risk for the very young and the elderly.
- Vehicular accidents – Car, motorcycle, and bike accidents are other common causes of TBIs. These accidents don’t have to be extreme to result in considerable injuries. When vehicles collide—even at slow speeds—the impact causes drivers and passengers alike to smack against each other and their cars’ interiors, which can lead to TBIs.
- Sports – If your children engage in contact or highly physical school sports, they are susceptible to TBI-inducing blows. Recently, high-impact sports like football have garnered plenty of national press for their potential to cause brain injuries such as concussions (milder but not insignificant forms of TBI). Young athletes face significant risks, and action-packed activities offer plenty of opportunities to suffer dangerous blows to the head.
Learn the Signs of TBIs
Traumatic brain injuries are unpredictable, and each injury is unique. Because such injuries can lead to significant damage, including psychological, cognitive, sensory, behavioral, and physical disturbances, it’s important to recognize signs that are frequently associated with TBIs, and seek immediate treatment. Some signs include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- The sudden onset of confusion
- A persistent headache
- Overwhelming fatigue
- The sudden onset of a sleep disturbance
- A sudden lack of coordination
- Sudden mood, affect, or personality changes
- Sudden speech disturbances
- Numbness or weakness
Traumatic brain injuries can vary widely in both severity and scope, which can contribute to their undetectability at the time of injury. In fact, TBIs are so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled significant statistics:
- TBIs play a role in about 30 percent of injury-related fatalities in the United States.
- About 1.7 million Americans are afflicted with TBIs each year—about 52,000 die, about 275,000 are hospitalized, and almost 80 percent overall are treated in the emergency room.
- Those who are four years old and younger, between the ages of 15 and 19, and older than 65 are most likely to suffer TBIs.
- Males suffer more TBIs across all ages than females.
- The highest TBI-related rates for emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths are experienced by boys who are four years old and younger.
The brain is the body’s command central, and even minor changes within this delicately calibrated control mechanism can have far-reaching consequences. Even a seemingly minor TBI can lead to highly unpredictable negative effects. A TBI can affect your mental functioning, your senses (including your hearing and your sense of smell), and your language skills—all things that you rely on daily. Some TBIvictims suffer from seizures that can become chronic. Serious physical manifestations, however, are far from the only negative effects of TBIs.
Among the most difficult traumatic brain injury symptoms to cope are ongoing psychological and emotional consequences. Many TBI sufferers find that they have new-found difficulties controlling their emotions, which can be socially isolating and can contribute to significant depression and other mental illnesses. Some sufferers even describe the effects as a loss of sense of self. These psychosocial symptoms can be so traumatic that they also adversely affect those close to the TBI victim.
If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Victims of these accidents often face overwhelming emotional, financial, and physical challenges. Traumatic brain injuries are as unique as the individuals who sustain them, and bringing a successful Texas TBI claim is complicated. Your health and your legal compensation matter too much, however, to leave it to chance and to the insurance companies. Instead, retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.
Traumatic Brain Injury FAQ
Traumatic brain injuries often lead to struggles with emotional regulation, problems with focus and concentration, and memory issues: a recipe, in short, for confusion, disorientation, and a much-altered life. Following a traumatic brain injury, many victims not only have questions about the physical ramifications of their injuries, but also about the legal aspects of their accidents. Below are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions traumatic brain injury victims have after an accident.
Q: Do I have the right to file a personal injury claim after traumatic brain injury?
A: If another party’s negligence caused your traumatic brain injury, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim. Typically, you will need to prove:
- That someone else bore a duty of care to you. In an auto accident, for example, every driver on the road bears a duty of care to drive carefully and lawfully to others on the road, including pedestrians and cyclists.
- That the individual violated that duty of care due to reckless or negligent behavior. In a slip and fall, for example, the responsible facility might not have put out a wet floor sign, which led to your accident.
- That your injuries resulted directly from the other person’s negligence.
If you have grounds for a personal injury claim after a traumatic brain injury, you may need to prove not only who bears primary responsibility for your injuries, but who else contributed to your accident. In many accidents, more than one party contributes to the individual’s injuries. If more than one party contributed to your accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim against each responsible party to seek full reimbursement.
For example, in an auto accident, you may need to file a claim against both the driver and the manufacturer of the other vehicle, if a manufacturer defect led to the accident. Consulting an attorney can help you better identify any other parties who might share liability for your accident.
Q: How much compensation can I expect to recover for a traumatic brain injury?
A: In any personal injury case, including those involving traumatic brain injuries, the compensation you recover will depend on:
- Who caused your accident. In many cases, the limitations of the insurance policy that covers the responsible party will determine the compensation you can receive for your traumatic brain injury. In Texas, for example, drivers must carry a minimum of $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage in auto insurance. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident, and the driver carries only minimum insurance, you may receive only the minimum in coverage for your injuries. On the other hand, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a construction accident on a construction site run by a company with high liability insurance coverage, you may recover more compensation.
- How severe your traumatic brain injury is. Traumatic brain injuries can vary drastically in severity. While patients with a mild traumatic brain injury may have relatively low costs and recover fairly quickly, patients with a severe traumatic brain injury may face life-altering impacts for the rest of their lives. Patients with a severe traumatic brain injury, for example, may lose their memories of events surrounding the accident or memories well before or after the accident. Victims might struggle to remember the locations of common items. A severe traumatic brain injury can cause victims to need to relearn how to perform day to day activities, or leave them struggling with emotional regulation. Others may lose cognitive processing abilities almost entirely, requiring them to have round-the-clock care to remain safe.
If you suffered a relatively minor traumatic brain injury, which brings with it comparatively minor medical costs, you will receive less compensation than someone who suffered a severe injury.
On the other hand, if your injury has substantial impacts on your life long after the accident, including lingering symptoms or the need for long-term care, you may receive a higher offer. Most people claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
Q: How long will it take to get compensation for a traumatic brain injury?
A: After a traumatic brain injury, you may feel that you need compensation immediately. You have medical bills to pay, not to mention covering your normal bills while you recover after your injuries. Unfortunately, the need for compensation does not mean the process will move swiftly. In some cases, the personal injury process can take a long time. Many factors can influence the time it takes to seek compensation.
- How much compensation did you ask for? When you file a personal injury claim, including a claim for a traumatic brain injury, you may have an easier time receiving full compensation for a minor injury than a more serious one.
- What insurance company must you deal with? Many insurance companies seek to minimize their financial responsibility after an accident that involves serious injuries, rather than offering full compensation immediately. They may, for example, issue a low settlement offer immediately after the accident, which might not cover the full costs associated with your injuries. Other insurance companies will show a higher level of willingness to negotiate.
- Are you willing to negotiate? Throughout the claims process, both you and the insurance company will have the chance to accept each other’s offers. Talking with an attorney can give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and when you should accept an offer. Willingness to negotiate, however, can often get the funds you need in your hands sooner.
- Do you have an attorney on your side? Often, having an attorney on your side can streamline the claims process, from gathering evidence to submitting your claims package. An attorney can usually cut through much of the red tape associated with a personal injury claim and get the funds you need in your hands sooner.
Did you suffer a traumatic brain injury? Do you need assistance filing your personal injury claim? Are you a caregiver trying to help a loved one with a TBI?
Having a brain injury attorney often increases the compensation you recover and allows you to get the funds you need faster.
If You’ve Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, Contact a Skilled San Antonio Personal Injury Attorney Today
Traumatic brain injuries, as the name implies, are traumatic, and they’re not only dangerous but also highly unpredictable. In fact, such injuries frequently lead to ongoing and costly treatment and care. If your TBI was sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer. Because TBIs can go undetected and because their effects aren’t always self-evident, these cases are complicated.
At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we have the experience and dedication to help navigate your claim toward the beneficial resolution to which you’re entitled. We understand how personally and financially devastating these injuries can be, and we’re here to help. Please contact or call us at (210) 225-0909 to schedule an appointment today.
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