Recovering Damages After a Traumatic Brain Injury
Suffering from any injury after an accident can significantly alter your day-to-day life, but few injuries are as concerning as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Any number of accidents can cause a TBI, and the symptoms will depend on the severity and location of the injury.
If you or a loved one have suffered a TBI because of the negligent or intentional acts of another party, they are responsible for your injuries, which extend beyond medical expenses. Read on to understand TBI injuries and the damages a victim can recover from a negligent party.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Any injury that results in a disruption of normal brain function is classified as a TBI. These injuries are most commonly caused by bumps, blows, or jolts to the head or a penetrating head injury. TBI represents a major cause of death and injury in the United States:
- There are over 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from TBI each year in the United States with over 800,000 of these events occurring in children;
- TBI can be a factor in over 50,000 deaths each year in the United States;
- An estimated 5 million individuals live with a TBI-related injury in the United States
TBI victims suffer from a wide range of symptoms including:
- Physical: Headache, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, seizures, facial weakness, bladder control issues, loss of consciousness, increased fatigue
- Sensory: Hearing issues, vision issues, change in sense of smell, increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Cognitive: Trouble with memory, inability to concentrate, change in mood, emotional distress like depression or anxiety, increased combativeness
Some symptoms appear immediately while others may develop over time and can be difficult to identify as a TBI. In addition to the above symptoms, a TBI can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders. While a mild TBI may not result in serious symptoms, suffering a series of mild TBIs can cause cumulative neurological and cognitive issues.
Determining Liability for a TBI
If any party commits a negligent or intentional act that causes an accident resulting in a TBI, they are responsible for the injuries that occur. A negligent act is any action that is outside the normal standard of care. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are two of the leading causes of TBIs in the United States.
Work with your attorney to analyze the potential responsibility of the following parties:
- Negligent Driver: Drivers are required to act with the same standard of care as other drivers under similar circumstances, which includes complying with all traffic laws and regulations. Common violations that are evidence of negligence are speeding, driving under the influence, distracted driving, and failure to cede the right of way.
- Property Owner: When a property owner fails to live up their duty of care, it is called premise liability. The level of care owed by a property owner depends on the legal status of the visitor. In Nevada, the highest level of care is required for individuals on the property for the owner’s benefit such as shoppers in a store. The owner must locate and fix or warn of hazardous conditions. For social visitors, a property owner is only obligated to warn visitors of known errors and don’t have a proactive obligation to regularly inspect the property for hazards. With some limited exceptions, a property owner owes no duty of care to trespassers.
- Medical Provider: All medical providers, including doctors, nurses, and hospitals, must act with the same level of care as a medical professional in a similar situation. Patients can recover for injuries including TBI resulting from a medical provider’s professional negligence.
- Employer: If your TBI occurs at work, you do not need to demonstrate negligence by your employer to secure recovery for your medical expenses and temporary or permanent disability. These claims are managed through Nevada’s Industrial Relations Division.
No matter the cause of the TBI, it is important to gather evidence of the other party’s responsibility. After a fall or a car accident, a police report is an important piece of evidence that will document the accident scene, witness information, and any citations issued by the officer.
Your lawyer will help assess the strength of your evidence and to build your case against the negligent party.
How Much Can I Recover?
The negligent party is responsible for all the damages suffered as a result of the TBI. Be sure to consider all the ways the TBI has affected your life, including:
- Medical Expenses: A TBI is often accompanied by significant medical expenses. In addition to the immediate medical expenses, be sure to include an estimate of future expenses such as rehabilitation, physical therapy, or assistive devices.
- Lost Income: The defendant is responsible for all lost wages associated with the TBI, including lost wages for missing work due to recovery or doctor’s appointments as well as any temporary or permanent disability resulting from the TBI.
- Emotional Distress: Some TBI victims suffer from anxiety or depression as a direct symptom of their TBI. Other victims might suffer from similar conditions because of the dramatic ways the TBI has affected their day-to-day life. No matter the cause of the emotional distress, you deserve to be compensated.
- Loss of Enjoyment: If your TBI symptoms keep you from an activity that was previously a meaningful part of your life, the defendant is responsible for this loss.
- Punitive/Exemplary Damages: If the defendant’s actions rise to the level of oppression, fraud, or malice, punitive damages are available in Nevada.
While it can be painful to reflect on the ways the TBI has changed your life for the worse, it is an important component of securing the recovery you deserve. Your damages demand will be considered by the jury if your case proceeds to trial and is a valuable tool when assessing any settlement offer.
An experienced personal injury attorney will help you build a strong case against the responsible party and work tirelessly to help you secure the recovery you deserve. The team at Gina Corena & Associates work on each client’s behalf to maximize their compensation. Contact the firm today to schedule a case consultation.