Modified: November 13, 2022

Brain Injury Victim’s Guide After Suffering a Negligently Caused Traumatic Brain Injury

Table of Contents

Dealing with a brain injury can be confusing and oftentimes frustrating, especially if the victim suffered damage from an accident that was not their fault. Whether you’re suffering from a mild or severe brain injury, it can be life-altering, and the recovery process is slow and painful. Some brain injury victims don’t recover from their injuries or complications, resulting in wrongful death.

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in California that was not your fault, contact Ehline Law and our lead personal injury attorney, Michael Ehline, to help you obtain meaningful compensation.

Brain Injury Can be Terrifying

Whether you suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident or slipped in a retail shop on your head, a brain injury is often times terrifying. The brain is responsible for movements, communication, memory, emotions, and many more functions, which is why an injury to the brain can have consequences.

If you sustain a brain injury, the first thought that comes to mind is, “am I going to be okay?” You start to wonder whether you can carry out physical activity, enjoy the experiences you used to enjoy prior to the injury, or return to work. A brain injury is not only terrifying for the victim but also for the family members, as they have to adjust accordingly.

If you’re one of the brain injury victim’s family members, you will have a few questions. Will your loved one ever recover from this? Do you need to change your lifestyle to take care of your loved ones? How do you take care of them? To understand what the journey will be like in the future for a brain injury victims, it is important for them and their family members to spend some time researching. The more information you know about living with a brain injury or dealing with a person who is suffering from a brain injury, the better you’ll be able to continue living your life.

Understanding the injury and how it affects one’s life can help in making difficult decisions regarding treatment, home care, therapy, and other matters. Brain injuries caused by someone’s negligence are grounds for pursuing legal action. If you or your loved ones are suffering a brain injury from an accident due to another’s negligence, you would want to recover damages. Treating brain injury and living with it can be expensive, with some experts estimating costs of over $3 million depending on the severity of the injury.

Therefore, if you’re considering taking legal action against the negligent party, you may have a list of questions about personal injury lawsuits and whether or not they are worth pursuing.

Traumatic Brain Injury: What Is It?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a blow, an impact to the head, or a penetrating head injury that negatively affects normal brain functions. However, not all brain injuries are serious. In fact, there are different ranges of TBI, from mild injuries such as concussions to severe brain injuries like diffuse axonal injuries.

Depending on the severity of the brain injury, it can affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. According to the CDC, a traumatic brain injury can negatively affect the patient’s thinking and ability to feel sensations, alter their speaking and communication abilities, and cause emotional problems ranging from anxiety to depression, frustration, embarrassment, and anger.

A TBI can be so severe that it can impair a person physically, rendering them incapable of taking care of themselves. It can either be for a couple of months or the remainder of their life. To determine the severity of the brain injury, medical professionals use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GSC), a method for the assessment of impairment of consciousness level in response to defined stimuli.

The GSC came about in 1974, and since then, the scale has become more advanced and refined. The scale now adopts a modern structural approach that offers high accuracy and provides a reliable assessment. Medical professionals use the GSC to measure eye-opening, verbal response, and the patient’s motor response.

Reading the GSC is pretty straightforward, with the higher number signifying a less severe or minor brain injury. To illustrate, on the GSC scale for motor response, six points for a score indicate that the person is exhibiting normal motor responses, while a score of one would suggest that there is no motor response at all.

When it comes to a verbal response, four points would suggest that the person is exhibiting disoriented conversation. At the same time, a score of two would indicate that the person is capable of producing sounds but fails to form words.

How Do Brain Injuries Happen?

Any impact or blow to the head, whether it is during a car accident or an assault, can cause brain injuries. It is important to distinguish that brain injuries are different than head injuries. A head injury relates to the skull, which could be bruises, fractures, etc. But a brain injury is when the brain twists, moves or shakes inside of the skull due to an impact or a blow. The impact does not need to penetrate the skull to cause a brain injury.

According to recent reports by the CDC, there were a total of 64,000 deaths from brain injuries in the United States in the year 2020. That’s about 176 brain injury-related deaths per day. Anyone can suffer from a brain injury, but certain groups of people are more prone to brain injuries than others, such as racial and ethnic minorities, homeless people, domestic violence survivors, the elderly, and people residing in rural areas.

The leading cause of brain injuries in the United States is falls, which contribute to about 50% of TBI-related hospitalizations. The key findings of the 2019 brain injury surveillance report by the CDC suggest that car accidents, assaults, and suicide are all major causes of brain injury-related deaths in the country.

Although car accidents, assaults, suicide, and falls are some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries, they’re not the only ones. A brain injury can occur at any time, anywhere. Reports suggest that the longer a pro fighter’s career lasts, the more likely they’re going to lose critical brain capacity.

In 2016, a young boy died at a school pool party where he drowned in the pool for two minutes before his schoolmates got him out on a backboard. The 13-year-old boy lay on a backboard floating in the pool for another seven minutes without any oxygen, leading to severe brain injuries and forcing the doctors to place the boy on life support for a month before declaring him brain dead.

A motorcycle accident could lead to a brain injury. Although most motorcyclists wear helmets because of the Universal Helmet Law in the United States, they still receive brain injuries in the event of a catastrophic accident.

A brain injury doesn’t just occur because of a blow or an impact on the head. You may have heard about the “shaken baby syndrome.” The violent shaking of a baby results in a brain injury to the infant.

Symptoms of Brain Injury

The symptoms of a brain injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. It is important to pay attention to the symptoms and assess any changes over the course of a few days.

Mild Brain Injury

When a person loses consciousness for a few seconds, that is the first sign of a mild to moderate brain injury. If the victim does not lose consciousness, they may experience dizziness or appear to be slightly confused or disoriented.

Some of the symptoms of a mild brain injury include:

  • Dizziness
  • Continuous headaches
  • Losing balance
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Sleeping too much.

These are just the physical symptoms that tend to appear after a brain injury. Still, the victim or their family needs to pay attention to the sensory and mental signs, which include memory problems, difficulty concentrating, always on-edge feelings, auditory and visual sensitivity, and ringing in the ears.

Severe Brain Injury

The victims of severe traumatic brain injuries will more or less experience similar symptoms to those of mild traumatic brain injuries. However, in a severe brain injury victim, these symptoms are more developed and last much longer.

For example, a severe brain injury victim might lose consciousness for a few minutes or hours rather than the few seconds a mild brain injury victim experiences. Rather than having a mild case of nausea, a severe brain injury victim may exhibit uncontrollable vomiting.

Besides sharing similar symptoms, there are other symptoms unique to severe brain injury victims, and some of these include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme weakness
  • Fluid draining from the nose or ears
  • Repetitive seizures.

Severe brain injury victims also suffer from serious cognitive and sensory complications. Such as, if they’re exhibiting confusion, it may be on another level. They may be unable to form complete sentences and have slurred speech.

Memory problems from a severe TBI can be more profound. They may not remember crucial information, such as the events of the accident or even their name.

They may also suffer from extreme emotional problems, making them more aggressive. Some severe TBI victims go into a coma for a long period of time, and in some situations, they may never recover from it.

How to Determine If a Child Has TBI?

It is much easier to diagnose the severity of a TBI in an adult than in a child because they may respond differently to the injury. A child may exhibit frequent mood or behavior changes after suffering a brain injury. This can negatively affect their eating habits, attention span, and even sleep patterns.

Brain Injury-Related Facts

Concussion Facts

In the United States, there is a lot of debate about whether to suspend sports activities in school districts over fears of concussions. According to the CDC, concussion is a mild form of TBI caused by a blow or a jolt to the head. It can even occur when there is rapid acceleration or deceleration, which can move or shake the brain inside the head.

The statistics pertaining to concussions from sports injuries are often underreported. However, according to the Journal of Athletic Training, there are almost 300,000 brain-related injuries from sports among high school and college students annually, most of them being concussions.

Concussions can vary in severity. Mild concussions can last a few days, while severe concussions can cause lasting damage to the brain injury victim. It may be difficult to differentiate between a mild and a severe concussion at first, which is why it is important to head to a hospital for a proper diagnosis.

Suppose a brain injury victim is suffering from a concussion that is also followed by a severe headache, weakness, vomiting, nausea, inability to speak properly, drowsiness, unusual behavior, or a loss of consciousness. In that case, it is an indication that the person needs immediate medical attention.

If you’re suffering from a mild concussion, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following treatments to help with the recovery:

  • Ample rest.
  • Avoid any sports participation.
  • Stay away from physical activity or any activity that may require thinking, such as watching a movie, playing video games, or completing your school homework.
  • Take pain medications.

You may feel fine after a few days of concussion and want to resume playing activities or participate in sports, but Brainline.org advises against doing so for a while.

A repeat concussion is when another concussion occurs after the first one, resulting in permanent cognitive and functional impairment. After recovering from your concussion, it is important to stay away from sports or any activity that could increase the risk of suffering another concussion for a while.

Coma Facts

A person in a coma may look like they’re sleeping, but in reality, they’re unresponsive to everything around them. A person in a coma may not be able to open their eyes, be unable to respond to any instructions, be unable to talk, or even be unable to make a purposeful movement.

During the recovery process, the brain injury victim who is in a coma may transition into a conscious state. However, the severity of the brain injury will determine the length of time a person remains in a coma. Typically, a person in a coma should return to normal consciousness within four weeks.

A comatose person requires constant medical care and supervision. A person coming out of a coma will first gradually gain awareness of their surroundings before trying to interact with them. Many victims’ family members feel that talking to their loved ones who are in a coma can help them regain consciousness sooner. Some research suggests coma victims become more responsive to family voices, especially if they’re telling a familiar story multiple times a day for a few weeks. Although the patients don’t regain full consciousness, they are more aware.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Here we will discuss some of the common causes of traumatic brain injury.

Automobile Accidents

Depending on the severity of the car, motorcycle, or truck accident, a victim may suffer from either a closed or an open head injury. The impact of the accident can cause a driver to hit his head hard on the steering wheel, side door, or any other part of the car, resulting in a direct blow to the head.

According to the CDC, 14% of all TBI-related deaths directly result from motor vehicle accidents. Although motor vehicle drivers can suffer serious brain injuries in an accident, it is bicyclists and pedestrians are at an increased risk of TBI.

A pedestrian or a bicyclist does not have any safety features, unlike motor vehicles, which is why these groups of people are more susceptible to suffering from brain injuries when struck by a vehicle.

Slip and Falls

As mentioned previously, the CDC reports that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of TBI in the United States. Falls predominantly occur due to the negligence of the property owners. According to the research sources, there was a significant increase in the country’s traumatic brain injury-related deaths due to falls.

From 2008 to 2017, traumatic brain injury deaths related to falls increased from 3.86 to 4.52 per 100,000 people. In nursing homes across the nation, fall injuries are a serious concern and result in over 1,800 deaths annually.

Sports and Recreation

The CDC’s shocking report reveals that across the United States, approximately 174,000 children aged 19 and younger receive emergency medical treatment for brain injuries due to playing sports or engaging in fun activities.

There is a high risk of permanent brain damage among young athletes for several reasons, including a lack of protective gear and the negligence of their coaches.

Workplace Accidents

It is possible to suffer from head injuries in any occupation, but certain industries pose a higher threat of TBI-related injuries to employees or workers than others. Construction, fishing, and agriculture are some of the industries with a higher risk of TBI injuries to workers.

Regardless of where you work, a fall from a height, being hit by tools or equipment, or a collision with vehicles such as forklifts, trucks, and more can cause victims to suffer a brain injury.

Those working in factories, construction sites, or oilfields can experience workplace explosions. Workers that survive the explosion often end up with injuries, including brain injuries, due to the impact of the explosion.

Medical Negligence

During birth, the negligence of a medical professional, including doctors, nurses, midwives, or others, can cause permanent brain damage to the newborn.

Some examples of brain injuries to infants during birth due to medical negligence include cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy.

Complications That May Follow a Severe TBI

Complications can follow after victims suffer from severe brain injuries.

These complications are either related directly to TBI or occur because of being bedridden and include:

  • Intracranial Pressure: Fluids may start to build up in the brain, causing it to swell and increase pressure. If it remains unchecked, it can reach dangerous levels, making it life-threatening for the TBI victim.
  • Edema: The fluid buildup in the brain can disrupt blood flow and destroy brain cells.
  • Pneumonia: Since the patient is unable to move for weeks due to their bedridden status, it increases the risk of pneumonia.
  • Brain infection: After one sustains an injury and remains unchecked, an infection can spread in the brain and other parts of the body, which can be deadly. Infections often occur in penetrative brain injury.
  • Blood clots: The flow of blood in a person suffering from TBI slows down since they’re on bed rest and can’t move much, resulting in blood clots in the limbs. It can get seriously dangerous if the blood clot travels to the lungs.

Brain injuries can place a victim’s life directly under threat, with the possibility of serious complications. At Ehline Law, our attorneys believe in fighting for fair compensation for brain injury victims for their pain and suffering, mental anguish, reduced quality of life, and other damages.

Initial Medical Treatment

If there is a chance to heal from a brain injury, it could take a long time. The recovery journey is often arduous and stressful, but taking one step at a time can help massively.

It is crucial to start initial treatment after suffering from a brain injury. Fortunately, many hospitals offer specialized brain injury treatment, and some of the best ones include Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Shepard Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital, among many others.

In the initial stages of the recovery process, medical professionals focus on stabilizing the victim’s health first and preserving as much of the brain functions as possible. The medical professionals at the hospital will also provide information on rehabilitation clinics and therapy centers with specialized staff for the victim’s long-term recovery.

Once the doctors stabilize the injured victim’s health, they’ll move them to a place where they can work with specialists who will divert their focus to improving the victim’s motor skills. The specialists help brain injury victims regain the ability to carry out basic tasks in their daily lives. Since brain injury can cause memory problems, specialist treatment would also help relearn functions and adapt to the injury’s limitations.

Not all brain injury cases result in mild-to-moderate concussions. Some brain injuries can cause comas, which can last for some time. Although it is possible to recover from a coma, it will take considerable time and specialized medical care.

Why Should You Get Medical Treatment?

Many medical professionals and medical researchers highly stress the importance of receiving immediate medical treatment for brain injury victims. Doctors even suggest getting a medical checkup done even if the person suffers from a mild concussion. Medical tests such as CT scans help doctors evaluate brain damage and formulate a treatment plan suitable for the patient.

Mild concussions and minor brain injuries often recover with time and rest. Still, there is a need for immediate medical intervention in the event of a severe brain injury to prevent any permanent damage to the brain.

Types of Initial Treatment

The two types of initial treatment described by the Brain Injury Association of America aim to preserve the victim’s life and as much of their brain function as possible. These include intensive care and acute rehabilitation.

Intensive Care

The priority of medical professionals when a brain injury victim reaches the hospital or emergency room is to ensure that they stabilize the victim’s health. The doctors will monitor and preserve vital organs so that the body continues receiving blood and oxygen.

In such situations, medical professionals may use ventilators to assist patients in breathing if they’re not. The IV line ensures a continuous flow of medication and vital fluids to maintain the patient’s health.

If the victim cannot eat food due to their condition, the doctors may administer a liquid diet through a nasogastric tube that goes directly into the stomach from the mouth.

Acute Rehabilitation

Health professionals with backgrounds in brain injury rehabilitation and treating brain injuries will want to begin acute rehabilitation once the victim’s vitals normalize and they’re in a stable condition.

Individuals in acute rehabilitation work closely with brain injury victims in helping them relearn basic motor skills to assist them in carrying out their daily activities. Brain injury can cause a person to lose the ability to live a normal life. Still, acute rehabilitation can bring some of those abilities back to help the victim adjust to living with the damage.

For example, because of limited or no arm movement, a brain injury victim may not be able to wear clothes themselves. In acute rehabilitation, the specialists work with the victim to help them regain skills so they can dress themselves up. Brain injury can cause speech impediment; if that is the case, specialists will help them regain some of their speech.

Intensive care and acute rehabilitation are frequently provided within the same hospital to minimize disruption to the victim and their families. If these services are not offered at the same hospital, the staff will assist the victim and their families in arranging visitations to acute rehabilitation services.

What Complications Can Follow a Brain Injury?

Dealing with a brain injury is very challenging, even for specialized medical doctors, because it can lead to complications immediately after the accident or soon after. Depending on the brain injury’s severity, it can lead to one or more complications.

These complications can include the following:

  • A brain injury victim may fall into a coma, or vegetative state, or become brain dead.
  • The victim may experience repeated seizures, which can go on for up to two weeks after suffering from the brain injury.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain can cause swelling and serious pain.
  • The victim may exhibit intellectual issues, especially the inability to form cohesive sentences, be unable to understand or comprehend a given situation and be unable to make proper decisions.
  • The victim may start to have difficulty understanding written words or speech, which can make it challenging for them to communicate with family members, friends, or in public.
  • A brain injury can cause a lot of behavioral and emotional disruptions, resulting in an inability to control themselves, continuous mood swings, extreme irritability, and anxiety.
  • A degenerative brain disease that slowly starts to affect the brain, destroying the brain cells and negatively affecting brain functions.

A lot of research provides substantial evidence that prompt treatment can control the symptoms and prevent any complications from brain injury.

Should You Seek Medical Treatment for a Brain Injury Immediately?

In most cases, brain injury victims fail to receive medical treatment on time because they believe their injuries are minor. After an accident, a person may experience painful headaches, which may not make them immediately believe that they’re suffering from a brain injury.

However, symptoms of brain injury start to manifest slowly after an accident, and they can become more profound over time. Delaying medical treatment can force a brain injury to advance to a dangerous state.

It is crucial to head to a hospital for a medical checkup if:

  • You get hit on the head.
  • You start to experience physical, cognitive, or behavioral changes.

We often tell injured victims always to seek medical help after an accident because injuries can manifest later. It is better to diagnose any illnesses or injuries before they turn into something complicated.

If you believe that the injury is nothing serious or you feel okay after an accident, it is still best to check it out with medical professionals, as this could be critical to your outcome.

What happens if you fail to get medical help for a TBI? Well, depending on the accident’s severity, it can turn complicated quickly. Clear fluids may start to drip from your nose and ears. The injury can cause fluid or blood buildup in the brain, causing the brain to swell up, which can lead to permanent damage.

If the accident caused penetrative injuries to the head, it could lead to an infection that could potentially spread to the brain and the entire nervous system. Leaving the brain injury untreated could cause seizures, strokes from clotting, paralysis, cognitive disabilities, comas, and even brain death, among many others.

Failing to seek medical attention after suffering a brain injury can increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich ataxia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy, among others.

Prompt treatment will not reverse any damage done by the brain injury or prevent further complications. It does, however, improve a brain injury victim’s chances of a more positive prognosis.

How to Choose a Doctor for Your Brain Injury

Controlling symptoms and assisting in rehabilitation requires the right medical professional and early treatment. It is crucial to reach out to the “right” doctor for your brain injury treatment, but from the many medical professionals available, how do you find the right one for you?

Treat this stage as a job interview. You’ve listed a vacancy and are skimming through all the available doctor’s resumes to interview potential candidates. This is a serious and very sensitive job, and you must take your time to ask relevant questions to see which doctor is the perfect fit for you.

When interviewing, a few questions can help you find the best doctor for your brain injury. Here are some of the things you should question the doctor about.

Educational and Professional Background

You can ask the doctor about where they completed their residency and how long they have practiced.

Although graduating from a top medical school with substantial experience does not provide any guarantee of the outcome of your brain injury treatment, it does let you know that the doctor is really committed to their profession and will be able to handle your case with the care and skills needed.

Specialization

Every study field has multiple practice areas where the professionals specialize. To put this into perspective, an attorney could specialize in criminal law, or a finance graduate could specialize in portfolio management. Due to its complexities, medicine is a vast field, and doctors specialize in different practice areas after graduation. Although a general doctor may be able to guide you through your brain injury, they may not have the knowledge that brain specialists have.

Brain injury specialists stay updated on the latest trends and treatments and can better cater to your needs.

Prior History

Every brain injury case is unique, and you need to ask the doctor whether or not they have treated a case like yours in the past. Although past results do not guarantee future outcomes, they provide the brain injury victim with peace of mind in knowing they are in good hands.

If your doctor has experience dealing with injuries similar to yours, ask them about how they handled the patient and what kind of treatment they conducted to improve their condition.

Other Things to Consider

There are other things to consider besides education, professional background, specialization, and prior history, such as the doctor’s rating. You should do some research online on the doctor you have narrowed down to and see their reviews. Go beyond the number of stars they have and the numerical ratings. You want a doctor who knows how to take care of their patients and reading complete reviews can give you an insight into the doctor’s personality and whether it is the right fit for you.

You are trusting a doctor with whom you will interact for the next few years. It is important that the doctor you’re selecting does not make you feel uncomfortable. It is best to eliminate a doctor who gives you uneasy vibes from your list.

Different Stages of Your Treatment

TBI patients and their families often get confused over the fact that no two TBI patients display similar symptoms or have the same restrictions or disabilities. A doctor will always recommend a treatment plan according to the patient’s needs. It’s highly likely that a doctor recommends one treatment for one TBI patient and another treatment for another.

TBI treatment includes two types of medical care: short-term and long-term management. Both focus on eliminating the symptoms and effects of a brain injury, and these types of treatment are completely different from any other injury treatment.

As an example, for a broken bone, the treatment continues until the bone heals completely. Still, if the patient “regresses” or returns to the same condition, they were in prior to the treatment, they would need to undergo the same treatment all over again.

In the case of a TBI victim, this is not the same. During the start of the treatment, it is possible that the TBI patient regresses. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, a brain specialist would start multiple treatments.

The Treatment Team May Change, But Not Your Family

Before starting the TBI treatment, a team of doctors, nurses, medical staff, and other relevant medical professionals will conduct a meeting with the brain injury victim and their family members. The first meeting is usually about the type of treatment and medical care the doctors are considering.

The team is also there to answer any questions or concerns you or your family members may have pertaining to the treatment and appropriate care. They are a valuable resource to assist you through the entire TBI recovery process and support you through this journey.

That said, the family needs to realize that the team members may change throughout the treatment, but the family members are a permanent part of the treatment team.

The brain injury victim must participate in all these team meetings and be as vocal as possible about their personal opinions and any questions or concerns they may have. Your team members must know about your goals and need to help cater to them accordingly.

Mild TBI Treatment May Vary Among Patients

A person may suffer from mild TBI from sports or minor car accidents.

People suffering from minor TBI injuries can resort to first-aid, take OTC pain medications, and ensure ample rest to recover from their injuries. The majority of mild TBI symptoms can fade over time, but some can last longer, causing certain disabilities or limitations.

Brain injury victims and their family members must be on the lookout for symptoms and any changes over the next few days. Monitoring symptoms can help identify any early warning signs, which the treatment team members can look into.

Moderate to Severe TBI Requires Emergency Treatment

Whether a person is suffering from a moderate TBI or a severe one, they should undergo immediate medical treatment.

In such situations, a patient is usually moved to a major brain trauma center where emergency treatment may include:

  • If the patient is not responding, the medical team will try to resuscitate them.
  • Assess the brain injury patient’s condition and the severity and extent of their injuries.
  • If they have life-threatening injuries, the medical team will first divert their attention toward addressing them.
  • Stabilizing their condition.
  • Monitoring their vitals.

The medical team will provide acute treatment to prevent the likelihood of a secondary injury or placing the patient on life support. Such as, the buildup of fluid in the skull is a secondary injury that the doctors will try to prevent by providing acute treatment.

During this stage, the medical professionals that would make up the TBI treatment team would include surgeons who are usually responsible for leading the team, specialists depending on the injuries, nursing staff for administering care and monitoring the patient’s vital statistics, and psychologists to assist the family and the brain injury victim in making important decisions.

The treatment team members are there to help the family and the brain injury patient understand the brain injury, the extent of the damage, and any further treatment or long-term care options.

Moderate to Severe TBI Will Require Rehabilitation

In the case of moderate to severe TBI, the initial treatment is not sufficient, and the patient will require rehabilitation.

Once the brain injury victim becomes stable, the staff will have them transferred to the rehabilitation center. The specialists will try to minimize any further complications that may arise and assist the patient in recovering lost functionalities.

Some of the rehabilitation services provided include:

  • Ongoing medical treatment
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Occupational therapy.

Ongoing Medical Treatment

The rehabilitation center will continue monitoring the patient’s recovery progress and their use of medication. They will also provide preventive care when needed to reduce the risks of infections or secondary injuries.

During the patient’s time at the rehabilitation center, if their medical condition starts to deteriorate, the medical staff will have them moved back to the hospital, where they can receive further evaluation and treatment.

Rehabilitation Therapy

During rehabilitation therapy, the first step includes a meeting between the patient, their family members, and the medical staff, which includes psychologists, psychiatrists, and the nursing staff, so that they can better understand the patient’s TBI and the limitations it imposes as a result. This helps in curating a special treatment plan aimed at improving those limitations and helps with the recovery process.

The nursing staff will help the brain injury victim improve their balance and minimize any stability issues they are facing due to their injuries. If the patient is having trouble talking, is unable to walk, or stands, the nursing staff will try to address that.

During rehabilitation, the medical staff will inform the patient’s family members about any disabilities and limitations and how they will impact long-term care. As an example, if the staff realizes that the patient cannot walk properly and there is no sign of improvement, they may recommend the family members obtain a cane or install ramps at home to make it easy for the patient to live with those limitations.

Occupational Therapy

A brain injury can affect the normal day-to-day living of a person, such as dressing up, cooking, and other activities. Depending on a brain injury patient’s limitations, the therapy staff will assist them in relearning those activities. This helps the patient to become a bit more independent and not rely on others for smaller and more manageable tasks.

Once the patient receives rehabilitation services, they are ready to move to a long-term care solution. These services allow the patient to become part of society again. The patient will, however, have to visit the rehabilitation center, depending on their schedule, to receive therapy.

Moderate to Severe TBI: Long-term Treatment in Patients

Long-term treatment after rehabilitation services aims to manage a patient’s limitations and symptoms and help them live independent lives. A TBI patient will have to move from one long-term care facility to the other depending on the patient’s condition, whether it is improving or deteriorating. The patient’s family members are important players in the recovery of the brain injury patient during this treatment phase.

Before reaching the long-term care treatment phase, the medical professionals and rehabilitative specialists would have provided sufficient information to the patient and their family members to understand the injury, their limitations, and how it may impact their lives. Social workers also help prepare the family for the patient’s long-term care.

There are several options a brain injury patient has pertaining to their long-term care, and these include:

  • Care at home
  • Independent living facilities
  • Skilled nursing homes.

Care at Home

In the best-case scenario, a patient can choose to live at home with a family member and receive long-term care from in-home care providers. However, certain factors can affect a patient’s ability to receive assistive care at home, including a patient’s financial position, limitations and disabilities, and whether or not their family members have the physical capabilities to assist the patient.

Independent Living Facilities

These types of facilities are typically aimed at patients who currently require support and therapy. Depending on the patient’s needs, an independent living facility may provide different types of therapy and assistance.

Skilled Nursing Homes

These residential facilities are for patients requiring long-term care who can not live independently. Patients who have lost most of their functionality will need to stay at skilled nursing homes to receive rehabilitative therapy. Where patients are admitted to skilled nursing homes, management of their symptoms can last throughout their lifetime. The patient and their family members must continue to participate and communicate with the treatment team to take immediate action if there is any deterioration in the patient’s health.

When Should You Reach Out to a Lawyer?

After experiencing a TBI, the victims are often physically and emotionally drained. During this time, a victim is typically concerned about the repercussions of the brain injury on their life going forward, so hiring an attorney does not occur to them immediately. Although a brain injury can be devastating to the victim and their family members, the addition of a financial burden can further increase their stress.

If the brain injury occurred due to another’s negligence, you would want to pursue claims to recover the damages caused. Reaching out to an attorney for your brain injury case can improve your chances of securing the compensation you need to pay for your medical treatment and improve your quality of life.

By law, people have a duty of care towards others, and negligence means the breach of that duty of care. You must contact a reputable personal injury attorney if your brain injury occurred due to the other party’s negligence.

As an example, if you got into a car accident because of a drunk driver and suffered a brain injury, the drunk driver acted recklessly and breached their duty of care towards you by driving under the influence, resulting in injuries to you.

Or, if you slipped in a retail store due to a wet floor and suffered a brain injury, the property owner is responsible for your injuries as they breached their duty of care towards you by not remedying known hazards within a reasonable amount of time, leading to your injuries.

If your brain injury occurred because of negligence, a brain injury lawyer could provide legal guidance to help you navigate the complex legal claim.

An experienced attorney can also help you with:

  • Carrying out an investigation to determine the cause of the injury.
  • Determining the party responsible for the injuries.
  • Gathering evidence.
  • Compiling medical data and proving the repercussions of the injury.
  • Hiring expert witnesses to strengthen your case.
  • Adhering to all the deadlines and claim procedures.
  • Filing the claim with the relevant documents.
  • Determining the value of the damage suffered.
  • Negotiating with the negligent party’s insurer for a fair settlement on your behalf.
  • Taking the case to trial if there is no agreement between the parties.

An attorney will always work in your best interests, and during any step of the legal process, they are available to clear your doubts and provide you with the right answers. They’ll help you understand your legal options, the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing legal action, and how much you can potentially recover from the negligent party. All these are important details to help you make decisions.

A brain injury can cost millions of dollars in damage to the victim, and sometimes the other party’s insurance policy may not have enough coverage to cover all the damages. In situations like these, an expert attorney will try to exploit other venues to ensure that you receive the maximum settlement for your loss.

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. A free case review session is a great way to approach an attorney, tell them your story, and determine whether the other party is liable to pay for your injuries. It also gives you an insight into the attorney that might be taking on your case and whether they’re the right fit for you.

Most personal injury attorneys also offer their services on a contingency fee basis. Potential clients do not have to pay the lawyer upfront for handling their case, and they don’t have to pay them if the case is successful.

If the attorney wins the case for you, they’ll take a certain percentage, agreed upon when signing the contract of the final verdict or settlement amount.

Questions to Ask the Treatment Team

There can be a lot of misunderstandings among the patient, their family members, and the treatment team, either because the treatment team failed to explain to them what they should expect during the different phases of treatment or because the patient and their family did not communicate their concerns to the treatment team.

During the treatment, it is crucial for the patient and their family members to ask as many relevant questions as they can from the treatment team. The more they know, the better they will be able to assist in the patient’s recovery.

Some questions you can start asking the treatment team are:

  • Is this treatment recommended? How will this treatment help? What is its success rate? Will the patient be able to resume living a normal life after completing the treatment?
  • Are there any alternative treatments available? Do you recommend undergoing these treatments, and if so, what are the benefits and disadvantages? Did you consider these treatments when formulating a treatment plan?
  • What to expect from completing this treatment plan? Are there any permanent limitations that the patient has to deal with after this treatment? What might happen during the treatment?

Treating a TBI at a top medical provider is very costly. Still, if your TBI was due to another’s negligence, a lawyer can help handle your claims and play a crucial role in ensuring that the patient receives the best medical care and treatment available in the country.

Traumatic Brain Injury Costs

Of all the injuries a person can sustain, traumatic brain injury is one of the most costly, not only in financial terms but also in emotional and non-economic terms. A person suffering from a TBI may not be able to return to work, have a reduced quality of life, and incur initial costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The financial cost of a TBI can exceed $3 million over the patient’s lifetime.

Let’s go over some of the common costs a patient will incur after sustaining a brain injury.

Hospital Stays

The cost of staying at hospitals in the United States has skyrocketed in the past decade. It has become incredibly unaffordable, especially for those who do not have health insurance.

A government report states that a three-day stay in a hospital can cost the patient about $30,000. That’s not all. A person suffering from a TBI might be in a hospital for three weeks or more, depending on their condition.

A three-week hospital stay can cost the patient approximately $210,000. These costs do not include the ambulance charges for transportation to the hospital, which can cost a couple of thousand dollars.

Medical Treatment

A large portion of TBI costs includes surgeries and medications. If a patient requires surgery, then brain surgery can cost upwards of $100,000. This is the cost of surgery alone and does not include nursing costs, food, medication, and other types of charges.

Future Rehabilitation

Once the patient receives initial treatment, they are then moved to a rehabilitation center where the medical professionals focus on helping the patient regain skills and cope with important daily activities to make them more independent.

Rehabilitation and therapy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, from visitations to therapy, consultations, and more.

If the person is severely disabled and requires in-home care, that will cost them additional charges, and in-home care is very expensive.

Lost Income

Besides medical costs, the recovery period for a TBI can take a few months, which can result in lost wages.

However, in some situations, the patient may face disabilities that affect their future ability to join the workforce. This can cause financial uncertainty for the brain injury victim and their dependents if any.

Non-economic Damages

Besides the economic damage a victim suffers, they also face non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, mental exhaustion, and reduced quality of life. It may be challenging to put a monetary value on these types of damages, but it is important that a person receives compensation for all losses, economic and non-economic.

A skilled attorney can help in determining the value of these damages and assist in filing claims against negligent parties accordingly.

How Can a Brain Injury Attorney Help You?

A TBI from an accident is a life-changing event, and according to the CDC, a TBI can affect a person’s thinking, speaking, emotions, and sensations. Although the effects of TBI can last for a few months or even years, in some severe cases, they can be permanent. A TBI-affected person may not remember events or people, go through personality changes, and face disabilities affecting their job status.

The stress from an accident is already burdening enough, but the medical bills that start to rack up after treatments can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Specialized treatments are very expensive, and if you don’t have the financial resources, it can take a toll on you and your family.

Some brain injuries heal relatively quickly and do not require much medical intervention. However, severe brain injuries may require years of medical care, treatment, and therapy, which can cost millions of dollars over the patient’s lifetime.

If your brain injury was due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation for the damages caused. The best thing you can do after suffering from a TBI from an accident that was not your fault is to call an attorney.

A personal injury attorney will learn about your accident, assess your personal injury case, and let you know your legal options. They will also help you understand your rights and guide you through the entire claims process, from filing claim forms to handling the insurance companies, negotiating, and even going to trial if required.

What are Your Rights as a TBI Victim?

A TBI injury can be confusing to wrap your head around, but what’s even more stressful is the aftermath of the injury and how to deal with it, especially recovering money for the damages incurred.

If you suffered a TBI due to another person’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation and have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

To pursue legal action against the negligent party, you will need to prove the four key elements of a personal injury lawsuit, which are:

  • The defendant had a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care.
  • The breach of the duty of care resulted in injuries to the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff got injured due to the actions of the defendant.

Negligence is the key component of a personal injury claim, and it is the failure to take adequate care when carrying out work or any action. Negligence is also very challenging to prove, which is why it is important to reach out to an attorney to help you with this aspect.

To illustrate, a driver has the legal duty to take adequate care when driving their vehicle. Suppose your accident resulted in you suffering a TBI due to the driver not paying attention to the road (a distracted driver). In that case, the driver is responsible for the damage since they did not exert adequate care while driving. Negligence not only applies to distracted drivers but to any action of the driver that could cause harm to others, such as overspeeding, drinking while driving, and reckless driving, to name a few.

To recover damages from an accident due to another’s negligence, you must file a lawsuit, but it is important to understand that there are deadlines you must adhere to. In California, the statute of limitations allows the injured victim two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the negligent party. If the victim fails to adhere to this deadline, they lose their right to pursue legal action.

After an accident, you may feel depressed and want to focus on your recovery rather than file a civil action, and for some, it might even seem unnecessary.

However, when the medical bills and other costs add up, it can negatively impact the victim’s financial situation and their family. Filing claims is your only option to recover the money for your damages.

There are two types of damages you can recover when filing claims, and these are:

  • Economic damage
  • Non-economic damage.

Economic Damages

Economic damage is all those costs that have value to them. It could include medical bills, transportation to and from the hospital, costs of surgery, therapy, rehabilitation, medication, lost wages, loss of potential earnings, property damage, and any other costs with a monetary value.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are all those damages that are difficult to calculate or determine. These include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, mental anguish, and all other relevant costs. An attorney would be better able to assess the damages and work with medical professionals to assess the value of those.

Besides the two types of damages, the court of law may also award punitive damages. These are not intended to compensate the brain injury victim but rather to punish the defendant for their negligent actions to prevent similar incidents in the future.

A TBI can affect not only the lives of the victims but also their family members. They may experience a loss of emotional support or lost wages or other types of damages. Your attorney can also assist your family members in seeking a settlement for the damages they are facing.

If there is a case for wrongful death, an attorney can help surviving family members take legal action against the negligent party.

What Is the Role of Your Brain Injury Lawyer?

Many injury victims believe that attorneys are expensive, making it unaffordable to hire an attorney for their personal injury case.

However, this is a huge mistake and can cost you a lot of money if you don’t recover compensation. You may want to go into this without an attorney by your side, but there is a high chance that the insurers will reject your claim.

Also, it is best to speak to an attorney, as most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. During this consultation, you can ask them how they’re going to help you and discuss the fees with them. A personal injury attorney may offer their legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay them unless they win the case for you. This provides peace of mind and removes the additional financial burden of hiring an attorney.

Some of the key roles of an attorney include:

  • Conducting investigation: To receive compensation, it is important to prove negligence. An attorney will conduct a detailed investigation into the accident and determine who the at-fault party is.
  • Getting experts involved: An attorney must understand how the TBI occurred, and to do that, they reach out to experts, including medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts.
  • Filing claims: The first step to starting the claims process is to file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Your attorney will assist in filing claims and providing relevant documents.
  • Negotiations: One of the most important parts of proving negligence is negotiations. Your attorney will negotiate a settlement amount on your behalf. If your case is strong, it is highly likely that the other party will try to settle. Typically, insurance companies offer lower amounts as settlements, which barely cover any medical expenses. The claims process and recovery can take a toll on an individual, which is why many will accept the first offer that comes their way. However, if you have already hired an attorney, they will advise you on the settlement offer and will negotiate a settlement that will address your losses.
  • Taking the case to trial: Most personal injury cases are often settled outside the courtroom. However, if there is no mutual agreement between both parties, your attorney may suggest taking the claim to trial. Not all attorneys are capable of fighting a case at trial, which is why it is important to reach out to an attorney with substantial trial experience.
  • Resolving liens: A TBI can be expensive, but an experienced attorney can help you receive treatment on a lien. Once your attorney secures a favorable verdict and recovers for you, they’ll settle the lien and also ensure that you receive your funds.
  • Provide guidance: You may be wary about legal claims and have several questions or concerns. A skilled attorney will waste no time guiding you through the entire legal process and its complexities. They will answer your queries about personal injury law and help you understand your rights as a victim.

Living with TBI

A TBI is not one of those injuries that you head to a doctor for, where they give you first aid, prescribe painkillers, and have you on your way.

A TBI is a serious personal injury that can take a long time to heal physically and also emotionally. It affects not only the victim but also their loved ones, family members, and friends, as it can take time for them to adjust.

One of the most important parts of the rehabilitation process is helping the victim understand their limitations, how to live with them, and what effect it’ll have on their life. Rehabilitation is a key part of TBI treatment and helps the victim and their loved ones understand the situation and adjust to it accordingly.

Caregivers Also Require Help and Support

Helping TBI patients cope with their day-to-day activities can often be stressful and depressing and cause anxiety in caregivers. For a caregiver to take care of a TBI patient properly, they must be able to handle the new responsibilities. A TBI patient’s loved ones first have to deal with the shock and uncertainty that come after the accident.

However, after speaking to the treatment team and clearing their doubts, they start to understand the severity of the injuries and the limitations the injured person will face throughout the recovery stage. While the TBI patient is at the hospital, medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, will take care of the patient. However, once the patient returns to their home, that responsibility will fall back on their loved ones or the caregiver.

A TBI patient will slowly start to fall into depression and become more irritable after realizing that they’re unable to carry out normal functions or day-to-day activities the way they did before their brain injury.

It is important for the caregiver to assist the injured victim in carrying out their daily activities without intruding too much, which can reduce negative feelings.

Here are some of the tips that the Brain Injury Association of America recommends for caregivers to follow in assisting brain injury patients:

  • Learn about their condition: It is important to understand that caregivers cannot provide the type of care a TBI patient requires without any prior knowledge about the injury and its impact on the patient’s life. Caregivers should make the effort to attend all the brain injury patient’s scheduled appointments to gain valuable information that would equip them to take care of their loved ones better.
  • Change the living space: When a person suffers from TBI, it is very difficult to return to a normal life. They may have memory problems or require assistance in doing tasks. Caregivers must change the living space according to the needs of their loved ones. As an example of memory issues, they can place stickers across the home to make their loved ones remember important things such as taking medications, doses, and so on.

Some caregivers even have cue cards around with step-by-step instructions on carrying out certain activities to help the patient, such as turning the television on.

  • Ensure a schedule: Without a proper schedule in place, it can become boring, frustrating, or even lonely for the TBI patient. A caregiver must have a structured schedule loaded with activities for their loved ones to follow throughout the day. A brain-injured patient may have trouble remembering things, and this is where verbal or written prompts come in. These assist the patient with remembering their activities and medical appointments so that they are busy and can have a productive day.
  • Keeping spirits up: When TBI patient is alone, they might feel depressed about their life, which can negatively affect their rehabilitation progress. It is crucial that the caregiver scatters enough positive messages and pictures of happy memories around the house to keep their spirits up.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression

The drastic life changes from a TBI can cause depression among patients. According to Brainline.org, depression can follow immediately after the victim suffers from a brain injury, which can last weeks or even months if not treated properly.

Depression is a serious medical illness that affects a person mentally, from overwhelming sadness to how they think and act.

TBI patients may become depressed because of their injuries and how they limit their daily lives. It is an emotional reaction to the patient’s circumstances and limitations. However, depression can also be a chemical reaction due to physical and cognitive changes.

Brainline.org states that depression is common among patients suffering from post-traumatic stress. This is where they experience terrifying flashbacks of their accident over and over again, affecting their state of mind.

Medical professionals advise treating depression immediately before it turns pathological, which can have serious repercussions.

Family members and friends of TBI patients should be on the lookout for the following signs of depression:

  • Inability to focus.
  • Low energy levels and feeling of tiredness.
  • Avoiding social functions or activities.
  • Preferring isolation over socializing.
  • Inability to sleep properly.
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions.
  • Mental anguish.

Brainline.org suggests acknowledging the existence of depression as the first step to treating it. As brain and bodily changes and limitations occur, it is crucial to understand that feeling depressed or unhappy is part of it. It shouldn’t be construed as a sign of weakness, nor should one feel ashamed of it.

Consider depression as a set of challenges in your path, and the best way to overcome these obstacles is by bringing about small changes in your attitude and behavior. Family members and friends can help TBI patients with depression by getting them involved in social activities and encouraging them to pursue their interests.

They can also take some time out of their lives by hearing and understanding the injured person’s feelings to give them the support they need.

Taking walks in the morning and doing yoga in the evening can help reduce depression. Many believe that therapeutic meditation can bring some peace to the mind.

However, if depression starts to get worse or there are no signs of improvement, it is best to consult with a doctor about prescribing antidepressant medications.

Joining Support Groups Can Help Immensely

If you are suffering from a TBI, it is crucial to realize that you’re not alone. According to the CDC, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults in America. An estimated 1.5 million people annually sustain a TBI, with 230,000 hospitalizations.

People who suffer from TBI for the first time are often confused about their symptoms and feel isolated. However, joining support groups can help them understand their injury and how they can deal with it.

Timothy Pruce, a survivor of TBI, shares his experience after sustaining a TBI from a 1994 car accident. He started to experience cognitive changes, causing him to lose memory and suffer from partial paralysis. Pruce switched between multiple doctors, therapists, psychologists, and even rehabilitation centers to help improve his mental and physical abilities.

Nothing seemed to be helping his depression at the time. He heard about joining a support group to help alleviate his mental struggles as the aftermath of TBI, so he took the first opportunity to join one and didn’t like it at all.

Pruce felt that support groups were just medical professionals facilitating a room full of injured people without knowing exactly how they were feeling or what they were going through. He felt that they had a different perspective on the brain injury, which did not resonate with the support group attendees.

He changed the clinician-led model and became a facilitator of a support group. Since then, he has dedicated 18 years of his life to helping individuals with TBI understand their injuries and stay positive in life. Currently, he is a facilitator of three different support groups, giving them a sense of community and an identity as survivors.

According to Pruce and many other experts, joining a support group has many benefits for a person with TBI.

It Helps People Feel Less Isolated

When it comes to living with TBI symptoms, many people with TBI start to feel isolated and that they’re not part of society anymore.

Support groups allow people with brain injuries to understand that it is not just them but a massive community of TBI individuals and organizations looking to share their experiences and help each other overcome hopelessness.

You Can Benefit from the Resources

The wealth of knowledge available after joining a support group is abundant. People are willing to share what they know about TBI, their experiences, and how they cope with what they’re going through to help others understand their injuries and move on with their lives.

In particular, many TBI survivors are in the dark about many things. They’re not sure about residential care, the disability services in their area, or even the medical terminology used. However, with support groups, they can learn from others to make more informed decisions.

Access to Information that Doctors Don’t Have

Support groups are a great place to seek information that doctors may not have. As an example, people who have tried non-traditional medical treatments and have had good results can share their experiences and recommend places where they, too can start such treatments if they want.

Survivors of TBI who resorted to yoga to alleviate their symptoms can let others know which physical therapy stretches work best.

It Provides Comfort to the Family Members

Some support groups focus on helping TBI survivors’ family members or caregivers adjust to the changes in their lives. The family members have to love a new person and wish the older person farewell, which is a challenge on its own.

Caregivers often find it difficult to deal with the behavioral changes TBI survivor experiences, such as mood swings and public outbursts.

Families also face the financial brunt of supporting a TBI survivor, especially if the survivor was the main breadwinner. They have to go through the constant back and forth with the insurance companies, and some even seek out alternate ways to raise funds.

By coming together in a support group, they can share their story and learn from others how to deal with such challenges.

It Helps Survivors Feel Part of Society

People sustaining a TBI lose their personality, and it can make it difficult for them to blend into society. By joining a support group, survivors can test their new identity, relate to people just like them, and start to socialize for a change, making them part of society again.

How to Cope with TBI

A person with TBI must learn to adapt to new ways of carrying out their everyday activities, and they must also learn to celebrate the small and large milestones they achieve during the recovery phase.

A TBI can bring about serious life changes, and there are a few things one can do to minimize the disruptions caused by a TBI.

Some of these include:

  • Joining a support group: Joining a support group lets TBI victims know that they’re not alone, and if they ever feel hopeless, they can share their experiences within these groups and learn from them how they deal with the aftermath of TBI.
  • Repetition is key: A person with TBI can often feel disoriented and have memory issues. Repeating activities or tasks in a certain way can keep things organized and also reduce the confusion that may follow.To give an example, if you have weekly doctor’s appointments or need to buy things from a store, it is best to take the same route day in and day out.
  • Keep focused: Whatever task or activity you’re carrying out, it is important to stay focused and drown out the background noise. TBI patients can often feel overwhelmed by too many audio and visual disruptions, impacting their daily lives. Recovery for a TBI victim is a long process, and it’s crucial that the victim and their family members understand that. Staying positive can help everyone better assess the situation and deal with it correctly.

What Should Family Members Do in the Event of a Wrongful Death?

It is not always that the person with TBI survives their injuries; if they don’t, their surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. However, the people who have the right to take legal action for wrongful death can vary across states.

In California, a surviving spouse, domestic partner, the victim’s children, and those financially dependent on the deceased can bring a wrongful death claim. If there are no direct survivors to pursue legal action against, then parents or siblings of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

For the surviving family members to have a valid claim, they must prove that the negligent party and their actions directly resulted in TBI, which led to wrongful death.

If the deceased person was the breadwinner and responsible for providing the family financial support, the surviving members can recover financial damages related to that and also non-financial damages such as loss of companionship, loss of love, and loss of guidance.

Suppose the surviving members file a wrongful death lawsuit. In that case, certain damages will go directly to the deceased person’s estate, and these may include lost income, loss of potential future earnings, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and burial costs. These damages are then distributed to the estate’s beneficiaries.

Ehline Law understands that no amount of money can replace a loved one, but pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide the surviving family members a means of receiving justice for the deceased.

What Is the TBI Case Worth?

Several factors affect the value of a case, and these include:

  • Medical expenses: Throughout your injury, you will have spent weeks or months at the hospital and will continue to go to doctor’s appointments even after being released. The medical professionals will also advise visiting the rehabilitation center and working there with the specialists to help adapt to the limitations of the injury.In some situations, TBI patients may require assistive devices to cope with their injuries. These can cost upwards of $500,000.
  • Lost wages: After suffering from a TBI, a victim ends up missing work due to spending time at the hospital or being bedridden at home. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person may never be able to return to work. In such situations, they can recover lost income and also loss of future wages.
  • Lifetime care costs: Once the individual suffering from TBI gets discharged from the hospital, the injury does not end there. A person with TBI requires substantial help with carrying out their daily activities, and for that, a family needs to provide a caregiver to take care of their needs.When filing a claim against the negligent party, an attorney could help estimate the lifetime cost of a caregiver and incorporate that into your damages.
  • Pain and suffering: Determining the value of pain and suffering can be very challenging because how does one go about quantifying physical pain, mental anguish, and other negative impacts on life, such as reduced quality of life?An experienced attorney brings on medical experts to help assess the non-economic damages using certain parameters.

Working with an attorney can help identify all the damages, determine their value, and assist in recovering fair compensation for your loss. Our attorneys at Ehline Law work closely with medical and accident recreation specialists to identify the damages’ extent and then determine their value.

Remember, if you’re asking for too much in your claim, the insurance company will downright reject it, and if you’re seeking much less than you should, you are the one absorbing most of the financial costs from the injury.

You may feel tempted to take the first offer that comes your way, but it is best to discuss it with the attorney to know how much your case is worth.

Is There a Time Limit to File My Case?

Every state has its deadline for filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. In California, the statute of limitations allows TBI victims two years following the accident to pursue traumatic brain injury claims.

However, if the injury occurred due to medical malpractice, then the TBI victim only has a year following the injury to seek compensation.

There are certain exemptions to these deadlines. If the TBI is due to a government agency or body, the victim has six months following the injury to file a claim against the relevant government body. In the case of claim denial, they have another six months to file a lawsuit.

Another important thing to remember is that, under California law, the statute of limitations begins once the accident victim discovers their injuries.

For example, if the accident victim learns about their TBI three years after the accident, they may still pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party.

However, the negligent party will argue that the victim was not diligent. Still, with an experienced personal injury attorney by your side, they can help navigate through the pitfalls of the statute of limitations and create a strong case in your favor.

Who Is Liable for your TBI?

There is no one single answer to this question, as it depends on the situation prior to the accident occurring.

Let’s look at some common scenarios where a person may suffer from a TBI and those responsible for it:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Drivers have a duty of care towards everyone around them to operate their vehicles reasonably safely. Someone driving recklessly or while under the influence breaches the duty of care and may be liable for the repercussions of the accident.It is not just the drivers that can be responsible for a motor vehicle accident. An automobile manufacturer can be responsible for any product defect in the car that led to a TBI.

To give an example, an airbag can help cushion the impact of an accident. Still, if the airbag fails to deploy during an impact, it can cause serious brain injuries, resulting in a liability to the crash victim. Car manufacturers or any other manufacturer must ensure their products are safe for use, and they are legally bound not to sell dangerous or defective products.

A motorcyclist can suffer from a TBI after running into a pothole, losing control, and hitting their head on the road, barrier, another car, or any other obstacle. In such situations, the local or state government owes a liability to the motorcyclist since they were negligent in maintaining road conditions.

  • Accidental falls: In the United States, more than 684,000 deaths occur each year due to accidental falls, making them the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in the country. Property owners, whether it is a large retailer like Walmart or a small grocery store, have the duty of care to ensure reasonable steps to maintain the safety of their visitors. To illustrate, if an employee mops the floor and it is slippery, they must inform the visitors of the potential hazard. Failure to do so could make them accountable for the TBI.
  • Property owners also have the obligation to ensure their property is safe from any potential hazards. If the railings on the property are loose and they did not take any steps to fix the hazard, especially if they were aware of the issue, the TBI victim can hold them accountable for their injury.
  • Nursing homes: The elderly are part of the high-risk group of people most likely to suffer from a TBI. They have fragile bodies and can stumble and fall, resulting in head or brain injuries. Nursing homes are under the obligation to ensure a safe environment for the elderly, and a failure to monitor their residents can result in liability for the elderly’s injuries.

Besides falls at nursing homes, a huge concern is abuse that goes on unchecked. Over the years, many cases of nursing home abuse or neglect have surfaced in the United States, where the employees at nursing homes directly caused injuries sustained by the elderly.

If you have a family member residing in a nursing home who is showing signs of a TBI, it is important to have it checked out. If the nursing home is responsible for the injuries, you can hold them liable for the damages caused.

  • Youth sports: In the United States, the majority of the people suffering from TBI are young adults or children, as they are an active group with a higher likelihood of sustaining injuries during sports. However, coaches and the school are responsible for implementing concussion protocols and other types of protection against head injuries. Failing to do so can make them liable for a young athlete suffering from TBI.

It’s not always clear who the responsible party is for the injuries sustained. In some cases, there can be more than one party responsible for your TBI.

Talk to an experienced California brain injury attorney about your injury and accident to help identify the liable party and pursue legal action against them.

Does Not Wearing Protective Gear Affect My Right to Compensation?

In some states, it is mandatory to wear a helmet, hard hat, or other types of protective gear, depending on what you’re doing. For example, if you’re a motorcyclist in California, you must wear a US Department of Transportation-compliant helmet to legally drive on the road.

There is a possibility that not wearing a helmet or protective gear could affect your rights. However, that does not mean you should not speak to an experienced brain injury attorney. If you’re not wearing protective gear and suffer injuries from an accident that was not your fault, it does not give the negligent driver a free pass.

In California, the comparative negligence law awards compensation based on the degree of fault. The negligent party will argue that you were not wearing a helmet. Hence you suffered a brain injury. However, an experienced attorney will gather evidence to prove the negligent driver’s fault. Remember, helmets only protect the head from head injuries and do not eliminate the risk of brain injuries.

People can sustain brain injuries anywhere, not just on motorcycles or in the workplace. In such situations, the lack of a helmet or protective gear may not affect your rights. However, in cases where it is mandatory to wear a helmet (while riding a motorcycle), the lack of protective gear may affect the compensation you receive.

That said, an experienced personal injury attorney can help investigate the case and prove the other party’s negligence to ensure you receive a maximum settlement.

The Latest Traumatic Brain Injury Research

Harnessing the Immune System to Treat TBI

Babraham Institute’s Immunology research program found that the leading cause of cognitive impairment following injury is the inflammatory response of the brain or the swelling of the brain, which leads to permanent damage.

Although inflammation in other parts of the body is not a serious concern as doctors can use medications to alleviate the swelling in the brain, it is not possible due to the blood-brain barrier, which prevents the anti-inflammatory cells from entering.

A lead professor at the Babraham Institute’s Immunology program, Adrian Liston, stated that their team is working towards creating a new therapeutic delivery system that would boost the production of regulatory T cells, natural anti-inflammatories, in the brain to combat inflammation and minimize the damage that it causes.

The brain has a low production of regulatory T cells because of low levels of Ecule Interleukin-2, or IL2, an important molecule. The blood-brain barrier prevents IL2 from entering the brain and producing natural anti-inflammatory compounds.

The research team has worked out a way that would allow the human brain to produce the regulatory T cells through the “gene delivery” system.

This system transports the DNA across the blood-brain barrier, allowing the brain to produce IL2. Until now, there was no way to cross the blood-brain barrier. Under certain circumstances, the viral vector technology can allow the DNA to cross the barrier, attach to the brain, and start producing IL2.

Test results for the new technology suggest that the new therapeutic boosts the level of IL2 in the brain to the same levels found in other body parts. The IL2 then produced the much-needed regulatory T cells in the brain, up to ten folds higher than normal levels.

Scientists carried out tests on mice in a controlled environment to understand how the new IL2 gene delivery system works and its impact.

Carefully controlled impacts on the mice resulted in brain injury, but after delivering the IL2, the mice showed reduced signs of brain damage and were capable of carrying out cognitive tests.

Researchers further used the gene delivery system on mice that had multiple sclerosis and stork. In mice with multiple sclerosis, it prevented severe paralysis and assisted in the recovery process, while in those with a stroke, they had some protection against the secondary stroke that follows a few weeks later. Researchers and scientists believe this is a breakthrough in treating millions of TBI patients yearly. They are hopeful that the potential treatment for neuroinflammation will soon enter clinical trials.

Concussions and “Resetting” the Brain

Today, modern brain injury technology does not allow for secondary injuries that follow a concussion.

If a CT scan of a patient with a mild traumatic brain injury does not show any signs of damage, the medical professionals send the patient home. However, in some situations, the patient returns after a few weeks with neuropsychiatric issues causing behavioral and cognitive problems.

New research in mice shows a positive development in post-concussion therapies aimed at reducing cognitive decline and combat depression.

Specific immune cells play a role in the development of chronic inflammation, and the new forced cell turnover technology eliminates all of these immune cells before repopulating them. Researchers have said that forced cell turnover is like hitting the brain’s reset button and starting all over again.

The treatment given to the mice showed less inflammation as compared to the control group of mice, who were recovering naturally. It also showed fewer cognitive or thinking problems in the mice after 30 days of sustaining the brain injury. The process of temporarily eliminating the cells is also referred to as microglia, and researchers state that it is not feasible to clear the cells in humans at this point.

However, the study’s finding is an important milestone in brain injury research, and scientists could use it to target brain pathways that would assist in reducing inflammation. Jonathan Godbout, a senior professor at the Ohio State University, states that the human body’s early stages of inflammation are a natural repair process.

However, if the inflammation goes on for longer without resolving the injury, it can be seriously dangerous, leading to complications and even causing a severe traumatic brain injury. Keeping that in mind, the researchers waited seven days in mice with brain injuries to help the cells provide the initial treatment.

After that, the researchers added the experimental drug to the mice’s food for seven days, eradicating 95% of microglia in the mice. The mice were then given 16 days to repopulate the microglia to test the efficacy of the drug as a post-concussion therapy. The findings suggested that the mice who were taking the experimental drug showed better cognitive abilities than the control mice. They even performed well on tasks that would test their memory and symptoms of depression.

After conducting further analysis of the mice’s brain tissue, it revealed that there was some level of damage reversal to the neurons and a reduction in inflammation. The study found that the repopulated cells were not in their prime state, which aided in the reduction of inflammation. The way forward from all of this is to study new pathways that would provide insight into dealing with cognitive and depression symptoms in humans post-concussion.

About Ehline Law

Ehline Law is an award-winning personal injury law firm that helps injured victims across California against insurance companies, large corporations, and negligent individuals. Our attorneys strive for legal excellence so that our clients do not have to suffer the physical, mental, and financial burden of a personal injury.

Ehline Law and our attorneys have had superior results over the years. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered over $150 million in settlements and successful verdicts for more than 3,000 injured victims. Our experienced team of legal professionals and medical experts works closely with potential clients to understand their stories and the pain they’re going through.

We understand how a brain injury can leave a person permanently disabled and unable to carry out simple tasks, causing frustration, sorrow, and even depression. However, our team understands what you’re going through.

We are great listeners, and we care about you. Our veteran-run law firm has secured multi-million dollar settlements for traumatic brain injury victims, helping them stand financially on their feet and start their life all over again.

Ehline Law also offers a free consultation where you will get to interact with our leading personal injury attorneys and talk about your case. We encourage potential clients to provide as much detail as possible during the free case review so that our attorneys can assess whether there is a case of liability and, if so, what your legal options are.

Risk-Free Consultation for all Brain Injuries

There is no obligation to continue with our legal services after the initial free consultation. However, if you choose to work with us to strengthen your case, we offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, meaning our attorneys will only charge a fee if they win the case for you. A brain injury can be devastating for the victim and their family, and without proper legal support, both of them can suffer.

If you are a traumatic brain injury victim or know someone who has suffered from a brain injury due to another’s negligence, contact us at + (213) 596-9642 and get in touch with our experienced personal injury attorneys today. We can’t bring back the life you once had, but what we can do is fight for your future! Contact us now for more information, or visit any of our law offices across California.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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