Brooklyn Brain Injury Lawyer
Accidents or other types of harm that cause brain injury are among the most serious events that can befall a person. A brain injury can cause life-long impairment in brain function, leading to challenges with cognition, movement, and speech—or inability to process information, move, and talk. Victims of brain injury may be left in comas. Many brain injury victims die, if not immediately then after a difficult struggle.
If you or a loved one has suffered such an injury, contact an experienced Brooklyn personal injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. We can explain the types of redress open to you, and we will fight vigilantly to see that justice is done. Our initial evaluation is always free. You can reach us at (877)-565-2993.
Past Compensation for Clients
Our experience is illustrated by the compensation we secured for people who suffered brain injuries. In one recent case, for example, we won a $2.5 million settlement for a 68-year-old man whose traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurred when he was struck by a car when walking across the street. The case was settled before trial.
In another case, we won a $3.5 million settlement for a client who suffered a TBI due to a two-car collision in which his head struck the dashboard. Although our client was not wearing a seat belt, we were able to prove to the court that his injuries would have happened whether he was wearing a seat belt or not. His car was hit by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel and crossed over the center median—a driver who, in turn, had been forced by his employer to work all night to complete a contracting job.
While these are but past examples and can’t guarantee a future outcome in any particular case, our associates are committed to achieving justice for clients by drawing on years of experience representing injured parties.
What Type of Accidents Cause Brain Injury?
In these two examples, the brain injuries were both caused by car accidents. And, in fact, car and other vehicle accidents are a leading source of TBIs and other injuries. People can get brain injuries in traffic accidents involving cars, Uber and other ride-hailing vehicles, taxis, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, boats, and pedestrians.
But traffic accidents are not, by any means, the only way in which people suffer brain injuries. Brain injuries can occur if you slip and fall on a wet floor or down a poorly maintained set of stairs, a type of accident known as a slip and fall or a slip, trip, and fall.
Construction workers can suffer brain injuries by falling or being struck on the head by a falling object, or having their head or upper body caught between two objects. In fact, falls, being struck, and being caught between elements on a construction site are all among the most common accidents on construction sites.
People can suffer brain injuries in sports or while playing on a playground.
Brain injuries can also be caused by heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, meningitis, loss of oxygen to the brain, neurosurgery, brain tumors, infections, adverse drug reactions, poisoning, substance abuse, and choking. Anything that causes loss of oxygen can ultimately result in brain injuries. These can be caused by medical errors in surgery or delivering a baby, or by accidents, such as coming near to drowning.
Types of Brain Injuries
TBIs have received a great deal of publicity over the past decade, partly because the consequences of some forms, such as concussions, are much better understood. A concussion was once understood as no cause for alarm, for instance. It is now known that even a minor one can affect the brain over the long term.
Part of the increased public scrutiny has also resulted from the dramatic upswing in reported cases of TBIs—which, in turn, have been partly spurred by the understanding of their seriousness. The total number of TBIs associated with emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (EDHDs) soared 53 percent during one eight-year period, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the final year of this period, more than 2.5 million patients had to go to emergency departments for TBIs (812,00 of them children). Approximately 288,000 patients went to the hospital with a TBI (23,000 children).
Roughly 56,800 people died from TBIs in the last year for which statistics were available, including 2,529 children. These are sobering statistics. But as widespread as TBIs are, and as serious as they are, they are not the only type of brain injury. Some brain injuries are called acquired brain injury (ABI), which simply means that the person with the injury didn’t have it at birth, but acquired it later.
TBIs are caused by some sort of trauma, such as a jolt (whiplash) or being struck. Concussions, for example, can be acquired by some sort of event which causes the brain to jostle back and forth in the head. Car and other vehicle accidents are common causes of this type of TBI, as is being tacked in a contact sport, such as football.
They can also be acquired by an injury or blow that causes the skull to be penetrated, injuring the brain. A skull fracture, for example, sometimes causes pieces of bone to be lodged in the brain. An accident that drives an object through a head, such as a car accident or a fall, can cause this kind of penetrative TBI accident.
ABIs are not caused by trauma like a blow, but are caused by some sort of pressure on the brain or event affecting the brain, such as loss of oxygen.
The bottom line? All brain injuries can cause symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening. All brain injuries can also be fatal.
What Are the Symptoms of Brain Injuries?
Brain injuries, whether TBIs or ABIs, can have a very broad array of symptoms. They can manifest physically, mentally, or psychologically, or with a combination of these categories. Symptoms include but are not limited to the following.
- Loss of consciousness (from several minutes to hours)
- Repeated vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of pupils
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion or disorientation
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Speech problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of balance
- Ringing in ears
- Light sensitivity
- Problems with senses, such as hearing, smell, or taste
- Issues with memory or concentration
- Mood swings
- Difficulty processing information
- Difficulty with written or oral expression
- Difficulty understanding others
- Changes in attention span
- Inability to understand abstract concepts
- Difficulty making decisions
Who Is Liable for Brain Injuries?
If someone has injured you or a loved one and caused a brain injury, it’s natural to wonder who is liable. Liability is a legal concept meaning “a legally enforceable claim on the assets … of an individual.” Liability, in turn, rests on the concept of negligence. Members of the public are owed a duty of care by other people in certain circumstances.
Vehicle drivers, for example, owe a duty of care to operate those vehicles safely, prudently, and according to laws. Property owners owe a duty of care to maintain safe premises. Landlords and store owners, for example, need to maintain their property in a safe condition. Employers owe a duty of care to maintain safe workplaces and abide by the law concerning workplace safety.
Medical professionals owe a duty of care to treat patients according to a generally accepted standard of care and not to harm their patients. Manufacturers of products must take care that their products are safe and free from defects.
If these standards of care are violated, the person or entity who violated the duty of care is said to be negligent. By exhibiting negligence, they have made themselves liable for injuries that were directly caused by the negligence.
What does liability mean to you in real terms? It means that the law allows you to seek redress in the form of compensation for damages that resulted from the injury or harm occasioned by negligence. You can best see this through the following examples of accidents could cause brain injuries, and the liability that accrues to the negligent parties:
- A car driver who went through a red light, striking your car
- A trucking company which failed to maintain adequate brakes on its trucks, after the driver couldn’t stop for you at an intersection
- A landlord who failed to repair a broken stair, causing you to fall two flights down
- A toy manufacturer whose rocket launcher strikes your child in the head
- A local gym whose lifeguards fail to see your child nearly drowning in time to prevent brain damage
- A doctor who deprives your baby of oxygen during delivery
- A convenience store owner who fails to clean up spilled liquid, causing you to slip and fall
- A nursing home whose staff gives the wrong medication to an elderly patient, causing severe convulsions
What Are the Potential Damages for a Brain Injury?
In general, the law allows people injured by negligence to seek damages for the following.
- Compensation for medical bills incurred for treatment, including emergency services, doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospitalizations, prescribed medication, physical therapy, and more
- Compensation for estimated future medical bills
- Compensation for wages lost from work, if treatment or your injury itself causes you to lose time from work
- Compensation for estimated wages likely to be lost from work in the future
- Compensation for pain and suffering, under certain conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Compensation for property damage, often for your car or other property
Car Accidents in New York State
Most car drivers know that New York is a no-fault state for car insurance, which means that all drivers are required to go first to their own insurance companies in the case of a car accident. This is the law regardless of who was at fault for the accident and injuries.
So, does negligence apply?
In most cases involving minor damage, no. But New York law allows a person who is seriously injured to step outside of no-fault. The law defines serious injury as at least one of the following conditions.
- Broken bone
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of a body function or use
- Substantial disability for 90 days
As brain injury can cause the last three in certain conditions, people who have suffered brain injuries may be able to step outside of the no-fault system. In those cases, you may either seek damages via the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or a personal injury lawsuit.
In New York, anyone who owns a vehicle is mandated to have insurance with the following minimum coverages:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury per person if you cause a car accident
- $50,000 total liability bodily injury coverage per accident if you cause it, no matter how many people are injured
- $10,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident if you cause it
- $50,000 in personal injury protection coverage for no-fault
Given the current cost of medical treatment and the potential severity of brain injuries, the required minimums may be too low to provide you with fair compensation. In that case, it may be better to pursue a personal injury case.
If You Need Help With a Brain Injury in Brooklyn
In any case where an injury victim steps outside of no fault, approaches an insurance company for just compensation, or needs to bring a personal injury suit, an experienced Brooklyn brain injury lawyer can help. The initial consultation with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is always free, as we review your case and discuss it with you. Then going forward, no attorney’s fees are charged unless we secure a successful settlement or award.
When you retain us, you’ve retained a skilled, seasoned legal team to fight on your side—from accident investigators to financial and medical experts to lawyers with a proven track record of obtaining successful awards for their clients. You get personal attention, and vast resources to go against big insurance companies. We can even help you find doctors to assist with your medical treatment, as well as file disability claims.
If you have received brain injuries due to the fault of another party in Brooklyn, contact our attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
8701 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209