New York Brain Injury Lawyer
New Yorkers afflicted by brain injuries often contend with what feels like a hopeless and helpless situation. Although doctors can diagnose brain injuries and symptoms with reasonable accuracy, they often have less confidence when it comes to predicting the timeline and prospects for a brain injury patient’s recovery. The burden of that uncertainty, combined with the lifelong difficulties brain injuries can inflict, put victims and their families under enormous physical, emotional, and financial strain.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, is a New York law firm (also with offices in New Jersey and Connecticut) that represents people who have sustained brain injuries because of someone else’s careless or reckless actions. Whether you sustained a “minor” concussion that turned out to be anything but, or a severe traumatic brain injury that has altered the course of your life, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve from those who did you harm. Contact us today to learn more.
Our New York Brain Injury Law Practice
Representing victims of preventable brain injury constitutes a major focus of our law practice in New York. We have achieved major results for clients afflicted with brain injuries, from multi-million-dollar recoveries for clients injured in motor vehicle accidents, to one of the largest jury verdicts ever awarded against a New York state nursing home where the staff’s negligence led to brain injury, and the eventual death, of a resident.
We cannot guarantee your New York brain injury case will turn out the way those did. Every case is different. But we can promise that victims of brain injury in New York who turn to Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, for help get passionate legal representation, personalized attention, and our firm commitment to work tirelessly to recover the maximum compensation available in their case.
Overview of Brain Injuries
There are two general types of brain injury: traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and non-traumatic brain injuries. Our clients have had both types; no matter what type a client comes to us with, we are ready to help.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Here is how the renowned New York Presbyterian Hospital describes traumatic brain injury:
A traumatic brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a severe head injury. It is caused by a blow to the head or body, a wound that breaks through the skull (such as from a gunshot), a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain. This can cause bruising, swelling, or tearing of brain tissue.
The damage to brain tissue that typifies a TBI happens both from the direct trauma of the initial blow, jolt, or penetrating injury, and from “secondary” trauma caused by bleeding and swelling, which puts pressure on brain tissue, disrupts blood flow to brain cells, and changes the chemical balances in the brain.
TBIs range from mild to severe, although none are to be taken lightly. “Mild” traumatic brain injuries (or “mTBI”) are more commonly known as concussions (a.k.a. “getting your bell rung” or “seeing stars”), and happen when a blow or jolt “rattles” the brain around inside the skull, causing minor bruising, tearing, and swelling.
Some concussion victims develop post-concussive syndrome, characterized by long-lasting symptoms that can cause major disruptions in a person’s life, including headaches, dizziness, “brain fog,” and sleep disruption. Getting one concussion also increases the risk of sustaining a second one, according to researchers.
Severe TBIs happen when the blow, jolt, or penetrating injury causes widespread and significant damage to brain tissue and nerve connections (called “axons”). These injuries can result in a constellation of debilitating and/or life threatening conditions, such as:
- Cognitive impairments, such as loss of consciousness or permanent semi-consciousness (a “vegetative state”), memory trouble, and difficulty thinking and reasoning;
- Motor impairment, such as numbness, weakness, and partial or total paralysis;
- Perceptual/sensory impairments affecting a person’s sight (including depth perception), hearing, sense of smell, taste, or touch;
- Communication/language problems, such as losing the ability to speak, read, or comprehend;
- Functional/executive struggles that interfere with day-to-day tasks that require sequential reasoning;
- Social impairments limiting a victim’s ability to connect with others;
- Regulatory trouble, such as insomnia and loss of bladder/bowel control;
- Personality or psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, and mood swings; and
- Traumatic epilepsy, a seizure disorder.
One particularly difficult aspect of a TBI is that any of these symptoms might appear in any combination. Symptoms can also come and go, or evolve, or emerge over time. Physical, occupational, and emotional therapy, medication, surgical intervention, and lifestyle changes can address TBI symptoms, and many victims eventually recover. But the uncertainty and variability of a TBI diagnosis can cause massive strain on emotions, relationships, and family finances.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries resulting from anything other than a jolt, blow, or penetrating injury constitute so-called “non-traumatic” brain injuries. These injuries typically result from a health condition or event suffered by the victim, such as contracting a virus or bacterial infection, having a heart attack or blood clot, choking, or drowning. Any of these events can result in damage to the brain through three principal mechanisms: stroke (a blocked or burst blood vessel in the brain), encephalitis (brain inflammation), and cerebral hypoxia (when the brain does not get enough oxygen).
Non-traumatic brain injuries cause the same unpredictable and varied constellation of symptoms as TBI.
Accidental Causes of Brain Injuries
Accidents and mishaps frequently cause catastrophic brain injuries. At Jacoby & Meyers, we are familiar with brain injuries stemming from the following accidental, if all-too-common, tragedies:
- Motor vehicle accidents, which constitute, by far, the most common cause of TBI because of the frequency of collisions on the road, and the violent forces inflicted on occupants of vehicles in those collisions. Remember, even if you did not “bump your head” in a car accident, that does not mean you have avoided injuring your brain. See a doctor immediately after any car accident.
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents are not as common as car accidents, but the incidence of brain injuries in these accidents is astronomically high. Riders thrown from bikes—whether motorized or pedaled—hit their heads. If they are not wearing a helmet, they face a high risk of fatal brain injury. Wearing a helmet cuts that risk substantially. New York motorcyclists must wear a helmet by law, as much all bicyclists ages 14 and under. Never forget: helmets save lives.
- Falls cause brain injuries at an especially high rate for older adults, but anyone can sustain a TBI in an accidental fall. And the fall need not look severe to cause significant damage. Slipping and falling backward on a slick tiled floor or a snow-covered stair can lead to a devastating blow to the head.
- Athletics. And not just contact sports. Any sport carries a risk of taking a blow to the head and suffering a TBI. According to researchers, younger female athletes face a significant risk of concussions, but athletes of both genders routinely sustain these injuries. Parents, coaches, and young athletes all have a responsibility to get educated about concussion risk and to learn to recognize the telltale signs of concussion when it happens.
- Explosions produce a concussive force that results in so-called blast-induced traumatic brain injury. This condition is common among soldiers in combat, but it can affect anyone with close proximity to a blast, such as firefighters.
- Gunshot wounds cause massive, usually fatal, TBIs. The vast majority of gunshot wounds seen by New York emergency rooms are intentional. We urge anyone contemplating self-harm to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text Got5 to 741741 for help.
- Choking and drowning deprive a victim of oxygen, which causes cerebral hypoxia and brain tissue damage. Children, in particular, face elevated risks of choking and drowning.
- Medical error can cause a wide range of emergent health conditions that inflict damage to brain tissue. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals must stay vigilant against these sorts of errors.
Legal Liability for Brain Injuries in New York
It is not always the case, but in our experience, accidental brain injuries usually result from the careless or reckless actions of someone other than the victim. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP,, it is our job as personal injury lawyers to identify who that “someone” is, and to pursue that person, or company, or their insurance company, for compensation owed to our client. Who are the most common “someones” we seek to hold accountable in brain injury cases? They might include:
Drivers and Anyone Responsible for Their Driving
Car accidents cause TBIs, and drivers usually cause accidents: that is the reality of the world we live in. Under New York law, a motorist whose reckless or careless actions cause someone else to suffer a TBI will have legal liability to that victim for damages. But that is not all. Other people or companies might also have legal liability for the driver’s actions. If the driver gets into an accident while driving a commercial vehicle, for instance, the driver’s employer may have liability.
If the driver gets behind the wheel after a bartender serves him an excessive amount of alcohol, the bartender and business that employs him could bear liability for any accidents that result. In every case, an experienced lawyer will dig into the facts to identify all parties with potential legal liability for causing an accident that resulted in brain injuries.
Under New York law, property owners have a duty to keep visitors to their properties safe from harm. Business owners, for example, must correct any unsafe condition that might harm a customer, and must also warn customers about any unsafe condition. Additionally, homeowners might face liability for failing to warn visitors about an unreasonably dangerous property condition. And all property owners, whether public or private, have an obligation to keep children safe from so-called “attractive nuisances”—like swimming pools and construction sites—that could put children in danger if they access them without an adult present.
Some of the most heartbreaking cases we have witnessed at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have involved children who have sustained serious and fatal brain injuries because of attractive nuisances.
Coaches, Refs, and Sports Leagues
Signing a child up to play sports comes with risks, and most parents acknowledge that. But the inherent dangers of a football tackle or a soccer head-ball do not make it ok for coaches, referees, and sports leagues to ignore athlete safety. Adults who supervise youth sports have an obligation to keep children safe within the context of a sporting event, including by enforcing the rules of play and acting responsibly when a child appears to have sustained a head injury.
The products we buy and use every day come with promises, called “warranties,” that they are suitable for their intended use and not unreasonably dangerous. Products sold with hidden defects can fail and cause injuries, such as when a car’s brakes fail, it crashes, and the driver and passengers sustain severe brain injuries. In those cases, the law allows the injured victims to seek damages from the product’s manufacturer.
Doctors, nurses, and others take an oath to do no harm to patients. They usually do an excellent job of that. But not always. Sometimes health care workers make mistakes that result in catastrophic health complications, including conditions that can cause brain injuries. When this occurs, the law may permit the victim or victim’s family to seek damages from the medical professionals who make the mistake.
Call Our New York Brain Injury Attorneys Now
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we fight for the rights of innocent New Yorkers who have sustained serious brain injuries through no fault of their own.