Bronx Brain Injury Lawyer
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) doesn’t always look like it does in the movies. On screen, a patient with a head injury loses his or her memories of the past, but otherwise functions relatively normally—perhaps revealing a few new skills or uncovering a few secrets along the way.
In reality, a traumatic brain injury does not just lead to memory loss. In many cases, it can cause a host of problems that disrupt the patient’s everyday life, often in frustrating and unexpected ways. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury in an accident, such as an auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, or due to product liability, you need an attorney dedicated to maximizing your compensation. Contact a Bronx personal injury attorney at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today to learn more about the legal options you have for seeking compensation after a traumatic brain injury.
The Cost of Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
During the course of a lifetime, the financial cost of caring for a patient with a traumatic brain injury can add up to between $85,000 and $3 million. The extent of those expenses will depend on the severity of the brain injury and the areas of the brain most impacted: a patient with a severe traumatic brain injury, for example, may lack the cognitive or regulatory skills to live alone and may, in fact, need constant care, significantly raising the expense associated with providing care.
In addition to the financial expenses of medical care after a traumatic brain injury, victims suffer a wide range of symptoms that have a substantial impact on every area of their lives. Consider the following:
A traumatic brain injury does not impact the mind alone. Many victims notice considerable physical symptoms throughout the recovery. These may include:
- Headaches. Many victims with traumatic brain injuries suffer ongoing headaches following the injury. Sometimes, headaches may cause constant pain. In other cases, victims may suffer from chronic headaches or headaches that strike unpredictably.
- Sleep disturbances. Some victims suffering from a traumatic brain injury will sleep more often or struggle to wake, especially if they suffer from serious disorientation. Others, particularly those who fell into a coma for at least a short time following the accident, may struggle to fall asleep at all, or to stay asleep when they do sleep. Chronic insomnia can worsen many of the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, including confusion and memory problems. At its most severe, chronic insomnia can also cause hallucinations.
- Sensory changes. Following a traumatic brain injury, some victims suffer from changes in sensory perception. They may note decreased vision, a change in hearing, ringing in the ears, or a notable difference in the way they process hot and cold. Other victims may notice increased sensitivity to touch or changed reactions to smells. The sense of taste may also alter, with once-preferred foods suddenly tasting odd and foods the victim did not enjoy tasting delicious. These changes can return to normal with time or may continue to impact the victim for a lifetime.
- Dizziness or loss of balance. Many victims of a traumatic brain injury feel dizzy when standing or walking. Some may experience significant changes to their ability to balance.
In addition to handling cognitive function, the brain also handles emotional regulation. Victims with a traumatic brain injury frequently suffer a range of emotional disturbances.
- Victims may face increased emotional sensitivity. Minor concerns may cause much larger emotional reactions than they really warrant, both in terms of anger or sadness.
- Victims may struggle with mood swings. In addition to increased sensitivity, moods may change quickly for victims of traumatic brain injury. Patients may be overjoyed one moment and crying the next, or vice versa. In some cases, others may notice no obvious reason for the emotional changes.
- Traumatic brain injury can cause increased irritability. Many victims may find themselves snapping more quickly or reacting more harshly than normal, even with only mild traumatic brain injury.
- Depression and anxiety may appear or grow more serious. If a victim suffered from depression or anxiety before the accident, it may grow more severe following a traumatic brain injury. Even victims who did not suffer from those conditions before the accident may grow more prone to those issues.
In addition to the steep cost of physical and emotional symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, mental challenges can quickly take a toll on the victim. Most people think of the mental challenges when they imagine a traumatic brain injury, though they may not realize the full impact unless they or someone they love has suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Memory problems. Victims of a traumatic brain injury often have memory problems following the accident. In addition to long-term memory problems, which make it difficult to access stored memories and remember events in the past, many victims also suffer from short-term memory issues after an accident. For example, victims may:
- Struggle to recall why they walked into a room
- Face difficulty remembering where they placed objects
- Frequently forget names
- Fail to write new memories, especially immediately after the accident
- Have difficulty retaining information long enough to finish a task
- Struggle with lists of more than one or two things to accomplish
Many victims of a traumatic brain injury never remember the events immediately surrounding the accident, and in some cases including days and weeks before and/or after the event.
Concentration challenges. Difficulty concentrating can make it impossible for many victims of traumatic brain injuries to return to work immediately after the accident. Victims may struggle to pay attention or to focus on something right in front of them. In addition to forgetting what they intended to do, they may struggle to break tasks down into manageable pieces or to keep attention on the task at hand. Victims of a traumatic brain injury may appear flighty, rushing from one task to the next or bouncing around without ever fully completing a task instead of seeing it through to completion.
Confusion and disorientation. Immediately after an accident, victims with a traumatic brain injury may show signs of confusion and disorientation, struggling to keep up with events around them or forgetting what happened. In the case of severe traumatic brain injury, victims may have symptoms of confusion and disorientation that linger long-term, leaving them struggling to navigate the world around them.
While some symptoms of traumatic brain injury resolve with time, others may linger long after the initial accident. Even a year after the accident, victims of a minor traumatic brain injury may still have some symptoms. Victims with severe traumatic brain injuries may never fully recover their cognitive abilities.
Seeking Compensation After a Traumatic Brain Injury: The Basics
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may have serious questions and concerns about the claims process.
Who do I file a claim against after a traumatic brain injury?
The party that caused your injury bears responsibility for paying for a traumatic brain injury claim. Who bears that responsibility, however, will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident. The party who bears responsibility for your injury must have:
- Borne a duty of care to you at the time of the accident
- Violated that duty of care
- Caused your injuries through that violation
This may take several different forms. In some cases, multiple parties may share responsibility for your traumatic brain injury. If you have an accident with multiple responsible parties, you may need to file a separate claim against each responsible party to get the full compensation you deserve. Consider these common examples.
In an auto accident, the driver who caused your accident typically bears primary responsibility for your injuries. Other factors, however, may also contribute to liability:
- A drunk driver may share responsibility with a bar or restaurant that over-served that driver
- Mechanical failure may place responsibility at the feet of a mechanic or manufacturer
- The company that employs a driver on the clock in a company vehicle may share responsibility
Nursing Home Neglect
When a patient in a nursing home slips and falls, leading to a traumatic brain injury, the facility may bear responsibility. If a specific provider noticed earlier signs of injury or confusion that contributed to the slip and fall, that provider may also share responsibility for the injuries.
Slip and Fall Accidents
The business that bears responsibility for maintaining the specific premises where the slip and fall occurred usually bears primary responsibility for traumatic brain injury that occurs as a result of a slip and fall accident. However, in some cases, others may share liability:
- A construction company that left equipment sitting around, leading to the slip and fall
- The manufacturer of a device that caused you to fall: a ladder that broke, for example
Construction sites pose dangers, including the risk of traumatic brain injury from both falls and falling construction equipment. The construction company bears primary liability for any safety hazards at the construction site. However, others may also share liability if someone not affiliated with the construction company moved equipment or if the worksite offered unsafe conditions for construction workers or visitors to the worksite.
What compensation can I expect after a traumatic brain injury?
The full compensation you receive following a traumatic brain injury will depend on the insurance policy that covers your accident. For example, in an auto accident, you may get only the maximum amount allowed by the responsible driver’s insurance policy. In an auto accident, you will also use your personal injury protection insurance to cover the first part of your injuries and treatment, including missed time at work. However, most personal injury claims, including traumatic brain injury claims, do include:
Medical expenses. Make sure to include the cost of long-term care or in-home assistance, if needed, as you recover from your injuries. Also include:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Any devices you use to cope with memory loss
- Psychological therapy, if you need it to help you recover
Lost wages. Traumatic brain injury may reduce your ability to work or prevent you from turning to work until you recover. After your lost wages exceed the amount of your personal injury protection coverage, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident, you can include those lost wages as part of your claim.
Lost earning potential. If you suffer a severe traumatic brain injury, you may never have the ability to fully return to your former profession. In that case, you can claim lost earning potential as part of your claim.
Pain and suffering. Traumatic brain injuries frequently causes severe pain and suffering: not just in the form of physical pain, but also in terms of mental and emotional anguish as you deal with your injuries.
How can an attorney help with a traumatic brain injury claim?
Having an attorney on your side can significantly increase the compensation you receive for your injuries.
The insurance company that covers your accident may not issue a settlement offer in the amount you deserve immediately after the accident. In fact, many traumatic brain injury claims involve a great deal of negotiation between the victim and the insurance company.
Having an attorney on your side can help reduce stress throughout that process as well as provide you with a better assessment of the compensation you deserve. Often, an experienced personal injury attorney can help substantially increase the funds you receive, even when factoring in legal fees.
“This firm was very understanding and attentive to my needs throughout the process. I highly recommend them. Thank you!!!” -Patrick J.
Do You Need a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney in the Bronx?
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, do not wait to contact an attorney. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner he or she can begin working on your behalf: collecting evidence, consulting with witnesses, getting in touch with expert witnesses, and building your claim. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today at (718) 294-0813 or submit a free case evaluation form.