Staten Island Brain Injury Lawyers
A traumatic brain injury: for many victims, it represents a substantial shift in their lives, a “before” and “after” traumatic brain injury that permeates every aspect of life. When a traumatic brain injury results from someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyers, today at (877)-565-2993 for a free case evaluation.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
At the scene of the accident, victims of traumatic brain injury often lose consciousness. The length of time the victim spends unconscious can often indicate the severity of the brain injury: a victim who remains unconscious for a long time, for example, may have more severe symptoms of traumatic brain injury upon waking than a victim who loses consciousness for only moments. Victims of traumatic brain injury may experience a wide range of symptoms.
When most people think of traumatic brain injury, they imagine the symptom most commonly seen in the movies: a victim who struggles to bring specific memories to mind. While long-term memory problems certainly cause many complications for victims of traumatic brain injury, short-term memory issues can cause problems just as devastating.
For example, a victim with traumatic brain injury might struggle to remember names moments after receiving an introduction, or forget what a person said between the initial conversation and response. Victims may also struggle in their search for missing objects, as they forget where they already looked and even where the object should reside.
Issues With Focus and Concentration
Many of the tasks associated with work and even leisure require a high degree of focus and concentration. For victims with traumatic brain injury, however, even concentrating well enough to watch a movie, play a video game, or engage in a conversation with a friend can cause extreme difficulty. Not only can issues with focus and concentration make it difficult for victims of traumatic brain injury to go back to work, it can leave them struggling to connect with friends and loved ones or prevent them from completing many of their personal goals throughout the recovery process.
Following even a minor concussion, doctors usually recommend significantly decreased activity until swelling in the brain goes down. For victims with more severe traumatic brain injury, limitations on physical activity can last for a long time. Not only does that increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety, since regular exercise can help keep those symptoms at bay, it can leave many victims of traumatic brain injury unable to participate in sports or common leisure activities.
In addition, victims of traumatic brain injury may have several other symptoms:
Victims may also experience substantial changes in physical perceptions after a traumatic brain injury. Some struggle with ringing in the ears, while others noticed changed reactions to touch, smell, or taste. Things that once tasted good may no longer appeal to the victim, while flavors that once made them turn up their noses may suddenly taste delicious. Visual changes, including blurred vision or tunnel vision, may make it difficult for the victim to perform many activities. It is also important to keep in mind the potential for a spinal cord injury is relevant for those who also suffer from brain injuries.
Emotional Regulation After Traumatic Brain Injury
The brain does not just control memory and focus. It also regulates emotion. Following traumatic brain injury, victims often face emotional challenges: increased risk of depression and anxiety, certainly, but also difficulty controlling strong emotions or reactions, increased irritability, and mood swings. Victims with traumatic brain injury may also react inappropriately to emotional stimuli, even with no idea why.
People who have been in a coma for any reason may struggle to fall asleep out of fear, worried that they will once again wake to discover that days or weeks have passed while they slumbered. Traumatic brain injury may also cause changes in sleep patterns on its own. While some victims struggle to fall asleep, others may find themselves sleeping too much after their injuries. Traumatic brain injury may also result in nightmares or difficulty entering certain stages of sleep, which over time can cause many symptoms to worsen.
Confusion and Disorientation
At the scene of the accident, many victims with traumatic brain injury show signs of confusion and disorientation. For victims with a severe traumatic brain injury, however, those feelings of confusion and disorientation may not go away. Many victims find themselves struggling to handle normal activities or forget how they should react in certain situations.
Your Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
Following a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a personal injury claim that can help you seek compensation for the expenses you face as a result of the accident.
Traumatic brain injury can occur from several different types of accidents:
- Car accident
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and falls
- Falls from heights
- Construction accidents
- Objects falling on your head (most common in premises liability claims)
- Product liability accidents
The type of accident that caused your traumatic brain injury does not impact your right to compensation; however, the circumstances surrounding your accident may limit the compensation you receive for your injuries.
How Did Your Accident Occur?
To find the party against whom you will file your personal injury claim, you will start with how your accident occurred. In some scenarios, anyone can clearly see who caused your accident. In others, however, you might not have such clear-cut evidence of who caused your injuries. Consulting with an attorney can help you more clearly identify all the parties responsible for your accident.
In an auto accident, for example, you may clearly see that the other driver bears liability for your injuries, but you may also need to consider:
- A bar or restaurant that over-served a drunk driver
- A mechanic who improperly repaired the vehicle, leading to the accident
- A mechanic who missed an obviously-needed repair that caused an accident
- An auto manufacturer that left parts or vehicles on the market that caused serious accident risk
- The employer of a driver on the clock at the time of the accident
When you identify all parties responsible for your accident, you can then file a personal injury claim against each party that led to your injuries. To establish who caused your injuries, an attorney will typically ask:
- Who bore a duty of care to you at the time of the accident? In a slip and fall accident, for example, the facility you entered bears responsibility for keeping the floor free of debris or slick spots that could increase the likelihood of falls.
- Who violated that duty of care? If you fell in a store and hit your head, causing traumatic brain injury, store staff may have violated their duty of care by failing to provide adequate handrails on stairs or failing to clean up or clearly label a liquid spill.
- How did that violation lead to your injuries? To file a personal injury claim, you will need to demonstrate that the violation of that duty of care caused your accident and led to your injuries. In that store slip and fall, for example, liquid on the floor might have caused your shoes to slip, resulting in your fall, while the lack of a handrail could make it more difficult for you to catch yourself if you trip going up or down a flight of stairs.
Establishing who caused your accident could determine how much compensation you can expect for your traumatic brain injury and where you will need to turn for compensation. In New York, for example, if you suffer your traumatic brain injury in an auto accident, you will turn to your personal injury protection insurance to pay for your initial medical expenses and lost wages after your accident. Once you have exceeded that amount, you have grounds for a personal injury claim.
New York law, however, requires that drivers carry only a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per individual injured in an accident, even if your medical costs substantially exceed the amount of that coverage. Other responsible parties, including truck drivers and businesses, may carry higher-coverage policies.
What Expenses Do You Have After Your Traumatic Brain Injury?
Depending on the extent of your traumatic brain injury, your medical costs alone may range between $85,000 and $3 million. By talking with an experienced personal injury attorney, especially one who has worked with traumatic brain injury victims before, you can better identify the full extent of your costs and include them in your personal injury claim. An attorney cannot guarantee the funds you will receive following your traumatic brain injury claim, and your unique claim and circumstances will not look precisely like anyone else’s. You can, however, include several common elements as part of your traumatic brain injury claim.
Medical Expenses After Your Traumatic Brain Injury
Your medical costs include everything medically needed after your traumatic brain injury. Do not just look at your hospital bills when calculating those amounts. Instead, make sure you consider all medical expenses associated with your injuries, including:
- The cost of occupational therapy, if needed, to help you relearn how to perform common actions or how to maintain independence in spite of your limitations
- The cost of a long-term stay in a rehabilitation facility
- The cost of in-home care, which you may require if cognitive or emotional regulation challenges prevent you from staying alone
Some employers will work with you after your traumatic brain injury to get you back to work as soon as possible. Others do not have the capacity to make the needed modifications, including the ability to shift you to less strenuous duties until you return. In some cases, traumatic brain injury can keep you out of work for a long time, leaving you without a source of income while your medical expenses continue to increase. Your personal injury protection insurance may cover the first percentage of your lost wages following a serious traumatic brain injury in an auto accident; however, you may need to file a personal injury claim to seek further compensation.
Lost Earning Potential
Severe traumatic brain injury may permanently destroy your ability to work in a specific field, sapping your creative gifts or erasing many of the cognitive abilities that made you so good at your job. A highly organized event organizer, for example, might not have the capacity to put on the same amazing events when traumatic brain injury destroys her memory. Claiming lost earning potential can help provide vitally-needed funds that make it possible for you to support yourself in the early stages of your recovery or go back to school for a new type of certification or degree.
Pain and Suffering
Once the initial bruising subsides, a traumatic brain injury may cause substantial emotional distress from a lack of emotional regulation. In addition, you may face:
- Loss of independence. You might not have the capacity to drive yourself, especially if you have seizures or struggle with short-term memory issues.
- Loss of relationships. With a severe traumatic brain injury, you may struggle to connect with friends and loved ones.
- Inability to engage in some of your favorite leisure activities, whether due to physical restrictions or your inability to perform those tasks.
- Difficulty with a lack of productivity when you cannot return to work following your accident.
Talking with an attorney can help you better quantify your pain and suffering after a traumatic brain injury.
Do You Need a Brain Injury Attorney in Staten Island?
If you need a brain injury attorney in Staten Island, do not wait. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today at (877)-565-2993. The sooner you start working with a personal injury attorney, the easier the attorney will find it to collect vital evidence that will support your claim—and the sooner you will get the funds you need in your hands. Call us now for your free case evaluation.