Compensation Available for Brain Injury Victims
It’s no surprise that victims with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have their lives turned upside down. There are countless ways in which a person’s life can be changed because of a brain injury, and the damages are often ongoing and never ending.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 5.3 million Americans with traumatic brain injuries are currently in need of lifelong help with their daily needs and activities. The right attorney with experience handling brain injury cases can help you and your family navigate the process and determine the types of damages you are entitled to receive. Those include:
- Medical bills. Likely the biggest expense in a brain injury case, medical bills and ongoing life-support services can easily reach into the millions of dollars.
- Lost wages. Missed time from work — or a permanent disability resulting in an inability to return to work — can be included in the damages package.
- Loss of essential services. If your brain injury limits your ability to perform routine daily activities, you may be compensated for those services.
- Pain and suffering. Headaches, paralysis, etc., may affect a person’s short and long-term enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium. If you or a loved one has had their relationship affected by the brain injury, that may be included.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. Brain injury cases may take years to complete, and out-of-pocket expenses can stack up fast.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
While some brain injuries are quite obvious to the average person, others require a level of expertise to detect. Individuals may be conscious and talking while suffering at the same time.
Even doctors may miss the telltale signs of brain damage from a closed head injury (an injury with no penetration of the brain). Symptoms may take days or weeks to set in, and at that time it’s important for victims and their families to be aware of the warning signs.
Certain symptoms are more serious than others, but all should be taken seriously and brought to the attention of a medical professional, and a subsequent call to an attorney. They include:
- Diminished sense of hearing, taste or sight
- Dizziness and/or lack of balance
- Stumbling over words / slurred speech
- Inability to perform fine motor skills
- Inability to focus
- Unexplained fatigue
- Chronic headaches and/or neck pain
- Mood swings, anger, sadness
Causes of Major Head Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from accidents such as motor vehicle collisions is the most common cause of seizure disorders and epilepsy. It doesn't matter whether the initial injury to the brain was mild, moderate or severe, any brain injury can result in these conditions. The repercussions can affect all aspects of life from school to social situations to work.
Because traumatic brain injuries are serious and may last a lifetime, it is important to contact a brain injury attorney who concentrates his/her practice in representing persons who suffer from brain injuries.
Some of the most common types of accidents that result in a brain injury include:
Challenges of Proving Brain Injuries and Damages
Brain injury cases pose problems of proof for attorneys. While a victim and their family may see the obvious changes and damages in the victim, proving those non-visible injuries to insurance companies or a jury can be difficult. Even X-ray or CAT-scan doesn't always pick up the brain injury.
To prove a brain injury case, an attorney will often call upon a variety of witnesses to illustrate the effects of the injury. People that knew the victim before and after the injury are often used to show the devastating impact of the head injury.
Additionally, an attorney will often consult with a team of experts to paint a complete picture of the victim’s brain injury, their life changes, and future outlook. Those experts include:
- Neurologist. The most common expert, and neurologist evaluates brain injury victims and treats diseases of the spine, brain, muscles and nervous system.
- Neurophysiologist. Works with the nervous system.
- Neuropsychologist. Combines psychology and neuroscience to study how the brain changes are tied with behavior.
- Occupational therapist. Helps the victim return to work.
- Physical therapist. Helps the victim regain physical function.
- Cognitive therapist. Helps the victim relearn skills lost due to the brain injury.
- Life-care planner. Assesses the forms of assistance a victim will need to achieve maximum function throughout life.
Washington State Brain Injury Law
In May 2007, House Bill (HB) 2055 was signed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire creating a new law which focuses on helping survivors of traumatic brain injury and those that care for them. In large part the new law pays attention to the struggles of traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims suffer each day and the general lack of specialized services to assist them.
Traumatic brain injury can cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions. It can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age. The impact of a traumatic brain injury on the individual and family can be devastating.
In creating this law the legislature demonstrated that it recognizes that existing programs and services were not well funded. The legislature decided to develop a comprehensive plan to “help individuals with traumatic brain injuries meet their needs.”
Washington State's Brain Injury Law has three main parts:
- Creation of an advisory council
- Public Awareness Campaign by December 1, 2007
- Traumatic Brain Injury Account
See Chapter 74.31 of the RCW - Traumatic Brain Injuries
Supporting Members of the Brain Injury Community
Davis Law Group joins our friends at the Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council, the Brain Injury Resource Center, the Brain Injury Association of Washington, HeadStrong, Seattle BrainWorks, the Brain Injury Association of America, and the University of Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Model System in fighting for the rights of brain injury victims and their families.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and other types of head injuries result of direct trauma to the skull and/or rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain, including shearing (tearing) of nerve fibers, contusion (bruising) of the brain tissue against the skull, brain stem injuries, and edema (swelling). Davis Law Group is a Seattle-based personal injury law firm that has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury claims involving brain injuries.
Experienced Seattle Brain Injury Attorneys
Selecting an attorney for your brain injury case should be done with care. Brain injury cases are especially challenging and expensive, and often take years to complete. To increase the chances of a successful result, selecting an lawyer with exceptional resources is essential.
The expert witnesses required to present a complex case to a jury, along with the other costs of trying these cases can reach into six figures. Evidence needs to be preserved promptly and the underlying facts may need to be investigated as soon as possible.
Acting quickly to secure the services of a qualified Seattle brain injury lawyer is necessary to help protect your rights and get the most compensation possible. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury or head trauma, contact Davis Law Group today at (206) 727-4000.