Each year in the U.S., about 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury or TBI. These injuries often prove fatal, but even those who survive usually find the life they once knew is gone forever. TBI survivors may experience a range of debilitating effects that leave them unable to work, maintain relationships, or even take care of themselves.
At Chappell, Chappell and Newman, our attorneys understand how profound and devastating traumatic brain injuries can be. The effects are especially hard to endure when the injuries could have been prevented if another person had only behaved responsibly. Our lawyers are dedicated to helping TBI survivors protect their rights and hold negligent parties accountable as we work to maximize their financial recovery.
What is considered a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a life-changing injury that can alter the course of one’s life and future. It is, by definition, a very severe injury of the brain that can be extremely debilitating physically, emotionally, and cognitively – and the effects can last forever.
Although medical organizations have different ways of explaining traumatic brain injuries, the definition used by the Centers for Disease Control may be the easiest to understand. The CDC says a traumatic brain injury is “an injury that affects how the brain works.”
A concussion is a mild form of TBI. Moderate or severe TBIs lead to long-term interference with brain function that may never heal. Traumatic brain injuries are often compared to chronic illness because people who suffer a TBI frequently live with the effects for the rest of their lives. When the brain does not function correctly, it can be difficult or impossible to speak, concentrate, walk, or complete even the most basic tasks.
What are the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when brain tissue is bruised or torn. The damage is often caused by a violent blow to the head or an object such as a piece of broken skull tearing through brain tissue.
In the U.S., the majority of TBI cases result from accidental falls and motor vehicle accidents. Other common causes of traumatic brain injuries include sports accidents, assaults, combat, being hit by an object, or contact during recreational activities.
What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
Traumatic brain injuries impact people differently. However, some of the common, early signs of moderate to severe TBIs include:
- Agitation and/or combativeness
- Balance and coordination problems
- Cognitive problems, including difficulties comprehending, speaking or concentrating
- Confusion and disorientation
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Sleeping problems
What are the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries can impact nearly every aspect of people’s lives, potentially making it difficult for them to communicate, move, or take care of themselves. Many people suffer frequent seizures after a TBI. Brain tissue may become infected, causing meningitis that can spread throughout the body. Damage to blood vessels can lead to dangerous blood clots or strokes.
Treating the causes and effects of traumatic brain injuries can require surgery, physical therapy, speech therapy, powerful medications, and other medical care, often for the rest of the victim’s life. After someone suffers a TBI, they may be unable to work at their former job or even hold any type of gainful employment. They may require assistance with medical needs and even simple tasks such as getting dressed. While some people find that their condition improves with therapy over time, others see their condition stagnate or worsen.
Holding Someone Accountable for a Traumatic Brain Injury
A person suffering from a TBI can recover compensation if they can prove another person’s negligence caused their injuries. Negligence is a legal term to describe a situation where someone failed to act responsibly toward others and caused that person damages. The law can hold either an individual person or a company responsible for harm caused by someone’s negligence. For instance, if a trucking accident leads to a traumatic brain injury, a personal injury lawyer could demonstrate that the driver’s actions caused the accident or that the blame belongs to the company who was negligent in handling repairs on the truck. A business might also be held liable if their unsafe premises cause a fall or when defective products lead to accidents.
To find out if negligence may have caused your traumatic brain injury, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors
TBI survivors who establish liability successfully can receive essential compensation to allow them to move forward after their injuries. While no amount of compensation can restore lost health, financial recovery from a traumatic brain injury lawsuit could include damages incorporating:
- Future treatment needs
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages (including future wages when a TBI restricts the ability to work)
- Mental suffering
- Past hospital and medical bills
- Assistance with daily activities
- Modifications to the home or special vehicles
Compensation for traumatic brain injury survivors helps shift some of the burden from the victim to the person or company responsible for the injury.
How does a traumatic brain injury occur?
A TBI can occur when the head is struck, jerked violently, or penetrated by a foreign object. Damage can be severe even when there is no open wound. More than half of all reported TBIs occur during car accidents. The sheer force of a collision during a car accident has the potential to cause extreme injuries. When a traumatic wreck occurs, the brain can collide with the interior of the skull, resulting in bruising (contusion) and/or bleeding (brain hemorrhage) – despite no outward signs of injury. And when the skull strikes an object such as a windshield or steering wheel, the impact can cause blunt force trauma.
Causes of Car Accidents
There are numerous reasons an accident can occur, and most are unpredictable. These include:
- Aggressive driving or road rage
- Distracted driving
- Driver error
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Faulty traffic signals
- Reckless driving
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
Other Factors that Contribute to Car Accident Injuries
Sometimes there are issues with the vehicle itself that further impact the injuries an occupant may sustain. These may include:
- Crashworthiness. The structure of a motor vehicle should be designed to withstand a crash and protect the occupants. Reasonably foreseeable circumstances should therefore be considered in the manufacturing of every car and truck. A flaw in the design could mean the difference between life and death, and between major and minor injury.
- Automotive Defect. If there are issues with the integrity of the structure of a vehicle or with a mechanical part, it can lead to an accident, or it can fail to protect occupants adequately in a car wreck. Examples of this include sudden acceleration, defective airbags, defective brakes, improper window glazing, defective seatbelts, and much more.
After a Motor Vehicle Accident
What follows a car accident and a traumatic brain injury may be unpredictable. The victim will certainly require ongoing medical care, and much more. The costs of recovery may be exorbitant, and may include:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Travel to and from medical appointments
- Home care
- Home modifications
- Lost wages – past and future
- Much more
Contact a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer at Chappell, Chappell and Newman
If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI, contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Chappell and Newman to find out more about your options for getting on the path to financial recovery.
Call our firm at (803) 674-4977 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can learn more about your rights, as well as how we can help you.
From our office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.