The brain is probably the most important organ in the human body, and any injury can seriously disrupt your life. Composed of two hemispheres, the brain controls most bodily functions and is central to regulating mood and engaging in logical reasoning. After a brain injury, many victims report never being the same.
If you have suffered a brain injury, you might be able to receive compensation, but you may want legal counsel by your side. At Dolman Law Group, our North Miami Beach brain injury lawyers have represented clients suffering some of the worst brain injuries in the North Miami Beach area. We provide free consultations for victims and their families to learn about their legal options.
Brain Injury Accidents
There are many types of brain injuries, but they all have something in common: they disrupt your brain's normal functioning. Typically, traumatic or non-traumatic accidents cause brain accidents.
- External forces cause traumatic injuries (TBI). Think car accidents that shake a person's head, hard hits in football, or smacking your head after falling in your home. It is a common misconception that you have to hit your head to suffer a brain injury. In fact, any blow that causes your brain to move around can result in a traumatic brain injury.
- Infection, genetics, stroke, or illness can cause a non-traumatic brain injury. We often see clients whose brains suffered injuries because of oxygen deprivation. The brain needs oxygen to work properly, and oxygen deprivation can kill brain cells permanently. Compromised births, near-drowning accidents, and medical malpractice cases are some of the more common causes of anoxic brain injuries.
If you think you have suffered a brain injury, you should write down what happened and consult with an attorney. There is no “typical” cause of brain injuries. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a brain injury following an incident or accident and you are not sure exactly what happened, we can help you, too. We may be able to investigate the circumstances of their injury and determine if someone else's negligence played a role.
Symptoms of a Concussion
A concussion is a relatively mild traumatic brain injury. Concussions have been in the news lately because of injuries to professional athletes – in particular, football and ice hockey players. Any blow to your body or head can cause a concussion when it shakes your brain. Research from Stanford University has shown that parts of the brain move at different speeds after trauma, which leads to tears and chemical changes that affect how the brain functions.
If you or a loved one suffered a blow to the head, you should look for the following concussion symptoms:
- Passing out for several seconds
- Headaches that don't go away
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- Loss of balance
- Changes in sleep patterns (such as sleeping too much or being unable to sleep)
- Increased sensitivity to noise, light, or other stimuli
- Trouble thinking
- Double vision
It might take up to 24 hours for these symptoms to manifest themselves, so do not assume you are okay if you do not immediately feel anything. Instead, go to the doctor or hospital and explain what happened. Your doctor can monitor your situation. Mild concussions can clear up in a few weeks with rest and over-the-counter medication to manage pain, but pay attention if symptoms worsen.
Symptoms of More Severe Brain Injuries
Moderate and severe brain injuries like brain contusions or coup-contrecoup injuries have similar symptoms as concussions, though they might be more intense and last longer. For example, you might experience:
- Extended loss of consciousness for hours or days
- Pupil dilation
- Lack of coordination
- Pronounced confusion or disorientation
- Changed behavior, such as increased aggression
- Difficulty talking clearly
- Weakness in extremities
More severe concussions can take a long time to heal, and some victims never regain their former functioning. For example, someone with a brain injury might never speak as fluently as they used to or be as mobile as they once were.
Nevertheless, with adequate support and rehabilitation, many brain injury victims can regain independence and improve their quality of life. Everything depends on the severity of the brain injury and its location, as well as your age and overall general health.
Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Suffering a brain injury is always a serious matter. No matter how small, any damage to what is arguably the most important organ of your body can have dire consequences. Even minor traumatic brain injuries like concussions that tend to heal on their own with time can have long-term consequences that negatively affect someone's life.
For example, a concussion is usually not a terrible injury, since it typically does not require direct treatment and heals on its own over time. However, repeated concussions run the risk of causing second impact syndrome or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has severe complications that cause debilitating and often irreversible brain damage.
The brain is an incredibly complex organ that we have yet to understand fully, and because of this, medicine for treating brain injuries is very limited in its effectiveness. Traumatic brain injuries are well-known for causing cognitive issues for those who suffer them. These cognitive issues surface as debilitating symptoms that can interfere with a person's everyday life in many ways.
A person can easily lose their job and even their entire career because of these symptoms, resulting in massive economic consequences. Relationships with friends and family can deteriorate because of personality changes, mood swings, and mental illnesses resulting from brain damage. Additionally, there is a high rate of development of mental illnesses like depression and PTSD after someone suffers a traumatic brain injury. The reality of confronting such an injury can become too much for some people, and they begin to develop psychological problems.
Recovery After a Traumatic Brain Injury
Treatment for traumatic brain injuries and management of symptoms can be overwhelming. Drugs and therapies can roll back a measure of the damage done and help manage the symptoms, but the effectiveness of these treatments is limited and often costly.
Due to the permanence of these debilitating injuries, the recurring costs of treatments can continually strain someone's finances. There is hope for a measure of recovery after a traumatic brain injury with rehabilitative processes; however, the cost of ongoing care, support, and therapies continues to rise. This is why recovering compensation for current and future medical bills is so important for families facing these costs.
Receiving Compensation for Your Injuries
If someone's negligent or wrongful act caused your brain injury, you might be able to sue them for financial compensation. Alternatively, we may develop a solid case to show negligence and legal responsibility and recover compensation for our clients by demanding a fair payout from the at-fault party's insurance company. Their insurer does not want to take the case to court any more than you do.
Each case is different, and each individual or family has unique injuries, expenses, and losses. However, victims typically experience similar costs. Our brain injury clients have received money (called “damages”) for the following losses:
- Medical care, including ongoing medical care if necessary
- Lost wages, including lost future wages if the victim cannot return to work
- Property damage, if their vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium for the loss of care, guidance, instruction, and sexual intimacy with their spouse
Not every client receives all of the above damages, so you can meet with a brain injury attorney to perform an individualized case review. At Dolman Law Group, we offer these consultations for free for North Miami Beach brain injury victims and their families.
To prevail and recover damages, you must show that someone else was responsible for your brain injury. This might require showing that a driver was reckless, aggressive, or negligent. Or it might involve proving that a hotel failed to perform adequate maintenance, which led to you tripping and falling down a flight of stairs. Because each case is different, you should get someone with experience in brain injuries to analyze whether you can bring a lawsuit.
At Dolman Law Group, we take care of all aspects of our clients' cases. We investigate what happened, gather evidence to document negligence and liability, and value their losses. Then, we file insurance claims or prepare lawsuits that clearly outline why we believe our client deserves the compensation we are asking them to receive. We manage negotiations and fight for their best interests throughout this process.
Building an Effective Case
The claims process for brain injury victims is long and confusing. Many victims give up, unable to figure out what steps to take to get the compensation they need when they suffer an injury through no fault of their own. To make the process as simple as possible, an attorney can help you with the following:
- Investigating the case: You need evidence of wrongdoing to receive compensation.
- Negotiating with the defendant or their insurer: Negotiations are complicated and high-stakes, and you should not handle them alone. Insurance companies are very experienced and know how to use the law to their advantage.
- Filing a lawsuit if negotiations break down: The Florida court system is daunting, and a lawyer can shepherd your case to trial if necessary.
If you or your loved one suffered a serious brain injury in North Miami Beach, our team is here for you. You should not have to pay the costs associated with a negligence injury. We may be able to hold the at-fault parties legally responsible, get justice for you, and recover compensation that ensures your family gets the care and support you need.
North Miami Beach Brain Injury FAQ
Different accidents can lead to brain injuries. Some events might not seem severe, but the unseen damage could have lasting consequences. If you or a loved one suspects a possible brain injury, do not hesitate to see a doctor. The symptoms can worsen if you do not treat them.
After a trip to a North Miami Beach hospital, you might receive a significant hospital bill. You have to take time off of work for a while to heal as well. Not all brain injury accidents are clear, and you could have a few questions. You should consult a lawyer to get the answers you need, but here are some of the questions we commonly receive from our clients:
What Are the Types of Brain Injuries?
The most common type of brain injury is a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion. This condition can affect daily activities to various degrees. A blow or jolt to the head can cause the brain to hit against the skull. In some cases, skull fractures accompany traumatic brain injuries.
Another category of brain injury is a hematoma. A hematoma occurs when blood collects in the brain after a blood vessel ruptures. The bleeding's location can determine what type a person has. You could get a hematoma from a blow to the head after a fall.
Any type of brain injury can result in edema. Edema is the swelling of surrounding tissues, and the condition poses a problem due to the limited room in the skull. In some cases, doctors may need to remove a part of the skull temporarily if they cannot stop the swelling.
Lastly, a diffuse axonal injury does not involve any bleeding. However, your brain cells receive damage due to losing access to crucial blood or oxygen. The cells cannot perform certain functions, and swelling can occur.
What Causes Brain Injuries?
One way someone can get a brain injury is by falling. They could slip off a ladder or trip down the stairs. Some people slip in the bathtub and hit their heads on the ground. In the workplace, slips and falls happen frequently. Some falls are purely accidental, and others result from another person's negligence.
Violent acts, such as a perpetrator hitting a victim with a blunt instrument, can also lead to a brain injury. Blunt-force trauma to the head has a high risk of brain injury. Even gunshot wounds are a common cause of penetrating head injuries.
High-impact sports can lead to various injuries. Multiple activities use head and mouth gear to protect the players. However, people still may need to see a doctor after a hard tackle or rough shove. Boxing requires a person to engage in physical contact to hurt one's opponent. Basketball and soccer players face the risk of the ball striking their heads.
In many car accident cases, people have to undergo treatment for a traumatic brain injury. The sudden impact of a crash can be enough to harm the brain. This is true regardless of whether the victim hits their head on something inside the vehicle or the brain moves back and forth within the skull.
Motorcycle accidents also tend to see diagnoses of brain injuries. While helmets significantly reduce the chances, some victims still suffer from symptoms. Pedestrians are also highly vulnerable, since they do not have a vehicle or helmet to offer protection.
What Part of the Brain Is the Most Vulnerable?
The brain has different layers of protection, and the primary defense is the skull. Of course, multiple membranes surround the brain. Nevertheless, the organ is susceptible to the impact of external forces. Specific areas are more at risk of damage than others.
The frontal lobes have a high degree of vulnerability since they are in front of the cranium. Their large size also influences the risk of damage. You should take an injury to the frontal lobes seriously, since this area controls emotion, motor function, judgment, and other necessary functions.
Healthcare professionals recommend immediate care to avoid a lowered quality of life. In some cases, quick action to get emergency treatment can help reduce the lasting effects of a brain injury and manage related—and possibly life-threatening—symptoms.
How Common Are Brain Injuries?
A CDC report shows how prevalent traumatic brain injuries are in the United States. An estimated 1.5 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. Around 230,000 people go to the hospital to recover, and roughly 50,000 cases become fatal.
Many people suffer from long-term effects. Falls and car collisions make up the majority of cases of traumatic brain injuries. The economic burden totals tens of billions of dollars each year in medical care, loss of work, and disability.
In the past few decades, the rates of hospitalization and death have declined. However, traumatic and acquired brain injuries continue to be a serious threat to the health and livelihood of those who suffer them.
Who Is Most at Risk for Brain Injuries in North Miami Beach?
Anyone can sustain a brain injury, but children, young adults, and adults over 75 have a higher risk. With older adults, doctors might misdiagnose their condition. The symptoms could overlap with other medical conditions. Younger children and older adults are also more vulnerable to falls.
Men are more likely to suffer from a traumatic brain injury than women. Young adult men tend to work in physically demanding jobs like construction. They also take more risks with extreme sports, motorcycles, and diving. Many brain injuries occur in rural areas.
Another at-risk group is service members and veterans. Thousands receive a brain injury diagnosis annually, and 80 percent result from an accident.
People with lower income are more likely to suffer from the long-term effects of TBIs. They may struggle financially for therapy and other medical services for traumatic brain injury treatment. This is another reason it is vital to seek damages to cover these costs when possible. Those who can afford treatment generally have a better recovery.
Does a Brain Injury Have Lasting Effects?
The road to recovery can take a while, and traumatic brain injuries can leave people with lasting effects. CDC research found that 50 percent of people with TBIs experience a decline in their daily lives or die within five years of their injury. Within five years, 30 percent of patients reported their symptoms had worsened.
Only 22 percent reported their condition stayed the same, and another 22 percent of cases resulted in death. One of the long-term effects is the significantly increased risk of a seizure. People with a traumatic brain injury also have a higher chance of developing infections.
In some cases, a TBI victim also experiences a fractured skull. Bacteria can enter through the damaged protective tissue and cause an infection. People with a traumatic brain injury face an increased risk of pneumonia, as well.
Other complications include frequent headaches, vertigo, and damage to blood vessels in the brain. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to further damage, such as a stroke or edema. Around 57 percent of people suffer from disabilities within five years after an accident.
When Should You See a Doctor?
After any accident that involves a blow or jolt to your head, you should see a North Miami Beach doctor right away to rule out the possibility of a traumatic brain injury. Many people do not think they have any further harm beyond visible wounds. Seek help once symptoms manifest if you do not see a healthcare provider for a head injury immediately after an accident.
Look out for dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, and speech issues. Some people become sensitive to light and experience blurred vision. A victim of an accident should also seek medical attention if they have trouble sleeping.
Concentration issues and a brief loss of consciousness are common TBI symptoms as well. You could have a severe case if you suffer from a loss of coordination or slurred speech. People need to keep an eye on injured children. They may fall asleep—a symptom itself—making it difficult to monitor them for additional concerns.
A person should take their child to the clinic if they show signs of persistent crying or drowsiness. Some young children will display a lack of interest in favorite toys or activities. The symptoms could stay the same or worsen if you delay medical care.
Who Is Liable for a Brain Injury?
The negligent party depends on the circumstances of the brain injury. In cases of slips and falls, a worker or manager should have kept the area free of any spills or debris. Wet floor signs should be placed next to a recently mopped area.
On construction sites, fall protection measures should be taken when people work above the ground. You could also sustain a brain injury on someone else's property. Property owners need to maintain their premises, especially when many people visit.
The perpetrator is the main liable party in cases of violent acts. However, you could sue the property manager for poor security in some cases. To be negligent, the manager should have known about the criminal activity around the area but failed to implement proper measures to protect guests or others on the property.
A motorist may be liable if they violated Florida traffic laws and caused an accident. The root of the negligence could have been a distraction or rushing through a red light.
You may even hold a product manufacturer responsible for your brain injury. For example, airbags automatically deploy when you crash into an object with enough force. You might have hit your head against the steering wheel or dashboard if the airbag failed to work.
Many people admit to negligence, and you only need to worry about settlement negotiations. However, some parties deny liability. As a result, you may want to hire a lawyer to help you prove your claim.
When Can You Go Back to Work After a Brain Injury?
One downside of the recovery period is missing work. Some people want to continue their jobs as soon as possible to bring in more wages. After a bit of time, you might feel ready to return for another shift.
The amount of time it takes to go back to work depends on the speed of your recovery. Around 40 percent of people with a traumatic acquired brain injury can safely return to work after one to two years. You might need to take several months off work or up to a year for a minor or moderate brain injury.
You should speak with your doctor to know when you can begin working again. You can come up with a plan together. The best course of action is to go back gradually. Perhaps, you only work a few days a week for a while.
The workload should start light, and multiple breaks are necessary. Some people still feel the effects of their brain injury after returning to work. You have to find what pace works best for you.
What Are Informal Settlements and Formal Lawsuits?
When you make a claim, the process can end in an informal settlement or become a formal lawsuit. Your case will most likely have an informal settlement. The mediation occurs outside of court, and you do not have to go to trial.
In this situation, both parties can reach an agreement and consent to forgo further legal action. Informal settlements are ideal when you need to get the money as soon as possible. They make the lawsuit process faster and are cost-effective.
However, your case could end up becoming a formal lawsuit instead. A formal lawsuit is when you file a formal complaint in a civil court of law. Then, the judge hears both sides in a trial and makes the final verdict.
Your case could take longer if it goes to trial, but you have the potential to get more money in compensation. Only a small percentage of cases go to trial. The outcome of a lawsuit is less predictable than an informal settlement.
Is a Settlement Taxable?
In general, the federal IRS and Florida do not tax compensation for a personal injury. The only type of settlement you need to pay taxes on is punitive damages. Tax laws exclude damages, but the damages need to relate to physical injuries. If emotional distress caused you to lose income, you have to pay taxes on your reimbursement.
Since many of your damages stem from a brain injury, you do not have to pay taxes on the money. Still, the IRS may try to find other ways around the tax law. If you get a high-value lump sum, you could find yourself in a higher tax bracket.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Brain Injury Lawsuits?
The deadline for a brain injury claim depends on the statute of limitations of your state. Florida residents have four years to make a claim, per Florida Statutes § 95.11.
Some situations allow for a deadline extension. For example, you might not have discovered your brain injury until the symptoms manifested days or weeks later. Other exceptions can affect how long you have.
When you speak with an attorney, ask them how the statute of limitations affects your case.
Get Help from a Brain Injury Lawyer in North Miami Beach
Brain injury victims potentially face years of rehabilitation to regain functioning and mobility. At Dolman Law Group, we have built our reputation on obtaining favorable awards and settlements for our clients, thanks to our dedication and client-centered approach. We represent clients based on contingency.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our brain injury attorneys, please call us or fill out our contact form.
North Miami Beach Office
1820 NE 163rd St #306,
North Miami Beach, FL 33162