Traumatic Brain Injuries by the Numbers
Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, can have a devastating impact on the injury victim, as well as on the injury victim’s family and loved ones. According to prevailing medical statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year. This translates into one traumatic brain injury every 21 seconds.
Statistics also show that hospitalizations and hospital visits related to traumatic brain injuries have spiked sharply since 2008 and that men have a higher chance of being hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury than do women. Young children are also particularly prone to TBIs, given their high energy and activity levels. These injuries manifest themselves through a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, and invariably result in long-term impacts on the injury victim’s health and well-being.
If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under Florida law. An experienced Tampa Bay traumatic brain injury lawyer will be able to review all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you and can help you to obtain the compensation that you need and deserve under the law.
The Science behind Traumatic Brain Injuries
As the name suggests, traumatic brain injuries are brain injuries resulting from excess trauma (either internally or externally) to the victim’s head. Statistically, these injuries are more likely to amount to closed-head injuries and do not typically involve direct penetration of the head, skull, or brain.
However, the trauma associated with closed-head injuries can still cause the brain to move around inside the head and make direct contact with the front or back of the skull. From a medical standpoint, this movement can cause damage to the brain’s neurons and axons (which are the equivalent of the brain’s “internal wiring”) and can prevent them from functioning properly, thereby producing short and long-term symptoms. The worse these symptoms are the more debilitating the injured plaintiff’s condition.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Statistically, the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, (particularly where the injured plaintiff is not wearing a helmet), boating accidents, pedestrian accidents, sledding accidents, skiing accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and sports-related accidents – especially those involving contact sports, such as football or basketball.
In the case of motor vehicle accidents, for example, traumatic brain injuries are usually sustained when the injured plaintiff’s vehicle accelerates or decelerates very quickly, causing the plaintiff’s head to come into direct contact with a part of the motor vehicle, such as the steering wheel, headrest, or dashboard. This allows the person’s brain to actually move around inside the head and make contact with the skull, potentially damaging the brain’s internal hardware.
Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries may manifest themselves immediately. However, more often than not, the symptoms may not materialize for several days, weeks, or even months after the plaintiff sustains the initial head injury. The injuries, therefore, are oftentimes difficult to detect, diagnose, and treat. Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on how badly the plaintiff’s brain was damaged in the accident.
Some common symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
It is important to keep in mind that even these so-called ‘mild’ traumatic brain injuries can permanently damage the brain’s internal hardware, producing real, significant, and often long-term symptoms. More importantly, the injured plaintiff may not even know how badly he or she is hurt until well after the accident occurred, due to a late onset of these symptoms.
Symptoms commonly associated with more severe traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Long-term memory loss
- Loss of smell or taste senses
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Radical mood swings
These types of injuries are very likely to have long-term repercussions on both the accident victim and on the accident victim’s family and loved ones. When traumatic brain injury victims suffer from long-term symptoms, a guardian may need to be appointed to act on behalf of the injured plaintiff and make legal decisions on his or her behalf.
Burden of Proof in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
As a general rule, the law of negligence applies to traumatic brain injury cases. Therefore, the injured plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant breached his or her duty to act as an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent person under the circumstances. The injured person must also prove that this breach proximately caused his or her injuries and damages.
The types of legal damages available to victims of traumatic brain injuries include economic damages, such as payment of medical bills, physical therapy bills, and lost wages, as well as monetary compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity (in cases involving permanent impairment or permanent damage), and loss of companionship, consortium, or spousal support. The primary purpose of awarding damages in personal injury cases is to try and make the plaintiff ‘whole’ and to fully and fairly compensate the plaintiff for the injuries he or she sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Contact a Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Today
The key to obtaining a large settlement or verdict in a traumatic brain injury case is to retain a compassionate lawyer who handles these types of cases on a regular basis and who is familiar with the basic anatomy and physiology of the human brain. An experienced New Port Richey traumatic brain injury lawyer will have both the necessary medical knowledge and legal expertise to handle your case effectively.
An experienced attorney will also have a working relationship with knowledgeable healthcare providers and other experts who may serve as potential expert witnesses at trial. Insurance companies use every trick in the book to try and limit their liability exposure in traumatic brain injury cases. An expert witness who regularly treats traumatic brain injuries is necessary in order to obtain a favorable settlement offer or verdict in a TBI case.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with the Dolman Law Group, please call us today or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765