New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
Fighting for Accident Victims with Serious Head Trauma
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” It can occur when impact to the head is so severe that it causes damage to the brain, disrupting its normal functioning.
The CDC classifies traumatic brain injury as a major cause of injury and death, with its effects lasting for a few days or for a lifetime
Traumatic Brain Injury Severity Levels
TBI severity ranges from mild through severe. The medical community uses the Glasgow Coma Scale to help gauge the severity of the injury:
- Mild: GCS Score 13-15. Concussion
- Moderate GCS Score 9-12. Loss of consciousness from 20 minutes to six hours
- Severe: GCS Score 8 or less. Loss of consciousness for six hours or more
Causes of TBI
Falls account for approximately half of TBI emergency room visits. It is interesting to note that among senior citizens, 81% of ER visits for brain injuries were due to falls but among children the rate is 50%.
Other primary causes of traumatic brain injuries are:
- Being struck by, or against an object
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Intentional self-harm
- Firearm accidents or intentional shootings
Physical Injuries and Mental Suffering From Head Trauma
While most head injuries happen in a motor vehicle crash or slip, trip and fall accident, there are some common mechanisms and types of head injuries to be aware of. These include:
- Open head injury
- Closed head injury
- Deceleration injury–also called a “diffuse axonal injury”, where the brain is compressed within the skull
- Chemical/toxic injury
- Hypoxia/Anoxia– lack of oxygen
The short and long term effects of a TBI are many and range from moderate discomfort to life-altering:
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance or vertigo
- Loss of mobility
- Blurred vision
- Vision impairment or blindness
- Memory and concentration problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Personality changes
- Reduced cognitive ability
- Stroke from blood clots
When a TBI is Caused by Negligence or Recklessness
Brain injuries are often caused by the negligent, reckless or deliberately harmful actions of another person.
Motor vehicle crashes: When another driver causes a crash due to speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence, head injuries to passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists often ensue.
Workplace accidents: When an employer fails to provide a safe work environment by violating OSHA standards. Slip, trip and fall accidents, being struck by a falling or flying object, falling from unsafe scaffolding or ladders, explosive blasts, falling into or in-between machinery or being crushed or suffocated while working in trenches have caused serious, life-changing TBI injuries to thousands of workers.
The financial cost of a TBI
The expenses incurred by a victim of a serious head injury can be astronomical–from the initial emergency room treatment through rehabilitation and long-term care if necessary.
Initial medical treatment may amount to tens of thousands of dollars and charges for long hospital stays add up quickly–often upwards of six figures. If the TBI is severe, a victim could be disabled for the rest of their life and need ongoing care. Add in lost earnings, wages and employer benefits, the cessation of retirement plan contributions– the financial burden on the victim as well as their family is overwhelming.
Traumatic Brain Injury FAQs
Will disability cover my expenses if I suffer a head injury?
The financial consequences of a TBI can be extremely extensive with medical and rehabilitation bills exceeding hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add to this a victim’s lost earnings and other employment benefits, the financial impact can be crippling. Disability benefits are often not enough to fully compensate a person who has sustained this type of injury. That is why a personal injury lawsuit or claim against the at-fault party is not only reasonable but can be necessary to help the victim recover.
Why Should I File a Lawsuit for a Traumatic Head Injury?
The thought of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit after you or a loved one has been seriously injured may seem daunting, but successful negotiations or litigation at trial can help you and your family recover from your ordeal. An experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer will hold the responsible party accountable,and be instrumental in obtaining a significant financial settlement to help cover the costs of medical bills, rehabilitative care, lost current and future wages, and more.
While financial compensation won’t completely erase your losses, it will make the road ahead a little easier and mitigate stress and worry on you and your family
How Long Do I have to File a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?
A head injury lawsuit is classified as a personal injury matter. In New Jersey, the personal injury statute of limitations–the time allowed to file a lawsuit or claim–is two years from the date of the incident. However–it is critical to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a TBI. A good lawyer experienced in pursuing TBI claims will need adequate time to review all of your medical records, investigate the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, document the amount of past and future expenses and lost wages due to the injury, and more.
Do I Have a Strong Case?
The answer to that question will depend on the specific details of your matter. A qualified, experienced attorney will take the time to thoroughly review your case and explain your legal rights and options.
In order to win a personal injury case, you must be able to demonstrate that someone else or another entity acted negligently and that their negligence was the direct cause of the accident or incident that resulted in your head injury. For example, if a person trips and falls in their home and sustains a concussion, there is no negligence by another party. If, however, a person slips on a patch of ice in a grocery store parking lot and suffers a TBI there is a clear path of negligence and the responsible party, such as the grocery store or property maintenance company could be held liable for injuries.
I Have Been Contacted by an Insurance Company, What Should I do?
Nothing! If you suffered a serious brain injury do not sign anything offered to you by an insurance company. Even if it is your own insurance company, or one that says it represents you, do not sign any insurance document without first having an experienced personal injury lawyer review it with a fine-toothed comb. Also, do not talk to any insurance company representative on the phone or answer any email communications. You can unknowingly sign away your rights to a personal injury legal claim and associated compensation.
In addition to advocating for you in court, your traumatic brain injury lawyer and his or her team will deal directly with insurance companies and healthcare organizations such as Medicaid to get you the maximum award or settlement amount.
And, lastly, do not post anything related to your accident or injuries on social media. You can rest assured that the insurance companies and the defendant’s attorneys will be monitoring your social media accounts for any comments or images that will harm your case.
How Much Money Can I Get for a TBI Case?
If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you should be aware that the value of your claim may be substantially higher than other personal injury cases with different types of injuries, such as a soft-tissue/whiplash case. Factors taken into consideration when determining the value of a serious head trauma case include, but are not limited to:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Neurological rehabilitation
- Psychological rehabilitation
- Life care costs
- Past, present, and future physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Personality changes
- Difficulty with concentration, memory, speech, vision, hearing, taste, reasoning and cognition
The costs associated with physical, neurological, and psychological rehabilitation along with necessary adaptations for daily activities can be significant, particularly in light of the fact that many of these challenges may be permanent.
These multiple factors contribute to why the value of a TBI is often substantially higher than other types of personal injury cases. Ultimately, a traumatic brain injury can completely derail a person’s life, which must be taken into consideration when resolving the case.
Have You or Someone You Love Suffered A Brain Injury? Get A Free Case Evaluation
At Keefe Law Firm, we stand for our injured clients to attain nothing less than the compensation they deserve. Talk to a lawyer today about your options.