At Knapp & Roberts, the Arizona personal injury attorneys help clients who have suffered life-changing injuries. Brain injuries are especially frightening for the victims. Their lives are changing, but often they aren’t sure why. Since the victims and their families are confused and looking for help, calling a specialized Phoenix brain injury attorney can be advantageous.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A “traumatic brain injury” (TBI) describes any acquired brain injury, or a brain injury that occurs during or after birth. Many types of brain injuries exist, but TBI generally refers to damage to the brain from external forces. The brain controls the rest of the body’s conscious and unconscious processes, and we still do not know a lot about how the brain functions. This means that no two TBIs are alike, and it is impossible to predict the full scope of damage that can result from a TBI.
Most Common Causes of TBIs
In the United States, TBIs happen for many reasons.
- Motor vehicle accidents: The forces that act on the body during a serious car crash can easily cause a TBI. If a driver suffers a TBI from a traffic collision, he or she may be able to pursue an injury claim against the at-fault driver.
- Sports injuries: Many contact sports like football and ice hockey carry a significant risk of head injury. Many youth leagues and high schools require parents to sign liability release forms before their children may play such sports.
- Swimming injuries: Diving into shallow water could lead to a swimmer hitting his or her head on the bottom of a pool or other body of water. Diving is especially dangerous when you cannot see the bottom of the water. It’s vital for swimmers to pay close attention to diving notices at swimming pools and only swim where lifeguards are present.
- Slip and fall accidents: A “slip and fall” may sound minor at first, but if a person slips and hits his or her head on the ground or other object, it can lead to a severe TBI. Property owners face liability for any TBIs that result from poorly maintained grounds, snow and ice accumulation, or any other preventable slip-and-fall incident that occurs on their properties.
- Interpersonal violence: It is possible to suffer TBIs at the hands of others, especially during physical altercations or during violent crimes. A person who commits a violent assault, robbery, or attempted murder will face criminal prosecution from the state as well as civil claims from victims and their families.
Symptoms of TBI
Symptoms of TBIs can vary dramatically based on the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the victim’s medical history.
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Short periods of unconsciousness
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Irritability and mood swings
- Sleep problems
More severe TBIs can lead to serious symptoms, including severe confusion that requires medical attention, aggression, seizures, convulsions, coma, and more severe versions of mild TBI symptoms as previously listed. Brain injuries are never predictable or identical to previous injuries or others’ brain injuries. It is vital to seek medical attention immediately after a TBI occurs. Moderate to severe TBIs can cause life-threatening symptoms that can turn fatal without medical intervention.
Who Is Liable for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Many possible liable parties in a TBI case exist.
- Negligent individuals: The defendant in a TBI case may be an at-fault driver who caused an accident or another negligent individual whose behavior directly caused the TBI in question.
- Individuals who commit intentional torts: If a criminal commits a robbery, assault, or attempted murder and causes a TBI to the victim, the offender will face criminal prosecution from the state and civil claims from the victim and his or her family.
- Product manufacturers: Any product manufacturer who creates a defective product that causes a TBI is liable for the end user’s damages. The plaintiff must prove the product in question is indeed defective and solely responsible for the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
- Medical professionals: A doctor or anesthesiologist or other medical professional could cause a TBI by negligently administering treatment. For example, too much of a certain type of medication could cut off oxygen flow to the brain, resulting in brain damage.
- Sports organizations and schools: Although most sports clubs require participants to sign liability release forms, these forms rarely hold up in court if any reason exists to believe the organization acted negligently or caused a TBI.
- A childcare supervisor at a school or daycare facility: Daycare operators must always maintain constant supervision over the children in their care to prevent TBIs and other injuries.
Compensation Available in Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits
The effects of traumatic brain injuries vary – some people will only suffer minor results, while others’ impact is profound. For many people, change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction, and rehabilitation is often necessary. For children, traumatic brain injuries can be especially frightening. An injury like this can stunt the growth of a child’s brain and may further alter a child’s mental state.
A TBI is a serious injury that will typically require an extensive recovery time. This is part of the reason the damages in TBI lawsuits tend to be quite high. There are many types of compensation available in TBI lawsuits.
- Medical expenses: A plaintiff can sue for the costs of all medical bills, hospital fees, surgical fees, prescription costs, medical device costs, and all other expenses related to necessary medical treatment resulting from a defendant’s behavior. This includes future medical expenses as well if a plaintiff suffers a debilitating TBI that requires a long recovery process.
- Lost income: A plaintiff can secure lost wages as compensation in a TBI lawsuit if the TBI causes him or her to miss work for an extended time. If a severe TBI prevents the victim from ever working again, he or she can sue for the future earning capacity he or she would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
- Property damage: If the defendant’s negligence also damaged or destroyed the victim’s personal property, the defendant can claim the repair or replacement cost as damages.
- Pain and suffering: A TBI can have dramatic physical and psychological effects, and a plaintiff can claim compensation for the physical pain and mental suffering he or she endures from a TBI.
- Punitive damages: If there is evidence to suggest the defendant acted intentionally, with the intent to commit another crime, or with the intent to harm the victim (but not necessary with a head injury), then it is likely the aggressor will face criminal prosecution from the state as well as punitive damages in a civil claim from the victim’s family.
Why Do You Need a Phoenix Brain Injury Attorney?
Brain injury cases are extremely complicated. These lawsuits deal with complex medical terms, concepts, and case studies and typically require testimony from expert witnesses. A TBI can lead to significant economic losses for victims and their families, which is part of the reason it is so crucial to find appropriate legal representation as soon as possible after a loved one suffers a TBI.
Many TBIs require long-term recovery services that can be quite expensive, and there is no good reason for a TBI victim to have to shoulder these costs alone when someone else caused the problem. A Phoenix brain injury attorney can discuss the available options for legal recourse with a TBI victim and his or her family as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.
Our Phoenix accident attorneys determine how the injury happened, who or what entity is liable for the injury, and what will be needed to compensate the victim. However the injury occurred, talk to an experienced brain injury lawyer in Arizona about what actions you need to take for your loved one’s future.
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