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​How Much Will I Get for Pain and Suffering After a TBI?

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one of the leading causes of death and disability among American children and young adults is traumatic brain injury (TBI). They estimate that 1.5 million Americans suffer a TBI each year.

Of those who incur a TBI:

  • 230,000 are hospitalized and live
  • 50,000 will die
  • 80,000 to 90,000 experience the beginning of long-term disability

Traumatic brain injuries can occur from automobile collisions, falls, participating in sports and recreation, and various other activities and accidents. Some are relatively minor, potentially resulting in a brief loss of consciousness and a few days of recovery. Others are much more severe and will have far-reaching implications and life-long complications.

Brain injuries are one of the worst types of injuries sustainable. They are a typical driving force in many personal injury claims, and rightfully so. Depending on the severity of a brain injury, the victim might be unable to care for themselves or their family the way they once did, lose their career, and even experience personality changes.

Brain injuries can also come with a hefty price tag. If you or someone you love was recently diagnosed with a TBI, you might wonder what the long-term impacts will be and how much someone can receive for pain and suffering then contact a brain injury lawyer.

What Types of Accidents Most Commonly Cause Brain Injuries?

A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain injury (ABI) or one that is not hereditary or happens at birth. A TBI occurs when fragile neuronal brain tissue gets damaged by impact or force, such as the force created by a car stopping suddenly.

A TBI is one injury that can occur in many different types of situations, including:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Assaults
  • Sporting accidents

The Importance of Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Realizing that a traumatic brain injury is one of the most complicated and costly personal injuries someone can suffer from, many victims and their families reach out to a seasoned personal injury lawyer to help them recover their damages. This assistance is essential if the injured party requires extensive medical care, therapies, or long-term care. In addition, the costs of caring for someone with a brain injury can be astronomical.

To receive compensation for your injuries, your personal injury attorney must prove these elements of negligence are true in your claim:

  • Another person or party owed you a duty of care, for instance, to repair walkways, provide safety equipment in the workplace, or yield to oncoming traffic
  • That person or party breached their duty to you
  • Their breach caused your accident and injuries
  • Your severe injuries caused your damages

The Value of Your Traumatic Brain Injury Case

The hard costs of a TBI can be astronomical and never-ending, and they don’t include pain and suffering and other intangible losses victims suffer. Some victims require a lifetime of medical care and rehabilitation. Some may never go back to work. The direct medical costs of TBI and other related expenses, including lost productivity, are over $60 billion in the U.S. annually.

The lifetime costs for a survivor of a TBI can total at least $4 million. Victims who require rehabilitation will pay an average of $200,000 or more instead of around $18,000 for those who don’t need rehab. Patients who succumb to TBI injuries will incur an average of $450,000 in medical bills before death. In addition, employment support to help TBI survivors who can return to work can cost an average of $10,000 for the first year alone.

Keep in mind these are only some examples of the average costs of TBI, and each patient is different. You should never depend on averages to calculate your losses, as you have your own treatment plan and set of challenges and expenses. Have your brain injury lawyer calculate your unique losses from your circumstances.

Your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses related to your injuries make up for your special or economic damages or losses. Typically, pain and suffering and other general damages are worth approximately 1.5 to five times the amount of your economic damages. So, the more severe and extensive your TBI, the more compensation you should receive for pain and suffering.

Other factors that can affect how much your traumatic brain injury claim is worth:

  • The circumstances of your case
  • The severity of your traumatic brain injury
  • If you had a secondary injury
  • The length and complexity of your hospitalization and medical treatment

Individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury deserve more compensation due to the potential for a long-term or permanent disability. Your personal injury attorney can help maximize your compensation and ensure you are paid fairly for your damages. Speaking with an attorney is the best way to find out what your TBI case is worth, including the compensation you can receive for pain and suffering.

The Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The consequences of a brain injury will vary from one TBI patient to the next. However, their experience can depend on their age, what part of their brain sustained the trauma, the degree of the trauma, the rehabilitation available, and how well they respond to medications and other therapies.

Sadly, even patients who appear to have fully recovered can have long-term symptoms they have to live with for the rest of their lives.

The Long-Term Financial Impacts of TBI

There’s no denying that one significant long-term impact of a TBI is financial. The estimated annual direct and indirect TBI costs are $76.5 billion.

Patients who won’t ever recover fully or who will take a long time to recover from a TBI will have ongoing expenses related to their medical care, daily care, and rehabilitation. Suppose the negligence of another person caused the TBI.

In that case, they must factor these long-term expenses into their compensation. Many times, attorneys employ the expertise of life-care specialists to help calculate what these future costs will be.

Assistance with Self-Care

Brain injuries can lead to severe cognitive disabilities. Even though someone has the physical ability to care for themselves, they may not have the mental capacity to do so. Simple activities of daily living, such as brushing one’s teeth or getting dressed, may pose impossible for someone with a TBI to perform independently.

TBI victims may never drive again and need assistance getting to and from appointments or work (if they continue to hold down a job). Sometimes, family members will take on the role of helping with self-care for a TBI victim. Still, victims often need to hire professional caregivers to give them respite.

Long-term implications of a TBI that can impact self-care include:

  • Struggles with concentration, attention, and focus
  • Distractibility
  • Memory problems (short- and long-term)
  • Slow mental processing
  • Confusion
  • Impulsivity
  • Issues with language processing
  • Problems with executive functions include planning and determining right from wrong), initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions.

Employment or Productivity Losses

After sustaining a severe TBI, the victim may be unable to return to work. In cases where they can’t return to the job they held immediately preceding their injury, they can pick up a different position within the same company or at another company. The result will depend upon the type of job or career the person had before their injury and what kind of mental and physical demands it entails.

It’s easy to understand how one’s job might suffer, as a TBI can cause problems with:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Spatial awareness
  • Awareness of what is socially acceptable
  • Understanding and integrating information received through the five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste)
  • Issues with speech and language

Social and Familial Relationships

TBIs with long-term implications undoubtedly impact the social life and interpersonal relationships of the victim and their family.

Common social-emotional or behavioral effects experienced by TBI patients include:

  • Dependent behaviors
  • Denial or lack of awareness
  • Fluctuating emotions
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of inhibition

Physical Effects of TBIs

A TBI isn’t a broken bone, a badly bruised organ, or another type of physical injury. It’s a severe injury to the brain that can impact nearly everything about the victim’s physical life in the future.

Physical manifestations of a TBI might include:

  • Sleep disorders (insomnia, sleeping too much, etc.)
  • Easily worn out or fatigued.
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Physical paralysis or spasticity
  • Ongoing pain
  • Inability to control bladder and bowel functions
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Unexpected hormonal variations and changes

Unfortunately, it can take quite some time to determine how far-reaching the effects will be after sustaining a TBI. For example, it may be a year or more until doctors and specialists understand what specific effects a TBI patient might have and how long they might have them.

Don’t Wait; Time is Short

TBI victims and their families must know their state’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a legal deadline determining how long a personal injury claimant has to file a lawsuit after suffering an injury. Typically, most states have a minimum of a one or two-year statute of limitations, and some have as many as four years.

If the deadline goes by and the victim or their personal injury attorney on their behalf hasn’t filed their lawsuit, they lose the right to use the civil court system to pursue damages, essentially leaving them with no other options. This failure can ruin TBI victim and their family financially.

Injured parties and their families should also be aware that the deadlines vary by state and can change with other variables. For example, if the person liable for causing the TBI works for the government, the claim will have a different statute of limitations that is usually shorter than if the claim weren’t against the government.

At the same time, you never want to settle a TBI claim too quickly. Doing so may preclude you from getting the compensation you need later on for your rehabilitation and long-term care. You may need to wait until you have reached what is known as maximum medical improvement before settling so that you know what kind of expenses you are facing for the rest of your life.

Hiring a brain injury attorney can help immensely in this process and ensure that your case gets filed within your state’s statute of limitations but not too soon after your injury that you don’t know what your case is truly worth.

Legal Concerns of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney, Gary Annes

Traumatic brain injuries are medically and legally complicated. Brain injuries need immediate medical attention, expert medical care, and legal experience.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with numerous legal matters surrounding your injury, including:

Suppose you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury that can be the fault of another party. In that case, you must speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. You need to be sure that you are fairly compensated for such a severe injury, particularly if you or your loved one will endure long-term effects. You deserve compensation not only for your medical and rehabilitation expenses but also for your pain and suffering. The representation of an attorney can boost your claim’s value.

Remember that the lifetime financial burden for one person surviving a severe TBI can be around $4 million. The good news is that it doesn’t cost a dime to meet with a lawyer to discuss your case, as most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, unless they secure compensation on your behalf, you don’t owe them anything for their services.

Even if the insurance company for the party who caused the injury offers to accept full responsibility for your injuries, contact an attorney. You will only know if you are receiving fair compensation for your claim if you do.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

​Concussion Injury Claims

Anytime you suffer a head injury that causes you to lose consciousness for a few seconds or several minutes, go to a hospital—you may have sustained a concussion. Other signs include feeling dazed, confused, or disoriented while conscious after head trauma.

One concussion also makes victims more vulnerable to future concussions and repeated trauma that can lead to degenerative disease. Side effects of concussions include balance problems, painful headaches, dizziness, personality changes, cognitive struggles, and more. Emotional issues, anxiety, and depression are also prevalent.

While concussions have a “mild” classification, they are not mild injuries, since they can have such life-altering results. Some concussion victims have symptoms and effects that persist for months or years.

If you suffer head trauma, you need to seek medical attention and relay all of your symptoms to get a proper diagnosis. If someone else caused your head injury, contact a traumatic brain injury attorney to help file a concussion injury claim as soon as possible.

What are traumatic brain injuries?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results from an external factor like a blow to the head. In comparison, an acquired brain injury results from internal factors like lack of oxygen.

A concussion falls under the TBI category and usually receives a mild TBI diagnosis. There is no mild TBI, but medical professionals use varying designations to describe the initial injury, not the long-term effects. Do not ignore a mild classification because what it means is you must keep an eye on your symptoms and look for complications or lingering effects.

The most common causes of a concussion are:

  • A sudden jolt or shake of the head
  • Being struck by an object

Some patients will fully recover and return to normal functions, while others will experience ongoing symptoms that require lifelong treatment. TBIs affect a person’s memory, reasoning, communication, emotions, and sensations.

What Are The Symptom of TBI?

Traumatic brain injuries have a range of symptoms; some can seem minor, but you should always take them seriously.

After head trauma, look for these TBI symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Mood changes
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Nauseous and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Weakness and numbness in extremities
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Restlessness
  • Pupil dilation

Children can suffer these symptoms, as well as uncontrollable crying and losing interest in toys and games. They might also experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. All of these symptoms require medical treatment.

Secondary impact syndrome

A secondary injury can cause you severe harm. This condition is common after a car accident and involves a second concussion that results from a second head trauma. For example, if you do not realize you have a concussion from a crash, and then you get hit again playing sports, a second impact can occur.

SIS can cause the effects of the first concussion to become worse. Victims can suffer seizures and other complications, so you always want to get a first concussion diagnosed and follow doctor’s orders. Avoid any strenuous activity after an accident that can lead to a head injury, like sports, exercise, and more.

Available treatment options

chicago motorcycle accident lawyerTreatment for a concussion might involve the following and more:

  • Medication
  • CT, MRI, and X-ray scans
  • Rehabilitation
  • Assistive devices
  • Counseling
  • Surgery
  • Convalescence

Additionally, these injuries require a team of medical professionals to treat them, like neurologists, surgeons, psychologists, primary care physicians, and physical therapists. Treatment should begin immediately, as the sooner you begin rehab, the better your chances of recovery when possible. After the initial impact, you should receive treatment in an emergency room and may move to a specialized clinic.

The severity of a TBI and the victim’s age will impact the treatment plan and costs. Permanent disability is possible, and serious complications might even lead to death. Some victims cannot care for themselves after a concussion, and their families must become caregivers. Sometimes families cannot care for TBI sufferers and will instead need to place them in assisted living facilities.

Recovery is long

All brain injuries will take time to recover. Even if your injuries heals with time, a few months to a year is a long time to undergo care and be unsure of your future. Some people might expect to recover from symptoms with time, but the symptoms persist due to post-concussion syndrome.

Even if symptoms improve or disappear after a year, there is still the chance you will suffer other complications that can extend your recovery. A concussion means you will need to stay cautious for the rest of your life so that symptoms do not creep back up or worsen.

Sports concussion claims

Athletes can suffer significant trauma when they are playing sports. The prospect of an injury is always present, whether it be hockey, soccer, baseball, football, or basketball. Sports organizations should pay for the damage these injuries cause, and many organizations have bargaining agreements and unions that will help athletes recover payment for their injuries. However, these programs do not make the claims process more manageable, so you need a concussion injury attorney to help you.

A blow to the head is severe, and while athletes believe it is part of the job, it is unacceptable and leads to lifelong illness and impairment. The injuries do not show up immediately, and it can take years after the athlete stops playing before they realize there’s anything wrong. College athletes are also at high risk for concussions and can suffer debilitating injuries before their life begins.

After multiple concussions or micro-trauma, athletes might experience:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Memory loss
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Post-concussion syndrome

These and other neurological conditions result from repetitive head trauma that athletes experience as part of their careers. Your career should not affect you for the rest of your life. As an athlete, you are playing for fun and money, not to suffer. Concussions are not minor; you must seek medical assistance and legal recourse.

Workers’ compensation and concussions

The sports arena is not the only occupation that can lead to a concussion or closed head injury. Concussions at work might happen when there are mechanical malfunctions, lack of safety equipment, slip and falls, falls from heights, or falling objects, among other situations.

Employees who drive for their employer can also suffer head trauma if there is a vehicle accident. Construction workers are at risk daily because they operate heavy machinery and construction sites are full of dangers and people. One mistake can be costly. Warehouses and other work environments with many moving parts can have concussion risks, including falls or getting hit by falling objects.

Workers’ compensation should cover all of your concussion-related medical expenses and provide some wage replacement if your injury happened while working. Workers with a concussion can file a workers’ comp claim to seek important benefits for medical treatment, disability, and more from their employer. You might also receive temporary total disability or permanent partial disability benefits if you are out of work for a longer time.

The caveat is the injury that must occur during the scope and course of employment. While you might believe that is evident, the insurance company might argue that your injury did not happen within the scope of your employment to avoid providing benefits. Many people with concussions struggle to receive the benefits they deserve, and an injury attorney can help with this process.

Who is liable for your concussion and related losses?

Many parties can be responsible for brain injuries, and identifying the proper parties is critical to receiving full compensation for your losses. You need a concussion injury lawyer to look at the entire situation and find who is responsible for covering the costs of your injury.


Negligent car or truck drivers can be responsible for causing a traumatic brain injury like a concussion. As mentioned above, workers’ compensation can also be responsible for coverage if you were driving for work.

Property owners

All business owners are responsible for keeping the area safe and free of hazards that can cause injury. If a guest suffers an injury from a hazardous condition, the property owner must pay for your losses. Concussions are common in slip and falls or falls from high places, which can lead to property owner liability.


A manufacturing corporation can be liable if a product has a design or manufacturing defect. The injury must result from the intended use of the product, and such injuries might stem from a design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn of the risks of using the product.

Medical professionals

If you seek medical treatment and the professional acts in a negligent manner aggravating or causing additional harm, that is medical malpractice, and they must be held liable. Lack of oxygen or internal bleeding left untreated during a medical procedure contributes to brain damage.

Employers of negligent parties

If someone is working when they cause your accident and injury, their employer can often be vicariously liable for the negligence of the employee.

You might hold several parties legally responsible for a brain injury, and you should name all of them in your concussion injury claim. Determining liability can require complex investigations, so always discuss your options with a brain injury lawyer immediately.

What is Your Brain Injury Claim Worth?

Your case settlement or award will depend on several factors, how the concussion happened, who is responsible, and the severity of your injury and its effects on your life. Insurance companies regularly state that a concussion is a mild injury, so you do not deserve high compensation. You need an experienced lawyer who knows that an initial diagnosis does not equal a future prognosis.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Cost of medical care thus far
  • Projected future medical care costs
  • Lost wages or reduction in pay
  • Projections of loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

Once you have a concussion injury lawyer on your side, you do not have to worry about anything other than getting medical treatment and making adjustments to your life. The legal elements will fall onto the lawyer you choose to handle your concussion injury claim.

In addition to the factors above, you can also seek compensation for other expenses like:

  • Caretaking costs
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Disability
  • Increase risk of future harm

You need a lawyer who has access to medical experts, economists, life care planners, accident reconstruction experts, and more to prove your claim value and get you the money you deserve.

Proving your brain injury claim

Dave Abels Personal Injury Lawyer
Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

Concussion injury claims are similar to other personal injury claims because you must prove the negligence of another party. Negligence requires you to prove a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Depending on how the injury occurred, your personal injury lawyer will need to show the other entity owed you a duty of care and their careless actions breached that duty and caused you harm. For a successful concussion claim, there must be a direct correlation between the accident and the injury.

You might also need to reach maximum medical improvement to calculate your losses and future prognosis. While you might not be back to your pre-accident state, MMI refers to the most improvement you will make from your condition and therefore becomes your new normal.

Concussion victims should keep a journal detailing their daily activities to prove the substantial change in their lifestyle. If the brain injury doesn’t allow the person to document these activities properly, a family or close friend can help with the documentation process. This helps to prove intangible losses stemming from your injury.

You need a lawyer for concussion injury claims

Many insurance companies do not take concussions seriously in personal injury claims, primarily because they have a mild TBI rating. Any head trauma is severe, and complications can affect your life in many ways. Do not let negligent parties and others trick you into thinking your injury is minor.

You can recover compensation through your concussion injury claim, but you must work with a local injury lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome. Having the proper legal protections will help you if your condition worsens and you need lifelong care.


​TBI Symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most serious consequences of any personal injury. In a moment, trauma to the head can change the course of an accident victim’s entire life. Not all TBIs are the same. They have different severities and symptoms.

Get an early diagnosis of your TBI to get an intensive medical intervention and ensure the fullest possible recovery. However, because of the nature of TBIs, that is not always possible.

What is possible is financial compensation for your injuries if someone else caused your injuries. First, you should contact an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney because many legal issues can arise with your claim.

TBIs Are Never Minor or Mild

Medical professionals generally divide TBIs into two categories:

  • Severe TBIs
  • Moderate TBIs

Regardless of the initial characterization of a TBI as “mild,” the long-term impact can be severe. “Mild” might be a description of the initial symptoms. However, even a mild TBI that a patient cannot fully recover from will be considered severe in the scheme of things.

In reality, any type of TBI is severe because any condition that impacts the brain can lead to permanent damage. Some people will refer to a TBI as mild. In our view, there is no such thing as a mild TBI.

A Concussion Is a Frequent Type of TBI

The most common form of a TBI is when someone suffers a concussion. Usually, bumps or jolts to the head cause concussion, but a sudden movement can also result in the same injury. Some concussions may heal more quickly than others – if they heal at all. In some cases, concussion symptoms can linger for months or the rest of your life.

Symptoms of TBIs

Here are common symptoms of a TBI:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of speech
  • Depression
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Trouble

You Do Not Always Know Right Away That You Have a TBI Right Away

Traumatic brain injury symptoms are not always immediately apparent right after your accident. In some cases, blunt force trauma causes significant injuries that are visible right after the accident. Usually, the accident victim will receive immediate care for these injuries. These tend to be the most severe type of TBIs.

TBIs can also be silent injuries, getting worse over time when untreated. Some accident victims may have no idea that they have suffered a TBI. In the meantime, they have lost valuable treatment time. They may have one of the symptoms from the above list and have no idea that it results from an injury to their brain.

Treatment Time for a TBI Is Extremely Valuable

The longer that TBIs go untreated, the higher the chance you may have suffered irreversible brain damage. The moments and days after an accident are crucial to treating the injury to relieve some of the pressure on the brain and help you regain some function.

A mild TBI can be difficult to detect, partially due to the nature of the injury. Another explanation is that doctors may focus on more visible and severe injuries that require their immediate attention after an accident. They may not take the time right after the accident to run the full battery of tests to discover other undiagnosed injuries. Their follow-up treatment recommendations will involve the conditions they addressed in the accident’s immediate aftermath.

Why TBIs Are Difficult to Detect

People may not realize right away that they are suffering from a TBI because:

  • The symptoms may resemble other health problems the accident caused
  • Some people may want to tough it out and not want to admit to experiencing symptoms from an accident
  • Healthcare providers may overlook or not find some problems

From a legal perspective, trying to tough it out after an accident is perhaps the worst thing that you can do. Not only is it bad for your health, but you give the insurance company a weapon to use against you when it comes time to be paid for your damages.

You Have an Obligation to Mitigate Damages

As a personal injury victim, you have legal rights. However, those rights also come with certain obligations. One thing that you must do is mitigate your damages. Mitigation is another way of saying that you must do everything in your power to make your situation better. A classic example of damage mitigation is seeing a doctor when you first notice symptoms.

If your injury worsens because you have lost valuable treatment time, you can be certain that an insurance company or jury will raise the issue. The more time between the injury and when you seek treatment, the more difficult your case becomes.

Of course, if the accident caused an impact on your head, see a neurologist. This examination is truly a case of better safe than sorry. In a best-case scenario, the doctor does not find any signs of a TBI. They may want to keep you under observation for some time to make certain.

Mild TBIs may not show on tests. For example, no concrete diagnostic test can identify a concussion. In most cases, medical professionals diagnose concussions by the symptoms that the patient reports. They may also have MRIs and CT scans to diagnose brain injuries.

Whiplash Is a Silent Harm After an Accident

You do not just need an examination when you have had trauma to your head. In many rear-end car accidents, an injured driver may suffer from whiplash. When the head snaps forward, and the body remains still, the brain can move inside the head. Whiplash can cause a severe concussion or even worse. A whiplash TBI will worsen when the brain strikes both sides of the skull.

Many accident victims do not associate whiplash with a TBI. They may not think much of it in the days after an accident until they experience symptoms. Treatment may arrive to make a meaningful difference in their long-term prognosis.

The Costs of a TBI Can Be Very High

When someone else was responsible for your TBI, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation. Of course, the damages from TBI symptoms depend on the severity of the injury. TBIs can be extremely expensive for a lifetime. There are high medical costs, and they will also impose very high indirect costs.

One estimate places the lifetime costs of a TBI between $85,000 to $3 million. Although this is a very wide range, it shows that TBIs can cost enormous sums to treat. This particular estimate is not brand new, so there are several years of steep healthcare cost inflation the study does not account for, meaning the real costs are even more expensive. TBI treatment costs have skyrocketed as procedures have become more complex.

The Responsible Party Must Pay Your Direct and Indirect Costs

In addition, this study only covers treatment costs and does not consider the indirect costs of TBIs.

Other costs of a TBI that you must bear include:

  • Lost wages if your TBI keeps you from working
  • Pain and suffering from the anxiety, depression, and discomfort of having a long-term brain injury
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if you cannot do what you did before the accident

The person responsible for your TBI must pay all your costs, not just your medical bills. Your compensation will include both economic and non-economic damages. Brain injuries cause long-term tolls on patients’ lives, and the responsible party must pay the damages in full.

You may face challenges trying to estimate the total value of your claim. With TBIs, so much of your future is uncertain, and there may be gray areas. However, you may have difficulty collecting payment for a gray area. A personal injury attorney is invaluable when putting a number on your damages.

Insurance Companies Will Do Everything Possible to Minimize Your Claim

Insurance companies take claims with TBIs very seriously. They know that these claims can cost them a lot of money. There is a difference between taking a claim seriously and treating it fairly. Be prepared for the insurance company to come to the table with their medical experts to dispute the extent of your injuries.

Accordingly, your attorney will need to have medical experts and a detailed diagnosis of your own to prove your injuries. Unless you can prove the full extent of your injuries, you will not collect the full amount of damages.

Legally, you may have challenges when trying to collect compensation for TBI symptoms. Many TBI symptoms are self-reported by patients, and these injury claims often rely on a patient’s word unless detailed brain scans show the full scope of the damages.

Insurance companies are not beneath accusing claimants of faking or overstating their injuries to get more money. As wrong as this conduct is, you must still deal with it during the claims process. Not only do you need an experienced lawyer, but you must have one who understands TBIs and knows how to prove them.

When to File a Claim for a TBI

Another legal issue is when you should file your claim or lawsuit for a TBI. Your long-term prognosis is not always apparent in the immediate aftermath of an injury. It takes time to learn the extent of the brain injury. You may need to go through multiple surgical procedures and rehabilitation to regain as much function as possible before understanding what you may face in the future.

For every personal injury claim that involves severe injury, you will usually file your claim when you reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). You reach MMI when further treatment does not make a noticeable improvement in your condition.

To reach MMI, you must first see a doctor and follow all their treatment recommendations. It is only then that you can fully quantify your injuries. Your doctor can help determine when you have reached that point, and your attorney will review your medical file.

Make Sure to Follow All of the Doctor’s Orders

Another legal issue involved in your TBI treatment is that you follow all treatment recommendations from your doctor. Following instructions and keeping up with your treatment is also part of your obligation to mitigate your damages.

If you do not keep medical appointments or take your medications, an insurance company can also try to point the finger at you. They can review your medical records and see what you did. You can expect an insurance company to go over your medical records with a fine-tooth comb, especially when writing a large check.

Why You Need a Lawyer After a TBI

Dave Abels
Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

Any insurance claim or lawsuit is difficult for the average person to handle. They are even harder when you are dealing with the symptoms of a TBI. In that case, you do not have your full abilities to deal with a process that is challenging in the first place.

As an accident victim, you should contact an attorney and entrust the details of any claim to them. An attorney will review the facts of the incident that injured you. Before discussing potential compensation, you must prove that someone else was responsible for your injury. Your lawyer will assemble the evidence necessary to prove fault. Then, your lawyer will work to negotiate a fair settlement or obtain a financial award from a jury. Calling a lawyer is something that you should do right after your accident.

Injury claims are difficult even without any other concerns. A brain injury can make the insurance claim process far more challenging, and you risk making mistakes that jeopardize your financial security. Avoid this risk by putting your claim in the hands of a brain injury lawyer near you.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

​Why Hire a Lawyer After an Accidental Brain Injury

While you have legal rights, the process makes it as difficult as possible for the little person to win. Regardless of whom the responsible party is, either their lawyers or their insurance company and its lawyers will fight to protect their interests.

You are simply an expense to them, even though they should pay you for injuries they caused. Money is a powerful motivator, and it sometimes causes companies to do bad things to save as much of it as they can for themselves.

Your brain controls everything you do, including your ability to process language, move, and speak. Traumatic brain injuries will often cause permanent damage. Even a concussion can cause lingering symptoms that may stay with you for years and impair your function.

The more serious your injury, you are less likely to live a normal life. You may not even work for an extended period—if you can ever earn a living again.

Insurance Companies Do Not Want to Pay Out Large Amounts of Money

When you have suffered a brain injury, the chances are that the monetary value of your claim is high. After all, your life has permanently changed, and you cannot do what you did before the accident. Defendants and their insurance companies will put every possible obstacle before you, knowing that you are already in a difficult position.

Not only are you dealing with your physical injuries, but you are also likely trying to navigate a new financial reality. This reality has lower (or no) income and high medical bills. Insurance companies count on the fact that you may be panicked about your current situation, and they try to take full advantage of it.

Insurance Companies Try to Get You to Take Less

There is a reason why insurance companies specialize in red tape. They know how to calculate your claim’s value and have the staff and resources necessary to pay your claim in a matter of weeks if they want to do it. The problem is that they do not want to pay your claim quickly or in full. They think that they can wear you down into accepting less for your claim or even try to deny your claim in its entirety.

This attitude is where your lawyer comes into the picture. Your lawyer’s job is to look out for you and your legal rights. When you have suffered an accidental brain injury, you have the legal right to full and fair compensation for your injuries if you can prove that someone else was at fault for them. Your lawyer has just one job—to help you recover top dollar for your brain injury.

You first need to know your legal options for obtaining financial compensation and how the process may unfold. You will need to get an attorney’s help as soon as you can find and hire one. Your lawyer will immediately review your case. They will perform a full investigation of the facts to learn who may be responsible for the accident.

A Lawyer Will Gather Evidence and Prove that Someone Else Was Responsible for Your Injuries

In any personal injury case, you must prove that someone else has a legal obligation to pay for your injuries. The legal standard you must meet is that it is more likely than not that they were negligent. A finding of negligence comes from the evidence that you have about what happened.

To receive any financial compensation, you need to prove that someone else harmed you. Then, you can compare the at-fault party’s conduct to what a reasonable person might have done under the same circumstances to argue that the defendant fell short of upholding the required duty of care.

Gathering evidence in any personal injury case takes some effort – even more so when you have suffered a brain injury. Not every piece of evidence is immediately available to you. Even if such evidence were immediately available, it might not remain accessible for long. You, therefore, need to move quickly and authoritatively to obtain evidence.

A lawyer can obtain:

  • Statements from witnesses who saw the accident
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident
  • The opinion of any required or helpful expert witness who can show that the defendant’s conduct may have been responsible for your injuries
  • Videotape footage that captured the accident
  • Medical records that can show that someone was negligent

Gathering evidence requires a coordinated strategy where you need to pursue multiple avenues simultaneously. Personal injury attorneys do this for every case, and they will know what to do as soon as you hire them. Any delay in hiring an attorney can make your case more difficult.

Your Lawyer Will Work to Value Your Claim

One major difficulty of a brain injury is that you never quite know the full picture of your damages. Your healthcare professional gives you a diagnosis and a prognosis, but how much function you can regain is dependent on many variables.

Brain injuries can present a wide range of possible outcomes.

In addition, there are major challenges in attempting to place a value on the damages from your brain injury because it impacts so many areas of your life.

Your compensation may include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Not only can you recover compensation for what you lost or suffered in the past, but you can also receive future damages. With a brain injury, each part of these damages can be considerable. There can be a stark difference between what you think you can get and what the insurance company will offer you. An experienced brain injury lawyer can find the appropriate place between those two numbers.

Brain Injuries Can Be Difficult to Value

It takes knowledge and experience to put a number on your damages. Your damage calculations must be backed up and supported by the evidence to have weight. Your challenge is to determine the number and support you may need years or decades in the future.

An experienced lawyer will work with you to value your case. Your lawyer can work with various experts to determine a number for your total damages. It is not a calculation that they will take likely because the amount of money you receive in a settlement needs to last for the rest of your life.

If you do not know how much your case is worth, the insurance company will not hesitate to take advantage of your ignorance. Once you accept a settlement and sign a release form, you cannot return for more money.

A Lawyer Will Work to Get the Maximum Recovery for You

Then, your attorney will devise a strategy for dealing with the insurance company. Not every claim unfolds the same way. An insurance company may settle one claim quickly while delaying another as much as possible. An attorney who understands how insurance companies operate is essential.

Treating the average traumatic brain injury can cost nearly half a million dollars to treat, and this is before you even include things like lost wages or pain and suffering. When dealing with a brain injury, your damages can reach policy limits. In other words, the damages you deserve can exceed the available insurance coverage. Your lawyer can file lawsuits against multiple defendants if they may have played a role in causing your injuries.

Then, you need an attorney to figure out other strategies to get the money you need to pay your damages. A lawyer can determine whether other potentially liable parties have insurance against which you can file a claim. They might file a claim against your own insurance if your injuries came from a car accident. Finally, they can see if they can file a third-party lawsuit against someone else to have an additional source of funds.

A Lawyer Will Handle Negotiations for a Possible Settlement

You may be hard-pressed to negotiate with an insurance company on your own. They have ways of doing things that an attorney understands and knows how to handle. When an insurance company makes you an initial settlement offer, that offer is far from their best and final offer. They have room to raise it in subsequent offers, and they often will when you say no.

Your attorney evaluates the offer when you receive it, figuring out how low it is. Then, your attorney counters with your demand. The attorney’s skilled eye spots a lowball settlement offer, and the attorney knows how to get the insurance company to raise it. Eventually, most claims do settle.

Along the way, you need updates on how the negotiation is going and whether it makes sense to keep proceeding. There is an appropriate strategy for every case. A lawyer may even advise you to file a lawsuit immediately and then negotiate as you develop your case in court. It all depends on the type of case, and the experienced attorney can read the situation to devise your strategy. When dealing with a valuable claim, there is no one set playbook to follow. It all depends on the situation, the insurance company, and your attorney’s skill.

If You Go to Court, You Need an Attorney

There comes the point in many settlement negotiations where you must decide whether to keep going or take your case to court. If you do not have an attorney, filing a lawsuit will seem like an empty threat to the insurance company.

They will take you far more seriously when a lawyer represents you because they know they have the power to act in your case. Your case has an even greater chance of success when you have a lawyer with a track record of holding insurance companies accountable when they try to play games.

If your case does go to court, not only do you need a lawyer, but you need one with trial experience. In court, there is a risk that you can end up with nothing if you can’t prove liability.

Handling your case in front of a judge and in the face of tough opposition from the defendant is not something the average person can do—particularly after a brain injury. If your case does go to trial, there are high stakes at risk, and the defendants will do everything they can to avoid being on the receiving end of a large jury verdict. An insurance company knows this, and they offer far less money to people trying to negotiate and settle their own claims.

There is no requirement that you have a lawyer in court, but imagine trying to go up against experienced attorneys and cross-examine defense witnesses on your own, especially when dealing with the effects of a brain injury. Never do this.

The legal process presents challenges and causes injured accident victims and their families much stress. Even worse, angst will arise if you try to do everything on your own without an experienced lawyer’s help. ​​

Hiring a Brain Injury Lawyer Is Risk-Free

Dave Abels
Burn Injury Lawyer, Dave Abels

The good news is that, while the system is not necessarily designed in your favor, you can hire an attorney without money coming out of your pocket. Lawyers want to help you, and they will not ask you for money upfront, nor will they send you bills while your case is pending.

If they do not win your case, they will not bill you. You only need to pay a lawyer if you get a settlement or an award from the jury. There is no risk to you in working with a determined and experienced attorney who will take on the defendant and their insurance company on your behalf.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Concussions from Personal Injury Accidents: Causes, Symptoms, and Complications

The after-effects of a brain injury can be extremely difficult to manage. Even though concussions are common, they affect everyone differently. Brain injuries like concussions can leave sufferers with long-term challenges and changes that can create all types of difficulties for the rest of their lives.

Brain injuries can be caused by a wide range of different accidents. The first thing many people think of when they hear the word “concussion” is sporting injuries. But there are many cases where people experience a concussion due to no fault of their own.

In everyday life, people experience events where they are left concussed and have to deal with the life-altering symptoms that follow. An unexpected concussion can be caused by a slip and fall accident while out shopping or from a rear-end car accident while waiting at a red light.

When it comes to concussions caused by negligence, or for any reason, it’s important to know the common causes of concussions, symptoms to look out for, and complications you should be aware of so that you can understand and manage the head trauma.

If you suffer a concussion because of someone’s negligence, one of the first things you should do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has the resources to handle a brain injury case.

Overview of a Concussion

A concussion is a clinical syndrome classified as a traumatic brain injury that alters normal brain functions. Concussion brain injuries usually occur as a result of a violent jolt or force to the head. This causes the brain to forcefully rattle or slam against the inner walls of the skull.

Once a concussion has occurred, a person will usually suffer from short-term side effects such as:

  • problems concentrating
  • impaired coordination
  • lack of balance
  • headaches

In some instances, a concussion may cause a person to lose consciousness. However, unlike the way popular culture portrays it, losing consciousness is not a required symptom of a concussion.

Concussions are divided into 3 main categories which are graded by severity:

  • Grade I: No loss of consciousness occurs and amnesia is absent or present for less than 30 minutes.
  • Grade II: Loss of consciousness occurs for less than five minutes. And/or amnesia occurs for between 30 minutes and 24 hours.
  • Grade III: Loss of consciousness occurs for more than five minutes, and/or amnesia occurs for more than 24 hours.

In the case of Grade III concussions, where a person is unconscious for a longer period of time and has significant amnesia, more serious brain damage is almost guaranteed. In Grade I and Grade II concussions, other types of brain damage are still possible.

Causes of a Concussion

Let’s now look at what causes concussions and other brain injuries. In everyday life, you’re protected from minor bumps to the head by fluid in the skull surrounding the brain that acts as a cushion.

Sudden acceleration and deceleration can cause the brain to slide around, knocking into the walls of the skull. The brain is highly susceptible to damage from sudden jolts and movements.

When the brain experiences extreme situations that cause it to thrust around, it can result in various injuries.

According to Mayo Clinic, the leading cause of concussions are falls. In the event of a violent blow to the head, the brain is at risk of injury. Concussions are not uncommon in situations where someone falls and hits their head against the ground. Or someone may fall from a ladder, stairs, or a tall height.

Brain injuries can also be caused by a wide range of other incidents and activities, including sports, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and even physical abuse like assault and domestic violence.

These situations are not just possible circumstances. They occur on a daily basis. And in a lot of cases, concussion sufferers don’t seek the necessary medical treatment that could help them to make a physical recovery and help them with a future financial claim if necessary.

With that being said, most people who experience a concussion make a full recovery after following their doctor’s orders and getting plenty of rest to allow the healing process to take place. In these instances, people are often still left with thousands of dollars in medical bill debt and lost wages that they in no way deserve to be on the hook for. And if things are serious or get worse, those financial struggles can only multiply from there.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can vary widely from case to case. All people respond differently to injuries. What might take one person two days to heal from could take another person two months. The same is true for how long it takes for symptoms to appear and how long those symptoms last.

The symptoms of a concussion could appear immediately. Or they could take days or weeks to appear.

Concussion symptoms can also last for days or weeks. In some cases, symptoms may last for much longer than that. It all depends on the person and the severity of the injury.

Some common physical symptoms that may point to a concussion are:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Blurry vision

Other symptoms that can be observed include headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Amnesia is also a common symptom of a concussion, which can often lead to the concussed person forgetting the events surrounding the head injury.

Obvious amnesia presents some problems when it comes to an injured victim being able to provide testimony evidence in their personal injury claim. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist with your case to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Complications from a Concussion

Concussions can cause all kinds of lasting and inconvenient problems for a sufferer. Concussions also come with unique risks that some people may not know about. This includes debilitating headaches, vertigo, post-concussion syndrome, and second impact syndrome.


After a concussion, sufferers can experience headaches for weeks, months, or even a lifetime after their injury, which can be debilitating. These serious headaches can make everything from parenting to working to hobbies nearly impossible to do on a regular basis.


Vertigo is a spinning or dizzy sensation experienced by some brain injury victims. It may last for a short period of time or indefinitely following an injury. Vertigo can cause all kinds of unexpected consequences. For example, it may prevent a person from working because of how dizzy they can get and how quickly the vertigo symptoms can set in. If someone operated a forklift or drove an ambulance before they suffered a concussion that led to vertigo, they would need to find another profession.

Post-concussion Syndrome

Some people find themselves still experiencing headaches, dizziness, and difficulty thinking for more than three months after a concussion. Symptoms persisting for longer than three months are considered post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Post-concussion syndromes can cause victims to experience memory and cognitive problems, depression, and anxiety which can hinder their lives in countless ways.

Second Impact Syndrome

Experiencing a second concussion before the symptoms of the first have subsided can lead to a serious condition known as second impact syndrome (SIS). Second impact syndrome can cause more severe symptoms and complications. In some cases, the results can be fatal.

Getting the Compensation You Need After a Concussion

If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion or other brain injury, do not take it lightly. Even mild cases of concussion should be taken seriously. Although brain injury experts recognize that some concussions are less severe than others, there is no such thing as a ‘minor’ concussion.

All concussions should be met with the proper caution and medical care. Brain injuries that do not receive proper medical attention may lead to serious complications like internal bleeding, swelling, permanent cognitive impairment, lasting emotional problems, and death.

Contact Abels and Annes For Your Brain Injury Claim

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, the lawyers at Abels & Annes are here to help you understand your legal options. A brain injury claim can be filed to help you receive compensation for any losses or damages you accrued as a result of another person or company’s negligence.

The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes are ready to help you navigate through these difficult times. Contact us today online or call us at 312-924-7575 for a free case consultation and to start getting your life back.

“Mild” Concussion Symptoms

concussion lawyer in chicagoConcussions are a type of brain injury. Doctors sometimes refer to them as a “mild” traumatic brain injury, but the truth is there is nothing mild about them. They are serious injuries that can cause long-term health and life consequences.

Concussions can cause a wide variety of symptoms, but some symptoms are more common than others. We discuss the symptoms of a supposedly “mild” concussion below.

Common Symptoms of a “Mild” Concussion

To repeat, there is nothing “mild” about a concussion. It is a traumatic brain injury with potentially life-changing consequences.

If you suffer any sort of blow or jolt to your head or body and experience any of the following common signs of a “mild“ concussion, then seek immediate medical treatment:

  • Temporarily losing consciousness (for seconds) at the time of the concussion;
  • Headache;
  • Ringing in the ears;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Drowsiness or fatigue;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Confusion;
  • Amnesia surrounding the time of the concussion or the event that caused it;
  • Delayed response to questions; and
  • Dazed appearance.

Doctors may diagnose a “mild” concussion if some of these symptoms resolve in a matter of days after the bump, jolt, or blow that caused them. Make no mistake, however, that does not necessarily mean the brain has healed, or that the victim will not continue to feel adverse effects from the concussion. Even a concussion diagnosed as “mild” can nevertheless lead to persistent headaches, confusion, fatigue, light sensitivity, and other symptoms for months or more.

Common Causes of “Mild” Concussions

A concussion, like any traumatic brain injury, typically results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, which in turn causes the brain to shift inside the skull in a way that can damage brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerve cells. Those initial injuries, as well as any secondary injuries resulting from subsequent bleeding or swelling, cause the symptoms we associate with concussions and other brain trauma.

It is a common misconception that to suffer a concussion, you have to hit your head. In fact, although hitting your head can certainly lead to a concussion, any sharp movement of your head relative to your body can cause the brain damage associated with a concussion, even if your head is untouched. Never assume that just because you do not have a lump or cut on your head, that you cannot have sustained a concussion.

Common causes of concussions include any incident that can cause you to either hit your head or take a violent jolt, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Truck accidents

Always seek medical attention immediately after any incident that inflicts a violent blow or jolt to your head or body. Although the symptoms above frequently appear soon after that sort of incident, that is not always the case. Plus, if you have suffered a concussion, then you cannot necessarily rely on your own judgment to assess your condition. A doctor can diagnose a concussion with simple tests, and by catching and treating a concussion early, you may avoid some of the more severe and long-lasting consequences of the injury.

Groups At-Risk for Concussions

Anyone can suffer a concussion. However, some groups face a higher-than-average risk:

  • Athletes, especially those who play contact sports in which the head and/or body sustain repeated, jarring blows.
  • Children, who tend to fall more often than adults and have an underdeveloped appreciation for risk; and
  • Older adults (65+) who are more likely to fall and hit their heads, and frequently take medications (such as blood thinners) that can increase brain injury complications.

In other words, the groups above tend to sustain more than their fair share of the types of blows to the head and body that can cause a concussion.

Unfortunately, all three groups also share another common characteristic: it can be difficult to spot concussion symptoms in them because:

  • They may downplay the severity of a collision or fall, or of their subsequent symptoms;
  • They may be too young to express their symptoms effectively, or may have other health conditions (such as age-related cognitive decline) that can mask concussion symptoms;
  • Others tend to assume that the incident that causes the concussion, or the symptoms that follow, are common and not a big deal.

If an athlete, child, or senior citizen you know exhibits the symptoms above, ask them about any recent incidents that could have caused a concussion.

How a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help

It may not occur to many people to speak with a lawyer after suffering a concussion. However, the fact is that many concussions occur because someone else failed to take necessary actions to keep the victim safe from harm. The concussion victim may have the right to seek compensation from that party, and may very well need compensation to treat long-lasting, debilitating, concussion symptoms.

An attorney experienced in representing brain injury victims can represent a concussion victim in seeking money damages from parties with legal liability. The public might think suffering a concussion is no big deal but lawyers for concussion victims know that there is nothing truly “mild” about a concussion. It can severely disrupt a person’s life, and it deserves meaningful compensation if it resulted from someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions.

Every concussion case has unique characteristics that determine what a lawyer can do for the victim.

However, in general, a lawyer can:

  • Investigate the incident that led to the concussion and determine who faces legal liability for failing to take reasonable steps to keep the victim safe;
  • Evaluate the extent of the victim’s injuries and the ways they have impacted the victim’s life through review of medical records;
  • Negotiate with parties who have a legal liability to the victim, and their representatives, to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of the victim’s legal claim; and
  • If necessary, litigate in court to achieve a fair resolution of the claim.

Concussion, even so-called “mild” ones, are serious injuries. If you suffered a concussion because of someone else’s dangerous decisions or actions, then contact an experienced concussion injury attorney to learn about your rights to compensation.

TBI Definition: What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be a painful and lonely experience. Those who have suffered a brain injury may feel alone in their struggle, but they are not. Someone in the U.S. suffers a brain injury every 9 seconds, and one out of every 60 people live with the effects of a brain injury. According to the CDC, just one year saw about 2.5 million TBI-related emergency department visits, 288,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 57,000 TBI related deaths.

According to a report from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 108,101 people in Illinois sustained a TBI in just one year. Among those injured, 1,699 died, another 9,746 were hospitalized, and an additional 96,656 received emergency room treatment.

There are many causes of traumatic brain injuries, such as sports-related activities, falls, and workplace accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries. They are the most frequent cause of traumatic brain injury among individuals aged 15 to 34, according to a report from the

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” The injury damages the skull or causes the brain to move inside the skull, resulting in brain damage. A TBI is a complex brain injury that has a broad range of symptoms. Because no two brain injuries are alike, the effects will be different in each case. Additionally, symptoms may present themselves immediately or may not appear for days or weeks after the accident. A traumatic brain injury may affect a person’s thinking, memory, personality, and behavior.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many of the brain injuries suffered in car accidents are difficult to detect.

Common causes of head trauma from a motor vehicle crash include:

  • Contact with a stationary object. In a car accident, victims’ heads often hit steering wheels, airbags, or other objects. This is especially common in motorcycle accidents, due to the motorcyclist’s limited protection.
  • Forward momentum in an accident. In a car accident, a vehicle slows suddenly and dramatically. The car may stop, but an occupant’s body and brain keep going forward because of the momentum. Therefore, even if the brain does not strike a stationary object, it may strike the front or back of the skull.
  • Striking the ground. Drivers are often thrown from their vehicles or pedestrians are hit and land on the ground, resulting in brain injuries.

Types of Personal Injury Accidents that Cause TBIs

Traumatic brain injuries often occur because of personal injury accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, nursing home abuse, and more.

Slip and fall accidents are known for causing brain injuries, especially if the fall involves a strike to the head. Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. But where they occur and why they occur determines whether or not you have a potential personal injury claim.

Slip and fall accidents that occur because of someone else’s negligent behavior can occur in businesses, such as locally owned stores, grocery stores, and bigger commercially owned stores. They may also occur in apartment complexes and even a friend’s home. Slip and fall accidents may occur indoors because of clutter, messes, and spills or outdoors because of parking lot hazards, such as potholes and poor lighting. Defective or broken stairs are a common cause of both indoor and outdoor slip and falls.

Motor vehicle accidents such as car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents can all cause brain injuries because of the extreme force involved. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries in the U.S. and result in thousands of hospital visits each year.

When a person suffers a brain injury due to a motor vehicle accident, their life and their family’s lives can be changed forever. Head injuries and brain injuries can cause huge amounts of medical debt, long periods of lost wages, and all types of pain and suffering. When a brain injury caused by a motor vehicle accident was not your fault, the driver or party that was liable should be responsible for compensating you for your damages.

Brain injuries caused in nursing homes are also common, especially since the elderly are more susceptible to brain injuries. Head injuries that occur in nursing homes are commonly caused by neglect, abuse, or poor maintenance.

Neglect in a nursing home can cause a resident to suffer a TBI because of:

  • Not helping a patient who has limited mobility
  • Not answering a call to help a resident use the toilet or to bathe
  • All kinds of other situations in which staff is neglectful in helping a resident to safely do something when the alternative is them falling and hitting their head

Nursing home abuse, especially physical, can cause brain injuries for residents. For example, if a senior is shoved, they may fall and suffer a head injury. TBIs from nursing home abuse can also be caused by physical abuse like yanking someone out of bed or by aggressively moving them when they have mobility issues.

Poor maintenance can also lead to a resident falling and hitting their head. Examples of poor maintenance in nursing homes include:

  • Not repairing hand rails
  • Failing to replace light bulbs
  • Not following safety measures
  • Leaving spills on the ground

No matter what type of accident caused your injury, the experienced attorneys at Abels and Annes are here to help you get the compensation and the justice that you deserve for your brain injury case.

Types of Brain Injuries

Several types of brain injuries may affect one or more functional areas of the brain.

People injured in motor vehicle accidents often suffer one of the following types of traumatic brain injuries:

  • Concussion. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Both closed and open head injuries can produce a concussion.
  • Contusion. A contusion is a bruise or bleeding on the brain. A direct impact to the head may cause a contusion.
  • Coup-Contrecoup. These are contusions that occur both at the site of the impact and on the complete opposite side of the brain. They are associated with cerebral contusions or bruising of the brain.
  • Diffuse Axonal. When the brain is injured as it shifts and rotates inside the skull, resulting in shearing of the brain’s long connective nerve fibers. Victims of shaken baby syndrome often suffer these serious injuries.
  • Penetration. Penetrating injury to the brain includes both high-velocity penetrations, such as bullets or shell fragments, or low-velocity penetration, such as a knife. Penetration forces hair, skin, bones, and fragments from the object into the brain. Firearms are the single largest cause of death from traumatic brain injury. Although less common than closed head trauma, PBI carries a worse prognosis.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Victims suffering from a traumatic brain injury may face different symptoms depending on the severity of their injury. After the first impact occurs, the brain may swell and push against the skull, causing a secondary injury.

Physical Symptoms

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Problems sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Feeling weak or numb
  • Losing consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Vision impairment or dilated pupils
  • Hearing problems
  • Altered sensations of smell or taste

Mental or Cognitive Symptoms

  • Memory or concentration issues
  • Changes in mood
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Agitation and combativeness
  • Slurred words

The Financial Costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The direct medical costs for the treatment of patients with TBI are extremely high, but there are also indirect costs. Studies also indicate that those with a brain injury who have failed to return to work have a lower sense of wellbeing. Studies show that 52 percent of brain injury survivors were still moderately to severely disabled one year after the injury. Many never recover full social independence. They may feel a loss of self-esteem and reduced quality of life. Four years after the injury, most survivors lived with their families and did not work or attend school. Mood disorders are common.

The Personal Costs of Brain Injuries

After a traumatic brain injury, close relationships often break down. A brain injury changes the whole family, and the family system has to alter the way that it operates. Even after many years, living with a brain injury, or caring for an injured patient, may present significant hardships for the family. A brain injury can significantly change relationships, leaving spouses and friends feeling lonely and lost. Children living with a brain-injured parent may experience emotional problems and feel neglected. Usually, the person who assumes the role of primary caregiver faces many challenges. They may have to give up their career or other interests. Caregivers frequently suffer from serious depression, particularly during the first year of injury. It takes time and resources for a victim and their family to navigate the changes they face.


The consequences of a traumatic brain injury can be overwhelming. Damages may include lost income, and other financial losses, such as medical bills, therapy and rehabilitation, in-home care, adaptive equipment and modifications to the injured person’s home.

The injured person also deserves compensation for non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering, physical impairments, and diminished quality of life. The injured person’s spouse or partner may also seek compensation for loss of companionship and intimate relations. Proving damages usually requires detailed medical records and testimony from expert witnesses.

Illinois law also permits punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) when the circumstances involve malice, oppression, and fraud.

What Factors Affect the Worth of my Case?

After you suffer a traumatic brain injury in an accident, you may have lots of questions about the amount of compensation you’ll be able to receive and whether or not it’s worth it to settle your case or take it to trial. Your attorney will be able to answer all of these questions and guide you with your best interest in mind. There is no exact calculation for how much your case is worth as it’s based on a variety of different factors. And every case is completely different. However, there are some things we can review to understand what factors affect the value of your case.

The Severity of Your Injuries

The severity of your injuries plays a large role in how much your case will be worth. If you have a concussion, your case will be worth less than someone who has severe brain damage. Obviously, this will affect the amount of damages you have and the amount of sympathy you will elicit from an adjuster or juror. In these cases, insurance adjusters and juries are also likely to award more compensation for injuries that are highly visible. A talented attorney will, however, be able to argue your case, explaining how your injury is severe even if the effects are not necessarily visible.

The Impact on Your Life

How much your injury has changed your life also plays a big part in your case’s value. If your life has changed greatly, your case could be much more valuable than another individual’s, whose life hasn’t changed much at all. Quite simply, the more an injury has negatively affected your life, the better your chances are of getting a fair settlement that covers all your damages.

Your Total Damages

The total amount of damages you have, including both economic and non-economic damages, is one of the most important factors in determining how much your case is worth. If you have $5,000 worth of medical bills and only 2 day of missed work, your case will clearly be eligible for less compensation than a case with $250,000 in medical bills and the victim being left paraplegic. Although this example is dramatic, it is not always so extreme. Two people may have the same type of injury, like whiplash, but one recovers in 2 weeks and the other needs surgeries and months of therapies. Although they have similar injuries, they obviously do not have similar damages.

Available Insurance

In a personal injury case, the money you get as compensation most often comes from an insurance company. Therefore, you can’t receive more money for damages than an insurance company is able to payout. This is why your case’s value is largely based on how much coverage is available. A large corporation is much more likely to have very good insurance coverage than a person driving a beat-up car. Quite simply, you are not likely to get more money than there is coverage. This is why it is important to carry additional auto insurance coverage like underinsured/uninsured coverage.

Do I Need to Hire a Brain Injury Attorney?

A lot of people ask themselves whether or not they actually need to hire an attorney in order to be successful with their case. Many people think that representing themselves will be easy and doable. While that can be true in rare circumstances, it is never true for a case that involves a serious brain injury.

Hiring an experienced brain injury attorney is your best bet at receiving a fair settlement and getting the amount of compensation you need in order to rebuild your life.

The attorneys at Abels & Annes have years of experience working on brain injury cases and are very familiar with how insurance companies operate and the tricks they use. Because of this, we are strong negotiators when it comes to settling a brain injury case prior to trial. If a case does have to go to trial because a fair settlement cannot be reached, we can retain the experts, and we have the resources and experience necessary to present a strong and compelling case in court so that you have the best possible chance of getting the verdict you need.

Consult a Brain Injury Lawyer

The TBI may be the result of another’s negligence. Negligent behavior usually consists of actions, but it may also consist of omissions if there is a duty to act with reasonable care. Like all states, Illinois sets time limits for filing a brain injury lawsuit.

We know how difficult it can be to recover from and live with a brain injury, but our talented attorneys are ready to help you with your case. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve, as well as the peace of mind that you need. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is important to consult an experienced, compassionate traumatic brain injury attorney as soon as possible.

What You Should Know About Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injuries

Approximately one million people in the United States are treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, and an estimated 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBI, particularly when cars strike pedestrians. Unlike broken bones or cuts, head damage may be permanent so speak with a brain injury attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is most often caused by a blow or jolt to the head. An object that penetrates the brain tissue can also cause a TBI.

In a violent accident, such as a car striking a pedestrian, the primary brain injury typically happens at the moment of impact, when the brain is pushed against the skull, sometimes crashing back and forth. The injury may involve part of the brain or the entire brain, and can include bleeding, bruising, or tearing of nerve fibers.

The secondary brain injury occurs after the initial impact of the brain against the inside of the skull. The brain swells, which increases pressure within the head. The swelling may injure parts of the brain that were not injured by the primary trauma. This injury can happen gradually and can happen up to 5 days after the injury. In some cases, the secondary injury may become more serious than the primary injury.

The physical damage to the brain resulting from the primary or secondary injury may include:

  • A contusion (or bruising) of the brain.
  • A diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which happens when the brain bounces around inside the skull, damaging the nerve axons.
  • A Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, when bleeding occurs in the space surrounding the brain, which is normally filled with cerebrospinal fluid and which acts as a cushion.
  • A hematoma, when a blood vessel ruptures and blog clots within the brain.

Traumatic brain injuries are also typically classified by severity:

  • Mild: the injured person is awake, but may have a brief loss of consciousness, disorientation, or a headache.
  • Moderate: the injured person may lose consciousness for approximately 20 minutes to 6 hours and be lethargic when awake.
  • Severe: the person is unconscious for more than 6 hours.

Signs and Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be obvious, or they may be difficult to detect, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Here are some signs of a traumatic brain injury to watch for. Note that many of these symptoms may occur even if the brain injury is mild to moderate.

If the injury is primarily on the left side of the brain:

  • Problems with remembering words
  • Problems understanding words or speaking, slowed speech
  • Impaired control over movements on the right side of the body
  • Faulty logic
  • Anxiety and depression

If the injury is primarily on the right side of the brain:

  • Impaired control over movements on the left side of the body
  • Loss of “big picture” problem solving
  • Spatial and visual problems
  • Visual memory disturbance

Diffuse injuries, or injuries to both sides of the brain:

  • Fatigue
  • Problems thinking or concentrating
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Unable to handle changes in normal routines
  • Cognitive impairment, such as trouble making decisions, or learning new things

Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you are a pedestrian and have been struck by a motor vehicle, the force of the blow to your head may have resulted in bleeding in the brain, a skull fracture, or other dangerous types of brain damage leading to a TBI. Each case is unique; however, people who survive a brain injury often have long-term physical and mental disabilities, as well as changes in their emotions and personality, that require specialized, long-term treatment. The treatments for TBI after a pedestrian accident can include rest, medication, intensive care, surgery, and physical, cognitive and occupational therapy.

Causes of Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common causes of pedestrian accidents caused by motor vehicles include:

  • Drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Distracted drivers
  • Driver’s failure to stop completely at traffic lights or stop signs
  • Driver’s failure to make sure the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians

What Should You Do If You Have Suffered a Pedestrian Traumatic Brain Injury?

If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not believe your injuries are serious, you may develop symptoms later. In some cases, a brain injury may not be immediately apparent. Without proper medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment, it is hard to predict future medical complications and costs.

Record as much information about the accident as possible, as soon as possible. And, soon after your accident, speak to an attorney with experience representing pedestrian accident victims with TBI. Survivors of traumatic brain injuries may be entitled to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs, pain and suffering damages, and more. A victim of a pedestrian traumatic brain injury may have a cause of action against the person or persons who are at fault in the accident. They typically need the assistance and resources of an attorney to gather the necessary evidence and determine their rights to compensation.

A pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes. Studies show that children, the elderly, and those of lower socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable. Brain injuries are complicated, devastating and can change your life in many ways. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may not look any different but may be living with long-term or permanent disabilities such as difficulty processing information, communicating, or completing assignments. Some people are left with severe psychological problems, such as emotional distress, dependent behavior, depression, anxiety, anger or aggression. He or she may need temporary or permanent help to perform the tasks of everyday living.

If you or someone you love has been suffered a TBI as a pedestrian, seek out an experienced, compassionate attorney to assess your case and protect your rights, both now and in the future. For more information, call Abels & Annes, P.C. at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

TBIs: Legal Basics for Victims

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal functions of the brain. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, but anyone who suspects they may be experiencing any degree of traumatic brain injury should seek immediate medical attention. TBIs may worsen if untreated and have a broad spectrum of symptoms with long-term and potentially deadly effects.

What Are the Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?

TBIs can result from many types of accidents or wrongful acts, including:

  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle or motorcycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Falls down stairs or from heights
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Sport injuries
  • Shaken baby syndrome
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction site accidents

These types of accidents typically occur because another party was negligent in some way. This may give a TBI victim the right to take legal action to recover compensation for their injuries and from any at-fault parties.

What Are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Some symptoms of traumatic brain injury might not even appear for days or weeks after the injury. While symptoms can differ from one patient to another, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH) has put together a list of common symptoms to recognize patients with mild to severe traumatic brain injury. These symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision or dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness or constant tiredness
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Neck pain and headache
  • Fatigue or weakness in the body
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Migraines
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Confusion or loss of concentration

Know that even if you do not have the textbook symptoms, you still may have suffered a brain injury if you experienced a forceful blow or jolt. It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you may have a head injury.

What Should You Do if You Think You Are Experiencing TBI Symptoms?

If you think you may be experiencing any of the symptoms of a TBI, seek medical attention immediately. Your symptoms may be a sign of a traumatic brain injury and it is safer to get the symptoms checked out than waiting them out. Without a proper diagnosis and timely treatment, you may experience dangerous complications and worsening symptoms, and a serious TBI can be fatal. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist and/or do a CT scan of your brain to detect any signs of an injury.

Additionally, in the days following a concussion or traumatic brain injury, listen to the advice of your doctor. Depending on your injury, these instructions may include:

  • Rest as much as you can as your body needs some down time.
  • Rest mentally as well, as stress can aggravate symptoms.
  • Get proper sleep and try to follow a fixed bedtime schedule.
  • Try to limit screen time on your phone, tablet, computer, and TV.
  • Take breaks as necessary during or between activities.

What Legal Rights Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Victim Have?

TBIs are often caused by another person’s negligent act, which gives the victim the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to seek financial recovery. To successfully bring a negligence claim in Illinois, the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim against another) has to prove the following against the defendant (the person being sued):

  • The defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached that duty of care.
  • The defendant’s breach of that duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered injuries that can be compensated under the law.

If your accident occurred at work, you generally do not have to prove negligence – only that your injury was job-related. In this situation, you may be entitled to important benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

Also, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be eligible for time off from work if you or someone in your family has suffered a traumatic brain injury. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employee to take time off work when a family member is facing medical problems. If you or someone in your family is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, it is very likely you need time to heal or time to attend to your family member. The Family and Medical Leave Act extends to provide you and your family the time needed to recover from an injury, and workers’ compensation can help replace a portion of any lost wages.

What Kind of Compensation Can You Recover From a Traumatic Brain Injury Case?

Types of recoverable compensation for your injury varies on many factors surrounding your case. In general, compensable expenses for personal injury claims in Illinois include:

  • Present and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and income
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death
  • Any other damages associated with the claim
  • How Can You Prevent a Traumatic Brain Injury?
  • Many factors can help reduce your chances of experiencing a traumatic brain injury. These include:
  • Wearing a seatbelt while driving
  • Wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle
  • Being aware of your surroundings
  • Driving carefully, in your lane, and not making sharp turns
  • Driving under the speed limit and keeping enough distance from the car in front of you
  • Making areas safer for everyone to avoid slip and falls or trips
  • Being careful when walking, or running so you do not trip or fall

None of these steps can protect you from the negligence of others, however, so always be aware of the risks of injury and your legal rights after suffering a TBI.

Contact a Chicago Brain Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

Again, if you think you may be experiencing any of traumatic brain injury symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. TBI symptoms can have a life-changing impact on you and your family. If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your injury and the lawyers of Abels & Annes, P.C. can help. Call us today at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form.

High-Risk Groups for TBIs

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an often misunderstood and underestimated injury. When many people hit their heads, they often just rub the spots where they hit them and move on with their lives. Kids constantly hit their heads, and parents may brush them off with kisses. However, any type of blow to the head has the potential to cause a TBI.

A TBI occurs when a violent impact or jolt damages brain tissue by knocking it against the inside of the skull. Brain injuries can range from mild—often referred to as concussions—to severe. Extended loss of consciousness is one sign of a more severe brain injury, which may even leave permanent effects.

Make sure a doctor diagnoses even a mild TBI to ensure that you receive necessary treatments and protect yourself from further injuries. Diagnosis is also important because brain injury symptoms are difficult to identify and can frustrate a victim by interfering with normal functioning. You may feel out of it, suffer memory issues, feel irritable, or have difficulty processing information—even with a simple concussion. Once a doctor diagnoses you, you can better recognize the symptoms and adjust your life accordingly.

According to reports by the Mayo Clinic, the three highest-risk groups for brain injuries are young children, teens and young adults, and senior citizens older than 75. The following factors increase these populations’ TBI risks.

Young Children

Children younger than four are still developing their movement abilities. They must learn to stand up, walk, run, skip, ride a tricycle, and get used to other physical activities. During this process, even the most vigilant parents will have children who fall down and hit their heads.

In addition, adults can put small children in places from which they can fall. Infants or toddlers can fall from changing tables, high chairs, and other furniture. Daycare or school staff may leave children on changing tables unattended, even for one second, and children may roll off onto the floor. In these situations, children will almost certainly hit their heads. Shaking a baby can also result in a serious—or even fatal—brain injuries.

The brains of small children are still developing, so any degree of brain injury can cause lasting damage and changes in how they grow and develop. For this reason, have a doctor properly diagnose brain injuries so you can identify any issues your child may have as a result of the TBI.

Teens and Young Adults

As children reach their teen years, they can develop many interests that involve physical activity. Almost every sport comes with some risk of a brain injury—even in golf, you have a chance that a golf ball will hit you in the head. Some sports have a much higher risk of sustaining a concussion, including football, hockey, soccer, and boxing. If your teenager participates in any of these sports, be aware that they are at serious risk of brain injuries. Negligent coaches, trainers, and other supervisors can increase the TBI risk for young athletes by:

  • Not providing adequate helmets and safety equipment
  • Allowing rough play
  • Not enforcing safety rules
  • Pushing participants past their skill or age levels
  • Not providing prompt medical attention for those who hit their heads
  • Having unsafe facilities or equipment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this particular risk group spans from age 15 to 24. During these years, young adults and teens can feel invincible and can engage in reckless behavior that can increase their risk of falling or getting hit by objects. Even though this group is older than young children and may seem grown-up, the brain continues to develop through adolescence and young adulthood and a TBI can still have lasting effects.

Seniors Older Than 75

As many of us age, we may lose balance, coordination, muscle strength, and quickness of reflexes. This makes falling down a serious risk for adults older than 75. These falls may result in seniors hitting their heads on the ground or other objects, resulting in TBIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this age group has the highest rates of the following after sustaining brain injuries:

  • Emergency department visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

TBIs are common among this group and they can have severe effects. Many seniors who suffer serious brain injuries never fully recover and may need to relocate to assisted living facilities.

Know Your Rights

The leading causes of brain injuries include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports accidents, and violence. If the negligence or wrongdoing of another party causes a TBI, victims have the right to seek payment for their medical expenses and any other losses. If you are not sure whether you have the right to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, discuss your situation with an attorney who can evaluate your case.

Learn More From Our Chicago Brain Injury Attorneys Today

At the law firm of Abels & Annes, we have seen the serious effects of traumatic brain injuries on our clients. We can examine what happened and advise you regarding your legal options. While a legal case cannot turn back time and take away the effects of your injuries, it can help you move forward with the compensation you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please call (312) 924-7575 or contact us online.