If you or a family member suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a personal injury incident, you already know the impact these injuries can have. Living with a brain injury is never easy. A TBI can be straining on a person’s physical, mental, and financial health. A TBI can also make it difficult to work, resume your daily activities, and enjoy a long and active life.
After a brain injury, your future may depend on the treatment you receive and your ability to pay for the care that you need. That’s why you should consult a lawyer about getting the compensation you deserve. The medical bills and lost wages, along with the pain and suffering, are not something you should have to deal with on your own.
Contact a Chicago traumatic brain injury lawyer at Abels & Annes if you are suffering from a head injury due to a motor vehicle accident or any other accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics in Illinois
The latest stats from the Illinois Department of Health in 2014 show that 286,963 people in Illinois suffered from traumatic brain injuries.
Of those people with brain injuries, over 1,600 of them died.
Motor vehicle collisions were a common cause of these injuries. Eighteen percent of those deaths were the result of traumatic brain injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.
Of the 13,345 people who required hospitalization for TBI, 17 percent suffered TBI after a motor vehicle accident. And, of the 271,974 people treated in the emergency room and then released, 11 percent were there because of a motor vehicle accident.
Across the nation, 2.87 million people suffered from traumatic brain injuries in 2014. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries caused 2.53 million people to receive treatment in the emergency room. Of this number, 288,000 people were admitted to the hospital and 56,800 people died from their injuries.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The definition of a traumatic brain injury is “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.” These injuries include:
- Damage to the structural integrity of the skull
- Damage to the brain tissue from violent movement
- Injuries where the brain tissue is penetrated
TBIs range from mild to severe with varying symptoms and degrees of prognosis.
Mild traumatic brain injuries usually affect a person for a short period of time before they make a full recovery. More serious traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, torn tissue, bleeding, and other physical damage that results in long-term complications or death.
What Types of Brain Injury Cases Does Abels & Annes Handle?
Our brain injury attorneys handle all types of lawsuits involving brain injuries that were caused by another party’s negligence. Some of the most common types of TBI cases we handle include:
Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of brain injuries in the United States. Car accidents are common and many result in head injuries. Truck accidents are less common, but they involve devastating force that leads to an increased likelihood of a TBI. And motorcycle riders simply have little to no protection and can easily injure their head when they are struck or ejected from their bike.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrians and bicyclists are completely exposed when they are walking or cycling near roads. If a car hits a pedestrian, they are usually thrown or crushed from the force of the vehicle. This impact commonly causes brain injuries in serious pedestrian or bicycle collisions.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care, resulting in an injury to the patient. If the mistake causes a lack of oxygen to the brain, or fails to notice or treat an existing brain issue, a TBI may result.
Infant brain damage can occur during childbirth in certain situations that are naturally caused and also in situations involving negligence. The most common causes of birth injury TBIs are the use of an instrument like forceps with too much force or asphyxiation when the brain is deprived of oxygen for too long.
Slip and Fall
When a person slips and falls from a slippery floor or broken staircase, they can easily hit their heads hard enough to cause a brain injury. Some falls are not serious and result in minor injuries. But some can be devastating and result in lasting consequences and real pain and suffering.
Some workplaces and industries are known to be more dangerous than others. For example, a worker in the construction industry may suffer a brain injury on the job from falling, being crushed, or during a vehicle accident. In these cases, they may be able to recover compensation through workers’ compensation benefits. If a party besides the employer was responsible, they may be able to receive additional compensation through a third-party personal injury claim.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most common types of brain injuries caused by trauma include skull fractures, anoxia and hypoxia, contusions, intracranial hematomas, penetrating injuries, or concussions.
These injuries all vary in degree of severity and prognosis. However, each of these injuries can seriously affect a person’s life.
A contusion occurs when the head is struck with force, causing areas of the brain to be bruised or swollen. Almost any type of head trauma can cause these contusions. And the severity can range from mild to life-threatening. In some cases, the swelling caused by the contusion may go down on its own. In other cases, surgery may be necessary to alleviate pressure on the brain.
Coup and Contrecoup Injuries
Coup injuries refer to contusion injuries on the brain at the site where the head was struck. Contrecoup brain injuries occur on the opposite side of the head as the brain is knocked to the opposing side of the skull. These injuries are technically a form of contusion. However, they are worth mentioning separately because they are common during motor vehicle accidents and have serious ramifications for TBI victims.
Concussions are one of the most common types of TBI. They occur when sudden movement causes the brain to move around inside the skull. This creates chemical changes in the brain and can also stretch and damage brain tissue. Concussions can occur because of a direct blow to the head or due to whiplash.
An intracranial hematoma is when a major blood vessel in the brain gets damaged and causes bleeding. These injuries are most common from trauma such as a car accident or fall. The blood collection from the hematoma can cause pressure to build up on the brain, which can cause further damage.
This injury occurs when the skull and brain are pierced. This commonly occurs when a sharp object is forced into the skull by a violent impact. Penetrating injuries are extremely serious and require immediate emergency care.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries
A diffuse axonal injury occurs when the skull is forced forward and backward at a rapid rate. This causes tearing of the brain’s white matter, which can cause widespread neurological destruction and impairment. These injuries are very serious and can lead to coma or death.
Brain Injuries from Lack of Oxygen
One type of traumatic brain injury that is not caused by blunt trauma or a penetration object is known as an anoxic and hypoxic brain injury. These injuries are essentially the same but vary in degree.
An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen to stay alive, leading to death. A hypoxic brian injury occurs when the brain receives insufficient oxygen, resulting in damage to the brain.
These injuries can be severe and may result in coma, loss of cognitive function, and death.
Some of the most common causes of a lack of oxygen to the brain include:
- Drowning or near-drowning
- Crush injuries
- Complications during birth
- Cardiac arrest
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Exposure to hazardous gases
Compensation for Damages from a Brain Injury
Getting compensation for a brain injury that was not your fault can make all the difference for you and your family. In most cases, victims and their families are dealing with mounting bills, stress, and an uncertain future. If your traumatic brain injury is severe, you might be out of work for some time. In addition to medical bills, you may be able to receive other compensation because of the accident.
Insurance companies will pay the least amount possible because they are in business to make money. They don’t care about your injuries; they only care about their bottom lines. If you try to settle, you might not get enough compensation for past medical bills, never mind future medical bills and lost time from work.
The various types of compensation that you could receive include:
- Past medical bills for injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Future medical bills for upcoming surgeries and doctors’ visits.
- Physical, cognitive and psychological therapies. These types of therapies may continue for months or years.
- Past lost wages for time you could not work because of your injuries.
- Future lost wages for time you cannot work in the future or if you have to take a position that pays less.
- Vehicle repairs or replacement.
- Replacement of personal property damaged in the accident.
- Loss of companionship if the accident caused injuries serious enough so that you cannot enjoy doing things with your family.
- Loss of consortium if the accident caused injuries serious enough that you cannot enjoy a physical relationship with your spouse.
- The cost if you must hire someone for everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, home maintenance, and cleaning.
- Pain and suffering if doctors expect you to suffer from your injuries for the long term.
- Punitive damages if the at-fault driver’s grossly negligent actions caused the accident.
Traumatic brain injuries may be mild or severe and could have long recovery times. Compensation for long-term injuries will help you support yourself and your family.
Will My Case Settle or Go to Trial?
When you retain a TBI attorney in Chicago, insurance companies know that you are not going to settle for a menial amount. Usually, insurance companies will offer a higher amount when you use an attorney. In other cases, even the insurance company’s highest offer may not be enough depending on the type of traumatic brain injury that you sustain. Abels & Annes will not hesitate to go to trial to try to get more compensation when you have long-term injuries.
Illinois requires every driver to have liability insurance. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance covers personal injuries and damage to your vehicle in the accident. The Illinois State Bar Association recommends that you purchase enough insurance to cover all of your assets. It also recommends purchasing an “umbrella” policy in case you are ever at fault in a catastrophic accident. The umbrella policy provides more coverage than regular insurance does. Even with the umbrella policy, at-fault drivers’ insurance policies may not cover severe traumatic brain injury medical costs.
If the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to cover all of your injuries and has significant assets, you do have the option to sue the driver to get enough to cover all of your medical bills and other compensation. However, this is a difficult and unlikely path to take.
Additional Defendants to Pursue
If the at-fault party is in the course of his employment at the time of the accident, your traumatic brain injury attorney in Chicago would sue both the defendant and the company. For example, in an auto accident, the driver would be considered an agent of that company.
Further, if the other vehicle was a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer truck, the company, dispatcher, warehouse, or others might share in the liability for the driver’s actions. For example, if the dispatcher told the truck driver to get a load delivered “no matter what it takes,” and the driver’s negligent speeding caused the accident. Here, some liability could fall on the dispatcher and the company that hired the dispatcher.
Use of Medical Experts in Brain Injury Cases
Brain injury cases are complicated. These cases require expertise and experience in order to get the victim proper compensation. This means investigating the incident, interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and presenting a compelling case. One way that we get our clients large brain injury settlements is through the use of expert medical witnesses.
At Abels & Annes, our brain injury attorneys work with medical experts to demonstrate to an insurance carrier or jury the link between the defendant’s negligence and our client’s brain injuries. This expert opinion can show causation, testify to the severity of an injury, clarify what the long-term ramifications are, and make clear the brain injury’s effect on the victim.
A medical expert’s opinion can make all the difference in a complicated brian injury case.
Contact a Chicago Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
The lawyers of Abels & Annes have the experience and resources needed to represent you in your traumatic brain injury case. We will fight on your behalf to recover the maximum compensation you and your family deserve.
Don’t make the mistake of dealing with insurance companies on your own. Hire competent legal representation to protect you and your family member’s rights.
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in a Chicago motor vehicle or slip and fall accident, Abels & Annes is here to help. Call us at (312) 924-7575, or contact us online, as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your rights and legal options as an accident and injury victim.