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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.

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