Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result in severe and sometimes permanent damage impacting the most basic aspects of the injured victim’s life, such as their career and daily interaction with loved ones. These injuries can also be costly to treat, often requiring lifelong medical care.
If you have suffered a TBI in an accident you did not cause, you are likely entitled to legal compensation from the at-fault party. Among other things, you may be compensated for medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering. To maximize your chance of recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve, you should have your case reviewed by an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney early on.
One of the Best Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers in Lawrenceville
At Butler Kahn, our Lawrenceville brain injury lawyers have a long and successful track record fighting for the rights of injury victims throughout Georgia. Call us today to learn about your rights and options in a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries in Auto Accidents?
Any accident that results in blunt trauma to the head can result in a TBI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths nationwide in 2020 alone, which translates to about 176 deaths every day. Trauma sustained in auto accidents is a leading cause. One study published in Traffic Injury Prevention estimates that “TBIs from motor vehicle crashes . . . result in 218,936 emergency department visits, 56,864 hospitalizations, and 16,402 deaths annually.” These numbers speak for themselves.
If you suffered a TBI in a car accident you did not cause, you should speak to a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. The brain injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are ready to help you on the road to full and fair compensation. To learn more, see Traumatic Brain Injury: Neurologist Explains How Car Wrecks Can Cause Brain Injury.
Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are not always immediately apparent. Symptoms may take a few hours or days to show. That said, the longer a brain injury goes unevaluated and untreated by a doctor, the greater the risk of suffering long-lasting damage. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms after an accident, you may have suffered a TBI and should see a doctor as soon as possible:
- Persistent or worsening headaches
- Unusual weakness or numbness
- Impaired coordination
- Dizziness and inability to balance
- Trouble remembering, concentrating, or thinking clearly
- Unevenly dilated pupils
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or grogginess
- Slurred speech
- Unusual mood swings
Types of Brain Injuries Our Lawfirm Sees
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the most common type of brain injury. They are caused by a sudden blow or jolt to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe head injuries that can lead to coma or death.
- Anoxic brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can happen during a heart attack, cardiac arrest, or near-drowning. Anoxic brain injuries can cause permanent damage to the brain, including cognitive impairment, memory loss, and personality changes.
- Hypoxic brain injuries are caused by a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood. This can happen during a respiratory arrest, asthma attack, or pneumonia. Hypoxic brain injuries can also cause permanent damage to the brain, including cognitive impairment, memory loss, and personality changes.
It is important to note that the severity of a brain injury does not always correlate with the severity of the symptoms. Some people with mild TBIs may experience long-term symptoms, while others with severe TBIs may make a full recovery.
If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of recovery.
How are Brain Injuries Classified?
There are many ways to classify brain injuries. For example, the Glasgow Coma Scale is commonly used by doctors to classify the severity of brain injuries based on a series of tests measuring eye, verbal, and motor responses after an accident. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale is another widely accepted system of evaluating the behavior and cognition of brain injury patients. Certain other methods of evaluating brain injuries focus less on the patient’s post-injury functionality and more on the physical aspects of the injury itself. These methods sometimes overlap and include the following categories:
- Primary vs. Secondary – Primary brain injuries occur when a strike to the head or a sharp jolt causes the brain to bump against the inside of the skull. These injuries are immediate upon impact and commonly sustained in car accidents. By contrast, secondary brain injuries (e.g., brain swelling) evolve more slowly as a consequence of primary injuries.
- Focal vs. Diffuse – A focal brain injury is localized in a specific area of the brain. Bruises and hemorrhages often fall into this category. This kind of injury may be detectable through computerized tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Diffuse brain injuries, however, are spread throughout the brain and can be more difficult to diagnose.
- Penetrating vs. Closed – A penetrating brain injury, also known as an open-head injury, occurs when the skull is broken or fractured. In the most serious cases, the brain itself will be directly impacted through the opening. A closed injury, on the other hand, occurs when the brain is injured without an opening in the skull. Closed injuries are more common in car accidents, though a serious accident can result in both.
How Is Liability Shown in Auto Accidents Resulting in Brain Injury?
In most cases, liability for an auto accident is established by showing that someone failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid causing a wreck. This kind of irresponsibility is legally referred to as negligence. Alternatively, in cases where the at-fault party caused an injury by violating a law meant to keep everyone safe from a dangerous activity (e.g., laws against drunk driving and running red lights), they may be held negligent per se. Either way, an experienced brain injury lawyer will use all sorts of evidence to prove that the at-fault party was negligent, as well as to show that their own client was minimally responsible. This evidence may include things like:
- Official police accident reports
- Photos and video footage of the accident scene
- Footage from nearby traffic and surveillance cameras
- Witness testimony
- Expert testimony
- Accident reconstructions
- Cell phone logs
- Medical treatment records
Remember, the longer you wait after an accident, the higher the risk that important evidence will deteriorate or disappear, as well as that witness memories will begin to fade. The best way to combat this is by bringing your case to an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney soon after the accident so they can begin compiling and preserving evidence for your claim.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
Georgia law generally gives accident victims two years from the date of injury to file a civil claim seeking compensation from the at-fault party. If you do not take action before the deadline passes, courts will be barred from hearing your case. Further, by eliminating your legal right to seek full and fair compensation in court, missing the deadline will also severely undermine your case by destroying your bargaining power in out-of-court settlement negotiations. In other words, time is of the essence.
Contact a Lawrenceville Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Car accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries, which can range from minor to life-threatening. If you have suffered a brain injury in a car accident you did not cause, you should speak to a tbi attorney as soon as possible. Chances are you are entitled to legal compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are a phone call away and ready to evaluate your case. Even if you think your injuries are not serious, our free, no-obligation consultations mean there is no downside to having your case reviewed by one of our experienced attorneys. Call us today to learn about your rights and options.