Brain injuries are some of the most serious wounds people can suffer. The brain controls the rest of the body, so an injury to the brain can have extensive repercussions that last a lifetime. Brain injuries may be the result of violence, car accidents, workplace accidents, and many other hazardous situations. The people who sustain brain injuries may be incapacitated and unable to pursue legal recourse on their own, leaving a lawsuit up to the family. Contact Kelley/Uustal’s experienced brain injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale for a free consultation regarding your injury.
How Can a Brain Injury Attorney Help?
If a brain injury occurred due to another party’s negligence, the victim or the victim’s family may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. If the victim sustained a brain injury during the course of events involving criminal activity, the victim’s civil action may run in tandem with the criminal charges brought against the defendant by the state. A Fort Lauderdale brain injury attorney will be a valuable asset to anyone who has suffered a TBI due to the negligent actions of another.
Like any personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, violated this duty in some way, and the plaintiff’s damages were the direct result of this breach of duty. Damages in personal injury lawsuits are typically reflective of the losses suffered by the plaintiff. Plaintiffs can recover compensation for their direct economic losses resulting from the incident, as well as special damages for pain and suffering and other intangible losses.
A brain injury is a very serious matter, and even mild brain injuries can leave permanent scars. If another person or entity caused a TBI to you or a loved one, it is crucial that you take legal action to hold the responsible party accountable for the damage. The Kelley/Uustal legal team is here to help the citizens of the Fort Lauderdale, FL, area handle their legal concerns. Their attorneys have extensive experience handling personal injury lawsuits involving brain injuries, so know the avenues of compensation to explore for their clients.
Our team at Kelley/Uustal offers free consultations to our potential new clients, so reach out to our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will assess the facts of your case and let you know how we can help and what type of compensation you might expect from a lawsuit. Brain injuries often have tragic and long-lasting repercussions, so secure the compensation you need to recover by retaining reliable Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney from Kelley/Uustal.
Type of Damages
Special Damages – These are the out of pocket damages a brain injury victim suffers. Medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs (in some cases), lost earning capacity and property damage are all examples.
General Damages – While special damages are more easily calculable, general damages deal with less tangible things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
In lawsuits involving fatal brain injuries, the victim’s loved ones will not be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. Instead, they must file a wrongful death claim to secure the above listed damages as well as compensation for the loss of their loved one. Florida imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims beginning on the date of death.
Florida Brain Injury Statistics
In 2014 alone, more than 176,000 Florida residents suffered brain injuries; more than 3,800 of those were fatal. Any bump or blow to the head, sudden momentum shift, or penetrating head wound can lead to a brain injury. Additionally, brain injuries are rarely isolated injuries and can have permanent or long-lasting effects on neurological activity, cognitive function, and behavior.
Of the brain injuries reported in 2014, firearms were the leading cause of fatalities. Falling was the leading cause of accidental, non-fatal brain injuries. Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that the highest number of brain injury-related deaths occurred in the 85 and older age bracket, while those in the 15 to 24 age range comprised the majority of emergency room visits for brain injuries.
Statistics indicate that men are more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and are also more likely to suffer fatal TBIs by a wide margin. Men comprise 73% of all fatal TBI cases, 59% of TBI-related hospitalizations, and 49% of all TBI-related emergency room visits.
Common Causes of Head or Brain Injuries
Car accidents are common causes of head injury. When a car rolls over, head injury is more likely. It is also more likely in roof crush accidents and in accidents when a person is unrestrained and his or her head hits the windshield. After a car accident, even if a head injury does not seem serious, it is best to let a medical professional evaluate the victim. Some head injuries do not show symptoms right away. Another common cause is a motorcycle accident, a person involved in this type of accident is extremely vulnerable to a head injury since they are only protected by a helmet. These types of accidents can also be caused by a negligent driver, in this case, a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney would be able to help you secure compensation for your injuries.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Concussions are the most common type of closed head injury after an accident. Concussions may or may not be accompanied by loss of consciousness. Physical symptoms of brain injury sometimes show up immediately, and sometimes show up in the days and weeks after a car crash. Symptoms include:
- Sudden change in personality
- Vomiting and nausea
- Severe headaches
- Sensory and motor problems
Unfortunately there are cases where a person initially appears to be okay, but deteriorates rapidly later on.
Type of Brain Injuries
The term “brain injury” encompasses several types of injuries including:
- Skull fractures: Any wound that damages or breaks the bones of the skull constitutes a skull fracture. Skull fractures are a common result of interpersonal violence, car accidents, and slip and fall injuries.
- Diffuse axonal injuries: These result in white-matter lesions on the brain that often cause persistent vegetative comas. Most people know the term, which describes the brain colliding with the interior walls of the skull.
- Cerebral contusions: Physicians may refer to these as “brain bruises.”
- Hematomas: This may occur within the brain itself (intracerebral hematoma), between the brain and the dura (subdural), or between the skull and the dura (extradural).
- Parietal lobe injuries: The parietal lobe is part of the cerebrum, the control center of the brain. This controls sensory input. Parietal lobe injuries often lead to impaired sensory processing, impaired cognitive function, and loss of comprehensive awareness.
- Acquired brain injuries (ABIs): Some brain injuries result from repeated exposure to certain chemicals, infections, or environmental conditions. Although “acquired brain injury” is a blanket term referring to any brain damage acquired after birth, ABIs lead to changes in brain function resulting in cognitive, physical, emotional, or behavioral impairment to the injured person.
Long-Term Effects of TBIs
Many people who survive brain injuries will endure the ill effects for a long time, even permanently in some cases. Medical professionals classify brain injuries as either “mild” or “severe.” One of the major differentiating factors between these two classifications is loss of consciousness and how long unconsciousness lasts if it occurs. Generally, brain injuries leading to unconsciousness of less than 30 minutes are “mild,” whereas any period of unconsciousness lasting more than 30 minutes constitutes a “moderate” injury, or worse, depending on several other factors. However, some brain injuries, particularly concussions, may not cause unconsciousness nor manifest serious symptoms for quite some time following the injury.
Mild brain injuries can still have tragic consequences. Over time, a victim of a brain injury may exhibit mood swings, shifts in personality, aggression, cognitive function problems, difficulty focusing or concentrating, memory loss, attention deficits, confusion, and severe intermittent headaches. This can easily cause problems in personal and professional relationships, and victims of mild TBIs may require extensive rehabilitation following their injuries.
Severe brain injuries often entail permanent impairment of cognitive function. In some cases, a severe TBI may leave a victim in a persistent vegetative state or coma. The longer a coma or vegetative state lasts, the more extensive the permanent damage will be. Survivors of severe TBIs may suffer diminished brain function, lose the use of one or more limbs, suffer language and communication difficulties, and impaired sensory processing. The recovery time for patients with severe TBI is extensive, requiring years (sometimes a lifetime) of physical therapy and medical care.