Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Negligence

A doctor reviewing traumatic brain injuries.

Whether you’ve suffered a blow to the head in a car crash, slip and fall incident, or another type of accident, traumatic brain injuries can be debilitating and life-changing. Not only can these types of injuries result in physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges — but they can also have a substantial financial impact on you and your family. Importantly, if you can prove that the traumatic brain injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, you might be entitled to compensation in a personal injury action.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is a type of injury that interrupts the normal functioning of the brain. They are often the result of a direct blow to the head suffered in an accident — but they can also be caused by things like medical malpractice, defective products, and other forms of negligence. There are three main types of traumatic brain injuries that can be sustained, including the following:

  • Mild traumatic brain injury — Also referred to as a concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury is often caused by a jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to quickly move back and forth. The movement can cause the brain to bounce around, chemical changes in the brain, or damage to the brain cells.
  • Moderate traumatic brain injury — Moderate traumatic brain injury is typically associated with loss of consciousness for over 30 minutes but less than one day. The symptoms associated with this type of brain injury can have long-term effects that impact all aspects of a victim’s life.
  • Severe traumatic brain injury — A severe traumatic brain injury can result in persistent and lifelong symptoms, such as cognitive issues, loss of brain function, and behavioral challenges.

The symptoms associated with brain injuries don’t always appear immediately. In some instances, they may only appear days or weeks later. In addition to a primary brain injury, an accident victim may also suffer from a secondary brain injury. This refers to the changes that occur over a period of hours or days after the initial brain injury was sustained.

How are Negligence Victims Impacted by Brain Injuries?

There are a wide range of symptoms that can be associated with a traumatic brain injury, depending on the severity. While a brain injury affects every victim differently, there are a number of general symptoms a victim may experience, including drowsiness, headache, confusion, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, loss of balance, and mood changes. More serious forms of traumatic brain injury can result in loss of consciousness, sleep problems, disorientation, memory loss, concentration issues, convulsions, slurred speech, and motor skill impairment.

A traumatic brain injury can have a significant impact on a victim’s daily life and livelihood. For instance, they may experience decreased concentration, confusion, or difficulty with processing language. Their emotions might also fluctuate and they may exhibit impulsiveness, irritability, lack of awareness, obsession, or egocentricity. These effects can be long-lasting or permanent, based on the severity of the injury. Although mild brain injuries usually do not require any treatment, a victim of a serious brain injury may be able to make progress in a rehabilitation program.

Traumatic brain injury is a clinical diagnosis — and often the symptoms of this condition are difficult to detect. But while there is no definitive test to confirm a traumatic brain injury, a healthcare provider will use a variety of imaging tests, such as CAT scans, MRIs, assessments, and “neuro-checks” to determine a diagnosis. A doctor will also assess a victim’s ability to speak, open their eyes, and move.

Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can be sustained in a wide variety of accidents, including truck wrecks, motorcycle accidents, auto collisions, pedestrian accidents, trips and falls, and boating accidents. In the event a traumatic brain injury was sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, a victim may be entitled to recover the damages they suffered in a personal injury action. If a victim can show that someone else owed them a duty, which was breached — and such breach directly caused their injury — Alaska law allows them to receive compensation for both their economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages for traumatic brain injuries can include things like unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs incurred in connection with the accident. Since traumatic brain injuries often result in a significant financial burden, an award of economic damages can include the costs of future medical care and rehabilitation. A victim may also be awarded future lost earnings if they are permanently unable to work or their earning capacity has been limited due to the injury.

Non-economic damages, also referred to as “pain and suffering damages,” are meant to compensate a victim for non-tangible losses suffered because of the traumatic brain injury. This can include the pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life they experienced in connection with a traumatic brain injury. In many cases, non-economic damages comprise the largest portion of a personal injury settlement. It’s not uncommon for a victim of a severe brain injury to receive an award in the millions for their economic losses, depending upon how the accident impacted their daily life and livelihood.

A personal injury lawsuit for a traumatic brain injury must be filed within two years from the date the accident occurred. Failure to do so can result in a victim being forever barred from recovering the compensation they deserve for the injuries they sustained due to another’s negligence.

Contact an Experienced Alaska Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney

Traumatic brain injuries can be serious and change the course of a victim’s life. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it’s essential to understand your legal options. An experienced traumatic brain injury attorney can assist you with obtaining the compensation — and justice — you deserve.

Proudly serving accident victims in Anchorage, Soldotna, Kenai, Palmer, Wasilla, and other areas of Alaska, The Trial Guy, Eric Derleth, is dedicated to representing clients for a wide array of personal injury matters, including those involving traumatic brain injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Call 907-262-9164 to schedule a free consultation at our Anchorage or Soldotna office, or contact us online. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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