Los Angeles Brain Injury Attorneys
Helping Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
The brain controls your thoughts, memories, speech, movement, and breathing. A major injury to that vital organ can, literally, damage every part of your functioning and your life. Even a seemingly minor brain injury can do lasting harm.
When someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct results in an injury to your brain, the law may entitle you to compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and support to help you live as normally as possible. Depending on the circumstances in which you were injured, you may also recover compensation for your physical or mental suffering or other non-economic damages.
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our compassionate brain injury lawyers in Los Angeles have decades of experience representing people with severe head and brain injuries. We have obtained significant verdicts and settlements in brain injury claims. Our legal team has experience in dealing with the type of medical and rehabilitative help you need, and we excel in providing the aggressive legal representation seriously injured people require.
Contact us online or call us at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
There are two main types of brain injuries. Most of our clients who have sustained brain injuries in an accident have what is called a “traumatic brain injury” or TBI. This just means that a force, or trauma, caused the injury – examples include motor vehicle accidents, assaults, and falls. A direct blow to the head can also cause another injury when the brain hits the skull on the opposite side of the head.
TBIs can prove devastating in their severity. Patients with even mild injuries may suffer permanent impairments. Each year, about 30 percent of all injury deaths and more than 2.5 million hospital emergency room visits result from TBIs.
In contrast, an acquired brain injury (ABI) is not caused by some type of physical force. Instead, ABIs may result after oxygen deprivation, a stroke, or a disease attacks the brain. ABIs may result from someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, such as a near drowning and oxygen deprivation after a boat accident, but most occur due to internal conditions within the body.
Top Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of TBIs in the United States, accounting for 47 percent of all such injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most susceptible populations for falls are children younger than 14 and adults older than 65. The second leading cause of TBIs is getting struck by a heavy object, and this is the most common cause of TBI in children younger than 15.
Other causes of TBIs can include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Contact sports accidents
- Falls from ladders and scaffolding
- Blasts and explosions
- Sexual and physical assaults
- Rollover car accidents
- SUV and pickup truck accidents
Brain Injuries: Going Beyond the Numbers
About 1.5 million people in America suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. That’s more than six times the number of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries, and multiple sclerosis combined. Additionally, about 50,000 people die of a traumatic brain injury annually and another 5.3 million people are currently living with a disability due to a TBI.
Yet few members of the public are aware of the significant number of people living with permanent, disabling brain injuries. One of the cruel ironies of brain injuries is that many victims can walk, talk, and appear to be just fine. Unfortunately, they have a profoundly disabling brain injury that results in memory loss, cognitive impairments, and emotional and behavioral changes that leave them unable to earn a living or, in some cases, unable to accomplish the routine tasks of daily life.
When a patient initially suffers head trauma, early symptoms could include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Hypersensitivity to light, noise, touch, smell or taste
Brain injuries can also cause lasting physical and personality changes, including:
- Sensitivity to crowds
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Changes to sex drive
People who have sustained brain injuries may feel more sensitive to sensory stimuli and more likely to make impulsive or poor decisions. They are more likely to use drugs and alcohol or engage in inappropriate sexual activity, as some brain injuries can lower inhibitions. Patients may not even notice the changes, but close friends and family members can see a definite shift in personality. Seizures can also plague some people with brain injuries.
Who Is Legally Responsible for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Anyone who failed to reasonably inform others of a hazard or who created a hazard that led to a traumatic brain injury may face liability. Likewise, anyone who causes a motor vehicle accident by failing to obey traffic laws or engaging in negligent behaviors like distracted driving or driving under the influence may bear responsibility for the resulting injuries.
Sometimes, poor design or product defects can cause a traumatic brain injury. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our Los Angeles injury lawyers have successfully fought against vehicle manufacturers and tire makers when their products’ flaws caused or contributed to an accident.
What Compensation Can I Recover for TBI?
If you or your loved one was injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you could possibly recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses. Traumatic brain injuries are expensive to treat, and TBIs often require one or more surgeries to alleviate pressure in the skull. Ongoing therapies can add to the cost. As a result, medical bills can total millions of dollars during the patient’s lifetime.
- Physical pain and suffering. Ongoing physical problems, including demonstrable cognitive impairments that impair the patient’s ability to lead a normal life, can influence the amount of a settlement.
- Mental suffering. Many patients with brain injuries can no longer work or participate in activities they once enjoyed. Sometimes, personality changes can damage relationships and even put the patient in risky or dangerous situations.
- Lost wages. While getting treatment for brain injuries, patients are sometimes unable to work. Many brain injuries could prevent a patient from resuming a career at all.
- Loss of companionship. Spouses and children could recover damages as well if their loved one is unable to resume normal operation of the household after sustaining an injury.
Issues in Brain Injury Diagnosis
Brain injuries are often just one of many catastrophic injuries that can be caused by a serious accident. Unless symptoms are clear and obvious, doctors and nurses who are focused on other, more life-threatening injuries can easily overlook a mild brain injury. When you choose to work with our firm, we can assist you in finding respected medical experts who specialize in the diagnosis of brain injury.
Our experts will use a variety of tools to demonstrate the extent of your injury and pursue all compensation you are entitled to:
- Neurological workup – If doctors do suspect a head injury, you will most likely be given an initial neurological exam in the emergency room or doctor’s office. You’ll be rated according to the Glasgow Coma Scale on your ability to open your eyes, speak, and respond to verbal and physical stimulus.
- Imaging tests – Your doctor may order an imaging test, like an MRI or CT scan, to determine if there are skull fractures, tumors, a subdural hematoma, penetrating injuries or other observable injuries to the brain. However, no imaging test can accurately pinpoint all types of injury to the brain. This lack of objective documentation can make it difficult to prove the extent of injury-related damages.
- Neuropsychological testing – Neuropsychological testing can help pinpoint specific deficits that may be caused by a brain injury. Even these, however, are not infallible. People with extremely high intellectual capabilities will still fall within the normal range on a neuropsychological test even though they are experiencing significant deficits due to a brain injury. Neuropsychological testing is most accurate when a baseline test of the individual’s capabilities occurred before the accident.
- Personal observations – The observations of friends, co-workers, and family members can help diagnose a brain injury and the personality disorders that sometimes go with it. A physiatrist, a specialist in rehabilitative medicine, will interview people who knew the individual before and after the injury about the differences they have seen in the person’s abilities and behavior. These interviews may reveal changes in personality and show the degree of the injury in better detail.
Who Treats Brain Injuries?
Many head injuries necessitate a trip to the hospital emergency room to treat immediate swelling and brain damage. Doctors may need to send patients to surgery or acute care to prevent TBIs from worsening.
Following immediate emergency care, doctors may treat TBI symptoms that cause issues in the patient’s life with medication and rehabilitation. These injuries may result in an inability to perform daily tasks. A patient may need to relearn these skills through physical and occupational therapy, or may need around-the-clock inpatient care or a personal care assistant to provide supervision.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the rehabilitation team may include:
- Patient and patient’s family
- General practitioner
- Rehabilitation medicine physician
- Rehabilitation nurse
- Allied health professionals: physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, social worker
- Neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist
- Vocational rehabilitation services and counselors
- Other medical specialties: neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery
New Insights Into Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Until fairly recently, little was known about brain injury rehabilitation. Some believed that rest, time, and luck were the only essential components for recovery. Today, however, analysis of numerous studies has shown that a program of brain injury rehabilitation can help people maximize their recovery from traumatic brain injuries.
Researchers at the University of South Alabama and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte analyzed results of several hundred studies of cognitive brain injury rehabilitation. They found that just as physical therapy enhances recovery from physical trauma, cognitive rehabilitation can increase positive outcomes after a traumatic brain injury. That means patient outcomes are best when the rehab program is begun early.
Finding the Right Brain Injury Law Firm in California
IIn lawsuits involving a TBI, attorneys often work on a contingent fee basis in which clients pay no fees or expenses up front. The law firm’s compensation consists of a percentage of any monies recovered for the client. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we offer a free consultation to potential clients, at which we typically discuss the facts of their case. If we agree to representation, we discuss the appropriate fee arrangement.
When you’re injured, you want to focus all of your attention on getting better. You don’t want the hassle of legal proceedings to cause you stress or anxiety. You want the right personal injury law firm to handle your traumatic brain injury case. You need a reliable and compassionate partner who knows how to achieve the best possible outcome from a terrible situation. Our Los Angeles attorneys have experience in managing traumatic brain injury cases and helping patients and their families make the best decisions.
We’re proud to have helped clients recover seven- and eight-figure awards in matters involving traumatic brain injuries. Call us today at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online.
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