Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. If you sustain a traumatic brain injury in southern California because another person was negligent, arrange right away to discuss your legal rights and options with a Pasadena personal injury attorney.
Some TBI patients eventually recover, but many others struggle with a traumatic brain injury for the rest of their lives. A traumatic brain injury affects a victim’s vision, balance, hearing, and memory as well as his or her moods, attitudes, and emotions.
The exact impact of a brain injury on one person will differ from the impact on someone else, but many TBI patients have difficulty focusing, concentrating, and controlling their emotions. They often struggle with fatigue. TBI victims may not be able to work full-time or to work at all.
If You Are Injured By Negligence, What Are Your Rights?
In California, an injured victim of someone else’s negligence is entitled by law to compensation for his or her current and future medical expenses, lost earnings and future lost earnings, and all additional related losses and damages. Obtaining that compensation, however, may not be easy.
If you bring a personal injury claim against the person or persons responsible for a traumatic brain injury, what will you and your attorney need to prove? What steps will you need to take? If you or someone you love is a TBI victim because someone else was negligent, keep reading.
What Are the Causes of TBI?
Slip-and-fall accidents cause over a third of all TBIs in the U.S. Traffic accidents, assaults, team sports, swimming pool accidents, falling merchandise, and medical errors – all of these may cause TBI. Among veterans who saw active duty, explosions are the leading cause of TBI.
When TBI is the result of an accident caused by someone else, a personal injury lawyer can help you, but the burden of gathering the documentation and additional evidence that you’ll need will fall on you at first, because your attorney will not be there when an accident happens.
Why is It So Essential to Have the Right Documents?
The right documentation can not only help a traumatic brain injury patient succeed with a personal injury claim, but having all of the pertinent records and documents can also help a TBI patient’s medical providers as they offer treatment and care over time.
The first documents you need are those generated by the accident. In a traffic crash, summon the police and ask them how you can obtain a copy of their written accident report. If you are injured at your job or in a commercial or public facility, make a copy of any written accident report.
Take photos of the accident scene and any of your own visible injuries. If there were witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their names and a way to contact them. Photos and eyewitness statements can make the difference in a personal injury case.
Why is a Medical Exam Imperative After an Accident?
After any kind of blow or jolt to the head, have a medical exam, and try to have it in the first 24 hours, even if you don’t “feel” injured. You’ll need the medical records if you take legal action, and TBI that remains latent or undiscovered can become a serious medical condition.
More than any other documents, your medical records will establish the extent and severity of your traumatic brain injury and will usually determine the compensation amount that you should seek.
You will need copies of any potentially applicable health, home, auto, or life insurance policy. If the victim’s name is on any insurance policy, that policy may be helpful.
It is also helpful if you have copies of your birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, employment and pay records, school records, bank statements, and tax returns.
Don’t Overlook the Physical Evidence
In some traumatic brain injury cases, it’s the physical evidence that determines whether an injury claim prevails. The damage to an automobile, a broken staircase, torn or blood-stained clothing, or a defective tool or appliance can be persuasive evidence of negligence.
Physical evidence in a TBI case must be gathered and preserved, and that’s one reason why an injury victim must take his or her case to an accident attorney as quickly as possible. Physical evidence can disappear suddenly or deteriorate over time, so it is important to act promptly.
Should You Go Back to the Accident Site?
Returning to the accident scene quickly may be important. For example, you may need to photograph a broken staircase before a negligent property owner can repair it. You may also find something helpful at the accident scene that you were not aware of when the accident happened.
A severe traumatic brain injury may cause permanent disability. Depending on the details of an accident and injury, a TBI victim may qualify for a substantial personal injury award. Traumatic brain injury victims may need treatment, rehabilitation, and counseling for years to come.
Begin the Legal Process Promptly
Medical care, rehabilitation, and counseling costs far exceed the means of most families in southern California. Successful personal injury claims can provide traumatic brain injury victims with the financial resources that they and their families will require.
This can’t be stressed strongly enough. If you or someone you love is a TBI victim because another person was negligent, you must begin the legal process promptly. The law in California gives a TBI victim two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
There are several very narrow exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. In some cases, the two-year deadline may be extended if:
1. the victim did not immediately discover or suspect that he or she had suffered a personal injury as the result of an incident of negligence
2. the victim was under 18 years of age or lacked “the legal capacity to make decisions” at the time the injury occurred
3. the allegedly negligent party tried to hide his or her identity or fled the state to avoid or delay legal action
Nevertheless, you should speak to a Pasadena personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you are a TBI victim due to another person’s carelessness. Don’t wait two years and then act in haste. Good legal help is not hard to find in southern California, and having that legal help is your right.