Can I File a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you or a loved one are suffering, a traumatic brain injury lawsuit can help you pay for medical expenses. But not all injuries equal lawsuits.
Here are some details to help you determine if you can file a traumatic brain injury lawsuit. If you think you or a loved one should receive compensation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is any injury to the head that causes brain damage. The damage can range from a mild concussion to long term memory problems or even coma.
The most common causes in the United States of TBIs include falls, car accidents, and sports injuries. However, just because a doctor has diagnosed you with a TBI doesn’t automatically mean you can receive compensation.
If you are responsible for your injury, you cannot receive compensation for it. Even if the head trauma occurred in a car or bike accident, you must prove that the other driver directly caused your injury.
Personal Injury Cases
To receive compensation following a TBI, you’ll have to prove negligence, which involves establishing five separate matters: duty, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause, and damages.
Michigan also recognizes comparative fault. Even if the defendant contributed to their accident, they might still receive some compensation. Without all five, a lawsuit might be unsuccessful.
The first step in determining if you can file a traumatic brain injury lawsuit is establishing whether the defendant had a duty to you. For example, if your injury occurred while trespassing but the defendant wasn’t aware you were on their land, a judge may determine that the defendant did not have a duty to protect you.
Because of Michigan’s comparative fault statute, it’s possible to continue with a lawsuit, even if you were partially at fault.
Breach of Duty
After you’ve proven duty, you must then determine the defendant breached his duty. It can be harder to prove a breach of duty. You’ll need to prove to a jury that you were injured because the defendant failed in his duty.
Cause in Fact
The next step is to prove which action caused your injuries. For example, in a car accident, you would need to prove that by running a red light, the defendant caused the accident, and therefore your TBI.
It’s helpful to pinpoint the exact moment an injury occurred. In the car accident example, it would help if your doctor can prove that you injured your head by hitting the steering wheel.
Proximate Cause is even harder to prove. You’ll need to show to a jury that the defendant could have foreseen the results of his actions. If you are injured in a car accident directly caused by the defendant, that is likely a proximate cause.
If the accident doesn’t result in an injury, but a few days later you receive a head injury en route to a mechanic, that would likely be considered unforeseen circumstances.
Once you have proved that the defendant did cause your injury, you must also prove damages. Damages can include medical bills, physical damages to your motor vehicle, or a new disability that impacts your ability to work.
It’s best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer before filing a lawsuit. Because a negligence case must meet all five elements, it can be difficult for someone without legal training to present a successful claim.
If the above elements are only partially satisfied, you might still be eligible for partial compensation. Contact your lawyer before filing a case, especially if you believe you might be partly responsible for the accident that caused your injury.
Potential Damages in a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit
TBIs can cause many problems both immediately after the injury and later. Even with a mild TBI, many patients experience confusion and an inability to concentrate for a short time after the accident.
You may need to take time off work due to your injury. Don’t decide this yourself; have a doctor document exactly what your injuries are and why they or any side effects mean you cannot work.
If you suffered a moderate or severe TBI, you likely have incurred substantial medical expenses. Record any communications with insurance companies, keeping track of any rejected or out of pocket costs.
In addition to medical damages, don’t forget to include any damages sustained to your car or bike, if you were involved in a road accident.
Many people connect short-term confusion and memory loss with head trauma. However, TBIs can result in other complications.
Some people develop seizures as a result of a TBI. Seizures are a serious medical diagnosis and require long-term treatment and medication.
Others, especially those recovering from a coma, lose some motor function. Loss of limb use can directly impact your ability to work. In addition to filing a TBI lawsuit, you may also be eligible to receive a disability check.
Cognitive problems are also common in patients recovering from moderate to severe TBIs. Slurred speech, lack of concentration, memory problems, or language problems can all impact your quality of life and ability to work.
If you suffer from any of these complications, make sure to keep detailed records of all doctor appointments, medications, and days of work missed.
Unseen Damages of TBIs
Recently, there have been improvements in neurology, making it possible to pinpoint the exact location of brain injuries. If you are still experiencing side effects like confusion, insomnia, or lack of focus, and your CT Scan shows nothing, consider consulting a specialist with access to an HDFT.
Should You File?
Every case is different and depends on many factors. Even if you are clearly suffering from your injury, you will not receive compensation if you cannot prove the defendant’s duty to you, or that he was responsible for your injury.
Before contacting a lawyer, gather all your evidence and records. Police reports, eyewitness accounts, and medical records can all help to support your case.
Working With a Lawyer
If you or a loved one has experienced pain and suffering from a traumatic brain injury, you should work with a dedicated law firm experienced in personal injury law.
Proving negligence is a complicated legal matter, and Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., have shown time and time again, they are up to the task.
Eileen Kroll, a seasoned partner at the law firm, is also a registered nurse. With her medical experience, she can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation.
If you or a loved one has a TBI and you believe another party’s negligence caused it, call our law firm at 866-MICH-LAW to set up a free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.