According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.5 million people in the United States will visit the emergency room because of a traumatic brain injury this year. Brain injuries are devastatingly life-altering and surprisingly, they often go undetected by those who suffer from them. Silent and sometimes difficult to see, traumatic brain injuries can be easily overlooked or misunderstood, even by medical professionals. Sometimes, brain injuries are not initially present after an accident, and it may take weeks or longer to even notice the symptoms.
Every type of brain injury is unique and deserves proper care. In instances where you are not at fault for your injury, you may be able to file a brain injury liability claim. If your injury is because of someone else’s negligence, such as an accident or a doctor’s malpractice, you have a right to file a liability claim against those at fault. You deserve experienced lawyers who know how to identify brain injuries and how to fight to get you compensated for your injuries.
The skilled attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm have over three decades of experience handling complex cases, like those that often surround traumatic brain injuries. If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury, do not hesitate to contact our law offices for a free consultation, at (215) 709-6940. We work closely with nurse practitioners, brain injury experts, and medical lawyers to ensure you get the help and reward you deserve.
Not All Brain Injuries are the Same
There are two different types of brain injuries. The severity of the trauma depends on several factors, such as the type and/or the amount of force, that the head endured during the injury. The two major types of brain injuries are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI).
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury is caused by external trauma to the head. This trauma can be a closed head injury, such as the head hitting the windshield in a car accident that would cause bruising or swelling to the brain. This trauma can also be penetrative, like a skull fracture or a bullet passing through the head. While car accidents do account for many closed head brain injuries, participation in contact sports like football, or workplace accidents like falling from a ladder are other examples of injuries that may result in brain damage.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
The other type of brain injury is one resulting from oxygen deprivation or anoxia. This type of brain injury is called an acquired brain injury. Acquired brain injury can occur because of a number of reasons, such as near-drowning of a heart attack. Smoke inhalation during a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning also causes a lack of oxygen to the brain, which may result in an acquired brain injury.
Both types of brain injuries; traumatic and acquired, can happen because of someone else’s wrongdoing and should be taken seriously by experienced professionals.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries can range from mild to severe and can show some or all of the following symptoms:
- The weakening of motor skills, like walking or talking
- Lack of sleep or appetite
- Concentration problems or issues
- Difficulties remembering or finding the right words
- Changes in character or behavior
- Lack of focus
When a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, the type and extent of the injury depend on the areas of the brain that were damaged. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can include:
- Memory loss
- Full or partial paralysis
- A lessening of mental function
- Communication problems
- Mood swings
- Spine pain
- Neck pain
- Sensory loss
Common Causes of Brain Injuries in Philadelphia
If you suffered a brain injury because of another person or company’s conduct, the at-fault party should be held responsible for any losses you incurred because of the injury. While brain injuries are caused by a wide variety of accidents and conduct, below are some common ones our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys handle.
Automotive Vehicle Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3 million people a year suffer non-fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents across the county. Unfortunately, many of these injure include severe head trauma, including concussions and various degrees of traumatic brain injuries. If you are in a car accident, your head could be struck by debris or crash into a windshield, steering wheel, or another object. Additionally, the excessive forces of an accident could snap an occupant’s head in such a way as to injure the brain without a blow.
In many cases, these kinds of injuries are not readily apparent and an injured victim might not have a visual indication of a brain injury. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury could begin to manifest days after an accident. Therefore, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you have been involved in a car accident.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A common cause of traumatic brain injuries is slip and fall accidents. Falls are one of the most common ways people are injured. Often, a slip and fall accident will only result in some bruising and hurt pride. However, depending on how a person falls, or if they fall from a significant height, they could suffer a severe head or brain injury. Internal bleeding could go unnoticed for some time, further damaging the brain.
Some slip and fall accidents are merely accidents; a person loses their footing for no real reason. However, in other cases, a fall was preventable. For example, you might have slipped on a wet surface in a grocery store that was not cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time. Property owners are obligated to keep their property reasonably free from dangerous and hazardous conditions. If you suffered a brain injury on another’s property, the owner or manager could be held liable for your damages.
Sports and Athletic Accidents
Many traumatic brain injuries are the result of sports-related accidents. Head injuries are common in physical and high-contact sports such as football and hockey. These types of injuries also occur in nearly every other sport, though they might not be as common.
In many cases, if you suffer a brain injury while engaged in a sport, you do not have a legal basis for a personal injury lawsuit. There is an assumption of risk on the part of anyone participating in a physical or contact sport. However, some traumatic brain injuries that occur on the field result from negligence, such as poorly maintained field conditions, defective equipment, failing to provide medical attention, or the intentional conduct of another player. It is important to discuss the circumstances surrounding your injury with our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys to determine if you have viable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries
Unfortunately, many children come into this world with a traumatic brain injury. Infants could suffer brain and head injuries during a difficult delivery. When a doctor applies too much force in extracting a child, injuries could occur. Surgical instruments, including forceps and vacuum extractors, and damage a baby’s head if they are used negligently. Brain injuries also happen when a child is deprived of oxygen. If a doctor fails to notice or address signs of fetal distress, they could be held liable for the harm they cause. Medical malpractice claims are challenging and require our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys.
While many traumatic brain injuries result from negligent and reckless conduct, some result from intentional acts of violence. Assault, battery, domestic violence, and gunshot wounds are common forms of violent behavior that leave victims with devastating brain injuries. These intentional acts of violence are subject to criminal punishment. However, victims could still seek financial compensation from their assailant through a civil claim. Victims of deliberate violence should contact an attorney to review their rights.
Proving Negligence For a Brain Injury in Philadelphia
Nearly every personal injury lawsuit for a brain injury is based on the legal theory of negligence. To succeed in a negligence claim, the plaintiff, or the injured party, must prove that the defendant, the party who caused the harm, is legally liable for the injury. To establish legal negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate all the following elements.
The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Duty of care is an obligation to keep another from harm. For example, a driver owes other motorists a duty to follow the rules of the road and not to engage in any behavior, such as texting, that endangers others. Duty of care typically arises from the relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff.
The defendant must have violated, or breached, this duty. This means that the defendant acted in such a way to unreasonably endanger the plaintiff. To put it another way, the defendant did not do what a reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances. Returning to the driving example above, a reasonable person would know that it is dangerous to text and drive. Therefore, if someone is texting while driving, they are breaching the duty of care.
The breach of duty must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If someone rear-ends a stopped car because they were texting, their breach of duty resulted in an accident and injured the plaintiff.
Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered damages. Legally, damages are the financial harm, such as medical bills or lost income, a person sustains because of an injury. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries commonly result in significant damages. Our Philadelphia brain injury lawyers will thoroughly review your case to calculate your potential recoverable damages.
How Can Our Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorneys Help You?
Following a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to collect compensation for your losses that extend past what you would expect. Not only do you deserve compensation for medical bills, but because brain injuries can dramatically change one’s ability to function at work and in the home, you may be entitled to a large award. Brain injuries can have lifelong and life-altering effects, that may even require long-term care. Your compensation may cover rehabilitation costs, long-term care costs, loss of wages, medical and hospital bills, pain and suffering, and other costs. The bottom line is that you are not alone. You deserve attorneys that understand the laws surrounding your case, and who strive to increase the like hood that you will recover the compensation you deserve.