Brain Injury Lawsuit FAQs
Q: What is a brain injury?
At its core, a brain injury is damage that causes either temporary or permanent functional difficulties in the brain. These injuries possibly result in death. There are a number of different ways to injure your brain, some of which may not be immediately obvious.
Q: What types of brain injuries are there?
There are two broad categories, traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries include more obvious impact-related injuries, along the lines of the following:
- Penetrative injuries, such as when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain
- Contusions, such as when an impact causes localized bleeding on the brain
- Contrecoup contusions, such as when an impact that causes the brain to slam into the opposite side of the skull creates a second contusion at the second impact site
- Diffuse axonal injury, which is caused by shaking or rotational forces that tear various brain structures
What are known as acquired brain injuries, on the other hand, are caused by oxygen deprivation. There are two varieties of such injuries:
- Anoxia, which involves absolute oxygen deprivation, possibly results in cell death, and can be fatal
- Hypoxic, which involves partial oxygen deprivation, may also result in cell death, and can also be fatal
Q: How do brain injuries affect one's daily life?
As brain injuries are so varied, the effects on one's daily life are equally varied. Brain injuries that cause cognitive deficiencies may require cognitive therapy, may prevent that person from holding an intellectually demanding job, and may even require social worker aid for fulfilling certain tasks. An example of a brain injury that causes cognitive deficiencies is anoxia, and particularly such an occurrence of anoxia that was not cured before it caused additional damage to the hippocampal (memory-forming) brain structures.
Certain brain injuries can affect the emotional systems of the brain, making the affected victim oversensitive and prone to emotional outbursts. This can have long-lasting negative psychological effects on victims and their families. Often, brain injuries impede physical abilities. Patients with impaired movement or strength may require the use of canes, wheelchairs, walkers, or other physical aids. These injuries reduce the victim's mobility and quality of life.
Q: If I've suffered a brain injury, what legal claim can I bring?
Your legal claim depends on the specific circumstances of the brain injury. Slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, intentional harm (such as a fistfight or strangulation-induced anoxia), and other impacts usually come under the umbrellas of personal injury law or premises liability. In some cases, there may be a separate criminal action stemming from the event that resulted in the injury. Disease-induced, toxin-induced, and birth- or labor-induced brain injuries are often brought as medical malpractice actions when the blame can be placed on the physicians, nurses, technicians, or hospital for performing below the reasonable standard of care.
Q: What are the benefits to filing a lawsuit for my brain injury?
Depending on the seriousness of your injury, and the extent to which the injury has negatively affected your life, you may be eligible for a substantial damage award. With serious brain injuries, you may require continuing and long-term cognitive, psychological, or physical therapy. These treatments may be very expensive. Additionally, your injuries may preclude you from work, or reduce your workplace efficiency to such an extent that your future earnings potential is limited.
The effect of a serious brain injury on you and your friends and family cannot be understated. Brain injuries fundamentally alter relationships and generally increase financial and emotional stresses. A successful lawsuit will, at the very least, help support you financially as you adapt to your injuries.
Q: I got into an accident several years ago. Can I bring a claim for my brain injury?
Although it's better to bring your claim as soon as possible after the accident, your claim may not impossible if you delay making it. Depending on your state, the statute of limitations may not have run out. You may be able to rely on your state's discovery rule. Essentially, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until you actually discover or should have known about the injury. If you did not bring a lawsuit earlier because you did not realize that you suffered a brain injury, then your statute of limitations should only begin to run at the date of discovery, which is the date when you realized that you had the injury.
Some state courts are stricter with their interpretation of the discovery rule, and the applicable standard is whether you knew or should have known about the brain injury. If a reasonable person would have known that they suffered a brain injury, then your lack of knowledge may not extend the statute of limitations. For example, if you were in a car accident and hit your head against the window, it is likely a court would recognize that you should have known that you had sustained an injury. After all, it is all too common that injuries result from such trauma.
Need the Assistance of an Attorney? Contact One Today!
If you are worried that you have suffered a brain injury, it's important to seek help. It's possible, for example, that you could obtain damages from the party that may have caused your injury. Consider contacting an attorney specializing in brain injury cases to learn more about your legal options.
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