Attorneys Serving Clients Who Suffer TBI Due to Negligence
A brain injury is one of the most devastating outcomes in any accident. The lifetime cost of a TBI (traumatic brain injury) is in the millions of dollars, with untold mental and emotional effects on the victims and their loved ones.
If you or a family member suffered a brain injury in an accident that was not your fault, you should not have to shoulder these costs on your own. The personal injury lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have extensive experience with claims involving brain injuries.
For a free case review, please call (845) 303-8777 today. O’Connor & Partners, PLLC serves clients throughout the Hudson Valley, including Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Newburgh, and other areas of New York.
The Impact of Brain Injury
Brain injuries are a daily occurrence in New York. According to the New York State Department of Health, nearly 400 people per day are hospitalized with a TBI.
Every year over 130,000 people in New York receive emergency room treatment or are hospitalized with a TBI. Annually, over 2,000 traumatic brain injuries in the state result in death.
Causes of Brain Injuries
Any type of trauma to the head can result in a brain injury. The injury can range from a mild concussion to severe trauma to the brain.
Some of the most common causes of brain injury include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Falls, including:
- Falls from heights, such as roofs, ladders, and more
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Physical assaults
- Sports injuries
- Workplace accidents, including:
- Construction accidents
- Warehouse accidents
- Factory accidents
- Farming accidents
Brain injury can also occur in cases of medical malpractice. There are many situations in which patients can be deprived of oxygen and suffer damage to the brain, from anesthesia errors to a failure to control bleeding or diagnose life-threatening conditions. Tragically, children may suffer brain damage as a result of birth injuries sustained during delivery or as a result of undiagnosed and untreated infections.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
TBI can affect the brain in a multitude of ways. Brain injury symptoms may have a physical, emotional, and/or cognitive component:
- Physical symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of balance
- Blurry vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of consciousness
- Emotional symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Loss of impulse control
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Cognitive/mental symptoms:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Memory loss and difficulty retaining information
- Trouble concentrating
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Difficulty learning
One person’s symptoms may be very different from those of another. Some symptoms may be apparent immediately after the accident occurs, while others may develop over time.
Treatment of Brain Injury
Immediately following a brain injury, medical professionals will focus on diagnosing the severity and preventing complications. This includes controlling swelling, bleeding, and intracranial pressure (pressure within the skull), as well as protecting the oxygen supply to the brain.
Generally, mild brain injuries such as a concussion just require rest. In the event of a moderate to severe brain injury, however, long-term hospitalization and surgery may be necessary.
One of the most difficult aspects of brain injury comes during recovery. Victims of serious brain injuries typically require extensive therapy and rehabilitation – sometimes for the rest of their lives – in order to regain function.
Due to the wide-ranging effects of traumatic brain injury, the treatment plan will be customized to the patient’s unique needs. These may include:
- Physical therapy to assist with walking, balance, and other actions
- Occupational therapy to relearn how to perform everyday tasks
- Psychiatric counseling and neuropsychology treatment to manage behavioral changes and psychological issues
- Vocational therapy to assist with relearning job activities and identifying opportunities for employment
- Speech therapy to improve speaking ability and/or provide training on adaptive equipment
- Recreational therapy to improve well-being through specially designed leisure activities
Most brain injury patients begin rehab while they are still in the hospital. Over time, therapy continues at specialized care facilities or through outpatient programs. Some victims of brain injury may require a home healthcare worker to assist with daily activities.
Compensation for Brain Injury
The cost of emergency care and rehabilitation for brain injuries is enormous. Victims and their families often face massive financial challenges from medical bills alone, not to mention the loss of income that occurs when a family member is unable to work.
At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, our team focuses on getting you the maximum compensation available for your injuries. In cases of traumatic brain injury, the damages we may be able to recover on your behalf include:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses for medication, assistance at home, modifying your home or vehicle, and more
- Lost earning capacity (reflects the wages you or your loved one would have earned had the brain injury not occurred)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium, society, or parental guidance (depending on the family members affected)
With more than 2,000 people killed each year in New York due to brain injuries, it is a tragic possibility that your loved one may not survive the accident. If this happens, our attorneys can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of your family.
The damages that may be recoverable for surviving family members when a loved one suffers a fatal brain injury include:
- Loss of income
- Loss of benefits and other financial contributions
- Loss of household support
- Funeral expenses
- Expenses for burial or cremation
- Loss of consortium, care and society, and parental guidance (depending on the surviving family members)
- Medical expenses for your loved one’s treatment before death
- The deceased’s pain and suffering
In both personal injury and wrongful death claims involving TBI, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant in the case is determined to have acted with particular carelessness or maliciousness.
How O’Connor & Partners, PLLC Can Help
Brain injury claims are often complicated. Comprehensive investigation of the accident that resulted in the injury, specialized review of medical records, and thorough accounting of current and future losses are all key parts of preparing an effective case.
At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, this is what we do. We prepare every case as though it will go to trial while negotiating on your behalf for a fair settlement. Our attorneys have achieved multimillion-dollar recoveries on behalf of clients who suffered brain injuries in motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.
Our passion is serving our clients. We have seen the impact of serious trauma on victims and their families, including children who suffer brain injuries that result in lifelong impairment.
We put all of our experience to work on behalf of our clients. You can trust us to pursue the optimal result in your case.
Brain Injury FAQ
How much compensation will I get for a brain injury?
The compensation recovered in a traumatic brain injury case depends on a number of factors. Settlement amounts can vary greatly, depending on the severity of the injury and the impact it has on the victim’s life. To determine the value of a TBI lawsuit, your attorney and a medical expert will work to understand:
- The severity of the brain injury: Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe, and the compensation you can recover for your injury will reflect that. For example, a concussion that prevents you from working for several weeks will likely require less compensation than a severe brain injury that requires a lifetime of care.
- Your ability to return to work: If you suffered a brain injury due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation for the wages you lost as a result of your injury. While it is important to recover the earnings you missed recently, it is crucial to consider the wages you will lose in the future. If you are unable to work because of your injury, you deserve compensation for your lost wages. You can also recover damages if you were forced to work less hours or take a job that paid less because of your injury. For these reasons, your occupation and age greatly affect the amount of compensation you can recover in your claim.
- How your brain injury affects other aspects of your life: A traumatic brain injury affects more than just your ability to work; it can affect your behavior, emotions, and ability to communicate. This can directly impact your personal relationships with friends and family. If your injury affected your personal relationships, you deserve compensation.
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering: In addition to putting undue strain on your relationships, and traumatic brian injury can also cause severe physical and emotional pain and suffering. You can recover damages for this.
How do you prove traumatic brain injury?
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone’s careless or reckless behavior, you will need to prove the other person’s negligence to recover damages for your injury. When proving your case, your attorney will gather a broad range of evidence and testimony to support your claim, including:
- Your experience: You are a critical source of evidence. Your testimony about the cause of your injury and the impact it has had on your life are key elements of a successful case. Your medical records will also demonstrate your symptoms, diagnosis, and progress.
- Medical experts: Documents and testimony from medical experts can provide compelling evidence of your brain injury. Neurologists, speech pathologists, health care providers, your treating physician, and other medical experts could be called as witnesses to strengthen your case.
- Medical tests: Imaging and tests, such as a computerized tomography scan (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring can reveal injuries to the brain.
- TBI rating: Once TBI is diagnosed, the next step is to rate the level of injury, which includes mild TBI (you were either not unconscious, or unconscious for less than 30 minutes, with less than a day of memory loss), moderate TBI (You were unconscious between 30 minutes and 24 hours, and memory loss lasted between one to seven days), and severe TBI (You were unconscious more than 24 hours with memory loss more than seven days).
Does TBI get worse over time?
Some brain injuries can get worse over time. Although physicians aren’t exactly sure why certain TBI patients experience a decline, there is belief that worsening TBI cases may have three primary causes:
- Secondary brain injury: These are complications that occur after the initial injury, such as infections or hematomas. In some cases, an injury kills neurons by cutting off blood circulation to certain areas of the brain.
- Chemical changes: Following brain trauma, harmful chemical events occur within the brain. For example, brain injuries often lead to an excess of neurotransmitters in the brain, overstimulating brain cells and causing cell death.
- Inadequate treatment: If the victim of a traumatic brain injury does not receive proper treatment, it can cause symptoms to worsen.
How can I tell if a brain injury is mild or severe?
Understanding the severity of a brain injury is a major factor in determining the impact the injury will have on the life of a TBI victim. Brain injuries are generally categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the following criteria:
- Mild brain injury: Brief or no loss of consciousness, memory loss, lethargy, dizziness and vomiting
- Moderate brain injury: Up to 24 hours of unconsciousness, signs of brain trauma, signs of injury on neuroimaging tests, bleeding or contusions
- Severe brain injury: More than 24 hours of unconsciousness (coma), signs of injury on neuroimaging tests, no sleep/wake cycle during loss of consciousness
Contact Our New York Brain Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, you need knowledgeable legal guidance and aggressive representation to recover the compensation you deserve. Our TBI attorneys have more than 150 years of combined experience in serious personal injury cases. We will thoroughly investigate the accident, calculate the full extent of damages, and pursue every penny you deserve.
Contact O’Connor & Partners, PLLC for a free case review by calling (845) 303-8777 today. Our brain injury lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and throughout the Hudson Valley, as well as other areas of New York.