Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is estimated to affect about 2.8 million people in the US each year.
Many of these injuries are a mild type of TBI called a concussion, but even a mild brain injury can have long-reaching consequences for the injured person, including difficulties with cognition, movement, or memory.
While getting medical attention right away will give you the best chance at a full recovery, it’s not possible to know for sure if you will suffer any permanent difficulties. Additionally, some symptoms of TBI may not be evident right away.
Because the brain controls your entire body, the list of potential symptoms is lengthy. Depending on where in the brain your injury occurred, you might struggle with one or more of the following issues:
- Difficulty walking or moving. Some people experience weakness on one side or trouble with balance and coordination.
- Challenges with speech, writing, or language. While being unable to recall the word you want to use can happen to anyone occasionally, a person with a TBI might experience this difficulty multiple times in a brief conversation. Or they may have a hard time reading or processing words they hear.
- Sensory symptoms. TBI patients might have ringing in the ears, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or sound, or changes in taste and smell.
- Cognitive issues, like problems with memory, concentration, or decision-making. Some people may struggle with everyday tasks like paying bills, shopping, or doing household chores.
- Mood or mental health challenges. Mood swings, depression, and anxiety are all more likely after a TBI. Some studies suggest people who have suffered a TBI may have a two to five times higher risk of depression.
- Chronic headaches.
- Sleep difficulties.
Can a Breckenridge Brain Injury Attorney Help You Recover Damages for Your Injuries?
If your injury was the result of another party’s negligence, we could pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills. Treating a TBI can be expensive. More severe injuries may require hospitalization, medication, or even surgery to reduce swelling in the brain or repair a brain bleed. But sometimes, the bills increase as the patient gets better and requires physical or occupational therapy to regain lost function, especially if their health insurance limits how many therapy sessions will be covered. Other patients may need long-term care.
- Lost income and earning potential. It can be difficult or impossible to do your job when you’re still struggling with the effects of a TBI. The loss in income and mounting medical bills can cause a considerable shift in your financial stability. Worse, if you suffer permanent effects from your TBI, you could be unable to return to work, or you may need to take a lower-paying job in another field. We can help you seek compensation for both lost income and your lost earning potential.
- Permanent disability. Whether or not it affects your income, you can request damages for any permanent disability your TBI causes.
- Pain and suffering. This refers to both physical and mental or emotional pain. Being unable to do your usual activities can be incredibly frustrating, and many people become depressed or anxious after a head injury. Others may also have intense physical pain from headaches or medication side effects.
- Wrongful death. Losing someone you love is devastating, and the last thing you need is to struggle with financial difficulties while grieving and caring for your other family members. If you lost a loved one to a TBI, you might be able to seek damages, including medical bills related to the injury, funeral or burial costs, lost earning potential, and your loss of consortium or companionship.
How Can You Prove Fault in a Brain Injury Case?
We’ll start by reviewing the details of your injury and how it occurred. It’s all right if you don’t remember the accident – many people with TBIs have some level of amnesia around the event.
We can investigate further, if necessary, by talking to witnesses, searching for a video of the injury, and using other electronic tools.
Some of the most common causes of TBI are:
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, they may have been negligent – even if you didn’t see what you slipped on or don’t know what happened. Our investigators can visit the scene, talk to witnesses, and review the property owner’s insurance coverage.
In many cases, we can recover damages from a homeowner’s or business liability insurance policy.
However, we do have to demonstrate that the owner was negligent in some way. Often this means searching for evidence of the following situations:
- The owner or manager failed to fix a hazardous condition. Usually, the hazardous condition is a wet floor or some sort of debris or other tripping hazard. We’ll need to show that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous situation and had a reasonable amount of time to fix it but did not take action.
- The owner or manager failed to warn you about a hazardous condition that could not be corrected or couldn’t be fixed right away. For example, if you’ve ever seen a sign warning you of “uneven flooring” or to “watch your step,” then the property owner was advising you to be cautious of a known hazard. If there were no signs and you tripped on an uneven floor, the owner might have been negligent.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
We see many TBI cases resulting from collisions between cars, trucks, or motorcycles. With these, we usually start by reviewing the accident report, and we may find that the other driver was cited for the collision.
Some people think it will be easy to prove fault if the other driver received a ticket, and it certainly doesn’t hurt, but it’s still possible for the other party to claim you were at fault.
It’s important to understand that some parts of the police report are subjective. The officer will gather as much information as possible at the scene, usually from the drivers and witnesses to the accident.
They also observe other evidence at the scene, such as vehicle damage or where pieces of accident debris landed. After this process is complete, the officer fills out a section of the report with their opinion of how the accident happened based on the available evidence.
Unfortunately, sometimes the evidence is minimal, and the other driver might argue that you were actually at fault.
Additionally, the other driver’s insurance company might agree that you were at fault, so they won’t have to pay your claim.
Under Colorado law, multiple parties can share responsibility for an accident, and the person who is mostly at fault (more than 50 percent) pays damages to the lesser-responsible party. However, the damages are reduced by the lesser-responsible party’s percentage of fault.
If the insurance company claims you are 20 percent responsible because they have misinterpreted something you said (this happens frequently), they would still have to pay your claim, but you would lose 20 percent of your damages.
Fortunately, an experienced Breckenridge brain injury lawyer can work to gather evidence of the other driver’s culpability and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We strongly advise you not to speak with the insurance company before consulting a lawyer.
Gunshot Wounds and Other Violent Encounters
If you’ve suffered a TBI from a gunshot wound or another act of violence, you may have sought justice through the criminal courts. In the best-case scenario, the perpetrator was arrested, brought to trial, and convicted.
While that may bring you a sense of justice, it won’t help you with your medical bills and other damages. Unfortunately, many of these cases don’t end with a conviction for various reasons.
Perhaps the perpetrator was never caught, the prosecutor declined to bring charges against them due to lack of evidence, or they were acquitted in a trial because the jury didn’t believe they were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For all of these reasons, we sometimes meet people who want to sue the perpetrator. While there are some situations where this may be a good option, most of the time, it isn’t.
The burden of proof in civil court is much lower than in criminal court.
The defendant only has to be found guilty by a “preponderance of evidence.” In other words, the jury doesn’t have to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, only that they are most likely guilty based on the available evidence.
Although it may be easier to win a civil case against the perpetrator, you could have a problem collecting your damages. The defendant will not have an insurance policy that covers their criminal or intentional actions.
We can attempt to seize their assets, but if they have few or no assets, you may never see most of the damages you’re awarded.
However, there may be other ways to seek damages. If you were the victim of a crime while on someone else’s property, the owner or manager may have been negligent. Property owners have a duty to maintain appropriate security so people on the property will be relatively safe.
If we can show that the owner was negligent in taking reasonable security measures, we may be able to pursue damages from their business liability insurance.
How Can You Get Help From a Breckenridge Brain Injury Law Firm?
Please contact the Olson Law Firm at (720) 730-4325 for a free consultation about your brain injury. We’ll review your case, answer your questions, and lay out your options for seeking compensation.