A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common car accident injury that can result in significant financial losses for the accident victim. However, what happens when the accident victim is partially at fault for the cause of the car wreck. Can the accident victim still file a TBI injury claim to recover compensation for damages?
Our California TBI injury lawyer addresses those questions and other questions about traumatic brain injuries in this article. Keep reading to get answers to common TBI injury claims including:
- What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?
- Are Traumatic Brain Injuries From Car Accidents Serious?
- Investigating Car Accidents to Prove Fault
- Can I Recover Compensation for a Brain Injury If I Am Partially At Fault for Causing the Accident?
- How Much is My TBI Injury Claim Worth?
- Should I Hire a California Brain Injury Attorney?
What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?
A TBI can happen when a person sustains a blow to the head or a penetrating brain injury. The blow to the head does not need to be severe to result in a severe traumatic brain injury. A penetrating brain injury happens when an object fractures the skull and enters the brain.
However, a person can sustain a concussion or traumatic brain injury without a blow to the head. You could sustain a TBI from a severe case of whiplash or other accident that causes your head to move in a sudden, violent jerking motion. The jerking motion can cause the brain to “bounce” against the skull. The soft tissues of the brain can be severely damaged at the places it impacts with the hard skull.
TBI symptoms vary depending on the person and the severity of the brain damage. Common symptoms of brain injury include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of consciousness (not required for a TBI)
- Headaches or pain
- Dizziness and/or confusion
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Trouble with concentration
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Seizures or convulsions
- Changes in senses
- Tingling or numbness in arms or legs
- Loss of coordination
If you believe you suffered a head injury or brain injury in a car accident, it is best to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. Quick intervention and treatment for a TBI can help prevent life-threatening and debilitating conditions.
You can find more information about the symptoms and treatments for traumatic brain injuries in our Overview of Traumatic Brain Injuries in our blog.
Are Traumatic Brain Injuries From Car Accidents Serious?
Yes, a TBI caused by a car accident can be very serious. Even a mild TBI, generally referred to as a concussion, can have long-term effects. Some individuals suffer from chronic headaches and other lingering TBI symptoms that impair their ability to work.
A moderate or severe TBI increases the risk of life-threatening conditions and permanent impairments and disabilities. Someone who suffers from a brain injury caused by a car accident could experience:
- Ongoing bouts of blurred vision or double vision;
- Difficulty with equilibrium and balance, including vertigo;
- Decreased ability to walk;
- Sensory problems, including sensitivity to light or sound;
- Loss of fine motor skills;
- Cognitive impairments, including speech and language problems, impaired concentration, memory loss, and trouble expressing thoughts;
- Ongoing physical problems, including seizures, paralysis, sleep disorders, and chronic headaches; and,
- Behavioral and emotional disorders, including depressions, mood swings, and anxiety.
If a person sustains permanent disabilities or impairments because of a traumatic brain injury, that person could be entitled to compensation from the driver who caused the car accident. The cost of a traumatic brain injury can be substantial.
Therefore, it is wise to work with an experienced California brain injury lawyer. An attorney can help you document your damages and gather evidence proving fault to help increase the chance that you receive maximum compensation for a TBI claim.
Investigating Car Accidents to Prove Fault
California is a fault state for car accident claims. To recover money for a personal injury claim, you must prove that the other driver or another party was responsible for causing the car crash. Once you prove fault, you should be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.
A California accident lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove that the other driver is at fault. When you hire our office, our legal team begins working on your case by initiating a comprehensive car accident investigation. Gathering and preserving evidence is a key step in the claims process.
Each case is unique. However, we often take many of the same steps during an investigation. Steps that we may take as we investigate your car accident include:
- Obtaining and reviewing copies of the accident report and police report.
- Locating and taking statements from eyewitnesses.
- Locating traffic camera videos or other video evidence of the collision.
- Requesting copies of your medical records and discussing your injuries with your medical team.
- Visiting the accident scene to gather evidence.
- Expecting the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident.
- Notifying the trucking company, for cases involving large trucks, to preserve and turn over information regarding the truck driver’s employment records, truck maintenance history, truck’s black box data, and other information.
- Requesting cell phone records for the other driver.
- Obtaining records from vehicle data records and onboard systems.
- Consulting with experts, including accident reconstructionists and accident investigators.
- Obtaining copies of the other driver’s insurance policies.
In some cases, it may be more difficult to prove fault in a car accident case. For example, when an accident involves multiple vehicles, it can be more complicated to identify each factor that contributed to the cause of the accident assign fault to the correct parties for each of those factors.
However, assigning blame for the cause of the crash is very important in a TBI injury claim. Blame is directly related to the amount of compensation a victim receives for a car accident claim.
Can I Recover Compensation for a Brain Injury If I Am Partially At Fault for Causing the Accident?
California uses a pure comparative fault system to divide damages between negligent parties in a car accident case. Under a pure comparative fault system, each party involved in the accident is assigned a percentage of fault for causing the collision. Fault is used to determine who is responsible for the damages caused by the accident.
Therefore, if the other driver is 100 percent at fault for the cause of the crash, that driver is 100 percent responsible for any damages caused by the crash.
For example, if a driver turns left in front of you when you had the right of way, that driver may be found to be wholly responsible for the cause of the crash. If your damages for a TBI injury is $300,000, the responsible driver is liable for the entire $300,000.
However, if you were speeding at the time of the crash, a jury might find that you contributed to the cause of the accident. If the jury assigns 30 percent of the fault for the accident to you, you can only recover 70 percent of the value of your TBI injury claim. In the above case, the most you could receive would be $210,000 (total damages less your percentage of fault).
A TBI injury claim could total hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars if the person sustained a disability. For that reason, accident victims should consult a California traumatic brain injury lawyer about filing a TBI injury claim even if the person may have been partially at fault for the cause of the crash.
You could be 99 percent responsible for causing the crash, but you are still eligible to receive the remaining one percent of damages for the accident under California’s pure comparative fault laws. For large claims, it may be worth filing a personal injury lawsuit, even if you did contribute to the cause of the crash.
How Much is My TBI Injury Claim Worth?
The value of a TBI injury claim depends on several factors. The severity of the traumatic brain injury is a significant factor because it determines the cost to treat a brain injury and the chance of future damages for a permanent impairment. Cases involving severe TBI and permanent disabilities are generally valued higher than cases involving a concussion that heals in a few weeks.
However, fault for the car accident is also a factor, as we just discussed. If you are partially at fault, your compensation could be reduced. Another factor that impacts how much a TBI injury claim is worth includes the amount of available insurance. Insurance coverage could limit the amount of money available for a TBI injury claim.
The legal team at the Thompson Law Office assists clients in carefully documenting all damages related to a TBI injury. Careful documentation of injuries, damages, and losses can maximize the amount of money you receive for your traumatic brain injury claim.
Common damages included in a TBI injury claim include:
- Medical damages include all medical treatment, medications, medical equipment, therapy, and other costs associated with the treatment of your TBI injury.
- Loss of income is reimbursed based on the actual amount of income lost because of the accident and injury. Also, you may be entitled to future loss of income or loss of earning potential if your TBI results in a permanent impairment.
- Personal care and non-medical needs can include assistance with household chores, personal activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, feeding, etc.), and modifications to your home based on the level of impairment.
- Pain and suffering refer to physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and diminished quality of life.
- Punitive damages are rare, but may be awarded in a case that involves gross negligence or a willful and reckless disregard for the safety of others (i.e. DUI accidents).
Calculating the value of a TBI injury claim can be a complicated process. Placing an amount of your pain and suffering is difficult. However, calculating future damages can also be challenging.
Estimating the cost of future medical and personal care is one issue. Determining the future loss of income or the reduction in earning capacity is another problem.
At Thompson Law Office, we work with financial, medical, and other experts to calculate the true value of a TBI injury claim. By working with experts, we know that the value we demand to settle the claim can be backed up with evidence and expert opinions.
Should I Hire a California Brain Injury Attorney?
It is a wise decision to consult with a California brain injury attorney before discussing your claim with the insurance company or accepting a settlement offer. Insurance companies do not work for you. Claims adjusters are not on your side. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for your claim.
An attorney helps you avoid mistakes that could hurt your insurance claim. He also works to protect you from false allegations of comparative fault that the insurance company may use to decrease the value of your claim. Your attorney knows the value of your claim and fights for full compensation for all damages and injuries. Your lawyer also protects you from bad faith insurance practices that a company may use to delay or deny your injury claim unjustly.
Brain injuries are serious. Therefore, you need a serious attorney who understands traumatic brain injuries and personal injury law in California. You need an attorney who will be there for you through each step in the claims process to provide trusted legal advice, support, and guidance. The Thompson Law Office is the right choice for you.
The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Fight for You
Your time to file a personal injury claim is limited by law. Because treatment for a severe TBI injury could take over a year, do not wait to contact a lawyer. Let us monitor deadlines, handle the accident investigation, and deal with the insurance company while you focus on your recovery.
For a free consultation with a California brain injury lawyer, contact our office by calling 1-650-513-6111. We offer free case reviews. It does not cost you anything to get the facts about your TBI injury case from a trusted California injury lawyer.