A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have devastating consequences that can permanently change your life.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to recover compensation for your losses.
After enduring such a severe injury, you deserve to get financial relief that helps you and your family get on the road to recovery.
Contact a San Francisco brain injury lawyer to learn more about how they can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you need.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries occur when a person suffers damage to their brain caused by some external force.
This trauma can occur for various reasons, including auto collisions, slip-and-fall accidents, workplace injuries, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.
In 2020, 176 Americans died from traumatic brain injuries. While persons aged 75 years and older had the highest number of TBI-related hospitalizations, TBI injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Sadly, children accounted for 2,774 TBI-related deaths in 2020.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to moderate to severe, but even mild TBIs can be serious and require medical attention. In some instances, mild TBIs can increase in severity over time, especially if not correctly diagnosed by a medical professional.
The most common types of traumatic brain injuries include the following.
Concussions are the most common type of TBI and result from blunt trauma to the head, or severe whiplash like someone would experience in a car accident.
The force of the trauma causes the brain to come into contact with the inside of the skull. Concussions often result in a loss of consciousness and sometimes temporary amnesia.
Once you receive one concussion, a subsequent concussion can be extremely harmful to your health.
Those who experience multiple concussions are more prone to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory, communication, and balance issues.
Brain contusions are brain bruises that cause small blood vessels to break and bleed. Brain contusions can result from any impact to the head.
For example, brain contusions can occur in car accidents when someone’s head hits the window or steering wheel.
Contusions can lead to loss of consciousness and other symptoms. Severe contusions may also result in brain swelling, which requires hospitalization.
Penetrating Brain Injuries
These injuries occur when a foreign object pierces the skull and can occur in various ways. Contact with a foreign object can cause serious and permanent injury to the brain.
Anoxic Brain Injuries
Anoxic brain injuries occur when the brain does not receive enough oxygen to operate correctly.
Diffuse axonal injuries occur when the head moves so violently it tears connections between the brain and the spinal cord. These injuries can be permanent and even fatal.
Hematomas can result from blood clots, stroke, heart attack, or other serious trauma.
A hematoma occurs when blood vessels in the brain rupture and can cause a dangerous increase in pressure around the brain.
Hypoxic Brain Injuries
Hypoxic brain injuries occur when the brain suffers damage because it has not received all of the oxygen it needs to function properly.
Second Impact Syndrome
When a person receives a second brain injury after they’ve already sustained a first one, the second injury can cause more catastrophic damage than it otherwise would have.
For example, if someone suffered a concussion and then suffered a second concussion shortly thereafter, they can experience symptoms such as brain swelling, disorientation, and headaches.
Common Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe traumatic brain injury symptoms are usually apparent and require hospitalization. However, mild to moderate brain injuries can be more challenging to recognize.
If you were involved in a collision, slip and fall, or other accident, symptoms to look out for that might indicate a traumatic brain injury include:
- Trouble recognizing people or places,
- Confusion, restlessness, or agitation;
- Unusual behavior; and
- Difficulty concentrating on everyday tasks.
These symptoms may present themselves immediately or may take hours or days to appear.
Physical symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Persistent headache,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Convulsions or seizures,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Drowsiness or unusual fatigue,
- Dizziness or loss of coordination,
- Changes in vision,
- Clear fluids leaking from the nose or ears,
- Hearing loss or hypersensitivity to sound and light, and
- Numbness or weakness in the fingers or toes.
It’s vital to closely monitor your behavior and symptoms and keep a lookout for any changes that match the above symptoms.
If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and contact California brain injury lawyers.
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A failure to immediately address the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can have long-lasting and detrimental consequences, including:
- Physical impairments,
- Cognitive disabilities,
- Communication issues,
- Emotional distress,
- Impulse control issues, and
- Involuntary movement issues.
Prolonged rehabilitation programs and continued medical attention may help reduce the severity of these effects.
However, these long-term conditions can cause substantial disruption to an injured victim’s livelihood, including impacting their ability to hold a job or enjoy life in the way they did before their injury.
How Can a San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyer Help Me?
After enduring such a severe injury, it’s crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced San Francisco brain injury lawyer.
You may wonder how an attorney can help you in your recovery. Personal injury cases involving TBIs can present complex legal issues which require a skilled attorney.
First, your attorney investigates the facts of your claim by reviewing medical records and speaking to medical professionals and other parties who have information about the incident that led to your injury.
All this evidence is used to build a strong case on your behalf.
Second, your attorney works to calculate the amount of damages you might be eligible to receive.
Calculating an accurate value for your case goes beyond simply adding up your medical bills.
Your attorney must also consider your long-term prognosis, your future medical costs, and what effect your injury had on you and your family.
Third, your attorney negotiates with the responsible parties to reach a favorable settlement.
A personal injury attorney is well-versed in the tactics used by insurance companies and defense attorneys to avoid large settlement payouts.
Your lawyer helps you decide if an offer is worth accepting and prepares your case for trial if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached.
With an experienced brain injury advocate on your side, you can rest assured that someone is advocating for your best interest as you and your family focus on recovery.
What Compensation Can I Recover?
San Francisco traumatic brain injury lawyers and accident attorneys help traumatic brain injury victims get the compensation they deserve.
The severity of your injuries directly impacts the amount of compensatory relief you may receive.
For example, mild traumatic brain injury settlements may be substantially smaller than settlements for those with a TBI resulting in permanent injury or disability.
While no money can ever replace what your injury took from you, it may help you and your family regain some semblance of normalcy in your lives.
California divides compensatory relief into economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages represent financial losses that are directly related to your injuries.
These damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of earning capacity, and
- Property damage.
Tangible evidence such as bills, invoices, pay stubs, and other financial documents can be used to support your recovery of economic damages.
Noneconomic damages represent psychological and emotional losses related to your injury.
Because these losses are subjective and unique to each victim, noneconomic damages are substantially more challenging to prove than economic damages and include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Permanent injury or disfigurement,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
Noneconomic compensation provides victims with financial relief for the intangible losses associated with their injury.
For many victims, these damages can be substantial and greatly benefit them and their families after a life-changing injury.
Without a brain injury advocate on your side, it’s very challenging to recover noneconomic damages because they are difficult to prove.
California does not place a limit on noneconomic damage awards except in medical malpractice cases.
In medical malpractice cases, noneconomic damages are limited to $250,000.
Having no cap on most noneconomic damages claims allows injured victims to seek the total value of their noneconomic losses.
Punitive damages may be available in some situations.
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their conduct and to deter future similar conduct by the defendant or anyone else.
Courts only award punitive damages to victims in specific scenarios where clear and convincing evidence shows the defendant is guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.
In other words, the defendant must have:
- Intended to injure the victim,
- Willfully or consciously disregarded the victim’s safety,
- Subjected the injured victim to cruel and unjust hardship in disregarding their rights, or
- Intentionally deceived the injured victim.
Although there is no cap on punitive damage awards, any award must relate to the size of the economic and noneconomic compensatory awards.
When you choose the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart, you will be represented by one of the finest trial lawyers in California.
We prioritize giving every client personal attention from their first consultation to the end of their case.
Our clients are never passed off to a paralegal or junior lawyer.
With years of experience as a defense lawyer, Chuck understands how the opponent thinks and uses his knowledge to fight for the best possible results for his injured clients.
Contact the Law Office of Chuck Geehart today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.
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A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation.
As a British journalist, recently based in San Francisco and without medical insurance, things seemed pretty messy after I found myself in an airport shuttle, driven by a lunatic, who struck a parked cab. I had to go to hospital, who diagnosed a head injury – as, later, did a neurologist – but the shuttle company’s insurance company continually balked at paying the bills.
A friend recommended Chuck Geerhart. It was an excellent recommendation. He was a great lawyer to have on my side, persistent in his battles with the insurance company, supportive of his client and a pleasure to work with, resolving the claim with the minimum of fuss.Susan
Chuck made sure I was fairly compensated for this life altering injury.
I was working as an air traffic controller at SFO when a notoriously faulty elevator slammed to a stop between floors, throwing me against the wall and rupturing discs in my neck. I had to have major surgery on my neck. The City and the elevator maintenance company denied liability, until Chuck Geerhart obtained copies of all prior repair records which showed the elevator was continually resetting due to a power supply issue.
During the discovery phase of the case, to protect my privacy rights, he filed a motion with court to block a subpoena issued by the defense that sought to obtain my complete confidential employment file and complete health history in violation of the law. We ultimately settled the case for $1,000,000 after mediation.
I feel that Chuck did a great job making sure I was fairly compensated for this life-altering injury.Denise
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine.
I was fortunate to have been referred to Chuck Geerhart when I was dealing with a very painful and tragic case of abuse by religious leadership, which was stretched over five years.Frank
Chuck Geerhart dealt with my case in the most humane way I could imagine. He was intelligent and strategic in his approach, always very communicative; an attentive ear, fearless and confident support for someone who was very confused and seeking answers where there were only walls. He always involved me in the process, sharing crucial information with me and allowing me the time and space to decide and move forward. He treated me like a partner, which helped me recover the power that was taken away from me.
At the same time he provided the professional expertise which I needed in order to win the case. The process of winning this case was as empowering as the actual outcome. It was a healing experience in itself. I am very happy with the support and guidance I got from Chuck as well as with the monetary result from such a serious injury. It has truly helped me move on in a good way.