Los Angeles Brain Injury Lawyer
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help Get You Maximum Compensation for Your Brain Injury Case
Brain injuries are extremely serious and will always require immediate medical attention. Even a minor concussion can lead to permanent cognitive and behavioral issues. The most serious brain injuries can result in permanent physical disability, paralysis, and even death. Unlike most body organs, the brain cannot heal itself by regenerating new cells.
Many victims of brain injury will literally never be the same, and even brain death is a possibility. It goes without saying that a brain injury is physically, emotionally, and financially devastating.
Fortunately, if someone else is negligence is the cause of your brain injury, you may have the right to full compensation for your damages. Find out how to get the most out of your claim when you contact an experienced Los Angeles brain injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury usually occurs as a result of a violent blow or jolt to the head. Objects such as bullets or shattered skull fragments can also penetrate through delicate brain tissue and cause a traumatic injury.
A mild traumatic brain injury has the potential to temporarily affect a victim’s brain cells, while more serious brain injuries can result in torn tissue, bruising, bleeding, and other permanent damage.
Below are five common reasons for traumatic brain injuries:
- Car accidents - accidents involving cars and motorcyclists, cyclists, or pedestrians are all common causes of many traumatic brain injuries.
- Falls - more common in young children and the elderly, falls in the bath, from a bed, ladder, or down stairs can all cause a traumatic brain injury.
- Explosive blasts - injuries caused by an explosive blast are common among active duty military personnel. Many researchers have theorized that the pressure wave passing through a victim’s brain can significantly disrupt brain functioning.
- Sports injuries - extreme and high impact sports can all cause concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
- Violence - physical assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and gunshot wounds are all common causes for a brain injury.
Brain Injury Symptoms
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have wide ranging symptoms, including physical, psychological, and emotional effects. TBI has become a recent health crisis, and there are new federal and California laws in place to prevent such injuries.
Further adding to the complex nature of brain injuries is the reality that some adverse signs or symptoms may appear immediately, while many others take days or weeks to manifest. Fortunately, there are medical tests to determine whether someone has suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
According to data quoted by Statista, there were 61,131 cases of traumatic brain injury-related deaths in the US in 2017.
If you or a loved one has suffered any type of head injury, we recommend immediate medical treatment.
Below is a broad overview of brain injury symptoms. If you or a loved one has displayed any of these symptoms, we strongly recommend seeking immediate medical treatment.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
There are an array of different brain injury symptoms which vary greatly depending on the severity of the head trauma and type of brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injuries are relatively less severe than moderate to severe ones.
- Speech issues
- Sleeping difficulties
- Vomiting and or nausea
- Poor balance or dizziness
- Drowsiness and or fatigue
- Loss of consciousness lasting a few seconds to a few minutes
- Consciousness retained, but confusion and disorientation are present
- Depression or anxiety
- Mood swings and/or mood changes
- Memory and/or concentration issues
- Noticeable sensitivity to sound and/or light
- Ringing in the ears, blurred vision, or changes in smell or taste
Moderate To Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries may include symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury, and can also include the following symptoms that may appear within hours or days after sustaining an injury:
- Slurred speech
- Severe confusion
- Combativeness, agitation and other unusual behaviors
- Constant headaches
- Seizures or convulsions
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Persistent vomiting and or nausea
- Clear fluid draining from the ears or nose
- Numbness and or weakness in fingers and or toes
- Loss of consciousness, lasting from several minutes to hours
The majority of head trauma accidents involve minor injuries that don't require hospitalization or special treatment. However, even a minor head injury can cause persistent headaches or difficulties in concentration that can be indicative of serious trauma.
Head trauma that includes symptoms such as nausea, severe headaches, or difficulty concentrating must be immediately evaluated by a medical professional.
Here’s what to do after experiencing head trauma:
Make sure an injured person remains lying down with their head and shoulders slightly elevated. Do not move the person and avoid moving their neck. If a head trauma victim is wearing a helmet, do not remove it for any reason.
Stop the Bleeding
Use sterile gauze or a clean piece of cloth to apply firm pressure to the wound. Make sure not to apply any direct pressure to the wound if you suspect there may be a skull fracture.
Monitor Breathing and Alertness
Begin CPR immediately if a person shows no signs of breathing, coughing, or movement.
If a person is vomiting, roll their head, neck, and body onto their side. This will also protect the spine.
Being able to recognize the symptoms of a serious head injury and administer first aid care has the potential to save someone's life. For any moderate to severe head injury get medical help immediately if a victim:
- Vomits repeatedly
- Behaves strangely
- Loses consciousness
- Cannot move an arm or leg
- Becomes sleepy or falls asleep
- Has pupils that are of unequal sizes
- Develops a stiff neck or a severe headache
What NOT to Do After a Head Injury
As important as it is to know what to do in the event of a head injury, it’s also crucial to avoid unintentional mistakes that can make an injury worse. When in doubt, follow these recommendations:
- DO NOT pick up a child with a head injury
- DO NOT move a person unless it is necessary
- DO NOT wash a deep or bleeding head wound
- DO NOT shake a person if they are disoriented
- DO NOT remove objects sticking out of a head wound
- DO NOT consume alcohol within 48 hours of a head injury
Liability for Brain Injuries in Los Angeles
One of the most important responsibilities your Los Angeles brain injury attorney will have is establishing liability. For many brain injury victims, proving that someone else’s negligence or misconduct was the cause of your injuries may be the only way to secure the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Your attorney will need to closely evaluate the type of accident you were involved in to determine who is responsible for causing your brain injury. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, your attorney would look to one or more of the following parties for culpability:
- Negligent drivers
- Safety inspectors
- Government agencies
- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
- Maintenance technicians
- Auto parts designers, manufacturers, and distributors
- Auto dealerships
- Other third parties
Or, if you were involved in a slip-and-fall accident, your attorney would likely look to the property owner where the accident occurred to determine whether their negligence caused unsafe conditions on the premises.
These are just a couple of examples of who could share fault for your brain injuries, depending on the type of accident you were involved in. You can expect your brain injury lawyer to conduct an in-depth analysis of your accident to ensure that all liable parties are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
California Comparative Negligence Laws
Many people who have suffered critical brain injuries are hesitant to reach out to a lawyer for help. This is, in part, because they believe sharing fault for their injuries prohibits them from recovering financial compensation. However, California follows a pure comparative negligence system.
When you share fault for your injuries or the accident, you can still recover compensation for your damages. It is important to note that your injury settlement will need to be reduced to account for your percentage of liability.
For example, if you were found 25% liable for the accident, you can expect your injury settlement to be reduced by 25%. This can have a considerable impact on the amount of compensation you can come away with in your brain injury claim.
For this reason, it is of utmost importance that you have an experienced legal advocate on your side. Your brain injury attorney will ensure that fault is equitably assessed in your case.
Statute of Limitations for Brain Injuries in Los Angeles
Taking action on your Los Angeles brain injury claim quickly is critical. Although bringing your case to court and filing claims with the insurance company may be the furthest thing from your mind, the statute of limitations is looming.
Under California law, personal injury claims of any kind, including brain injury lawsuits, must be filed before the two-year statute of limitations expires. If the statute of limitations runs out before you have a chance to file your claim, you will no longer have the right to seek compensation in the Los Angeles civil court system.
The date the statute of limitations will expire in your case may not be clear, especially if you were not diagnosed with injuries relating to the accident until days or even weeks following the incident. Take steps to protect your injury settlement by contacting a brain injury attorney in Los Angeles for help as soon as possible following your accident.
How to Recover Maximum Compensation in a Brain Injury Claim
If you hope to recover maximum compensation for your brain injuries, you may need to be prepared to seek compensation in multiple ways. First, you should be prepared to file a claim with the insurance company. In the vast majority of brain injury cases, the liable party is represented by some type of insurance company. For example, if you were hit by a distracted driver, the distracted driver would likely have auto insurance coverage protecting them.
Unfortunately, dealing with an insurance company is never easy. Insurance companies are for-profit, which means they are going to be looking for opportunities to reduce your benefits or deny your claim altogether. This will help them reduce their profit loss.
Furthermore, insurance companies are often only required to compensate victims up to the limits of the policyholder‘s policy. If your damages exceed these limits or suffer damages that were not covered by the insurance policy, the remaining losses you endured Will need to be sought through a civil claim against the liable party.
What Are Economic Damages?
When you file your insurance claim, insurance companies will often cover certain types and amounts of economic damages. Economic damages have fixed monetary values. They can be proven with financial records such as bank statements, pay stubs, or receipts. Some of the more common types of economic damages awarded in brain injury claims include:
- Diagnostic imaging fees
- Costs of medical equipment
- Hospital bills
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Future medical care
- Physical rehabilitation fees
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damages
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
- Loss of household services
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. This can make them more difficult to quantify. However, just because they do not have a monetary value does not mean you should not be compensated for them accordingly. In fact, many brain injury victims report they are non-economic damages having a far greater impact on their lives than economic damages.
Fortunately, you have the right to recover both economic and non-economic damages. With that in mind, some of the more commonly awarded types of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of support and guidance
- Loss of advice and society
- Loss of love and companionship
- Disfigurement and skin scarring
- Damage to your reputation
- Emotional distress
These are only a few of the more common types of damages you could recoup in your brain injury claim. Your lawyer will carefully examine the various ways your life has been affected by your injuries to accurately calculate the value of your claim.
Can You Be Awarded Punitive Damages for a Brain Injury?
Yes, it is possible that you could be awarded punitive damages in your Los Angeles brain injury claim. However, punitive damages are not something you are entitled to recover. In fact, California courts will only award punitive damages when the actions of the defendant are grossly negligent, abhorrent, or egregious.
The Los Angeles civil courts may impose punitive damages to punish the liable party. This can help to prevent similar incidents of this nature from occurring in the future.
Filing a Brain Injury Claim
If your brain injury was caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
Lawsuits for brain injuries typically fall into two categories: negligence and faulty or defective products.
Brain Injuries Caused by Negligence
The law defines negligence as the failure of a person to act in a reasonable way when they had a legal duty to do so. Negligence is essentially a wrongful act committed by an individual, company, or group that caused harm to someone.
In order to successfully pursue a brain injury claim, a victim must prove that:
The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
The defendant failed to comply with this duty of care
The defendant's failure to comply with their duty of care was the significant factor that caused a brain injury victim’s losses
Here’s an example of a brain injury caused by negligence:
Joe is driving south on the 101 during rush hour traffic. Joe is driving at a reasonable speed and is focused on driving safely. The flow of traffic is classic stop and go.
Steve is driving directly behind Joe. Steve is watching the road, but is also texting with a friend. Steve is doing his best to pay attention to the road and only checks his text messages when traffic is at a standstill. However, Steve glances down at his phone and doesn’t notice the sudden stop of traffic.
Steve slams on the brakes but cannot avoid slamming into the back of Joe’s car. As a result of the accident, Joe experiences severe injuries, including brain damage. In this example, Steve’s negligent behavior was texting while driving. Texting is not a criminal behavior, but it was the cause of the accident and of Joe’s injuries. Therefore, Steve will be held liable for Joe’s injuries and losses.
Brain Injuries Caused by Defective Products
There are also product liability claims. A company who produces or sells a defective product that causes or contributes to causing a brain injury may be held liable for any losses caused. According to product liability law, anyone involved in the chain of distribution — including product designers, manufacturers, or sellers — can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the faulty product.
Strict liability cases typically revolve around:
- Defects in the design process
- Defects in the manufacturing process
- Lack of adequate warnings about a hazard and/or proper instructions about how to use that product
In order to successfully pursue a product liability lawsuit after a brain injury, a victim must prove that the:
- Brain injury victim used this product in a reasonable way
- Defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a defective product
- Product defect was the significant factor that caused a victim’s brain injury
- Product already had a design, manufacturing, or warning defect when it left the defendant
For example, if someone suffers a brain injury after purchasing and safely using a defective bicycle helmet, he or she would likely be able to file a claim for damages against the helmet manufacturer and distributor.
What to Expect From the Insurance Company
You know the insurance company is only required to cover certain types and amounts of damages. But you may not be prepared for the backlash the insurance company may give you. It is more common than you might think for insurance companies to do everything possible to reduce their profit loss.
This can often include making insultingly low settlement offers and manipulating the statements given to them by claimants. If the insurance company can get away with placing unwarranted blame on you, they may be able to avoid paying out the max on your claim. Take steps to protect your brain injury settlement by having your brain injury attorney handle the negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Available Damages in a Brain Injury Claim
About 2% of the American population — or approximately 5.3 million people — require lifelong assistance with daily tasks because of a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries change everything about a victim’s life. Most victims are usually forced to radically alter life plans, give up their independence and often become cut off from enjoying life’s pleasures.
In addition, victims may need multiple surgeries, regular physical therapy, or round-the-clock care. Sadly, many victims’ families may not have the necessary financial resources to adequately provide for their loved ones’ medical needs. Brain injury settlements vary and will depend on the specific circumstances.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles for Help
A brain injury attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.
When your brain injury has had a significant impact on your life, and you are not sure where to turn for help and support, reach out to a respected Los Angeles brain injury lawyer at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to brain injury victims across Los Angeles and surrounding cities. Claim yours when you fill out our quick contact form or call our office at 213-927-3700.
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