Your skull protects the most complex component of your body, your brain. As you move about your day, your brain sits securely in your skull, protected by delicate cushioning layers, but this complex cushioning system can only protect your brain so much. If you suffer a fall, car crash, assault or any number of head-related injuries you still may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
As mentioned, there is a small seam of space in the cushioning between your skull and your brain called the subarachnoid space. Traumatic brain injury occurs when your brain slams against the wall of your skull in this small space.
Consequences, even if they seem minor at first, may carry the risk of permanent damage as time passes, if untreated. Primary TBI also increases the risk of suffering further trauma in the future, leading to lifelong physical and/or cognitive disabilities.
What are the three most common causes for TBI?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) these are the three most common causes for TBI in the United States:
- Car crashes and traffic-related accidents: Even when you take all safety precautions, like wearing your seat belt and following the rules of the road, another party’s careless driving can lead to TBI. Whiplash is a common injury in car accidents, which occurs when the head and neck are forcefully jerked back and forth. With the previously mentioned subarachnoid space in mind, we can picture the brain forcefully contacting the inner wall of the skull. This can cause damage to the brain and neck.
Grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit for your TBI, in the case of a car or truck accident, could include drunk, distracted or drowsy driving, aggressive or reckless driving, driver negligence such as running a red light or stop sign, negligent vehicle or road maintenance, or faulty vehicle design.
- Falls and unexpected collisions with falling objects: These incidents can occur in a variety of settings, including workplaces, public spaces, and private residences. Considering the lack of give that the floor has, upon contact your head can bounce off of this unbending object, focusing a profound amount of energy on your skull and leading to serious injury.
If you slipped and fell on a wet floor in a grocery store or tripped on a poorly maintained sidewalk, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the property owner or manager for failing to maintain safe premises. Similarly, if you were hit by a falling object while walking on a sidewalk or inside a building, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the owner of the property where the object originated or the party responsible for maintaining the object’s secured safety.
- Assaults: Physical assault, including domestic violence and child abuse, can cause TBI. Blows to the head with a blunt object, punches, or kicks can cause significant damage to the brain. Even if the head is not the target in an assault, if the assailant knocks you to the ground, the impact of your skull on the ground can be devastating on your brain.
If you were assaulted by an employee of a business, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the business for negligent hiring, supervision, or security practices. If you were assaulted by a stranger, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the assailant for intentional infliction of harm.
How do I know if I should file a lawsuit for my TBI?
If you are a victim of an accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Here are four key questions to go over with your Pittsburgh personal injury attorney to determine if you can press charges in a personal injury lawsuit:
Was a separate party, be it an individual or a company, at fault for the accident?
Filing a TBI lawsuit requires proof that a separate party was responsible for your trauma-causing accident. See the above list of the three most common causes of TBI as a reference to your situation. With that in mind, self-inflicted injuries are not grounds for a lawsuit.
Did the at-fault party owe you a duty of care?
In most cases of vehicle collisions, the answer is yes. But there may be issues in other situations, such as when a concussion or other TBI occurs on someone else’s property. The legal rights depend on why you were on the property, as property owners have limited duties to trespassers.
Did you suffer significant losses related to your brain injury?
An accident victim with a TBI diagnosis may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses (current and future), other out-of-pocket costs, loss of income and benefits, pain, suffering and emotional trauma.
Can you prove that your losses are related to the accident?
To file a successful brain injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove that your losses are related to the accident. The financial costs of TBI can also be substantial, with medical bills frequently reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. Loss of income and other expenses can further compound the financial burden of TBI. In addition to the economic impact, TBI patients often suffer from chronic pain, emotional trauma, and reduced quality of life. So what happens next if you suffered a TBI due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions?
Contact our experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys today
If your TBI was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term care expenses. However, it’s important to act quickly, as the statute of limitations for TBI claims in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the injury.
To ensure your rights are protected and maximize your chances of recovery, consult with the experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys at Carmody & Ging, Attorneys at Law. With years of experience handling TBI claims, they can assess your case, gather evidence, and pursue legal action against the responsible party. Call or contact us today.