How to Prove a Brain Injury After an Accident in California
November 28th, 2022|
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most severe injuries resulting from an accident. Those with severe TBIs can develop long-term disabilities that require rehabilitation and psychiatric care in California.
Medical records and diagnostic testing can prove your brain injury and future medical costs after an accident. The experienced California brain injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers have the legal resources to help you access expert medical witnesses who can attest to your medical care for your injury.
What Is a TBI?
Traumatic brain injury is caused by sudden trauma to the brain. It can range from mild to severe, affecting thinking, motor coordination, and emotion regulation. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury include:
- Loss of balance
- Memory problems
- Sleep issues
- Light and noise sensitivity
A medical evaluation from your doctor is one way to confirm your injury and help you get treatment.
Why Is It Important to Document a Brain Injury?
According to a 2015 study, the lifetime treatment costs for TBIs can range from $85,000 to $3 million. Those with life-long disabilities caused by TBIs may need extensive care for years. For example, a person hospitalized for a TBI at 40 could require household assistance for an additional 23 to 32 years.
To help cover these treatment costs, you can seek a settlement from the party who caused your accident. However, you must document your TBI and related care expenses to get maximum compensation. Evidence such as your initial diagnosis, treatment plan, and subsequent healthcare bills or receipts can support your claim.
Difficulties in Identifying a Brain Injury
Medical professionals usually place TBIs into one of these types of brain injuries based on their assessment:
- Mild TBI. A mild TBI often results in a loss of consciousness for a few minutes. Mild TBIs also cause dizziness, blurred vision, lethargy, and behavioral issues.
- Moderate TBI. Unconsciousness from a moderate TBI lasts for at least 30 minutes but not more than 24 hours.
- Severe TBI. A severe TBI can cause unconsciousness for at least 24 hours after an accident.
However, some traumatic brain injury symptoms may not emerge for hours or even days following the accident. As a result, some medical providers have difficulty identifying a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms can appear similar to other illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Medical Experts and Brain Injuries
Your lawyer can help you find highly specialized medical providers to assess your traumatic brain injury. The results of various tests can show the physical effects of your traumatic brain injury. Tests your doctor might use to diagnose your TBI include:
Glasgow Coma Scale
A doctor will evaluate your brain injury using the 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale to see how you respond to pain, follow directions, and move your eyes. The total coma score can range from 3 to 15, with 3 being indicative of the worst outcome: no eye, verbal, and motor responses.
MRIs and CT Scans
If you lose consciousness, a neurologist will perform an MRI to determine any brain damage. CT scans can also diagnose bleeding in the brain.
A speech therapist can assess your speech, reading, and writing skills. They also evaluate your communication skills. This assessment provides evidence about when and if you will regain a critical function.
What Types of Evidence Can I Use to Prove My Traumatic Brain Injury?
Caring for a traumatic brain injury requires emergency care for surgeries and diagnostic testing. If your brain injury resulted in a permanent disability, you may need household assistance and modifications to your home to help you get around.
You can use the following medical expenses and other records to prove your brain injury damages and receive compensation for calculable damages:
- Emergency transport bills
- Test results from MRIs and CT scans
- Primary physician and specialist evaluations
- Prescription drug expenses
- In-home health care
- Medical equipment such as wheelchairs and crutches
- Home modifications
- Loss of wages and lost future earning capacity
- Ongoing medical care, follow-up evaluations, and rehabilitation
The personal injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can also seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, based on your medical records and the statements of your treating healthcare providers.
Caps for Medical Malpractice Claims
A traumatic brain injury can result from medical malpractice, such as failing to monitor a patient under anesthesia. However, California currently restricts non-economic damages to $250,000. On January 1, 2023, the non-economic damage caps will increase to $350,000, with incremental increases over the next 10 years to $750,000.
How to Prove a Brain Injury in Court
An experienced personal injury attorney can consult expert medical witnesses like rehabilitation therapists and mental health professionals to evaluate your medical records. Their statements can show how future medical costs will affect your quality of life and financial resources.
Your attorney can use your diagnostic results to establish your injury and reduced quality of life. Additional records supporting your claim can include:
- Police report
- Pictures and videos of the accident scene
- Testimonies from witnesses about the injury’s impact on your life
Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help
The attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can assist you with your claim after suffering a TBI. We can help you calculate the potential value of your claim and fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers today.