The Most Common Difficulties in Brain Injury Cases

by Staff Blogger | March 18th, 2024

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) affect thousands of people each year in the U.S. The CDC estimates there were 214,110 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2020 and nearly 70,000 deaths in 2021. Personal injury accidents like falls lead to about half of TBI-related hospital visits, with car accidents also being a leading cause of brain trauma in victims.

Due to their unique characteristics and outcomes, brain injury damages can be hard to prove in a personal injury case. To win, you need strong diagnostic evidence, medical expert opinions, and records tying the injury to the accident.

Learn the most common challenges of proving a TBI and how our California brain injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can use our experience and resources to negotiate a fair settlement.

Challenges in Diagnosis and Assessment

In personal injury claims, the challenges surrounding diagnosing and assessing brain injuries can impact the outcome of your case. Here are some difficulties for all involved parties, including the plaintiff, defendant, and their legal teams:

  • Subtle Symptoms: Brain injuries often present with subtle symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or cognitive changes. These may not be immediately attributed to the injury, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment as they may be mistaken for other conditions or overlooked.
  • Diagnostic Tools: Clinicians often rely on imaging (like CT scans or MRIs), neurological assessments, and patient history to diagnose brain injuries. However, these tools aren’t always definitive and can’t provide a clear picture of the injury’s extent. They also don’t predict intangible future outcomes, like memory or mood changes.
  • Delayed Onset: Brain injury symptoms can have a delayed onset, appearing hours or even days after the traumatic event. This delay makes establishing a direct link between the incident and the injury challenging, potentially complicating legal claims.
  • Differential Diagnosis: Brain injury symptoms often overlap with other medical conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. This overlap can lead to misdiagnosis or confusion in identifying the actual cause of the symptoms.
  • Subjectivity: The assessment of cognitive functions, emotional impacts, and pain associated with brain injuries can be subjective. It often relies on patient self-reporting and expert opinions, which can vary among healthcare professionals and experts.
  • Long-Term Effects: Brain injuries may have long-term consequences that evolve over time. For instance, cognitive impairments may become more apparent as the individual attempts to return to their daily life. Understanding and quantifying these changing effects can be challenging for legal purposes.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: You must distinguish between pre-existing conditions and injuries sustained in the incident for a personal injury claim. TBI symptoms may be attributed to pre-existing conditions, requiring careful examination to determine which aspects of the injury are directly related to the incident.

Case Examples

The NFL was involved in a major legal case with its former players, who alleged that the league had concealed the risks of TBI and failed to take necessary steps to protect its players from the long-term effects of concussions.

This lawsuit led to a settlement in 2015, where the NFL agreed to pay $1 billion, the largest settlement in sports history, to compensate retired players who suffered from TBI and other neurological injuries due to concussions sustained during their careers.

The NFL is now seeking at least $1.2 billion from its insurers to cover these costs. One of the insurers’ arguments is that there is a lack of scientific evidence directly linking playing football to brain disorders. Insurers counter that up to 40% of the former players who received payments may have exaggerated their symptoms.

How to Build a Strong Brain Injury Claim

Building a strong brain injury claim is essential for seeking compensation after a car accident or fall due to another’s negligence. To construct a strong claim, take the following actions:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Care: Don’t underestimate your injuries after an accident. Seek immediate medical care for brain injury symptoms such as headaches or confusion. This can help you receive an early diagnosis and establish a medical record of your TBI.
  • Preserve Crucial Evidence: Document the accident scene, gather witness statements from those who saw the incident, and maintain a journal to record the impact of your TBI on your daily life. These steps help establish the connection between the accident and your injury.
  • Engage Expert Witnesses: Collaborate with expert witnesses, like neurologists or neuropsychologists, who can assess your TBI’s severity and its life-altering effects. Their expertise can bolster your claim and help estimate your compensation.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation of Damages: Work with your attorney to thoroughly evaluate all damages related to your TBI. Our team at Berg Injury Lawyers can include medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term consequences into your settlement demand for a fair recovery award.
  • Keep All TBI-Related Records: Keep meticulous records of your medical evaluations, treatments, and expenses. These serve as concrete evidence of the medical journey you’ve endured due to your TBI.
  • Collect Detailed Witness Statements: Collect detailed witness statements not only about the accident itself but also about how your life has changed since the TBI. Consider statements from your friends, family, and employer to demonstrate the impact of the injury.

Get Help With Your Brain Injury Claim

Living with a TBI after a personal injury accident can often mean high medical bills, rehabilitation, and a reduced quality of life. Berg Injury Lawyers offers over 40 years of legal experience to help you win what you deserve.

We have a network of expert witnesses, including TBI specialists and psychologists, who can help prove your losses so we can negotiate for maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.