Challenges When Filing a Brain Injury Lawsuit in California
December 26th, 2022|
The impact of a brain injury can be overwhelming at best and life-changing at worst. Many people find themselves buried under massive medical bills in addition to the stress and challenges resulting from the injury itself. In the aftermath of a brain injury, few people can deal with the challenges that arise in brain injury lawsuits.
If you’ve suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness, a brain injury lawyer with Berg Injury Lawyers can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Learn the common challenges of brain injury lawsuits and how one of our attorneys can help you navigate a complex case.
Why Is It Important to Document a Brain Injury?
Brain injuries can significantly impact your health without leaving visible evidence. Mild brain injuries can cause long-lasting problems with memory, concentration, and mood but don’t appear on conventional imaging tests like CT or MRI scans. Moderate and severe brain injuries can be detected through imaging tests but are more likely to lead to long-term or lifelong disability.
A brain injury’s long-term or permanent effects can interfere with your ability to function in day-to-day life, including working a job or participating in activities you enjoy. Additionally, the symptoms of a brain injury can change or even worsen over time.
In California, if someone’s carelessness caused you to receive your brain injury, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them for your damages. However, proving damages requires documentation of your injury, how it’s changed over time, and how it’s affected you. Without documentation, you won’t be able to win your case.
Difficulties in Identifying a Brain Injury
The symptoms of brain injuries aren’t always instantaneous. In some cases, you may begin experiencing symptoms several hours or days after the injury. Even when you develop symptoms, they may lack externally visible signs, like a headache or ringing in the ears that someone else might notice, or can get overlooked as symptoms of a more common ailment, like tiredness, nausea, or poor balance.
Additionally, mild brain injuries can be missed in a medical setting. Imaging tests like CT or MRI scans detect bruising, bleeding, swelling, or other unusual activity in the brain, which usually only appear in moderate and severe brain injuries.
In recent years, some blood tests have been able to detect mild injuries, but the diagnosis has traditionally been performed through manual assessment of a person’s ability to function.
Medical Experts and Brain Injuries
Medical experts often struggle to give an accurate prognosis for a brain injury, as the rate of recovery is unclear. Some people may recover with enough time and rest, while others require varying rehabilitation lengths. In some cases, the injured person’s condition may not improve and could even worsen.
However, medical experts can accurately say that even mild brain injuries cause permanent damage. Therefore, if you’ve suffered a brain injury, there is always a possibility that you will experience lifelong challenges afterward.
How To Prove a Brain Injury in Court
Proving that you suffered a brain injury can be difficult if there’s no apparent injury on imaging scans. However, there are still ways to show a brain injury in court, including:
- Medical Records and Documentation: Medical professionals run several tests to screen for a brain injury and will document the results in your medical records. For example, you may have images from CT and MRI scans showing a visible injury or ratings on diagnostic tests like the Glasgow Coma Scale and assessments of brain function like memory tests. These results can be used to prove a brain injury.
- Evidence of Past Functional Abilities: The defendant’s lawyer might claim that you weren’t injured, were always impaired, or exaggerated your injuries. To refute this, you can provide evidence that you were not previously impaired, like pictures or videos taken before the injury of you performing tasks that you can no longer do.
- Testimony of Medical Experts: Many people don’t know that certain regions in the brain control specific functions, nor are they familiar with long-term symptoms of brain injuries. Medical professionals can testify that your symptoms are indicative of a previous brain injury, explain what part of your brain was affected, and verify your current treatment with the court.
- Testimony of Witnesses: If somebody else witnessed the accident that caused your brain injury, they can testify about the circumstances and scene of the accident. Witnesses can also attest to your previous abilities and personality versus current limitations and behaviors.
For example, you were a mechanic, and your brain injury made you too uncoordinated to continue working. Your manager at the auto shop could testify that you didn’t have any movement or coordination problems before your TBI and that your current mobility problems prevent you from safely working on cars.
- Hire a Skilled Attorney: Handling a legal case on your own is difficult at the best of times, and even more so after a brain injury. A California brain injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you handle the complexities of your brain injury case and represent you in court.
We can investigate your case, gather evidence, and craft a well-documented claim to get you a fair settlement. If the negligent party’s insurance doesn’t pay your claim, an attorney can fight for maximum damages on your behalf in court.
Berg Injury Lawyers Can Help
Even though you have the right to seek compensation after suffering a brain injury, taking on a lawsuit after a TBI can seem challenging. Your attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can take over the legal aspects of your case and win you fair compensation so you can focus on recovery.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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.
Traumatic Brain Injury Associated with Auto Accidents in California
October 24th, 2022|
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially devastating consequence of a car accident. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that car accidents caused 24.5% of all TBI-related hospitalizations and 4.9% of male TBI-related deaths in 2017.
A TBI’s physical, financial, and emotional impact can be severe and long-lasting. If you or a loved one has suffered a disability from a TBI, contact Berg Injury Lawyers to find out your options for restitution.
What Happens to Your Brain in a Car Accident?
In a car accident, your car absorbs the kinetic energy from the other vehicle’s impact. The force of the movement may throw your head back and forth, side to side, or cause you to hit your head on the car interior. These movements cause your brain to move, shake, twist, or suffer injury inside your skull.
Depending on the severity of the crash, you can experience mild to severe injury to your brain. The injury can include bruising, bleeding, or permanent damage or death to your brain’s nerves and tissues.
What is a TBI After a Car Accident?
A TBI that occurs during an accident may not show immediate signs or symptoms. According to the CDC, signs of a mild concussion may not surface until several hours or days after the collision.
It’s also possible to experience secondary injury, where the initial damage to your brain causes further damage to develop. For example, due to the TBI, you may suffer brain swelling or bleeding, hypoxia (low oxygen in the brain), meningitis, or ischemia (lack of blood flow).
Common Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents
Most brain injuries sustained in car accidents are closed brain injuries, meaning the skull remains intact. TBIs commonly incurred in car accidents include:
- Concussions: a general term for mild brain injury
- Contusions: bruising of the brain tissue
- Lacerations: the brain tissue or cerebral blood vessels shear or rip
- Diffuse axonal injury: the nerve fibers inside the brain tear or rip
What are Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Since a TBI affects the brain, the condition shows many symptoms. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 75% of all TBIs are mild. However, even a mild TBI can have life-long effects such as:
- Headache and dizziness
- Feeling lightheaded
- Tinnitus (ears ringing)
- Vision impairments
- Tiredness, fatigue
- Moodiness or sudden changes in behavior
- Impaired cognition (difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering events)
- Loss of coordination
In more serious cases, someone with a TBI may:
- Experience seizures
- Have unevenly dilated pupils
- Have trouble speaking; slurring words
- Feel weak or numb
- Enter a coma
Regardless of symptoms or apparent severity, TBIs are considered a medical emergency and must be assessed by a doctor. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to lose consciousness to experience a TBI. Many people experience mild TBIs without losing consciousness.
What Kind of Doctor Can Diagnose Accident-Related Brain Injuries?
There is no doctor dedicated solely to diagnosing TBIs. Instead, someone with a TBI will likely be assessed by a team of doctors, including:
- A general physician to assess your overall state
- A neurologist to screen for cognitive impairment
- A radiologist to perform a CT or MRI scan
After a car accident, it’s vital to see the right medical professionals for an accurate diagnosis. Not only can it help you get the treatment you need, but your diagnosis can also help you receive appropriate compensation for your potentially life-altering injury.
Can the Brain Heal from Traumatic Brain Injury?
Recovering from a TBI is complex; if a TBI damages or destroys your brain tissue, the harm is permanent. However, depending on the severity of the TBI, you may undergo rehabilitation to regain some normal functions.
Some TBIs have minimal impact on your ability to function and may be overcome with medical intervention. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the brain can potentially reroute information from areas of the brain affected by a TBI to other locations. In younger people, other brain tissues may compensate for injured tissue.
Even when someone experiences a mild TBI, rehabilitation is a slow process. It can take months or years for someone with a TBI to return to how they used to be, during which they might be unable to work.
A California car accident attorney can help you gain restitution for lost wages and the cost of your medical bills so you can work on recovery after an accident.
How Do You Prove a TBI?
If you pursue financial compensation for your TBI, you will need proof of the injury at trial. While medical imagery can detect more serious TBIs and complications, such as brain bleeds, mild TBIs may not have a visible impact on the brain.
If your TBI doesn’t appear on imaging scans, you may need to rely on medical records and the testimony of your medical providers to prove your injury to the court.
An experienced personal injury lawyer like our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can work with medical experts to help you document your TBI and prove its cause.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your TBI accident case. We can review your records and help you take the next legal step toward restitution from your injury collision.
Signs Someone Suffered a Brain Injury in a Crash
September 7th, 2022|
Car crashes can result in closed-head injuries—injuries to the brain but not the skull—making them hard to diagnose. However, without visible evidence of damage, victims themselves can make the mistake of trying to move on with their lives without seeking a thorough medical check.
Being able to recognize brain-injury symptoms can help you learn when to seek medical help after an accident, and secure the necessary compensation to avoid financial strain while you rehabilitate.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of brain damage that occurs when the head is suddenly and violently hit. The severity of a TBI depends on several factors, including the force of the impact, the injury’s location, and the victim’s age and overall health.
Although brain injury is often associated with blows to the head during sports or car accidents, it can also occur due to falls, gunshots, or other trauma. Treatment for TBIs usually depends on the severity of the injury and may include measures like extended rest, pain medications, or surgery.
In severe cases, patients may require long-term rehabilitation to regain their ability to speak, walk, and eat.
What Are the Signs of a Brain Injury After a Car Crash?
Unless the brain is severely damaged in a car crash, it can often be challenging to diagnose a brain injury. This is because some symptoms may be attributed to other conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, while other brain injury effects only show up days or weeks after the initial injury.
The gradual onset of symptoms makes it challenging for medical professionals to diagnose the injury properly. This can create obstacles when trying to recover compensation from insurance companies or the people at fault.
The most common and immediate signs of a brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilated pupils
- Blurred vision
- Clear discharge (cerebrospinal fluid) from the ears and nose
However, more serious brain injuries can also result in convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and even coma.
More severe brain injury symptoms can develop over time, making them difficult to tie to the initial accident. These symptoms can affect the victim’s ability to perform basic tasks, both at work and at home. Long-term symptoms include:
- Memory issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Problems with coordination and balance
In some cases, a brain injury can lead to frequent seizures, hearing loss, and vision problems. The exact nature and severity of symptoms vary depending on the extent of the injury. However, even mild brain injury can cause lasting problems.
Why You Need a Doctor and an Attorney To Prove Your Case
Many people think that if they have a brain injury resulting from a car crash, they can automatically receive compensation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Establishing a connection between the collision you were in and the injury you suffered is critical to receiving monetary compensation.
This can be difficult to do without the help of a doctor and an attorney. A doctor can document the extent of your injuries, how they occurred, and their impact on your ability to function.
One of the most challenging aspects of diagnosing a brain injury is that no single test or set of symptoms can definitively confirm the presence of a brain injury. Instead, diagnosis typically relies on a combination of medical imaging, cognitive testing, and patient self-reporting. This can make it difficult to obtain an accurate picture of the extent of an injury, particularly in the early stages. Determining the extent of the injury is important for calculating how much compensation will be needed.
Additionally, brain injuries can often lead to subtle changes in cognitive or emotional functioning that may not be immediately apparent to the individual or those around them. As a result, a victim’s diminished ability to perform at their job or their increasing symptom intensity may not be immediately attributable to the car crash.
Getting the help of a competent neurologist and an experienced personal injury attorney can vastly increase your chances of proving the connection between an accident and your injury.
Tests for Diagnosing a TBI
A computed tomography (CT) scan is one of the most common tests for diagnosing brain injuries. This test uses X-rays to create detailed images of the brain. CT scans can help doctors identify bleeding, fractures, bruising, fluid build-up, and other damage to the brain.
Another common test for identifying brain injuries is an MRI. This test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed brain and brain stem images.
Doctors may also use a PET scan. This test uses a special dye and a low-dose radioactive tracer to create images of the brain. PET scans can help doctors identify areas of the brain that are not functioning properly.
In addition to these tests, doctors may perform neurological exams, including memory, vision, balance, and coordination tests.
Seek Assistance From a Knowledgeable Attorney
Having a skilled attorney by your side is essential when filing a brain-injury claim. The California brain injury lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you collect medical and police reports, witness statements, and other necessary documentation to help build an indisputable claim regarding your brain injury.
If you or a family member is a crash victim experiencing signs of a brain injury, get in touch with our legal team to get the full legal and medical support you need.
Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a no-obligation, free initial consultation regarding your brain injury.
Are Brain Injury Cases Worth More Than Other Injuries?
July 25th, 2022|
Auto accidents cause 14.3% of brain injuries, and brain injuries contribute to over 30% of injury-related deaths in the U.S. Approximately 2% of the population currently lives with a disability caused by brain injuries.
Brain injuries from car accidents vary in severity, but doctors can’t predict the outcome with as much confidence as other automobile injuries like broken bones and lacerations. The invisible nature of brain injuries makes hiring a personal injury attorney a vital step in recovering damages.
The legal team at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery. Our car accident attorneys know what evidence to present and how to prove the differences in your personality and cognition.
Types of Brain Injury
Car accidents commonly cause five types of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Each type of injury can range from mild to severe and cause short-term or long-term damage.
A concussion occurs because of blunt force trauma to the head, such as an accident causing impact against a window or from whiplash due to rapid head movement. This type of injury can damage neurons in the brain and result in chemical changes.
Symptoms typically resolve within three months, but some people may experience post-concussive syndrome or long-lasting adverse effects.
2. Brain contusion
Blunt force and whiplash injuries can cause brain contusions or bruises in the brain tissue. While concussions result in widespread damage to the brain, contusions affect a localized area.
Complications from a brain contusion can include seizures, cognitive issues, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. A severe contusion may require surgery to relieve hemorrhaging.
This type of injury refers to how the brain injury can occur in an accident, resulting in bruising of the brain. A blow to one side of the head (coup) causes the brain to slam into the opposite side of the skull (contrecoup).
People who suffer a coup-contrecoup may experience confusion, disorientation, seizures, and speech changes. Treatment may require surgical procedures, including lobectomy and decompressive hemicraniectomy.
4. Diffuse axonal injury
The accident causes brain tissue to change shape, adding more stress to the blood vessels and the long axons of nerves. This stress disrupts the regular neurotransmitters and changes the chemical concentrations. Tears in blood vessels lead to bleeding, and the microscopic damage from the deformation occurs in the large regions of the brain.
5. Foreign head trauma
A penetrating head injury happens when an item penetrates the skull. This damages the area where the penetration occurred, and the body’s response can cause swelling around that area. People who suffer penetrating head trauma require immediate medical and surgical intervention to remove the object.
Severe forms of these injuries can cause permanent damage that affects how you live and whether you can work. A car accident lawyer at our law firm can help you get financial compensation for your accident.
What Damages Can You Receive for a TBI?
TBIs can affect your ability to walk, speak, regulate your emotions, or control your body. Severe TBIs may require costly, ongoing medical care to treat headaches, dizziness, seizures, and balance problems. Some patients need long-term nursing care and medications. Your treatment plan might include:
- Physical therapy can help you regain mental and physical function after an accident. It improves balance and coordination and prevents complications, including pneumonia.
- Occupational therapy can help you re-learn daily tasks such as personal hygiene and food preparation.
- Speech therapy can help you recover the ability to converse and develop other communication skills. Some TBI patients may also require specific devices, such as touchpads or tablets for speech therapy.
- Mental health counseling can improve your quality of life. It may also involve medications to treat chemical imbalances after a TBI.
These therapies can help you recover after an accident, but they cost a significant amount of money and require frequent appointments.
A personal injury attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers can help you get compensation for your medical bills and future medical expenses. We can assess the loss of wages and your future earning capacity. We can also help you pursue non-economic damages that can include pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Hire a Lawyer You Can Trust
TBIs can cause far-reaching consequences, affecting your income, relationships, and mental and physical health. These consequences mean you might need more compensation than victims of other types of injuries. Because of the intricacies of brain injury cases, you need a lawyer who understands brain injuries so that they can maximize your compensation.
The California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers understand the unique needs of TBI victims and will fight for your right to a fair settlement.
Contact our law firm today for a confidential, complimentary case review so we can advise you of your legal rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Are Hedonic Damages—and Should You Include Them in Your Injury Claim?
April 25th, 2022|
Severe injuries lead to steep medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and significant pain and suffering. Part of the suffering associated with severe injuries is losing the ability to partake in life’s many joys. In the courts, hedonic damages are the name for an individual’s loss of enjoyment of life.
In California, hedonic damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim. If you suffered a severe injury that has taken the enjoyment out of your life, talk with California personal injury lawyers about how to get the compensation you deserve for hedonic damages.
What Injuries Can Cause Hedonic Damages?
Any injury that limits the ability of the injured to enjoy their life is causing hedonic damages. Injuries from car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, burns from fires caused by defective products, and much more can all result in hedonic damages.
Hedonic damages in car accidents
Car accidents can lead to extremely severe injuries. Disabling physical injuries and brain injuries specifically can be a source of hedonic damage. Brain injuries can affect the injured person’s ability to move, eat, think, and feel certain emotions.
Disabling injuries like paralysis or injuries resulting in amputation limits people’s movement, which is vital for the enjoyment of life.
Hedonic damages in slips and falls
Brain injuries are common in slips and falls when the victim incurs trauma to the head on impact. Spinal cord injuries are also possible, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. These slip-and-fall injuries significantly limit the victim’s ability to enjoy their life like they once did.
Hedonic damages from burns
Severe burns can cause significant weakness in the burned region, movement-limiting muscle stiffness, and constant sleeping disruptions. The movement restrictions qualify some burn victims for disability compensation. They can also make it impossible for victims to participate in the joys of life due to embarrassment or low self-esteem, especially if the burns are on the face or other uncovered body parts.
Chronic sleep issues result in anxiety, depression, and other enjoyment-reducing mood disorders. When a victim’s burns result from a fire caused by a defective product, they may be able to win compensation for their hedonic damages.
Hedonic Damages and Filing Your Claim
Getting compensation for hedonic damages is not a simple process because there is no obvious dollar amount associated with losing the enjoyment of life. Hedonic damages are also referred to as non-economic damages, meaning they have no direct financial impact on the victim, making them more challenging to prove.
In California, it is primarily up to the common sense of the jury to decide what amount of compensation is fair in hedonic damage cases.
Hedonic damages are in the same category as pain and suffering and other emotional damages. They are all equally difficult to prove because they are non-quantifiable.
Younger victims usually have a better chance of receiving hedonic damage compensation because their injuries bar them from doing what they enjoy for longer periods.
How to Prove Hedonic Damages
Since hedonic damages have no monetary value, they require you to gather evidence to support your claim in other ways. A personal injury attorney can help you prove your loss of enjoyment of life to better your chance of winning compensation.
If you have recently been a victim of injury-causing hedonic damage, take detailed notes of all the activities you can no longer do. Also, keep a detailed schedule of events you would have attended if not for the injury. These are two kinds of evidence that may help support your case.
Talk with Your Attorney About Hedonic Damages
Hedonic damages are worth including in your personal injury claim as a part of your pain and suffering damages. The complicated nature of hedonic damages means you need an experienced personal injury lawyer with a track record of successfully winning both economic and non-economic damages in your type of injury claim.
The personal injury attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers have over 40 years of experience and the resources to explore every possibility in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation and more information on recovering financial, emotional, and physical damages for your injury.
What’s a Typical Settlement for Injury Claims Involving Brain Injuries?
March 14th, 2022|
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a severe form of personal injury. TBIs are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, an estimated 2.5 million Americans suffer from a TBI every year. This results in about 50,000 deaths and 80,000 cases of permanent disability.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s negligence, malpractice, or intentional acts, here’s how much you can expect from your claim.
What Constitutes a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Like most other injuries, traumatic brain injuries may vary significantly in severity. However, the highly delicate nature of the brain often means even the mildest TBI can result in lasting damage.
The most common type of TBI is a concussion, medically known as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). The most common causes of concussion cases in the U.S. are falls, impacts to the head, and car accidents.
According to a 2017 study, most concussion symptoms resolve after three months. However, a small number of individuals may suffer from a rare condition called Post-concussive Syndrome (PCS).
Other types of TBI
Other forms of traumatic brain injury include:
- Brain contusions: An impact or concussive event causing the brain to bruise and start bleeding. Some brain contusion cases require surgery.
- Coup-Contrecoup injury: A coup-contrecoup injury (from the French words for “blow” and “backlash”) is the result of a violent impact (the coup) causing the brain to hit the back of the skull on the opposite side (the contrecoup).
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI): DAIs are a more severe form of concussion. They form tears inside the brain, which often cause comas or death.
- Penetrating brain injuries (PBI): A PBI occurs when foreign objects or projectiles pierce the skull and damage the brain (e.g., bullets). PBIs are one of the deadliest forms of TBI, with a mortality rate of 90%.
How Much Can I Expect From a TBI Claim?
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, traumatic brain injuries comprise over 30% of all injury-related deaths in the U.S., totaling more than $60 billion in medical and economic losses.
It is important to remember that each case is unique. The specific compensation amount you might receive depends on many factors. Contacting a team of experienced California brain injury lawyers is necessary to assess the full extent of your economic and non-economic damages.
How Are TBI Damages Calculated?
Brain injury lawyers assess the value of your settlement by calculating the damages you’ve suffered. There are two primary types of damages you can recover in California: economic and non-economic.
The economic damages are the calculable losses you sustained due to your injury. These can include:
- Lost or reduced wages and salaries
- Property damage assessments
- Repair or replacement bills
- Medical expenses, including medications, assisted living, and nursing personnel
If the exact value of a loss sustained due to your injury can be financially quantified, it is a form of economic damage. Your settlement value typically at least includes the totality of the monetary damages sustained, reimbursing you what you can demonstrate you’ve lost due to the injury.
The non-economic damages are the pain, suffering, anguish, and other trauma you’ve suffered due to the injury. Although these aren’t easily quantifiable, skilled brain injury lawyers use various methods to put a specific value on the pain and suffering their clients sustain.
One of the most common approaches is to add together the total economic damages and apply a multiplier (typically ranging from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity) to this value. Due to the severity of a typical TBI case, they tend to command higher multipliers.
Another approach is the Per Diem method, a daily rate calculator. According to the Per Diem principle, your lawyers estimate a specific dollar value for each day you’ve had to live with pain and trauma (usually based on your salary), then multiply this value by the number of days spent in pain.
For example, if your yearly salary is $50,000 and you work 250 days a year, your daily rate is $200. If you wear a neck brace for 3 months and use pain medication for another 3 months following an accident (totaling 6 months of days in pain), an example formula may be:
- $200 daily rate calculated from your salary x 180 days spent in pain = $36,000 in non-economic damages
Count on Berg Injury Lawyers for Your Brain Injury Case
Don’t take on the responsibility of handling your settlement case alone while you’re dealing with the pain and suffering of a TBI. Instead, call Berg Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with one of our highly skilled brain injury lawyers.
We can help you calculate the value of your claim and fight to get you the maximum compensation you need.
6 Tips for Helping a Loved One With a Brain Injury
August 2nd, 2021|
Brain injuries are among the worst types of physical injuries a person can endure. Although they vary in severity, the most common is a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is typically sustained due to blunt force trauma or a penetrating impact.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Brain injury symptoms may be temporary or cause permanent damage. The severity of the symptoms correlates with the extent of the damage to the brain tissue, ranging from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- Headache increases in intensity
- Vomiting or nausea
If your loved one has sustained a serious head injury, whether from an auto accident, slip and fall, or other circumstance, and they experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Types of Brain Injuries
Different brain injuries can elicit varying symptoms and impact the level of disability that occurs as a result. The three main types of brain injury are:
- Closed head: The injury has no visible head wound.
- Open wound: The injury has an open wound, and the brain is vulnerable to penetration.
- Crushing brain: This injury occurs when the brain is crushed between objects.
The most common type of brain injury is closed head, and the extent of the injury is not always immediately apparent, often leading people to postponed medical treatment. This can, unfortunately, lead to serious health complications and long-term disability.
Caring For a Loved One With a Brain Injury
If a family member, friend, or loved one sustained a TBI or another type of brain injury, it’s natural to feel lost or not know what to do. Here are things you can do to help them, making their lives and yours more manageable.
1. Learn About Brain Injuries
The first thing you should do is gather basic information on the types of brain injuries and the severity of side effects. This can help you meet your loved one’s needs, so you can recognize changes in their personality and worsening symptoms.
2. Help Them Organize Their Lives
One of the most common side effects of a TBI is memory loss. Although the severity varies depending on the individual, most cases involve situations where your loved ones forget where their belongings are or become unable to remember names, dates, appointments, or everyday tasks.
There are many ways you can help them reintroduce organization into their lives:
- Encourage them to use lists, agendas, or memo applications.
- Label cabinets, appliances, drawers, and other furniture so they can find what they need.
- Keep photo albums with names, dates of birth, and other information they might want to remember.
3. Don’t Let Them Flounder
Another common side effect of a brain injury is the constant sensation of fatigue and a lack of motivation to get outside or do anything. This may cause anxiety or depression, further reinforcing the sensations of fatigue.
Take them for a walk in a calming place like a park or nature preserve. Organize outings like family picnics or day trips to the lake to give them some fresh air and light socialization. However, avoid large crowds or extremely busy locations as this can be stressful or overwhelming for someone recovering from a TBI.
4. Be Proactive
Sustaining a brain injury can often leave someone feeling confused or out of place, creating feelings of discomfort, uncertainty, and helplessness.
In other words, they may not be able to ask for help as often as they should, out of fear of feeling like a burden. It is vital to be proactive and offer to help even when they do not ask for it. There are many things you can do to ease their burden, such as:
- Run their errands and buy them supplies at a store.
- Do dishes or laundry.
- Clean the house.
- Offer to cook or order food.
5. Be Mindful During Conversations
Brain injury victims may not have the same conversational speed as before. They may feel they are thinking or processing words in slow motion and have trouble recalling the correct terms for things.
Avoid using misleading statements or becoming frustrated when they can’t find the word they need. Instead, let them take time, offer a hint, and give praise and reassurance when they do find their words.
Certain brain injury patients may interpret promises and expressions literally, such as believing you will return in exactly one minute if you tell them you’ll be back “in a minute.” Be mindful of that fact, especially if they were already prone to this behavior before their injury.
6. Above All, Be Patient
A brain injury is a life-changing event that can completely alter the victim’s perception of life, time, and the world. From their point of view, an inability to do even the simplest tasks may be very frustrating.
Show them patience, understanding, and support, both practical and emotional. Helping them do tasks, giving them validation and comfort, and being a supportive presence can make a significant difference in their lives.
Although it isn’t always easy, remember that their condition often causes displays of hostility or impatience. Think of it as their injury talking and not as the intention to be hurtful or hostile.
Help Your Loved One Through This Challenging Time
Recovery may be a long process for a brain injury victim, but time, treatment, and adequate support are the ingredients for returning to a normal, healthy life. Unfortunately, loss of income and medical bills can add financial strain to an already stressful time.
If your loved one sustained a brain injury as the result of negligent behavior by another party, they may be eligible for damages to cover medical costs, lost income, or for pain and suffering.
Don’t hesitate to call our San Francisco brain injury lawyers for a free consultation to help your injured loved ones take back control of their lives and secure the financial compensation they deserve.
How Does a Brain Injury Affect Your Ability to Drive?
May 24th, 2021|
Brain injuries come in varying levels of severity, causing minor impairments with coordination and memory to patients who cannot care for themselves. If you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it may affect your reaction time, depth perception, peripheral vision, and coordination when you drive. If you’ve suffered from TBI seizures in the last year, you may have your license suspended.
However, with time, physical and occupational therapy, and medication, you may be able to drive normally one day. Here’s what you need to know about how a brain injury affects your ability to drive and when you can expect to hit the road again.
What is a TBI?
Traumatic brain injuries occur due to an impact or force that damages the brain. They typically occur from sports injuries, violence, slips and falls, and car accidents. A TBI occurs due to direct blunt force trauma to the head or the head changing direction suddenly and violently, causing the brain to hit the skull.
Some TBIs can heal after several weeks, months, or a year. Any TBI that lasts for more than a year is likely to be a permanent impairment, although you can learn to compensate with proper physical rehab interventions. Some drivers may need adaptive equipment to get behind the wheel again.
For those who received their TBI in a car accident, you may require some counseling to help you overcome anxiety and PTSD from the crash and to regain your confidence.
TBIs can impact your cognitive, visual, and physical abilities when you drive, which can be dangerous and lead to an accident. If you experience any of these impairments, it’s important to seek medical clearance before driving again.
TBIs to the frontal or temporal lobe can cause cognitive issues in the accident or fall’s immediate aftermath. Common symptoms of cognitive impairments following a TBI include:
- Disorientation and confusion
- Problems with decision-making, planning, impulse control, memory, problem-solving, and communication
- Distraction and difficulties concentrating
- Inability to cope with unexpected weather events or construction detours
While these injuries typically resolve in three to six months, severe damage may cause issues to persist. Aggressive physical, occupational, and psychological therapy can help you overcome many of these challenges and give you critical coping mechanisms.
Damage to the cerebellum, parietal lobe, and brain stem can cause physical challenges when you want to return to your normal life. In addition to the damage your brain has sustained, other areas of your body may have been seriously injured in an accident or fall. You may need to learn a new way of moving your body and utilizing new adaptive tools to get around. Your brain is also healing and can cause impairments such as:
- Hearing loss
- Poor hand-eye coordination and muscle coordination
- Limited muscle strength
- A loss of sense of balance, or vertigo
Damage to the occipital lobe causes vision challenges that can make driving difficult or impossible. Many of these issues resolve with time, but some persist and may make getting back behind the wheel impossible. Visual impairments after a TBI include:
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Development of blind spots
- Blurred vision, double vision, trouble focusing
- Difficulty controlling eye movement
- Slow processing of road signs or potential hazards
Getting Back to Driving
If your license was suspended as a result of your TBI, you will need to go to the DMV and participate in a re-examination interview or a physical and mental hearing.
An experienced personal injury attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can help you prepare for these steps and provide documentation from your doctors to support your case for license reinstatement.
Alternatively, if you are deemed unable to drive again safely due to a permanent traumatic brain injury, you may need financial assistance for transportation costs and medical bills. Not being able to drive severely limits your ability to earn a living wage, and you may have dependents who count on you for transportation. These are calculable damages you may be eligible to recover if your TBI resulted from another person’s negligence.
The Final Word
If you or a loved one have sustained a traumatic brain injury, don’t give up hope. With time and medical interventions, many TBI patients can heal and get back on the road again safely. Let our experienced California brain injury lawyers help you get back your wheels and your independence. We can also file a claim for damages from the negligent party, so you are financially secure.
Why Does My Head Hurt After an Accident?
February 15th, 2021|
Several factors can contribute to head pain after a crash, from stress-related headaches to serious brain injuries. If your head hurts after an accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Let’s look at a few common causes of head pain after a car accident and why seeing a doctor is so important.
Possible Causes of Headaches After a Car Accident
- Stress-induced headache
- Headaches from being struck by or against objects during the crash
- Whiplash-related headaches
- More severe traumatic brain injuries
In addition to physical trauma, the stress of a car accident can be draining and lead to headaches. If your crash was minor, and there were no injuries involved, it’s possible your headache could be due to stress. However, never take a risk when you’re feeling unwell after an accident; visit the doctor to rule out anything more serious.
If your head is struck by or against an object during the crash, or if you were jolted during a crash, you could be experiencing a headache as a side effect of a serious injury. A doctor will be able to examine you to determine if you have whiplash, a concussion, or a more severe traumatic brain injury.
Why Should I See a Doctor for a Headache?
In some cases, people involved in crashes could be seriously injured without feeling serious symptoms immediately after the accident. That’s because the adrenaline caused by the crash masks their symptoms. However, even a minor headache could indicate you’ve suffered serious injuries.
Even if a doctor rules out serious injuries as a cause of your headache, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pain isn’t a symptom of a more serious issue.
There are also possible financial implications for not seeing a doctor for your crash-induced headache; if you fail to seek treatment, and you later discover you were injured, the insurance company could allege you weren’t hurt seriously or at all because you didn’t see a doctor.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ve handled countless car accident cases, and we’ve seen this type of tactic used frequently by insurance companies. It’s one of the many reasons you should err on the side of caution after a crash and see a doctor as soon as possible to protect both your health and your right to compensation.
Who Will Pay for the Costs of My Injuries and Medical Care?
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you could be owed significant compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. By filing a personal injury claim, you may recoup the costs of all the medical care you receive due to crash-related injuries.
If You’re Looking for Legal Help, Get Berg Today!
The San Francisco car accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers want to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to by law. We’ve been helping clients get maximum compensation since 1981, and we’re ready to fight for you.
If you’d like to speak to our team, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment. Let our attorneys help you explore all your available legal options.