Brain injuries are not uncommon in Los Angeles. The highly populated city and surrounding urban areas are locations for frequentcar and motorcycle accidents. The brain injury is a serious type of injury, traumatic for the victim and demanding on the family who cares for the injured individual.
Medical care is absolutely necessary in such an accident and the costs can be high, so you should request the services of an Los Angeles personal injury attorney in order to obtain the right amount of compensations for your personal injury.
Victims who sustained this injury in particular types of accidents, such as a motorcycle crash, can reach out to our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney for personalized advice. Receiving legal aid from a lawyer who is well aware of the laws in force and the case law for these types of accidents is important as it can help maximize the settlement amount. What’s more, these types of severe accidents are traumatizing not only for the victim but also for the family who will need the compensation amount to pay for the expensive treatment that is likely to be needed in the future.
In this article, our lawyers outline the main issues to consider when suffering from a traumatic brain injury that was inflicted as a result of a personal injury accident.
A traumatic brain injury case in L.A.
Brain injury occurs when the head is injured in an accident. Although the most frequent types of accidents that result in such traumatic injuries are vehicle accidents, brain injury can also be a consequence of bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents or even slip and fall accidents. There are two types of head injuries - open or closed. An open head injury means that the skull has been fractured and it is absolutely necessary to seek urgent medical attention.
Head injuries that can lead to brain damage are diverse and they can affect the entire brain or only part thereof. Our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles lists some types of injuries:
Concussion: this is a type on which the brain is not injured permanently; can lead to a brief moment of unconsciousness.
Contusion: this is an injury that occurs to a certain area of the brain; the same side on which the accident took place or the opposite side of the body may be affected.
Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage: this is bleeding located in the areas that are filled with cerebrospinal fluid.
Diffuse axonal injury: an injury that takes place when the brain is moved back and forth in the skull; the nerve cells are affected or destroyed during this movement.
Hematoma: a blood clot that forms as a result of the blood vessels that have been ruptured by the brain injury; surgery may be required to remove the clot to prevent complications.
Less serious accidents can still cause brain injuries. Patients who were involved in an accident and injured their head should look for symptoms like a headache, nausea, dizziness or fatigue. Even if your injury is not obvious, you will still be able to prove in a personal injury lawsuit that the negligence of the other party caused important injuries. Regardless of the type of brain injury, it can have serious long-term effects and such an accidents should not be treated without care.
As seen from the list above, the brain can be injured in an accident in many ways. While you do not have to worry about the medical definitions of these injuries, it is highly important to prioritize seeking adequate medical care for your injuries. The treatment and recovery period should be documented for the case, meaning that you can collect the medical records, the doctor’s recommendations, and even statements in order to prove the manner in which the accident has had a consequence on your health and general wellbeing.
Because brain injuries can be debilitating, most victims will not be able to return to their normal jobs until they are fully recovered. Some victims will have to live with certain disabilities and may not be able to return to work ever again, meaning that they will depend on state aid.
This type of injury, in particular, has important implications in terms of costs and it can be an economic burden on the family of the injured individual. When the injury was sustained in a motorcycle accident, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney can help with legal counsel on the types of damages that can be expected. Using a damage calculator is another method of calculating the injuries, however, the lawyer will be able to personalize the amount.
Our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles invites you to watch a video about the compensations awarded in these cases:
Compensations for a brain injury case in Los Angeles
The costs associated with serious brain injuries can be significant. This is why it is important to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as you can. One of our lawyers will help you gather all the relevant information and evidence and build a solid case. The total amount of compensation will be calculated according to the material expenses but it can also include the psychological trauma and continuous pain and suffering to which the victim is still exposed after the accident. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to include non-economic damages. If the case goes to court the jury will most likely calculate a daily amount that will be awarded for a specific time period, for as long as they have decided that the victim has suffered after the injuries occurred.
The types of damages that can be awarded to a victim who has suffered a brain injury are the following:
Medical expenses: the costs for the immediate emergency medical treatment and the initial hospitalization and recovery procedures.
Future medical costs: the costs for the usually lengthy procedures that are needed for recovery after brain damage.
Lost wages: the income lost as a direct result of not being able to work for a certain period after the accident.
Future lost wages: the income that is projected to be lost as a result of not being able to work as before the accident or not at all.
Pain and suffering: monetary compensation for the pain and suffering caused by debilitating injuries.
Others: compensation for the property or assets that might have also been damaged or lost in the accident.
Our experienced brain injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you obtain compensation for medical bills and lost wages as well as other types of damages.
When discussing non-economic damages, it is important to note the calculation method that will be used. This can be a per-day method, meaning that the victim will receive a pre-set amount for a certain number of days, as it was determined that the pain and suffering will last for or it can be awarded as a bulk amount, an estimate of the monetary value of the pain and suffering the victim went through and will have to deal with for the rest of his/her life.
Our Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys can help victims who were injured in a motorcycle accident and have suffered brain injuries or perhaps spinal cord injuries or other types. Seeking legal aid is especially important when attempting to recover damages for non-economic damages as the insurance claim adjuster or the defendant may try to minimize the due amount. Asking for the right settlement is a right that should be pursued, especially for victims who have suffered greatly and who will bear the scars and the effects of the accident for the remainder of their lives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a traumatic brain injury is an injury to the head resulted from penetrating or blunt trauma or from a force acceleration-deceleration that causes neurological or neuropsychological abnormalities. A study performed on the population of California, between 2005 and 2014, had the following results:
1,182,809 patients over the age of 18 years with an index diagnosis of traumatic brain injury;
the number of index traumatic brain injury patients had an overall growth of 57.7%, from 91,492 in 2005 to 144,269 in 2014;
approximately 78.9% of the index traumatic brain injury patients were discharged from the Emergency Department.
In another study on the California Hospital Discharge Data for traumatic brain injury patients between 2001 and 2009, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents were most frequent in the 15-19 and 20-24 age groups.
Proving how the brain injury took place
Objective medical findings, like those from a CT scan or an MRI, are important for all brain injuries or concussions. Your physician has an important role in helping you prove a brain injury. He can offer testimonies as to the severity of the injury and, if needed, these findings can be backed up by another physician. Depending on the case, the defendant or the insurance company may demand that their own assigned physician evaluates your medical records.
There are many cases of mild traumatic brain injuries with subtle or minimal symptoms that are harder to prove, compared to severe traumatisms. These individuals may show symptoms only months after the accident, symptoms which will still impact their quality of life. This scenario is commonly seen in vehicle accidents.
Brain injuries can also happen while at work. This is the case in some workplace or construction accidents. In these situations, the victim may claim worker’s compensation with the help of a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Proving negligence is a key step in any personal injury accident. Where severe injuries are concerned, our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you gather the needed proof as well as observe the common procedures for filing a claim against the defendant (the individual or company at fault for the accident).
According to the Civil Code, each individual is responsible for the results of his or her willful acts as well as for an injury that takes place to another through lack of ordinary care or skill in the management of one’s duties, property or person, except for the situation in which the injury has not taken place because the individual has brought it upon himself or herself.
Each accident is different and that means that the duty of care owed by one party to the other (the parties involved in the accident) is different and has varying levels. Negligence is another key element in personal injury cases in addition to duty of care. This is the act of failing to do what is expected or what is reasonable in order to prevent harm brought onto others. In a vehicle or motorcycle accident, this can mean observing the road traffic rules. For an employer or company, it can mean ensuring that the workplace or the premises are reasonably safe and that they comply with the regulations for workplace safety and customer care.
The four elements of negligence, applicable in any personal injury case, are the following:
Duty of care: as previously stated, this is one party’s reasonable duty to provide for the safety of others; this occurs when there is a relationship between the parties and in most cases both of them are subject to the same duty (for example, in case of two drivers; however, in medical malpractice cases it is expected that the doctor will have this duty towards his patients and in a nursing home the caretakers will have this duty towards the elderly);
Breach of duty: when assessing a personal injury case, the next step is to determine that the established duty of care was indeed breached by the plaintiff;
Causation: the cause in fact – proof beyond doubt that the breach of duty was the one that caused the injury and the losses;
Damages: proof of the actual injury and losses; for this purpose the victim of a traumatic brain injury can rely on medical records, as has been previously stated.
A traumatic brain injury that takes place as a result of another party’s negligence and failure to observe his or her duties needs to be proved by the plaintiff. This is called the “burden of proof”, bringing clear and convincing proof, beyond a reasonable doubt. This is why it is always advisable to work with our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles when proving that another’s actions lead to an injury, more specifically in this case a brain injury (with its various consequences).
A fifth element can also be introduced, the proximate cause – this is different from the actual cause. In brain injury cases, the actual cause could be the vehicle or the motorcycle accident – when one vehicle hits the other, the actions of the driver who hit the victim were the primary cause of the injury. The proximate cause is also known as the legal cause recognized by court as the primary cause of the injury. It can be an action with foreseeable consequences. The burden of proof also falls onto the plaintiff who will need to show that the injuries were a direct occurrence of the proximate cause (without which the injuries would not have existed). Californian law uses the substantial factor test, meaning that the defendant’s conduct must be a relevant factor in contributing to the harm. Our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles can provide you with more information on the substantial factor, as it is defined under law.
Showing damages in brain injury cases
It is important to seek appropriate medical care after the accident, whether the brain traumatism is mild or severe. Because the treatment and recovery can be both extensive and expensive, victims will claim compensation for the medical bills, the future medical bills and, if needed, life care costs.
Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life as well as for pain and suffering is also possible. When calculating damages, our brain injury attorney in Los Angeles will know to include these types of non-economic damages. It is common for some of the greatest losses after a catastrophic injury, such as a severe brain injury, to be of a non-economic nature. A previously lively and sports-loving person who was in such an accident and is now paralyzed will no longer be able to enjoy these types of activities or, even if this is still possible, severe limitations are to be expected. This can have a tremendous impact on one’s psychological wellbeing, social life and can lead to chronic depression. A skilled personal injury lawyer, such as those in our team, will know that non-economic damages need to be included when calculating the settlement for brain injuries. In general, there is no cap on non-economic damages in California, except for medical malpractice cases.
If you have been the victim of an accident that has lead to traumatic brain injuries, please contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We can help you win your case during the statute of limitations and obtain the rightful compensations for such an extensive injury.
We can also help you in other personal injury cases because we have different teams of lawyers:
Marc Y. Lazo is specialized in personal injury cases as well as in complex business and commercial litigation. He has tried numerous cases to successful verdict and has obtained multiple six-figure judgments in both state and federal court.