Traumatic Brain Injury, Head Injury, and Concussion Lawyer in Los Angeles
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury (also sometimes referred to as head injury, brain injury, head trauma, or simply TBI) affects nearly two million people in the United States each year.
While some sufferers of traumatic brain injury recover quickly without much medical intervention, many others require high levels of care and have their lives forever changed. TBI can be devastating to both the sufferer and their loved ones. Severe TBI can even lead to death. No matter how serious the injury may initially seem, the period immediately following TBI is crucial for seeking both medical attention and legal counsel.
Whether it's you or a loved one who has suffered TBI, you should not deal with the stress of figuring out the next steps alone. The experienced accident and personal injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group will not only give you the compassionate assistance and attention you deserve, but also fight to get you the care and compensation you need.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
CDC defines traumatic brain injury as a "disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury."
TBI can include invisible, "closed head" injuries and acquired brain injuries as well.
TBI can happen in an instant, but it can also have long-lasting consequences. TBI is known to lead to epilepsy and other brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Recovery from TBI is often very different than recovery from other injuries. This is because brain injuries can affect everything from your physical abilities to your cognitive abilities to your personality. The true effects of TBI may also be unclear for weeks or even months after the accident.
These factors can make recovery from TBI uniquely difficult and frustrating. This means that a TBI sufferer needs to seek assistance from highly qualified lawyers like our injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group. A challenging situation calls for attorneys who are up for the challenge and can help you with every step of the process, from taking legal action against wrongdoers to dealing with insurance companies and ensuring you're well taken care of.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury can be caused in many ways, including (but not limited to):
- Motor vehicle accidents (including whiplash-inducing accidents)
- Firearms (gunshot wounds)
- Recreational sports
- Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Products liability (including pharmaceutical products and medical devices)
- Medical negligence (including complications associated with surgery and childbirth or as a result of anesthesia)
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
There are many different symptoms of TBI, some of which may not become clear for up to several months following the injury. These symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
- Nausea and/or vomiting (shortly after the incident)
- Changes in vision
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Difficulty with thinking clearly and/or remembering new information
- Feeling mentally slow or unfocused
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Mood swings
- Persistent or frequent irritation, anxiety, and/or sadness
- Exhaustion/lack of energy
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have suffered TBI, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How Is Traumatic Brain Injury Assessed?
Doctors and other medical professionals may use a variety of methods to assess the severity of a patient's TBI.
One common method used to assess the initial severity of TBI is the Glasgow Coma Scale. Medical professionals use this 15-point scale to test responsiveness in the TBI sufferer. Scores range from three to 15; a higher score means a less severe injury.
The Glasgow Coma Scale is frequently used in tandem with the Rancho Los Amigos Scale. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale is an eight-point scale often used to evaluate the progress of a patient's recovery from TBI. A higher score means a more highly functioning patient.
More generally speaking, TBI can be considered mild, moderate, or severe. Concussions are one form of mild TBI.
Regardless of the severity of your TBI, you may be entitled to compensation if your injury was caused – in full or in part – by someone else's actions. Contact a skilled injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential case. You need to act fast to get the settlement you deserve and begin to get your life back on track.
What to Do After Suffering Traumatic Brain Injury
Focus on Your Health and Safety
Of course, it is extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after your head injury. When in doubt as to the severity of the injury, go to an emergency room for care.
It is also important not to risk exacerbating your injury. Avoid activities that could lead to further head trauma, such as contact sports.
After your TBI, you should not operate a motor vehicle or machinery without getting a doctor's approval. You should also not engage in any potentially dangerous activities without medical clearance.
Consider Creating a Power of Attorney
The highly experienced lawyers at The Ryan Law Group advise our clients and prospective clients who have suffered head injuries to consider creating a power of attorney.
Depending on the severity of your TBI, it will likely be best for someone you trust to take over certain matters while you recover. You may choose to grant that trusted person the authority to handle these matters, allowing them to serve as your agent or attorney-in-fact.
A power of attorney can be general or specific. For instance, if you would like this trusted person to handle your legal and financial matters while you recover but do not want or need them to handle your medical care, then you will stipulate that.
(It is important to note that if the injured party is a minor, then their parents or guardians will typically direct their care and need to sign any legal, medical, or insurance documents.)
Obtain and Preserve Evidence
There are many different kinds of evidence that may be relevant to your traumatic brain injury case depending on the specifics of the accident that caused your injury.
For instance, if you suffered your TBI in a motor vehicle accident or another incident involving police response, it is best to obtain the police report as soon as possible. This will help your potential attorneys to evaluate your prospective case efficiently.
If your TBI occurred as a result of a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, a surveillance/security camera may have footage of your accident. You will need to make sure that footage is preserved as soon as possible, as many businesses regularly record over old footage.
You may also want to collect copies of your medical records and medical bills related to your TBI. The more information and documentation you can provide your attorneys, the easier it will be for them to efficiently and effectively assess and work up your case.
Even if you did not immediately begin gathering evidence following your accident, you should begin doing so as soon as you can. Your attorneys may also be able to help you with the process of obtaining and preserving evidence.
What are the Relevant Laws Specific to California and Los Angeles?
California law gives you as the plaintiff (injured party) the right to file a civil suit against those who caused your traumatic brain injury – this means that you will be seeking monetary compensation from the defendant (person or entity that caused the TBI).
However, you do not retain this right forever. California has a statute of limitations (deadline to file a lawsuit) of 2 years from the date of the incident that caused your injury, so it is crucial to act fast and retain an excellent injury attorney as soon as possible.
If the incident that caused your TBI occurred as a result of some negligence on the part of the government or a public agency or institution, California law gives you far less time to file a claim against your wrongdoers. You have only 6 months to file a case against the State of California or any county, city, public college or university, public transportation system, etc.
There are some other exceptions to California's 2-year statute of limitations rule, as well. If you have any questions at all about your statute of limitations or other important legal issues related to your potential case, do not delay – call our experienced team at The Ryan Law Group today.
It is also important to know that the California judicial system allows the defendant in a personal injury case to claim comparative negligence as an attempt to reduce their liability for the plaintiff's injury. The idea is that each party pays a percentage of the damages in proportion with the percentage of their fault; for example, if the plaintiff is found to have been 30% responsible for their own injury due to negligence (lack of reasonable care), then the defendant only pays 70% of the damages in the case.
The principle of comparative negligence can also work in your favor as a plaintiff, because it means that you are still eligible to receive compensation for injuries that were primarily your fault (so long as the defendant's negligence can also be established).
How Are Damages Calculated?
There are two broad categories of damages in personal injury cases, including those related to traumatic brain injuries. These categories are called compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages usually make up most or all of a plaintiff's recovery from a personal injury case. Compensatory damages include compensation for all the losses the plaintiff has suffered or will suffer due to the harm caused by the defendant.
In California, there are two types of compensatory damages:
- Economic ("special") damages
- Non-economic ("general") damages
Economic, or special, damages may include:
- Past, present, and future medical and rehabilitative expenses
- Past, present, and future general expenses (due to inability to independently care for yourself as a result of your injury)
- Past, present, and future lost wages/earnings (due to inability to work or need for a change in profession as a result of your injury)
Non-economic, or general, damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish/emotional distress
- Loss of consortium (negative effects on your marriage)
Punitive damages are less commonly awarded than compensatory damages. A judge or jury may choose to award punitive damages if the defendant's negligence was exceptionally egregious or if they acted with ill intent. This serves as a punishment for these terrible actions, as well as a deterrent from future bad behavior.
What a Lawyer Can Do to Help
When you've suffered a traumatic brain injury, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention. Of course, you want to focus on your health and recovery, but you also need to contend with mounting medical bills, combative insurance companies, and the possibility of filing suit against the person who caused your TBI – especially because lawsuits involving traumatic brain injuries can be especially challenging, time-consuming, and expensive.
You and your loved ones don't need to go through this alone. You need the help of an experienced injury attorney like ours at The Ryan Law Group. Our lawyers have successfully assisted many other clients in the Los Angeles area with difficult cases like yours.
You may be wondering how you could possibly afford high-quality legal representation. Fortunately, some Los Angeles law firms, including The Ryan Law Group, work on a contingency basis. This means that the attorneys' fees are a percentage of your settlement award, so if you don't get paid, your attorneys don't get paid. If you don't receive a settlement, you would never even need to repay the law firm for their time or any expenses accrued in investigating or working on the case. When you work with a firm like The Ryan Law Group, you know your attorneys are working hard on your case – it's in our best interest to get you the high-value settlement you deserve as efficiently as possible.
A top-notch law firm like The Ryan Law Group may be able to help you with the following:
Seeking Compensation from Wrongdoers
Each traumatic brain injury case is unique, so it is important to have high-quality legal assistance when seeking justice and a monetary settlement from the party who caused your injury.
Highly skilled and experienced attorneys like ours at The Ryan Law Group know the system and are not afraid to put this knowledge to work. We are familiar with the best practices and strategies for each situation because we know all about the specific courts, judges, defendants, lawyers, insurance companies, and other parties involved. We will work hard for you, but we will also work smart for you.
Seeking Compensation for Caregivers
When your loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury and you become their primary caregiver, your life may change as dramatically as that of your injured family member. You deserve help, too – and you may also be entitled to compensation.
It is imperative to seek both immediate and follow-up medical attention for even the most minor-seeming head injury. If you do not have medical insurance, this can be daunting. Fortunately, your attorneys may be able to help you receive medical treatment with no out-of-pocket cost to you; your medical expenses will not be your responsibility until you are awarded a settlement.
Many TBI sufferers can benefit from rehabilitative care. Rehabilitation may be long-term and can be prohibitively expensive, especially for patients without medical insurance. Don't let your financial situation prevent you from taking care of your health – your lawyers may be able to help you access rehabilitative care as well as other medical treatment. Again, you will not be responsible for your medical bills until you receive a settlement award.
While it is beneficial to have medical insurance, it can be extremely frustrating to deal with insurance companies when you have been injured. Their goal is not to help you – it's often in their best interest to prevent you from getting the care you need. That's why you need experienced attorneys on your side as you navigate complicated insurance policies and benefit limitations. The lawyers at The Ryan Law Group have dealt with all of this many times before – we know insurance companies' tricks, and we know how to prevent them from taking advantage of you.
Each and every traumatic brain injury case is different, so it is crucial to work with a law firm that is attentive, skilled, and passionate. The injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group have a track record of success with Los Angeles TBI cases, and we want to help you seek justice and win the high-value settlement you deserve.
Call The Ryan Law Group Today!
Suffering a traumatic brain injury is incredibly stressful and takes a toll on both the injured party and their loved ones – mentally, physically, and emotionally. TBI can be a life-altering event for an entire family.
Don't go through this trying time alone. The Ryan Law Group can help you with all the tricky logistics of filing suit and handling disputes with insurance companies so you can focus on getting your life back.
Even if you're not sure whether you might have a viable case against the party who caused your TBI, call our knowledgeable team at The Ryan Law Group. We can evaluate your potential case and let you know quickly whether we can represent you in this matter.
Our highly skilled and experienced injury attorneys at The Ryan Law Group have helped many other Los Angeles residents to win the compensation they needed and deserved for their traumatic brain injuries. We can help you, too. Call The Ryan Law Group today for your free, no-commitment consultation.