Suffering a personal injury can greatly affect your life, and a brain injury can have severe, debilitating, and even lasting effects. Your brain injury can range from an emotionally handicapping injury like post traumatic stress disorder to an accident that leaves a victim in a vegetable state. Unfortunately sometimes a brain injury lawsuits are necessary to alleviate additional pains. Brain injuries generally fall into the category of catastrophic personal injury for this reason. The Center for Disease Control and Injury Prevention estimates 1.7 million people suffer severe brain injuries each year. A brain injury can occur in a number of different ways. Some of the most common ways for a brain injury to occur include: automobile accidents, motor cycle accidents, falls, assaults, falling objects, structural failures, and construction site accidents.
Brain injuries vary greatly in extent and effect, from mild traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms of which generally include loss of consciousness and limited amnesia, to frontal lobe damage which affects decisions making ability, to severe brain damage which can affect a victim’s ability to regulate internal functions of the body. Furthermore, a person who suffers from a brain injury could suffer a lessening of cognitive reserve which guards against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and the like.
A severe brain injury can result in a complete change in the victim’s ability to function. The person may be in a coma unable to respond to stimuli and unaware of his or her surroundings. Typically, a coma state only persists for three to four weeks. The victim may also be in a vegetative state where he or she is ‘awake’ but unaware of his or her surroundings. Additionally, the victim may be minimally conscious; he or she is aware of his or her surroundings to a limited extent and has a limited ability to respond to commands. There are other type of brain injuries which can result from accidents as well. These injuries include: an extradural hematoma, subdural hematoma, and a subarachnoid hemorrhage, all of which involve blood build up and bleeding of the brain causing damage to the brain, either immediately or over time.
If you or someone you know has experienced a brain injury, the injured party will probably need to have MRI’s and CT scans done to determine the extent of the brain injury. This can help to determine whether there is any tiny bleeding of the brain or damage to the white matter of the brain. This is an important step even if the brain injury does not seem extremely severe. This is because the severity of a brain injury may not be readily determined by speech and actions; some of the effects of a brain injury may not manifest themselves until later on. This is why Brain Injury Lawsuits are sometimes necessary.
Brain Injury Lawsuits in New York
Settlements and jury awards for severe brain injuries tend to have a high dollar value due to the affect these types of injuries can have on the victim. Unlike some type of personal injury which are considered ‘soft tissue injuries’ and receive less compensation due to the fact they tend not to be permanent, brain injuries are generally considered ‘hard injuries’ when dealing with personal injury claims. Because the effects of a brain injury tend to be longer lasting and even life altering, the damage award is generally higher than with other injuries. Therefore, unlike with many other personal injury cases, a brain injury personal injury claim often not only contains compensatory and general damages, but also hedonic damages. Hedonic damages are damages for an extreme change in the quality of life that the injury caused; this type of damages is awarded for disfigurement, physical and emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
An example of the high damage award which may be obtained in brain injury lawsuits is that of a 60 year old Vietnam Veteran who was hit by a car which drove past a police barricade causing him to sustain severe head trauma. The plaintiff, who sustained brain damage and was confined to a nursing home was awarded $32,756,156. A child who was hit in the head by a falling plexi-glass sign while sitting in a stroller was awarded $6.6 million in his brain injury lawsuit. A bicyclist hit by a passing truck causing him to sustain brain injury was awarded $2.4 million. And a pedestrian who fell on a decaying walkway receiving brain injury settled for $1.9 million.
Brain Injury Lawsuits: What You Need to Know
It is often hard to prove the full extent and effect of a brain injury and the process of proving it can often be very evasive. The insurance company representing the defendant may want to examine the injured party’s current medical records as well as past medical, psychological, and psychiatric records. For this reason, it would be wise to seek the counsel of a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to protect your interests and advocate for you.
It is important to gather and retain important evidence for your lawsuit. For instance, if you suffered a brain injury as a result of a car accident, you will want to take pictures of the car after the accident. Furthermore, you want to gather the names of witnesses who can attest to any changes which they have observe in the brain injury sufferer from prior to the accident. In addition, you want to save copies of all medical records as well as medical bills and expenses related to your injury. And remember, an experienced New York personal injury attorney will know which evidence you need to receive a fair settlement or judgment if you have been in an accident and would like to learn more about brain injury lawsuits in New York receive a free personal injury consultation today.