Traumatic brain injuries can occur as a result of on-the-job accidents, vehicular accidents, falls, playing sports, domestic violence, and gunshot wounds. Those who serve in the military may also sustain traumatic brain injuries as the result of being near explosions or blasts. Traumatic brain injuries can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
However, many traumatic brain injury survivors sustain long-term damages or consequences from the initial injury, even when the injury is classified as mild. Some victims may choose to seek compensation to deal with the financial and emotional aftermaths of the injury by pursuing a personal injury claim. While traumatic brain injuries that are sustained on the job may be handled through a worker’s compensation claim, personal injury claims can still be pursued against an employer in lieu of a worker’s compensation claim if the employee or employee’s family believes there is enough evidence to prove neglect or intentional wrongdoing.
Why Pursue a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim can help a victim of traumatic brain injury receive compensation for medical expenses and emotional distress, pain and suffering. Even mild cases of traumatic brain injury can result in permanent disruptions to a person’s quality of life. Ongoing symptoms such as an inability to concentrate for extended periods of time and cognitive defects can make it impossible for a person to return to his or her job or profession.
A personal injury law firm, such as Lawboss, can help determine whether there are sufficient grounds to pursue a personal injury case. Although emotional stress, pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify, some of that stress and suffering can be tied to a person’s loss of identity and ability to fully function in society as a result of the effects of traumatic brain injury. Some of the effects of a traumatic brain injury include the loss of a job, depression, and anxiety that surface as a result of the injury. Mood swings, sensory sensitivities, an inability to sleep soundly are also common after an injury.
A person’s family may also pursue compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering due to traumatic brain injuries that result in the death or permanent disability of the victim. Family members often have to serve as caregivers or seek out professional care services for victims that are rendered unconscious for extended periods of time. Victims can also suffer from permanent disabilities that make it impossible for them to be fully self-sufficient.
Tips for Substantiating Personal Injury Claims
To prove a personal injury claim in court, the burden of proof usually falls on the plaintiff. For instance, if a traumatic brain injury is sustained while working for an employer, the employee or the employee’s representative must be able to prove there was willful negligence or harmful intent on the part of the employer. For example, there may be cause for a suit if an employer knew there was a documented safety issue with equipment employees were required to use on a daily basis and did nothing to mitigate the problem.
The documented safety issue was discussed in safety meetings for months prior to the employee’s accident, but the employer failed to rectify the underlying issue. The employee’s traumatic brain injury resulted from using the faulty equipment months later. This faulty equipment continued to exist despite repeated complaints and warnings to the employer from multiple employees.
In this scenario, the employee or the employee’s representative may have the ability to prove willful negligence on the part of the employer. The employee may be able to seek compensation for both medical expenses and emotional distress, pain, and suffering sustained from the injury. The amount of compensation will depend upon the severity of the injury and the short-term and long-term consequences. If the employee or employee’s representative believes there is enough evidence to be able to prove willful negligence or harmful intent on the part of the employer, the employee should hold off on filing a worker’s compensation claim.
The main reason the employee should not file a worker’s compensation claim is that state laws may prohibit an employee from seeking personal injury compensation once a worker’s compensation claim is filed. Although a worker’s compensation claim more or less guarantees an employee’s medical expenses and lost wages will be covered according to the law, that compensation could be less than what an employee may receive under a personal injury claim.
Worker’s compensation claims also do not provide for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. However, compensation under a personal injury claim is not guaranteed and there is the possibility that the employee will lose in court. This is why it is critical to have sufficient documentation that can prove willful negligence or harmful intent.
Personal injury claims for emotional and physical damages resulting from traumatic brain injuries can also be pursued in non-work-related cases. For instance, someone could willfully injure another person with a weapon or physical violence. The violence results in injuries that permanently impair the individual’s ability to function and work in society. A personal injury case seeking compensation could be pursued against the person that caused the violence and injury.
Other non-work-related scenarios include trips and falls that happen on commercial and residential properties where there is enough proof that willful negligence occurred. For example, a commercial property owner fails to maintain the structural integrity of a shopping center’s sidewalks. Someone attempts to shop at the location, but ends up tripping and falling, hitting his head on the pavement. The fall results in a traumatic brain injury and subsequent hospitalization.
The person is also out of work for six months and is unable to return to his former job. That individual may have been able to obtain documentation that the property owner was aware of the deficiency in the sidewalk’s structural integrity and chose not to make timely repairs. As a result, there may be just cause for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
The decision to pursue a personal injury claim for a traumatic brain injury may add to the person’s emotional and psychological trauma. Consulting with a personal injury attorney or law firm can help victims consider their options and be prepared for what a court case might entail. Seeking compensation is not always an easy decision but can assist victims in their ongoing medical support needs and recovery process.