Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the most serious injuries a person can suffer. These injuries also have unpredictable effects; no two brain injury cases are the same and two people who suffer similar TBIs will likely have vastly different experiences when it comes to the severity of their symptoms, how long those symptoms last, and the manifestation of permanent disabilities.
Recovery from a Coma or Vegetative State
Some traumatic brain injuries may render a victim unconscious for an extended time. This is very dangerous, as even a few minutes of unconsciousness is potentially damaging to the brain. A TBI could potentially leave a victim alive, but unresponsive and unable to perform some bodily functions. Medical professionals use the Glasgow Coma Scale to measure unresponsiveness and categorize comatose patients. This scale measures eye movements, verbal responsiveness, and motor functions to determine a patient’s condition.
Recovery from a comatose or vegetative state typically hinges on the severity of the initial injury. Individuals who sustain less severe TBIs usually face a lower risk of permanent disability or persistent negative symptoms upon regaining consciousness. As a general rule, an individual faces a higher chance of suffering a permanent disability the longer he or she remains unconscious. Only about 60% of moderate TBI victims make full recoveries while about 25% will develop permanent but relatively moderate disabilities. 7% to 10% of moderate TBI cases result in death.
Victims of more severe closed-head TBIs face much worse odds of recovery; only about 25% to 33% of severe TBI victims make substantial recoveries, and another 33% will not survive. The survival rates are much lower for victims of open-head TBIs like penetrating gunshot wounds; more than half of gunshot victims with wounds to the head who arrive at hospitals alive will die from their injuries.
What Can a TBI Injury Claim Settlement Include?
Even when recovery is possible, victims may experience a wide range of physical, psychological, and behavioral changes after suffering TBIs. These injuries can alter how the brain processes information, memory, and sensory stimulation. The Glasgow Coma Scale may help medical professionals provide accurate treatment during the first phases of TBI recovery, but there is really no way to predict how a TBI may affect an individual in the future, regardless of severity.
When one party causes a TBI to another person due to negligence or criminal activity, the victim and/or the victim’s family may pursue an injury claim against the responsible party. A personal injury claim seeks to make a person “whole” again after suffering the effects of another party’s negligence. In a TBI case, the potential damages can easily be quite substantial.
- A TBI victim can claim compensation for any and all medical expenses related to his or her TBI. If a defendant caused a plaintiff’s TBI, the defendant is liable for immediate medical costs like hospital bills and surgical fees as well as necessary long-term treatment costs for things like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or ongoing medical care due to a permanent disability.
- TBI victims may also claim compensation for lost income. If an injury prevents a victim from working for an extended time, he or she can claim the wages lost during that time as damages in a personal injury case. In the event a TBI leaves a victim unable to work in the future, he or she may receive compensation for lost future earnings.
- Pain and suffering is a difficult subject in many personal injury cases. A plaintiff’s attorney may call upon expert witnesses with backgrounds in medicine, psychology, neurology, and other disciplines to help demonstrate the full extent of a TBI victim’s physical pain, psychological suffering, and mental distress. Pain and suffering compensation is usually quite substantial for plaintiffs who suffer permanent damage.
A personal injury attorney is a fantastic resource for TBI victims and their families, especially if they face uncertainty about liability for their damages and future complications. An attorney can not only help build a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing a TBI but also explore avenues of compensation the average person might overlook.