A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be devastating and leave you or a loved one with permanent disabilities. You should not have to bear the physical, emotional, and financial costs alone, and you may have legal recourse if someone else’s negligence caused your injury. Contact our New Jersey traumatic brain injury lawyer today.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is an acquired brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBIs can result from a sudden, significant blow or jolt to the head or body or from an object piercing the skull and brain. Mild TBIs can have a short-term effect that causes only a temporary negative impact on the brain before returning to normal brain function. However, severe TBIs can cause severe brain damage, often leading to permanent disability and death. TBIs can significantly affect how the brain works, including how a person thinks, comprehends, understands, moves, and communicates.
Type of TBI
There are generally two types of TBI, both of which can have varying degrees of severity. Frequently, TBIs are immediately apparent after an accident or physical trauma to the brain. However, TBIs can manifest slowly over time, and you may not experience immediate symptoms.
TBIs generally fall into one of two categories.
- Penetrating TBI: A penetrating TBI occurs when an object such as a knife, shrapnel, or bullet pierces the skill and penetrates the brain.
- Non-penetrating TBI: A non-penetrating TBI, on the other hand, does not pierce the skull. A non-penetrating TBI occurs when a significant external force causes the brain to move violently within the head (e.g., motor vehicle accident, fall, or blast injury).
In the most catastrophic accidents, it is possible to experience both types of TBI simultaneously.
To learn more about TBI’s different types and causes, contact a New Jersey TBI attorney.
TBI: A Silent Injury
Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are often referred to as silent injuries or silent killers. People refer to them as silent because they can remain symptomless, have a sudden and severe onset, and be challenging to diagnose and treat.
An individual with a TBI can appear perfectly normal and healthy. They may not even have a scratch or bruise on their head while there is significant trauma inside the brain.
Symptoms of a TBI
TBIs can be tricky to diagnose because they can remain symptomless for an extended period. If symptoms do not immediately appear or are attributed to something else, TBIs can initially go untreated. And no treatment can result in additional injury.
If you are in an accident or altercation involving your head and feel off, do not ignore those feelings. Symptoms to watch out for include the following:
- A persistent headache,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Trouble balancing,
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
- Memory loss,
- Slurred speech and the inability to form a sentence,
- Sudden mood swings,
- Inability to focus,
- Difficulty walking or being active, and
- Abrupt personality changes.
Remember, you can experience one or a handful of these symptoms simultaneously.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by many things, including a simple mishap or the most horrendous car accident. The brain is highly delicate and intricate, and it does not take much to cause trauma.
Examples of common causes of TBIs include the following:
- Car accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Slip and falls,
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents,
- Sports injuries,
- Construction site accidents,
- Explosions, and
- Physical violence.
The cause of a TBI can be as insignificant as tripping on the sidewalk and hitting your head, or it can result from a catastrophic car accident. No matter the cause, if you suffered physical trauma to your head, you should immediately have a doctor examine you.
Specific Types of Brain Injuries
TBIs can come in many forms. It is common to experience more than one, especially in a severe accident.
A concussion is one of the most common forms of brain injury and can be caused by many things. Concussion victims commonly exhibit headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and brain fog. Many people associate concussions with a loss of consciousness, but sustaining a concussion without ever losing consciousness is possible.
A skull fracture is one of the more obvious head injuries because it is a physical break or fracture in the skull. They can be minor or severe. Skull fractures can be especially dangerous if fragments penetrate the brain.
A hematoma is a collection or pocket of blood and can occur in almost any body part, but when a brain injury causes them, the blood collects within the skull. Hematomas are commonly caused by broken blood vessels within the brain.
Any TBI can leave you with a loss of brain function and other disabilities. If you suffer any trauma to the head, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Whether you suffered a TBI due to an accident or suspected medical malpractice, you generally have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit.
However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations or the timeframe for filing your claim. The window of opportunity can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances, so it is imperative to speak with a New Jersey TBI lawyer as soon as possible.
Damages in a TBI Case
For any personal injury case, including brain injury cases, there are generally two types of damages available to a successful plaintiff: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are intended to compensate accident victims for their financial losses. They are easily calculated based on bills, receipts, and other records.
Economic damages include the following:
- Past and anticipated medical expenses,
- Past and future lost wages,
- Lost health insurance benefits,
- Lost pension or other retirement earnings, and
- Any property damage.
It is important to remember that monetary damages vary widely from case to case.
Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate because they are subjective and personal to the individual. They are meant to compensate an accident victim for the negative impact their injury has had and will have on their life. Examples of non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental distress,
- Emotional anguish,
- Loss of consortium,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
An experienced attorney will advocate for the non-economic damages you deserve.
In instances of extreme misconduct or negligence by the defendant, a victim may be able to pursue punitive damages. While punitive damages are more sparsely awarded, you may be entitled to them as a TBI victim. Our attorneys can assess your case and advise whether you can seek punitive damages.
New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
At Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., our firm is recognized as one of the nation’s Top 100 National Trial Lawyers. We pride ourselves on treating our clients like family and ensuring they get the compensation and justice they deserve. If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury in New Jersey, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.