July 18, 2019

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Traumatic Brain Injury


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as a brain pathology caused by an external force (it would not include a spontaneously arising brain tumor, for example). Personal injury lawyers generally deal with TBI more than other kinds of brain injury, because the “external force” that causes TBI is so often the result of culpable misconduct, particularly by negligent drivers.

Types of TBI

The most common types of TBI include:

  • Concussions: Damage to brain blood vessels and cranial nerves
  • Contusions: Bruising and bleeding in the brain
  • Coup-contrecoup: Injuries on both sides of the brain – for example, injury on one side due to the initial impact followed immediately by injury to the other side due to the impact of the other side of the brain with the skull.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injuries: Serious brain structure tearing caused by rotational forces
  • Open and closed head injuries: A broad category of head injuries that include situations where a shattered piece of skull presses against the brain or where the brain swells inside the skull.
  • Penetration injuries: Caused when an object (such as a bullet) penetrates brain tissue.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease and Control Injury Prevention Center, the following events cause most traumatic brain injuries:

  • Traffic Accidents: 14.3 percent
  • Assaults: 10.7 percent
  • Falls: 40.5 percent
  • Blows to the head (not caused by assault or traffic accidents): 15.5 percent

The remaining 19 percent of traumatic brain injuries result from a variety of causes.


Among TBI victims who receive treatment:

  • 2 percent die
  • 11 percent are hospitalized
  • 87 percent are treated and released from the emergency room

These figures do not include victims who do not receive treatment for some reason.

Lawsuits and Settlements

Brain injury cases receive some of the highest damages awards of any personal injury claims – in fact, multimillion dollar awards are far from unheard of. The reason for this, of course, is that serious brain injuries can result in profound lifelong disability. The amount you are likely to receive depends heavily on how seriously your injury affected you and how long your disability is likely to last.

In a successful brain injury case, you are generally entitled to compensation for your past, present and future medical bills as well as any lost wages. Lost wages can add up if, for example you become permanently unemployed because of your disability. Your economic damages will also include any out-of-pocket expenses arising from your accident, such as travel expenses.

If your injury was debilitating, much if not most of the amount that you receive is likely to be based on non-economic damages, such as compensation for the mental anguish you suffer due to the loss of the ability to engage in ordinary everyday activities such as walking or exercising. It is even possible for your spouse to receive compensation for loss of your sexual function. The actual amount you might receive for a brain injury, however, can vary tremendously depending on the severity of your injury, the facts of your case, the insurance carried by the defendant and the skill of your personal injury lawyer.

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