Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorney
Brain injuries can be among the most expensive and catastrophic of all injuries a person might experience in their lifetime. Minor brain injuries, more commonly referred to as concussions, often heal in a matter of weeks and don’t usually saddle victims with lifelong complications. Yet, when people suffer a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), not only might they have to overcome multiple physical challenges, they may face ever-mounting medical expenses.
In the most severe cases, a catastrophic TBI prevents victims from returning to work or seeking gainful employment. The emotional stress coupled with the financial burden of a TBI can tear a family apart and might even lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, and challenges meeting day-to-day needs.
If you, your child, or another family member has suffered a brain injury as a result of another party’s negligence or intent to cause harm, Pennsylvania law permits you to seek compensation for damages related to the injury. Financial compensation cannot turn back the clock, but it can help victims afford the costly treatment that accompanies a TBI. Victims and their families can obtain relief from some or all of the financial burden caused by a TBI by pursuing compensation through a settlement or verdict in their favor.
The team of skilled personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm can help you through this challenging time. If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, contact us at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances that led to your brain injury and to learn about how we can assist you in taking the next steps to get the compensation you deserve.
About The Levin Firm
The award-winning legal team at The Levin Firm has been advocating for injured clients since 2005, including those who have suffered brain injuries. Over the years, the firm’s steadfast commitment to professional excellence and client service has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in damages from settlement agreements and verdicts in favor of clients.
Recent settlements and verdicts secured by The Levin Firm range from $500,000 for a pedestrian accident to $1.5 million for a client who suffered injuries in a car accident. These examples do not guarantee an outcome in your TBI case because the distinctive facts of each case can add to or detract from the value of a claim. You can rest assured, however, that the dedicated brain injury lawyers at The Levin Firm will work diligently to uncover all of the facts about the accident or incident that led to your injury to build the best possible case against those who caused you harm.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as an injury that “occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.” A person might suffer a TBI when their head suddenly hits an object, or when an object punctures the skull and enters the brain tissue. A severe jolt to the head without direct contact can also lead to a TBI. Those who suffer a TBI might experience a mild concussion all the way to a severe TBI causing permanent brain damage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 2.53 million people visit emergency departments each year for traumatic brain injuries. Among these visits, more than 55,000 people die and 300,000 must be hospitalized.
Scenarios That Can Lead to a TBI
According to the CDC, older Americans face the highest risk for a TBI, primarily because those over age 65 are prone to slip and fall accidents. Yet, older adults are not the only people at risk for a TBI. Brain injuries might occur in a wide variety of situations.
Some examples of accidents and events that lead to a TBI include:
- Motor vehicle accidents including passenger vehicles, heavy trucks, and motorcycles
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle and scooter accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective product use
- Participating in full-contact sports
- Elder abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Child abuse, including Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Sometimes those who experience a traumatic brain injury don’t immediately experience symptoms or know they have suffered an injury; other times the injury is more obvious. The symptoms that indicate someone might have a TBI vary widely and can change with the location of the TBI, the age of the victim, and the severity of the event that caused the TBI.
When infants or children suffer a TBI, parents might not know until they notice one or more developmental delays. Adults might not notice symptoms for hours, days, or weeks. The following symptoms might indicate a TBI and must be taken seriously. If you or a loved one experiences them, you must seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Symptoms Associated With Mild TBIs (concussions)
- Headaches that increasingly get worse or don’t go away
- Dizziness, vertigo, or other issues with internal equilibrium
- Unexplained fatigue
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Ringing sound in ears
Symptoms Associated With Severe TBIs
- Severe or constant migraines or headaches that continue to worsen
- Vomiting and nausea
- Slurred speech
- Loss of feeling in limbs or numbness
- Unevenly dilated pupils
- Difficulty waking up after sleeping
According to the CDC, approximately one out of four reported TBIs are severe. Any of the above symptoms might be fatal if left untreated or if a doctor fails to diagnose the injury. Do not ignore these symptoms; if you or a loved one experiences any of the above symptoms, even if it is weeks after an accident, assault, abuse or another event, immediately visit a doctor for necessary testing.
Long-Term Impacts of a Traumatic Brain Injury
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), little can be done to reverse brain damage caused by the initial head trauma that causes a TBI, but those who seek immediate medical treatment might be able to prevent further brain damage. The level of brain damage one might suffer differs based on the severity of the head trauma and how long an injury goes untreated, with children being especially at risk for developmental issues.
According to the CDC, those who suffer a traumatic brain injury might have to cope with the following:
- Challenges with memory, such as amnesia, and trouble with reasoning
- Feeling abnormal sensations or losing sensations that can impact touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight
- Problems with balance or vertigo
- Troubles with communication such as recalling vocabulary to form sentences, forming sounds to speak, and expressing ideas
- Struggles with the expression and comprehension of emotions and feelings
- Personality changes, including increased aggression, depression, anxiety, anger, and social inappropriateness
- Permanent vegetative state (PVS) or coma
Seeking Compensation for Damages After a TBI
When you, your child, or another loved one sustains a traumatic brain injury as a result of another party’s negligent behavior, recklessness, or intentional actions, Pennsylvania law allows you to seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses you have incurred as a result of the injury. Specific damages vary based on the particular circumstances of a case, but some common losses plaintiffs might recover in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Cost of medical treatment. This includes ambulance and emergency response services, emergency room visit, other doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic scans to diagnose or confirm a TBI, follow-up care, and medication
- Future medical costs. When patients have a severe TBI, they might need extended recovery or indefinite long-term care in a nursing facility. Additionally, future medical costs might include additional surgeries or treatment.
- Cost of rehabilitation services. A moderate to severe TBI might cause brain damage that affects motor skills and a wide array of body functions. Patients often need to visit specialists to help them regain lost function or learn how to cope with their loss as they go about their daily activities. Some examples include physical therapy, occupational, and speech therapy.
- Cost of assistive devices and technology. A TBI patient might need to use a wheelchair or special technology to help him or her communicate depending on the extent of the injury.
- Lost wages. The more severe a TBI, the higher likelihood a TBI patient must miss work for treatment and recovery. In severe cases of a catastrophic TBI resulting in PVS or a coma, TBI patients likely won’t be able to return to their job. In these cases, your attorney might include lost future wages as part of the value of your claim.
- Costs of home modification. If someone suffers a severe TBI and is fortunate enough to return home, he or she might need to have their home modified to make it more accessible. Exact changes or modifications will depend on individual struggles, but some examples include installing handrails or a wheelchair ramp.
- Cost of replacement services. Before a TBI, a person might have contributed to a household in several different ways. When a TBI victim cannot perform those tasks, they might need to hire outside help. Even TBI victims with families might need outside help to replace the previous contributions of their family member. Examples of replacement services include hiring those who can help with lawn care, snow removal, outdoor maintenance, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and childcare.
- Non-economic damages. Not only does a TBI victim have to cope with financial loss, but they also suffer physically and emotionally. Victims might recover compensation for non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss in quality of life, loss of consortium with a spouse, and others that might apply to a particular case.
- Punitive damages. This type of compensation used to punish defendants is rare. Courts reserve punitive damages for extreme cases of intentional harm or gross negligence. Yet, if you have suffered a TBI because of another person’s intentional actions, you might receive punitive damages.
If you have lost a child or other family member as a result of a TBI, you might recover some of the above damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Eligible family members can sue for compensation and might also recover funeral expenses and burial or cremation costs, as well as additional non-economic damages that depend on the plaintiff’s relationship with the deceased. Your attorney can answer any questions about a wrongful death lawsuit after a TBI and advise you on what course of action is best for you and your family.
Contact a Philadelphia Brain Injury Lawyer Today
The Levin Firm has a long tradition of commitment to client advocacy for those who have suffered injuries as a consequence of the negligence or intentional harm of others, including victims of traumatic brain injuries. We understand the devastating physical, emotional, and financial impact of TBIs on victims and their families and are here to help during this difficult time.
We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for damages related to your injury. We also are empathetic to the financial burden you might be experiencing in the aftermath of a TBI, so we handle personal injury cases on contingency. Instead of paying out-of-pocket to retain one of our skilled attorneys, we deduct attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you in the form of a settlement or verdict in your favor.
If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury, let The Levin Firm handle the bothersome aspects of your claim while you focus on healing and rehabilitation. A skilled traumatic brain injury attorney from our team can guide you through the complexities of a personal injury lawsuit, investigate the event that caused your TBI, gather information to support your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and litigate your trial when settlement isn’t an option.
Philadelphia Brain Injury Lawyer FAQs
You may find yourself struggling in every area of your life following a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury can impact your ability to regulate emotion, your focus and concentration, and your memory. Not only that, it can leave you with significant physical symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, ringing in your ears, and visual disturbances.
You should not have to struggle to get answers about your legal rights if someone else’s wrongful conduct caused your brain injury, however. Here, we answer some of the most common questions we hear from traumatic brain injury victims about their legal rights. Contact us to learn more.
Question #1: Medical care for my traumatic brain injury left me with substantial medical bills. How much compensation do I deserve?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, caring for a traumatic brain injury can exact a heavy financial toll. One estimate puts the range of costs between $85,000 and $3 million. For many brain injury victims, these medical bills cause substantial difficulty, even when they have health insurance, because their injury prevents them from returning to work.
Fortunately, when a brain injury results from someone else’s wrongful conduct, victims likely have the option of seeking compensation through legal action. The damages you may recover in a lawsuit may include:
- Medical expenses. A person who causes someone else’s injuries generally has legal liability for all of the medical expenses resulting from that injury, including emergency medical care, hospitalization, and ongoing therapies. Some people with traumatic brain injury also need ongoing care from an in-home provider. All medical expenses associated with caring for a traumatic brain injury can be included as elements of a claim for damages.
- Lost wages. Traumatic brain injury can make it difficult for you to complete your daily work responsibilities. You may struggle to focus long enough to complete a simple task, or you might not remember the instructions your boss gave you minutes earlier. Many victims of traumatic brain injury cannot return to work immediately after an accident, especially if they suffer from a severe traumatic brain injury that requires occupational therapy to restore the ability to perform normal tasks and responsibilities. Others may need to make a gradual return to work, especially if emotional volatility raises stress levels. The wages lost by missing work can be claimed as damages in a lawsuit.
- Lost earning potential. Some victims of traumatic brain injury will recover their full work capacities with time. Others, however, may experience lifelong impairments to their ability to work. Brain injury sufferers can seek compensation to accounts for their lost future earning potential because of a traumatic brain injury.
- Pain and suffering. Traumatic brain injury can leave the victim with substantial physical and emotional pain. Many victims of traumatic brain injury exhibit changes to their personality and experience difficulty with emotional regulation following their accidents. They can feel disconnected from friends and family members and lose important relationships because of the emotional strain the injury caused. Victims can seek compensation for these non-economic harms in a lawsuit also.
Be aware, however, that sometimes accident victims of all types encounter a disconnect between the amount of money they deserve to receive, and the amount of money they can realistically hope to get. As a practical matter, what you deserve to get may exceed the financial resources of the party who harmed you. That is why it is important to hire an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney who has the know-how and resources to identify every potential source of funds for paying you the damages you deserve.
Question #2: Who has legal liability for paying my medical bills after a traumatic brain injury?
As a legal matter, the person who receives medical care has a legal obligation to pay the bills for that care. As a practical matter, a brain injury victim’s health insurance (assuming they have it) will usually cover at least some of the cost of that care. However, coverage rarely covers all expenses, and even the portion that a patient must pay out-of-pocket can feel like a crushing burden.
Fortunately, victims of traumatic brain injury caused by someone else’s wrongful conduct may also have the legal right to obtain funds to pay for medical bills from the wrongdoer (or the wrongdoer’s insurance company).
Generally, that is the case when:
- The wrongdoer had a duty of care to the victim at the time of the accident. One person has a duty not to act in a way that harms another person in a wide variety of everyday settings. Motorists have a duty to drive safely so as not to cause an accident. Business owners have a duty to fix dangerous conditions on their properties. Doctors have a duty to provide an acceptable standard of care.
- The wrongdoer violated that duty of care. A violation of a duty of care consists of any action or failure to act that puts another person in reasonably foreseeable danger of harm.
- The violation of the duty caused the traumatic brain injury. If a person’s actions put someone else in harm’s way and caused a traumatic brain injury, then that person may have legal liability for the harm caused.
An experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer evaluates the facts and circumstances of a client’s injury to determine whose actions may fit the three elements of liability listed above.
Question #3: How soon after my traumatic brain injury should I file a personal injury claim?
You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, to determine the best course of action for your case. The sooner you consult with an attorney, the better the chances that the attorney will have access to important evidence related to your accident that could prove who is at fault, such as video footage, witness statements, or photos of the scene of the accident.
The outside time-limit for filing a personal injury claim is set by a law known as the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, that deadline is 2 years in most cases. Missing this deadline means losing your right to take legal action. Speak with an attorney right away if you think you have missed this deadline, because you may yet have rights depending on your circumstances.
Question #4: The insurance company that covers the liable party offered me a settlement for my traumatic brain injury. Should I take it?
Consult with an attorney before accepting an offer from any insurance company or person liable for your accident. Chances are that an offer from an insurance company from out of the blue does not reflect the full amount of money you deserve as compensation for your traumatic brain injury. Taking that money could mean giving up valuable legal rights. Let an attorney help you evaluate the offer and discuss your options. The attorney may well have the ability to get you a lot more money.
Question #5: How long does it take to reach a settlement in a traumatic brain injury case?
It depends upon the circumstances. Some cases can settle within a month or two. Some may take years.
As a general matter, traumatic brain injuries often leave victims with high medical bills. As a result, it may take a longer-than-average amount of time to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of your traumatic brain injury claim. That is because insurance companies will often fight harder when the amount of liability they face is larger.
Other factors that may also contribute to the length of time it takes to reach a settlement in your traumatic brain injury case include:
- The extent of your expenses compared to the maximum coverage of the policy.
- Your and the other side’s willingness to negotiate.
- How long it will take to recover from your injuries. In some cases, you may need to delay your claim until you have a full picture of what it will take to recover from your traumatic brain injury or how those effects will linger and impact the rest of your life.
Work with an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney to evaluate how much money you should receive as a settlement, and to set an appropriate strategy for achieving a settlement as close to that number as possible.
Question #6: What if my lawyer cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company after my traumatic brain injury?
Your lawyer and the insurance company may go through several rounds of negotiation in an attempt to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of your claim. If they cannot reach an agreement on their own, they may enlist the help of a mediator to try to bring them to a deal.
A mediator has experience in similar matters, usually a lawyer or judge, whose job is to sit down with both sides and help them work toward a reasonable settlement. A mediator cannot force parties to settle, but oftentimes the mediator’s neutral perspective helps both sides come to a agreement.
If the parties cannot achieve a settlement despite the help of a mediator, then oftentimes the only course of action left is for the case to proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will decide if and how much the legally-liable party owes to the brain injury victim. Be sure to work with a Philadelphia brain injury attorney who has the skill and sophistication to present a convincing, understandable case to a jury, and who has a strong reputation in the legal community for getting results in the courtroom.
Question #7: Do I have to talk to the insurance company about my traumatic brain injury?
Your traumatic brain injury may make it difficult for you to deal coherently or comfortably with the insurance company liable for covering the cost of your injuries. You may worry that you will say the wrong thing or struggle to regulate emotion well enough to handle those conversations.
Fortunately, in most cases, brain injury victims do not have an obligation to talk to the other party’s insurance company (at least, not without first discussing it with your attorney). In some cases, however, you may need to submit to an independent medical evaluation of your injury to help convince the insurance company to pay you the benefits you deserve. Speak with an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney before submitting to this sort of medical evaluation.
Question #8: What evidence do I need to support my traumatic brain injury claim?
An attorney can help you establish what evidence you need to support your traumatic brain injury claim, and can also help you collect that vital evidence. Many types of evidence can help establish who caused your accident, such as:
- Statements from witnesses who saw your accident happen and can describe the facts and circumstances that led to it;
- Photographs of the scene where the accident happened that show conditions that may have contributed to it;
- Video footage, if available, from security cameras or other recording devices that captured the incident and can reflect how and why it happened;
- Documentary evidence, such as medical bills, insurance statements, and other paperwork reflecting the costs you incurred as a result of your traumatic brain injury.
These are not the only categories of evidence that might impact your case, of course. Nor are you expected to act as your own investigator most of the time. Dealing with a traumatic brain injury is difficult enough already, without having to worry about whether you have gathered convincing evidence to support a legal claim. Unless you are truly fit and able to do the legwork, you can rely on an experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer to collect, evaluate, and (when the time comes) present the evidence to show who owes you money, and how much money they owe.
If a traumatic brain injury has interrupted your life or the life of your loved one, contact our experienced, skilled Philadelphia brain injury attorneys today for a free evaluation of your right to receive compensation.
If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, contact The Levin Firm online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free case evaluation to determine the best course of action in the wake of your traumatic brain injury. You deserve to receive compensation for the suffering and losses you have incurred as a result of another party’s actions.
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