Philadelphia Brain Injuries Lawyer
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 Philadelphia brain 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 of Philadelphia personal injury attorneys 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:
- Car accidents including passenger vehicles, heavy trucks, and motorcycles
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective product use
- Medical malpractice
- Participating in full-contact sports
- Nursing home 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 FAQ
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause major life disruptions for injury survivors and their families. Many wonder whether they have rights to compensation for the expenses they have incurred and the harm they have suffered. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from clients and potential clients about TBIs and legal rights.
For answers to questions about your specific brain injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
1. How does traumatic brain injury limit the life of a victim?
Every traumatic brain injury has the potential to cause lifelong physical and emotional impairments. Even a so-called “minor” TBI (more commonly called a “concussion”) can leave a victim battling debilitating symptoms for the rest of his or her life.
Here are just some of the ways a TBI can affect the injured person.
- Sensory, physical, and motor impairments. A TBI can affect a person’s senses in a variety of ways, such as by causing tunnel vision, light sensitivity, and ringing in the ears. Some people recovering from a TBI suffer from persistent, painful headaches. Others experience exaggerated fatigue or, conversely, struggle with disrupted sleep. TBIs can also interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the body, resulting in muscle weakness, paralysis, balance problems, or loss of dexterity and fine motor skills.
- Cognitive impairments. TBI victims commonly experience a range of cognitive deficits and struggles. In the immediate aftermath of the injury they frequently suffer from disorientation and confusion. In the longer term, a traumatic brain injury can (at least temporarily) rob a victim of the ability to reason, to concentrate, to recall names, faces, or facts, and even to read, write, and speak.
- Personality changes and emotional impairments. Survivors of a TBI also frequently exhibit changes in their mood and affect. They may, in fact, seem like a different person in some respects. A TBI can interfere with a person’s ability to regulate emotions and to read other people’s emotions and body language. It can also spur bouts of depression and anxiety.
No matter how a TBI has affected you or a loved one, contact an experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer to learn about your potential legal rights.
2. Who has legal liability for my traumatic brain injury?
This question prompts a range of answers, because people can suffer a TBI in a wide range of circumstances. As a general matter, we say a person has legal liability for causing someone’s injury if that person’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions caused the accident or incident in which the other person suffered harm.
Here are three common scenarios in which people may suffer a TBI, and the individuals or entities who might have legal liability to them:
- TBIs in motor vehicle accidents. Drivers owe each other a duty of care to operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. Someone who causes a crash by driving recklessly breaches that duty of care and may have liability to any injured accident victims. Likewise, auto manufacturers have a legal duty not to sell unreasonably dangerous products, and might have liability to a crash victim if a defective car part played a role in causing the accident.
- TBIs in accidental falls. Property owners generally must take reasonable steps to keep visitors to their properties safe from harm. They could face liability for a TBI if, say, they failed to warn visitors about and/or fix a dangerous condition (like a slippery tile floor, or a loose railing in a stairwell).
- TBIs at nursing homes. Elderly people run a particularly high risk of suffering a TBI in a fall. If nursing home staff fail to monitor residents and a resident takes a tumble as a result, then the nursing home operator might face liability for the resident’s injuries.
- TBIs in youth sports. Athletics contribute to a significant number of traumatic brain injuries for young people. Coaches, refs, sports leagues, and school athletic departments that fail to implement concussion protocols and other protections against head injuries may face liability for brain trauma suffered by a youth athlete.
Talk to our experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyers today to explore who might have legal liability for your brain injury.
3. How much compensation can I get for my TBI?
If someone has legal liability to you for your TBI, then they may owe you money damages. How much money they might have a legal obligation to pay you will vary based on the circumstances of your injury. Also, how much money they have the ability to pay you may vary significantly from what the law says you ought to receive. Speak with an experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer to discuss the potential range of damages available in your case.
Generally speaking, in a legal action seeking financial compensation for a TBI, the injured person can seek payment for:
- Medical and other expenses. Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can come at an extremely steep medical cost. TBI victims frequently need emergency medical attention. A severe injury might require a long hospital stay. Doctors may also prescribe medication to control symptoms, and extended course of therapy to help the TBI victim cope with, adapt to, and/or overcome the impairments and deficits brought-on by the brain injury. In addition to medical expenses, a TBI can leave a victim and the victim’s family needing extra help with daily activities, at least for a while, and sometimes for the rest of the victim’s life. The expense of living with a TBI often involves paying for services to perform tasks that the injury prevents the victim from doing on his or her own.
- Lost wages. Many complications associated with traumatic brain injuries can lead to substantial difficulties and limitations at work. Volatile emotions, for example, may interfere with an individual’s ability to interact with customers. Cognitive impairments may limit a person’s capacity to keep up with creative responsibilities or to focus and concentrate on job duties. Employers may have a legal obligation to make accommodations for brain-injured employees, but in some cases, TBI survivors may struggle to work in their prior job position even with modifications. Any change in an ability to work comes with a loss of income and earning capacity that can inflict severe financial strain.
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life. Life can change drastically, and for the worse, after suffering a TBI. Recovery from a brain injury rarely follows a straight-line path. Victims and their families often endure setbacks and frustrations that cause strain and upset. Relationships can suffer. Victims can fall into depression. Though these difficulties do not come with a price tag attached to them, they are no less real than the out-of-pocket costs that a TBI can impose.
4. If I was not wearing a hard hat, helmet, or other protective gear at the time of my accident, does it change my right to compensation?
It is possible that not wearing head protection could affect your rights. However, do not let that keep you from speaking with an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney.
Helmets, hard hats, and other gear can reduce your risk of suffering a TBI. We strongly encourage all of our readers to wear helmets while riding motorcycles and bikes, for instance, and to follow hard hat rules on construction sites.
Head protection cannot eliminate TBI risk, however, and of course, sometimes people sustain a TBI in circumstances in which no one would reasonably expect them to wear a helmet or similar gear. So, in some cases, your lack of headgear may not change your rights at all. In other cases, it may have some impact on the amount of compensation you can receive (if, for example, the injury you suffered was made worse by your decision not to wear protection).
However, no one deserves to get injured because of someone else’s wrongful actions, or while doing their job. Accordingly, you have a good chance to recover compensation for your TBI even if you should have worn a helmet/hard hat, but didn’t.
5. I suffered a traumatic brain injury at work on a construction site. Do I have grounds for a personal injury claim?
Maybe. As a Philadelphia construction worker, you likely have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical and disability-related costs of your injury. Those benefits typically take the place of a personal injury claim against your employer (if, say, your employer’s dangerous safety practices led to you getting hurt).
However, you may yet have legal rights against someone other than your employer for your injuries. Sometimes, for example, a construction site injury happens because some third party—such as an equipment manufacturer, or another contractor on the job site—acted carelessly or recklessly. In those cases, you may have the ability to sue that third party for damages related to your TBI, even if you have already received workers’ comp benefits.
Talk to an experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorney today to learn about your potential rights as an injured construction worker.
6. Should I accept a settlement offer from someone else’s insurance company?
Not without speaking with our experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorneys first.
Insurance companies that issued policies to the individual or entity with legal liability for your TBI may contact you and offer you a quick settlement of your claim. They may even characterize this offer as a kindness to you, to help you through a difficult time.
View these offers with extreme caution. Unfortunately, out-of-the-blue settlement offers rarely reflect the full value of the compensation you deserve for your TBI. Insurers offer quick money in hopes you will jump at it before realizing it does not begin to provide you with the financial resources you will need over the long term.
Accepting any settlement offer means giving up your legal rights to take legal action against the party with liability to you. Do not let go of those rights on-the-cheap. Instead, leave any negotiation with someone else’s insurance company to an experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer with the skill and experience to calculate the full amount of damages you should receive for your TBI.
7. How long will it take to get a settlement for my traumatic brain injury?
It depends on many factors, few of which you control. Sometimes it has taken our firm just a month or two to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement for a client with a brain injury. In other matters, negotiations have stretched beyond a year. Plus, of course, some cases do not settle at all. Instead, we have to go to court to try to obtain an award from a Philadelphia jury.
As a general matter, the factors that can affect how long it takes to resolve a legal claim for damages resulting from a brain injury include:
- The amount of money involved. It is not always the case, but generally it can take longer to resolve high-dollar-value claims than claims for lesser amounts.
- The number of parties involved. The saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” can also apply to negotiations over the resolution of a legal claim. The more individuals or entities with potential liability for your injury, the longer it may take to reach an agreement with them.
- The complexity of your injury. Your medical team and lawyer may need time to evaluate the scope of your injury and your financial needs for recovering from and/or adapting to it.
- How long you can hold out. A TBI can put a serious financial strain on victims and their families. They may feel pressure to resolve any potential legal claim for damages quickly, just to stay afloat. If they can hold out financially, however, it may take longer to resolve their claim, but they may recover more compensation, too. While we work on your case, however, our Philadelphia brain injury lawyers can help you keep bill collectors and collection agents at bay.
Contact Our Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorneys
Any brain injury, no matter its severity, can cause catastrophic disruption in a person’s life. If a brain injury has led to struggles for you or your family, then contact the experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyers at the Levin Firm today to learn about your legal rights.