According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 2 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States each year; and approximately 50,000 people die, more than 250,000 are hospitalized, and more than a million are treated in emergency rooms and released. In some cases, a TBI may be caused by circumstances that were beyond the control of the victim. If this is the case, a lawsuit may be filed due to negligence that led to a series brain injury.
Who’s Likely to Sustain a TBI?
Anybody can sustain a traumatic brain injury at any time. Statistically, males are nearly twice as likely as females to suffer a TBI. Such injuries are more likely to occur in children from birth to about four years of age and in teenagers from 15 to 19 years old. Young adults in their 20s and 30s are at a greater risk for a TBI than older adults. According to CDC statistics, leading causes of serious brain injuries are:
- Closed head injuries, usually from slip and falls
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Open head injuries, often associated with bullet wounds
- Metabolic disorders, typically linked to toxic chemical exposure
- Tumors and infections
Urgent Needs for Brain Injury Victims
The CDC notes that individuals hospitalized because of a TBI often require ongoing assistance for at least one urgent need. Oftentimes, it’s a need that will require regular treatment, further evaluation, and ongoing monitoring throughout the remainder of the injured party’s lifetime. Such expenses can quickly add up, with individual costs related to a brain injury ranging from approximately $85,000 to $3 million. Urgent care needs related to a traumatic brain injury may include:
- Difficulties with memory or problem solving
- Trouble managing stress or lingering anxiety
- Persistent issues with motor skills
Possible Legal Damages from a TBI
Cases involving a TBI almost always result in $100,000 or more in damages being awarded to the injured party or their family members. It’s not unusual for compensation granted to the injured party to reach into the millions, especially with brain injuries that were largely preventable or not the fault of the individual who sustained the injury. Awards in such cases are based on several factors, including:
- Current and anticipated medical costs
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
Proving Negligence in TBI Cases
Significant awards in traumatic brain injuries may result when gross negligence is proven, meaning that the injury was not the partial or complete fault of the plaintiff. The process of proving negligence in a traumatic brain injury case often involves:
- Medical tests to assess the extent of the injury
- Expert medical testimony to verify the seriousness of the TBI
- Witness accounts of the incident or accident
Traumatic brain injuries cost an estimated $60 billion in total in the U.S. each year. In addition to medical expenses, this figure includes costs due to lost productivity. If you or someone you love experiences a TBI, make an effort to get as much documentation as possible, including medical records and any police reports that may have been filed if an accident with another party was involved. While not every TBI results in litigation, such information can be useful to an attorney determining your available options.
Bart Costello is the founder of Injury Law. Bart is passionate about helping people. He has built a strong reputation over the last thirty years as one of the premier Boulder personal injury attorneys.