Evaluating Traumatic Brain Injury in a Personal Injury Case

Evaluating Traumatic Brain Injury in a Personal Injury Case

January 24, 2017

Ellis Law Corporation

Personal Injury

Few personal injury claims are as challenging and medically complex as those involving a traumatic brain injury. Because TBIs are often associated with disabling injuries and psychological impairments, it’s vital that negligence victims are properly compensated for all losses including future medical care costs (including ongoing physical therapy or occupational therapy), rehabilitation expenses, treatments, and anticipated loss of earnings.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) contribute to more than 50,000 deaths each year, reports the CDC. Those who do survive a TBI can face lasting effects that impair memory, motor coordination, personality, vision, sensation, sexual function and cognitive abilities. TBI refers to trauma to the brain caused by a sudden jolt, bump or external force that causes the brain to violently shake inside the skull, resulting in localized or diffuse injury.

Statistics indicate that the majority of severe TBIs requiring hospitalization and intensive care are caused by vehicle accidents, falls and physical assault. Medical professionals use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to determine brain injury severity and long-term prognosis. This objective and effective scoring system is based on verbal response, eye opening and motor response. The lower the GSC score, the more likely the patient will experience long-term cognitive deficiencies as well as diminished emotional functioning.

Evaluating TBI claims

Given the potentially dire ramifications of a severe brain injury, early detection and treatment is crucial for ensuring a successful recovery. Most people who suffer a mild TBI retain normal neurologic function with time, though mood swings, memory lapses and confusion are not uncommon. Moderate to severe TBIs, however, can produce lifelong deficits leading to physical, behavioral and neurological impairments.

As with any lawsuit involving catastrophic injury, the total cost of medical treatment will be an important factor in determining the total value of the claim. In recent years, jurors have returned six and seven-figure verdicts in TBI claims involving car crashes caused by reckless and distracted drivers.

Using the GSC and brain imaging scans, TBIs may be classified as mild, moderate or severe:

  • Mild TBI: Loss of consciousness for 30 minutes or less, post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) of less than one hour; brain imaging results usually normal
  • Moderate TBI : Loss of consciousness from 30 minutes to 6 hours; PTA for up to 24 hours following the brain injury
  • Severe TBI: Loss of consciousness or coma for 6 hours or longer; abnormal brain scans

While such classifications shed light on the patient’s immediate prognosis, they do not truly reflect the full picture or the types of crippling symptoms that TBI patients can endure for years to come. Some injury victims go on to lead normal, productive lives, while others will suffer from depression, agitation and cognitive changes that negatively impact their relationships, their career and their livelihood.

One of the most important factors in resolving a TBI claim is the type of expert testimony provided by treating doctors and life care planners who can project with reasonable accuracy the plaintiff’s future medical care needs.

Injury attorneys in Los Angeles

A qualified lawyer can not only maximize the value of your claim, but ensure that liable parties are held accountable for your suffering. For more than 25 years, Ellis Law has advocated for victims of catastrophic injuries. We work with neurological specialists, life care planners, vocational rehabilitation experts and other professionals to obtain fair compensation in traumatic brain injury claims.

Learn more about your legal options during a confidential case review. Speak with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer free of charge by calling 310-641-3335.

Additional Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit Resources:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Traumatic Brain Injury http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302
  2. WebMD, Rehabilitation for Persons with TBI http://www.webmd.com/brain/features/traumatic-brain-injury-rehabilitation#1
  3. CDC, TBI: Get the Facts https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html