If You've Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in an 18-Wheeler Truck Wreck, You'll Need a Good Lawyer
There are a multitude of major injuries that can be suffered in a collision with a commercial truck. While broken bones, concussions, and sprains can feel especially devastating, most can heal with proper medical attention. Some injuries, though, have permanently life-altering effects and can impact you or your loved one for years or even decades to come. Traumatic brain injuries rank among the worst of these. A traumatic brain injury will impact every aspect of you or your loved one's life. Attorney Michael Grossman and the staff of Grossman Law Offices have represented close to 100 traumatic brain injury victims, and we know how to hold trucking companies financially accountable for these serious injuries.
In this article, we're going to cover a host of issues related to brain injuries from tractor-trailer accidents, and how they could impact litigation.
Questions answered in this article:
- What is the difference between traumatic brain injuries and other injuries?
- How do I know if I've suffered such a brain injury?
- Could a traumatic brain injury significantly impact a case?
Below, we'll touch on just a few aspects of these traumatic injuries and how we can use the legal system to get you and your family back on track. But make sure you read our Comprehensive Guide to Truck Accident Law from top to bottom to get to know the basics of how the law related to these crashes works in general.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
According to the Brain Injury Institute of America, there are almost 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries each year, and almost 17% of that total are the result of motor vehicle accidents. When someone suffers severe cranial trauma, the resulting neurological injury can cause major changes to a person's brain and its function in both the short and long term. There are four main types of situations that can cause a traumatic brain injury during a crash.
- Closed Head Injuries: Closed head injuries occur when the brain impacts the inside of the skull. This can happen when the head is suddenly jolted forward, as when hit from behind by a commercial truck going at a high rate of speed. The head and body goes forward, forcing the brain against the skull. This kind of injury often causes bleeding, tissue damage, swelling and fluid buildup in the skull and brain.
- Penetrating injuries: These kinds of injuries include skull fractures, puncture wounds or the entry of foreign objects into the brain, all of which result in damage to the brain.
- Anoxic injuries: An anoxic injury occurs when there is a lack of oxygen to the brain, causing vast number of cells to die. This kind of injury can have widespread effects throughout various parts of the brain.
- Toxic injuries: Toxic injuries occur from exposure or inhalation of certain toxic chemicals that damage the blood and tissue of the brain.
Of the four major categories of traumatic brain injuries, closed head injuries are the most common in motor vehicle accidents. If you were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, your traumatic brain injury probably occurred from the impact of your head hitting something at a high velocity during the accident. The movement of your head and brain during the accident crashing together can cause damage to your brain resulting in a traumatic brain injury.
Some of the after effects of a traumatic brain injury can include issues with any or all of the following brain functions: thinking and reasoning, memory, attention, problem solving, abstract thinking, behavioral control, ability to learn, vision or hearing, walking and coordination, and speech. The brain is arguably the most complex organ in the body, and because it's responsible for so many different bodily functions, that these effects can sometimes be scattered and unpredictable in how they may manifest.
As you can see, a traumatic brain injury can impact many day to day functions and abilities. Explaining the different facets and challenges someone who has suffered such an injury must go through is best left to the medical experts who work with patients who have suffered this kind of injury. Finding the right experts to testify on your behalf can be difficult, which is why working with our attorneys, who already have relationships with doctors prepared to do so, can benefit your case.
A lawyer will need to prove these injuries, and it will take the testimony of medical experts to do so.
No matter how competent an attorney yours might be, his explanation to a jury of the ins-and-outs of your brain injury will not be sufficient proof. That will need to come from a credible expert, a medical professional with the training, background, and experience needed to inform the jury exactly how injured you or a loved one is. This is the only way to prove the staggering costs a TBI generally involves under the standards of our legal system, and collect those costs from the trucking company as damages.
According to the information available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries cost approximately 77 billion dollars annually. This includes the cost of hospital care, follow-up care, doctor's bills and indirect costs, such as loss of productivity. The expert witnesses will first explain what your life and abilities were before the accident, what you have experienced since the accident, the financial impact your traumatic brain injury has had on you and your family, what the ongoing care you need will cost, your vocational prospects, and other relevant matters. Getting the jury to understand the costs, medical concerns, and lifestyle changes your traumatic brain injury has caused will help them see the massive harm the trucking company's negligent driver has caused you. To accomplish this, your attorney may utilize any combination of the following experts:
The Long-Term Medical Care Expert - A long term care expert is needed because they will discuss with the jury the type of therapy and long-term medical needs you will have. Traumatic brain injuries often have additional surgeries that are necessary as well as extensive therapy just to help you learn how to perform basic tasks again. The expert should be able to explain to the jury the costs you have incurred up to this point for the medical expenses related to the traumatic brain injury as well as what your medical expenses could be going forward.
A Life Care Expert - A life care plan is a document that a long-term medical care expert will create for you to demonstrate all anticipated medical needs and costs for your traumatic brain injury going forward. The life care plan will cover things you may need such as nursing home care, speech therapists, behavioral therapists, future surgery costs, medicines, physical therapy, and any other issues that may arise in the long-term. This expert can detail the exact costs you should reasonably expect to incur.
The Vocational Rehabilitation and Economics Expert - The Vocational Rehabilitation Expert will explain to the jury how your traumatic brain injury has impacted your professional abilities. For example, if your career required a certain level of intellectual ability or technical expertise, a traumatic brain injury will most likely prevent you from resuming that career after your accident. If, for example, you have to learn very basic things such as brushing your teeth and tying your shoes after a traumatic brain injury, it stands to reason that tasks requiring higher skill levels will be very difficult for you to master or remaster. The vocational expert will tell the jury about your professional prospects now that you are living with a traumatic brain injury and how different these may be from what your career was in the past.
The testimony the economics expert will provide is closely related to the information the vocational expert will discuss. The economics expert will describe to the jury the difference in your earning ability before your traumatic brain injury and what your earning prospects are expected to be in light of it. The economics expert will also compare what your earnings could have been in your previous career over the span of your working life if the traumatic brain injury had not occurred. This comparison will go a long way in helping the jury understand the true financial impact the trucking accident has had on your life and your family's economic future.
Lastly, we'd note one practical concern about experts, which brings a firm's level of experience into play. In our early years of practice, we'd find ourselves befuddled over whom we should hire. There are plenty of people with nice-looking resumes and fancy degrees, but it's taken years to locate the best and the brightest men and women who actually can relate to a jury.
Only hire a lawyer who knows how to prove complex injuries like brain injuries to a jury.
A traumatic brain injury and its impact is not always easily explained, so this task is best aided by experts. The different types of experts discussed in this article are not an all-inclusive list and more experts from different areas may be needed to represent your case effectively to the jury. At Grossman Law Offices, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating cases against commercial trucking companies involving traumatic brain injuries, and we can help you hold them accountable. Your family does not need to handle this alone. Call us anytime at (888) 326-0000 for more information on your legal options.
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