Brain Injury Lawyer
What is a Brain Injury
A brain injury, or traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), is one that involves either short term or longterm damage to someone’s brain. Our brain injury lawyers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. have encountered a multitude of different types of brain injuries in our 70 years in practice. Of course, brain injuries are not as easy to detect as, for example, a cut or even broken bone. In simple terms, a brain injury is any damage that disrupts its normal function. A CT scan may be able to detect a brain injury. Or, doctors can look at the symptoms the accident victim is reporting.
A brain injury can be very mild. It can be as minor as a mild headache or even a mild concussion. However, on the other end of the spectrum, a traumatic brain injury can lead to death. A brain injury can be a life-changing event for the victim and his or her family. It may render the victim to a life dependent on family members to perform basic tasks. When things like this occur, our brain injury lawyers are here to help.
Common Types of Brain Injuries
This list of common types of brain injuries is not all-encompassing. It does, however, illustrate how devastating a brain injury can be. If you have one of these types of injuries, after receiving immediate and continuous medical treatment, contact a brain injury lawyer for a free consultation.
- Traumatic brain injuries (“TBIs”)
- Acquired brain injuries (“ABIs”)
- Brain tumor
- Brain aneurysm
- Brain hemorrhage
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
- Personality changes
- Speech problems
What Causes a Brain Injury
The causes of a brain injury are theoretically endless. As personal injury lawyers, we handle injuries that involve either negligent or intentional conduct resulting in damages or death by a third party. In law, there are general theories of negligence or other tort law that we can apply to nearly any scenario. However, some activities are more likely to cause injury and, in particular, brain injury than others. Here, we discuss the most common causes of brain injury that we handle.
Unfortunately, car accidents are still prevalent in 2023. Due to the high speeds of cars, in combination with the stress and pressure of not arriving late, people drive impatiently and negligently every day. When car accidents occur, injuries are frequently deadly. Whiplash in particular is something that happens in car accidents regularly. The physics of driving forward at a high rate of speed to come to a near immediate halt causes whiplash of the head. This movement, in addition to injuring the neck, can throw a driver or passenger’s head backwards into the cushion of the seat. This is a major catalyst for concussions.
Of course, car accidents can lead to even more serious brain and head injuries as discussed earlier. One particularly gruesome cause of a brain injury is a sharp object coming into contact with a victims’ head. In this case, it likely would be a piece of glass. Although, there is a limitless number of items in either your car or the motor vehicle you collide with.
A nightclub injury distinguishes itself from other types of injuries on this list due to the nature of the act. Nightclub injuries are generally due to intentional conduct, not negligence. The primary difference is that intentional conduct earns a victim punitive damages under our tort law system. Moreover, a brain injury in a bar or nightclub will likely be due to blunt force trauma such as by a punch, kick, or fall to the ground. These injuries tend to be due to repeated blows such as punches by an aggressive attacker, whether it be security or another bar patron.
A brain hemorrhaging is caused by a ruptured blood vessel which causes bleeding inside the brain. While they can occur without physical trauma, physical trauma is just as likely to be a cause. If your brain begins to hemorrhage after a nightclub attack, you may have a claim for substantial compensation and should reach out to a brain injury lawyer immediately. Brain hemorrhaging is an incredibly serious medical emergency and requires immediate attention from a medical provider.
While perhaps not as common as a car accident, a motorcycle accident is more likely to result in serious injury. The reason, of course, is due to the lack of safety technology available on a motorcycle. While all motorcycle riders are or should be aware of the risk of riding, it is a hobby that many choose despite the risk. When we take a motorcycle accident case, the injuries are almost always more severe than our typical car accident case. This is why it is worth mentioning here, even though they are less frequent.
Who is Liable in a Brain Injury Case?
This really depends on the facts of your case. We cannot give you a blueprint to analyze the elements of your case. There are hundreds, if not thousands of rules in tort law. This is made even more complex when you learn the number of exceptions to the general rules there are. Then, applying these rules to your facts almost always makes speaking with a good brain injury lawyer necessary. While there is no blueprint, we can give you the general rules in a negligence case. Of course, this does not cover intentional torts such as assault or battery.
Elements of Negligence
Not every person owes a duty to every other person. Rather, as plaintiffs, we must prove that the defendant owed you a duty at the time of your brain injury. This requires proving that you are foreseeable as a plaintiff and victim of the negligent conduct. The duty a defendant owes you is going to be different depending on the circumstances. For example, on the highway, a driver has a duty to maintain control and drive their car in a reasonable manner. What is ultimately reasonable is a question for the fact finder at trial. However, attorneys can debate this point in settlement negotiations prior to trial.
The second element we must prove is that the defendant breached the duty they owed to you.Either by act or omission, the defendant must stray from the legal duty present in the case. Proving breach by omission is arguably more difficult than merely proving that something occurred. But, our brain injury lawyers have decades of experience proving just this.
This is the most difficult of the four elements to prove. Causation has two prongs. First, there is actual causation. This is the easier prong to prove. To show it, we use a “but for” test. As an example, but for the defendant’s breach of duty, the plaintiff would not have been injured. Or, in a car accident case, but for the defendant entering the plaintiff’s lane, there would not have been an accident. The second prong is proximate causation, also known as legal causation. This is harder to prove as it is more narrow. The general rule is that the defendant is liable for all harmful results that are the foreseeable incidents caused by his acts. Our brain injury lawyers use a foreseeability test.
While not necessarily that difficult to calculate, this is where much of the debate occurs. Insurance companies will argue each and every dollar in the damages portion of a negotiation. In fact, they generally pay very little to the first three elements. We calculate damages by considering your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The medical expense element covers both past and future medical expenses. If your brain injury is severe enough that you will need life long care, you have a claim for that. We factor that in, although the court may discount it to present value. They will take into consideration how much money it will be down the road if you invest it prudently at a fairly modest rate of return.
How a Brain Injury Lawyer can Help
There are several ways a brain injury lawyer can assist you in your recovery.
Investigate the Accident
At Gelb & Gelb, P.C., we have private investigators we work with that we know and trust. When the police are unsuccessful in arriving to a scene on time or collecting all pertinent information, our investigators can be invaluable in deciding the outcome of your case. But our investigation does not stop with our investigators. We also will get in touch with the police department and obtain a copy of the police report. The police report can provide important information. While not all of it is admissible in court, we still use it to get an impression of the narrative of the case. We also reach out to each and every one of your medical providers. As discussed above, you have a right to compensation for your medical expenses, past and future. Accordingly, we ensure we are aware of each of your medical visits.
We also appreciate updates from you so our brain injury lawyers can reach out to that provider right away. Once you finish with a provider, we reach out to them and obtain a copy of your bills and records. The records can explain to us exactly what your injuries are. This is information we use to build your case. Of course, the bills tell us what your expenses are so we can help you cover them.
Identify Responsible Parties
This is also something that our private investigators or police can do on your behalf. Of course, identifying the responsible party is a critical aspect of your claim, and it is something our brain injury attorneys have plenty of experience doing. We are able to subpoena security footage at a nightclub or bar, for example. We can also send spoliation of evidence letters to the bar or nightclub to preserve the evidence.
Although, if we are unable to identify the responsible parties, there are still steps you can take. If this is the case, then, ideally, you have uninsured motorist coverage if you are in a motor vehicle accident, for example.
Filing Your Claim
Filing your claim with either your insurance company or the adverse tortfeasor’s insurance company is a job that you should leave to your brain injury attorney. Given the gravity of your case, and the amount in damages that is at stake, you need someone on your side who has decades of experience negotiating on behalf of clients.
Take the Case to Trial
Our trial attorneys have years of experience taking cases to trial. Of those cases, countless injuries have been TBIs and ABIs. This is important because proving brain injuries is not as simple as other injuries. It almost always requires an expert witness that can testify as to the brain damage and extent of the injury. A concussion, for example, is a very broad term. It can be a mild injury, or a life-altering one. We will need an expert witness to testify as to how it can affect your daily life. Of course, an expert is not necessary in the more mild cases, but it will be if your head injury is more severe.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer Today
The brain injury lawyers at Gelb & Gelb, P.C. have 70 years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims. Call our office today for a free consultation.