Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury is one of the foremost causes of injury, disability and death in the United States. Contributing to nearly one-third of all injury-related deaths, those who survive may have effects lasting for a few days, weeks or potentially the rest of their lives.
Atlanta auto accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert has successfully represented numerous clients with traumatic brain injury. We know this condition can impair:
- Cognition (i.e., attention and memory)
- Motor function (i.e., weakness of extremities, balance, coordination)
- Sensation (vision, hearing, perception, touch, etc.)
- Emotional functioning (depression, anxiety, impulse control, personality changes, aggression)
Even when a TBI doesn’t result in death, loved ones can feel like they’ve lost the person they once knew.
Approximately 2.8 million traumatic brain injuries must be treated in hospital emergency departments every year. They account for about 50,000 fatalities a year. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 3 cause of traumatic brain injury emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths, comprising 15 percent of the total.
We recognize TBIs are some of the most life-altering crash injuries. Particularly for disabling TBIs, there is a ripple effect that goes far beyond the individual and impacts their family members, co-workers and greater community. We will fight tirelessly to ensure our clients are adequately compensated.What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, a traumatic brain injury occurs when there is some type of a blow or jolt or bump to the head that disrupts the typical functioning of the brain. Not all hits the head are going to result in a traumatic brain injury, which can range from “mild” to “severe.” Someone with a mild brain injury may experience a temporary alteration in consciousness or their mental state. Someone with a severe injury would endure an extended period of unconsciousness or loss of memory.
Brain injury severity is measured on a scale known as the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assesses the level of impaired consciousness. Someone who scores between a 3 and an 8 typically has a severe TBI. Those with a score of between 9 and 12 generally have a moderate traumatic brain injury, while those 13 to 15 are deemed to have a mild TBI. We may also look at the Abbreviated Injury Scale and the Trauma Score. All these measures are going to give our accident lawyers serving Atlanta a better sense of your prognosis, which in turn gives us a good idea of how much compensation you should have. With TBI civil lawsuits, we need to assess not just what your losses have been up to this point, but what they are likely to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the medical bills, yes, but also your future medical needs, your ability to continue in the same career field and your ability to continue engaging in the same activities that have always brought you such joy.
In general, most “mild” traumatic brain injuries are referred to as concussions. Despite the term “mild,” the reality is a concussion can have a serious impact on your daily life. The good news is concussions usually don’t result in long-term issues (unless they are repeated or you are aggravating an older injury). They are still compensable, and we want to be careful not to understate the potential losses.
With a severe traumatic brain injury, we will be looking at individuals who may need assistance to complete the functions of everyday living. Severe TBIs account for 90 percent of the total medical costs associated with this condition, and it’s precisely because they are so consuming.
We recognize the full extent of one’s brain injuries may not be immediately apparent. That’s why we always encourageLiability for TBI
When we examine potential liability for TBI following a car accident, we must be meticulous in identifying all possible payors and defendants to maximize compensation.
This begins with the individual who negligently drove the vehicle. Georgia is an at-fault state when it comes to car insurance, which means the at-fault party is responsible to cover the cost of damages they cause through their own negligence. Plaintiffs must prove the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty and thereby proximately caused plaintiff’s injuries. All three elements must be met, or else negligence is not proven.
In some cases, defendant either does not have the required bodily injury liability insurance, or (as is often the case with a major traumatic brain injury) doesn’t have enough to fully cover the damages suffered by the accident victim. In those situations, we will analyze whether you have uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This can serve to fill in those gaps.
Beyond that, we’ll look to see whether third parties are liable, including:
- The owner of the vehicle;
- The bar/ individual who served alcohol to the drunk driver (if applicable);
- The manufacturer of the vehicle (if vehicle defect was involved);
- The entity responsible for safe design/ maintenance of the roadway (if poor road design/ maintenance was a factor);
- Employee of driver (if he/ she was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash);
- Workers’ compensation (if you were acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash).
If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury and are considering your legal options, allow our injury law firm in Atlanta to help. We have more than 20 years of proven experience with a track record of success in these complex – and important – cases.
If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000.