Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. These injuries occur when a sudden blow or jolt to the head disrupts the normal function of the brain. A brain injury can vary from a mild concussion to a permanent disability with the potential to severely impair a person’s cognitive function, memory, and motor skills. They are also linked to epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and other brain disorders.
At Wisner Baum, our brain injury lawyer team has decades of combined experience holding negligent defendants accountable for the harm they cause. We have litigated traumatic brain injury lawsuits on behalf of victims harmed by:
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Crashes
- Car Crashes
- Construction Zone Accidents
- Helicopter Crashes
- Military Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Plane Crashes
- Police Misconduct
- Train Accidents
- Truck Crashes
Since 1985, our firm has fought for justice on behalf of brain-injured clients throughout California and across the nation. With more than $4 billion won for clients across a broad range of practice areas, our results speak for themselves.
Yes. Your case should be handled by a lawyer with experience representing brain injury survivors, especially if you or a family member sustained a moderate to severe TBI. The reason you want an experienced lawyer fighting for you is to ensure that you have the financial capability to cover all of your expenses now and years into the future. Some traumatic brain injuries require a lifetime of care, which can cost hundreds of thousands or more. When your health is on the line, you cannot afford the risk that comes with entrusting your case to someone who lacks the experience needed to maximize your compensation.
Wisner Baum’s team of traumatic brain injury lawyers has won cases against some of the largest corporations in the world. We have vast resources and world-renowned experts needed to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. We prepare every case as if it is going to trial even though the vast majority of brain injury lawsuits result in a settlement. We feel this gives our clients the best possible chance to hold the defendant accountable and obtain justice.
A traumatic brain injury lawsuit can take years to litigate, especially if the case involves multiple defendants, insurance companies, choice of law issues, and other complexities. If a lawyer charged by the hour before the case is resolved, it would be cost-prohibitive for injured victims to seek compensation in a lawsuit. Instead, law firms file brain injury lawsuits for clients on a contingency fee basis.
This simply means that the lawyer is paid a percentage of whatever monetary award the attorney obtains for you or your family. At the end of the case, the costs associated with filing the case (e.g. medical record recovery charges, filing charges, hiring of experts to help prove damages and liability, etc.) are reimbursed from the award.
Most people have no idea that retaining a traumatic brain injury lawyer for your case costs no money upfront. The attorney only makes a percentage if he or she is successful in earning compensation on your behalf.
TBI lawsuits are unique and often incredibly complex with a multitude of legal issues affecting case value. Your case payout will ultimately depend on your claims for damages, which typically include:
Past and Future Medical Bills: In a traumatic brain injury lawsuit, medical bills are considered economic damages as they encompass expenses that would not have been incurred if not for the head injury. Documenting current and projected medical expenditures is crucial in determining the value of the case, as many TBI victims require long-term care for months, or even years following the incident that harmed them.
Lost Income: Lost wages comprise all the income a victim would have earned had they not been injured. This incorporates their salary or hourly rate, along with additional factors such as overtime pay, sales commissions, bonuses, and other job-related benefits.
Lost Earning Capacity: Moderate to severe TBI may leave victims disabled or unable to perform their previous work responsibilities, resulting in diminished earning capacity. Establishing lost earning capacity in a lawsuit can be challenging, requiring the experience of a seasoned traumatic brain injury lawyer to liaise with medical and occupational experts and build a strong case. However, it is important to note that not all states permit plaintiffs to sue for lost earning capacity. Your traumatic brain injury lawyer will be able to identify your legal rights during an initial consultation.
Loss of Consortium: When an individual's brain injury prevents them from providing the same level of love, companionship, and household services to their spouse or close family members, they may be eligible to seek loss of consortium damages. Although there is no standard for assessing loss of consortium damages, typically, the more severe and lasting the brain injury, the higher the potential award. As with lost earning capacity, not all states allow victims to sue for loss of consortium. Consult with a traumatic brain injury lawyer to understand your legal rights.
Pain and Suffering: This category of damages encompasses physical pain, mental and emotional distress, and overall suffering endured due to brain injury. For example, a victim left permanently disfigured after an accident may be eligible to seek damages not only for physical pain but also for the ongoing suffering and psychological impact. Pain and suffering damages, along with loss of consortium, are considered non-economic damages, as they do not hinge on economic losses like medical bills or lost wages. Rather, they aim to compensate victims for psychological trauma, emotional distress, or the loss of enjoyment of life caused by the accident. Collecting as much evidence as possible is crucial in substantiating a claim for pain and suffering compensation. This is another reason to hire an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer with a team of seasoned experts.
Punitive Damages: These damages, intended to punish the defendant(s) and serve as a deterrent to others, can be substantial if it is proven that their behavior exhibited a reckless indifference to human life or safety, or was malicious. Notably, punitive damages can have far-reaching implications beyond the individual case, as they set a precedent and discourage similar wrongful or dangerous behavior. In some instances, the impact of punitive damages extends to millions or even billions of dollars, sending a strong message to both defendants and those in similar positions.
As you can see, the value of a traumatic brain injury lawsuit can be significant, and with good reason; it is imperative that victims receive sufficient compensation to make sure they get the quality care they need for as long as they need it. But maximizing your compensation is not as simple as hiring any attorney to represent you. Remember, your case deserves the seasoned hand of a proven litigator backed by years of significant case results.
A traumatic brain injury lawsuit is governed by a statute of limitations, which is effectively the time limit that people have to file their case. In California, the statute of limitations for filing a traumatic brain injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident that harmed you. There may be some extenuating circumstances that apply to add more time to the clock, but generally speaking, you need to file your case within two years.
Generally speaking, no, you should not accept an insurance company settlement offer without speaking with a traumatic brain injury lawyer first. Insurance companies are in the business of protecting their bottom line, which does not usually align with paying out settlements at their full value. The insurance adjustor may try and persuade you into taking the settlement by giving the impression that this is the best you are going to get. Before you sign on the dotted line, give the information to an attorney just to make sure your case is not being undervalued. In our experience, the initial settlement offer from an insurance company is often far below the case’s true value. And remember, attorneys offer free case evaluations, so take advantage of this to make sure you and your family are not getting shortchanged by the insurance company.
A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force violently jars or pierces the head, leading to a disruption in the brain's normal functioning. A TBI can happen in a car accident, slip and fall, playing sports, or acts of violence. Some common examples include:
- Diffuse Axonal Injury
- Skull Fracture
Traumatic brain injuries generally fall into two types: penetrating and non-penetrating.
Penetrating TBI: Also known as open traumatic brain injury, a penetrating TBI occurs when an object such as a bullet, shrapnel, bone fragment, or a weapon like a hammer or knife enters the brain tissue by piercing the skull. This type of TBI usually affects only a specific part of the brain.
Non-Penetrating TBI: Also referred to as closed head injury or blunt traumatic brain injury, a non-penetrating TBI is caused by an external force that is powerful enough to shift the brain within the skull. Instances that can lead to this type of injury include falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, blast injuries, or being struck by an object.
In some unfortunate accidents involving explosions, natural disasters, or other extreme events, it is possible for an individual to experience both penetrating and non-penetrating TBI concurrently.
A traumatic brain injury can affect numerous aspects of a person’s physical, emotional and cognitive well-being. Most TBI symptoms appear immediately or shortly after the initial injury. In many cases, symptoms can be easily missed.
The following are possible TBI symptoms. In no way should the following lists be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury, seek medical advice immediately and dial 911 in case of an emergency.
The following are symptoms associated with all types of TBI, including mild (between 13 and 15 points on the Glasgow Coma Scale-GCS), moderate (between 9 and 12 points on the GCS) or severe (between 3 and 8 points on the GCS) injuries. One should seek medical advice if they see signs of the following TBI symptoms after a head injury.
- Bad taste in mouth
- Ringing in ears
- Blurred vision / tired eyes
- Fatigue / lethargy
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Behavioral changes and mood changes
- Trouble with concentration, memory, or attention
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Inability to wake from sleep
- Convulsions or seizures
- Spinal fluid/liquid coming out of the ears or nose
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech
- Slow pulse
- Weakness or numbness of extremities
- Loss of coordination
- Increased confusion
- Inappropriate emotional responses (inappropriate crying or laughing, irritability, agitation)
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Roughly half a million emergency room admits for traumatic brain injuries are kids under the age of 14. Children younger than 4, adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age, and senior citizens over 65 are the most likely age groups to sustain a head injury.
When young children suffer a traumatic brain injury, symptoms can be extremely difficult to detect, especially if they lack the ability to communicate. If a child begins showing signs of the following TBI symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Crankiness or listlessness
- Change in sleeping pattern
- Change in school performance
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to light or sound
It is extremely important to seek medical attention if you suspect any level of head injury. Even mild TBIs with mild symptoms can quickly take a turn for the worse. It is imperative to get prompt treatment in any TBI case in order to minimize any long-term damage. Once a brain injury is stabilized, short-term and long-term care for TBI patients can take various forms. Whether treatment is received in an inpatient or outpatient setting, a rehabilitation programwill usually include numerous specialists who work with patients and their families to overcome the physical, emotional and neurological complications that arise after a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries are known to affect a wide range of functions including behavior, thinking, emotions, speech, sensation, language and memory. Recent research has found that a progressive degenerative disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is caused by repeated head trauma. This means that even the mildest hits to the head, if repeated (repeated tackles in football, for example), can lead to CTE symptoms, which include memory loss, aggression and progressive dementia.
Also, a single moderate to severe TBI can have lasting consequences. According to recent research, a moderate or severe blow to the head can significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Another troubling complication from traumatic brain injury is long term disability, which researchers believe is common 12-14 years after a patient suffers a TBI.
Many short and long-term complications can arise from traumatic brain injuries, including:
- Seizure: A large percentage of TBI sufferers experience either immediate seizures or early seizures. Immediate seizures occur within 24 hours of the initial injury. These seizures increase the risk of early seizures, which occur within one week after the initial injury. However, these types of seizures have no link to increasing the possibility of epilepsy.
- Infection: Infections like meningitis can affect the tears in the brain by letting in air and bacteria. Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A TBI can potentially spread the infection to other parts of the brain and nervous system.
- Stroke: Damage to major vessels leading to the brain can block blood flow and lead to stroke, either from bleeding of the artery or the formation of a blood clot at the injury site. Headache, vomiting, seizures, paralysis, and semi-consciousness can also be caused by blood clots.
- Coma: TBI sufferers may fall into comas and become unconscious and unresponsive for a few days or weeks after the injury. After this amount of time, some will gradually awaken and become conscious, or enter a vegetative state or die. Those that fall into a vegetative state for over a year rarely make a full recovery and require an extensive life care plan.
- Cognitive and sensory disabilities: TBI complications can lead to impaired reasoning and problem-solving skills. Short-term memory loss is the most common of these impairments. Sensory problems such as hand-eye coordination, taste and smell, constant ringing in the ear, and double vision are also common.
- Personality changes: Personality changes and unstable emotions are typical with brain injuries. Impulse control is also impaired, resulting in inappropriate behavior, especially during recovery.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by memory loss and the deterioration of cognitive abilities, can arise from TBI. The more severe the injury is to the head, the more likely it is that one will develop Alzheimer’s.
- Parkinson’s disease: Although rare, Parkinson’s disease may develop secondary to TBI many years after the initial injury occurred. Symptoms include slow movement, stiffness, trembling, and stooped posture, and will, once they appear, progress steadily throughout life.
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): Repeated head trauma, including symptomatic concussions and asymptomatic subconcussive blows to the head can lead to a progressive degenerative disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE. CTE is most commonly found in athletes in contact sports prone to traumatic brain injuries, including football, ice hockey, and wrestling. CTE is associated with memory loss, depression, impaired judgment, aggression, impulse control problems, confusion, and progressive dementia.
- Long-Term Disability: Long-term damage resulting from TBI complications are more common than previously believed. According to new research recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, patients who sustained a head injury showed a high occurrence of disability (51 percent) up to 14 years after sustaining the injury. Patients in the study showed signs of higher stress levels, lower self-esteem, poorer cognitive function, and higher levels of anxiety and depression after sustaining a TBI. Researchers concluded that “disability is common 12 -14 years after hospital admission with a [head injury].” For some patients, scientists added, “there is a dynamic process of change in disability over time that is associated with self-perceptions of control.”
Although a traumatic brain injury is confined to a person’s head and brain, it is rarely an isolated incident. A serious TBI will impact everything associated with the survivor including family, friendships, business and community. A person’s brain is the center of his nervous system. It dictates everything, from the ability to control the movement of arms and legs, to sensations, memory, emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
Any injury to this complex organ has the potential to erase precious memories, alter behaviors, cause crippling seizures and destroy lives. A traumatic event to the head, even a seemingly minor one, can lead to serious, long-term injury.
Traumatic brain injuries contribute to a large number of deaths and permanent disabilities annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 50,000 people die from brain injuries every year, and an estimated 5.3 million Americans currently live with a disability related to a TBI. Traumatic brain injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents result in the greatest number of hospitalizations. Motor vehicle accidents are also the number one cause of TBI in people under the age of 75.
The most common causes of these injuries include:
- Military service
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports and recreational activities
- Violent assaults
Although head trauma can occur to anyone at any age, there are certain groups who are more susceptible to TBIs. The leading TBI causes for adolescents and adults come from motor vehicle accidents, along with violent crimes and assaults. Infants, toddlers, and elderly people over the age of 75 years old can easily suffer from falls around the home. However, the most vulnerable group to TBIs would be males between the age of 15 and 24, who are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from a head injury than females, due to their high-risk and fast-paced lifestyles. Approximately half of TBI accidents involve the use of alcohol.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a defective product or someone’s harmful actions or negligence, you may be able to pursue justice and compensation in a TBI lawsuit. Contact the brain injury attorneys at Wisner Baum to discuss your options. We are here to answer any legal questions you might have about the injury. We can also help our clients find the right treatment and rehabilitation services to meet their needs.
At our firm, we’ve represented plaintiffs from all over the country in thousands of catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases stemming from traumatic brain injuries, transportation accidents, and pharmaceutical product liability. Wisner Baum has received many national awards such as Elite Trial Lawyers Trial Team of the Year by The National Law Journal as well as induction into the Verdicts Hall of Fame The firm is also listed in US News & World Report and Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms, The Best Lawyers in America®, Top Ranked Law Firms™ published in Fortune, and The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™. The firm has received regional awards such as California Powerhouse, part of Law360’s Regional Powerhouse Series.
$2.0 Billion Verdict Personal Injury
In May of 2019, the jury in the case of Pilliod et al. v, Monsanto Company ordered the agrochemical giant to pay $2.055 billion in damages to the plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, a Bay Area couple in their 70s.
$105 Million Settlement Pharmaceutical Settlement
Wisner Baum obtained $105 million on behalf of multiple clients involved in a pharmaceutical negligence case.
$18 Million Settlement Whistleblower Settlement
Wisner Baum secured an $18 million settlement against the Boeing Company for overcharging the U.S. government on aircraft maintenance.
$17.5 Million Settlement A Major US Plane Crash
Wisner Baum obtained a $17.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was killed in a major U.S. plane crash.
$15 Million Settlement Truck Accident
Our firm successfully negotiated a $15 million catastrophic injury settlement for our clients. The case stemmed from a Southern California accident involving a commercial truck and a pedestrian.
Below are a few TBI resources for care and management after a TBI:
- Brain Injury Association of America: BIAA is the leading national organization serving and representing individuals, families and professionals who are touched by a life-altering, often devastating, traumatic brain injury (TBI). Together with its network of more than 40 chartered state affiliates, as well as hundreds of local chapters and support groups across the country, the BIAA provides TBI resources, information, education and support to assist the 3.17 million Americans currently living with traumatic brain injuries.
- National Association of State Head Injury Administrators: NASHIA is the only forum addressing state government’s significant role in brain injury. NASHIA is the premier source of information and education for State Agency employees who are responsible for public brain injury policies, programs, and services.
- North American Brain Injury Society: NABIS is a society comprised of professional members involved in the care or issues surrounding brain injury. The principal mission of NABIS is moving brain injury science into practice. Whether it is in the area of clinical care, research, policy or litigation, the organization stands behind the premise that advances in science and practices based on application of the scientific evidence will ultimately provide the best outcomes for those with brain injuries and the community as a whole.
- Brain Injury Recovery Kit: Praised by leading brain injury experts as an innovative system for guiding individuals through the day-to-day challenges faced after brain injury, while providing information and support to family and friends. The Brain Injury Recovery Kit is a step-by-step approach to recovery that can be tailored to each individual’s needs and can be used at an individual’s own pace.
- CDC TBI Resources: The CDC’s research and programs work to prevent TBI and help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs. They cover Traumatic Brain Injury Topics, Concussion and Mild TBI, Concussion in Sports, Clinical Diagnosis and Management, and Statistics.
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