What you need to know about serious head and brain injuries and how to recover compensation in Texas
Written by: Enjuris Editors
Serious injuries to the head or brain often leave behind devastating symptoms: paralysis, permanent brain damage, a drop in quality of life, or even death. These injuries may not show up for days or weeks after an accident, and the damage may have already been done.
This degree of injury requires extensive medical care and potential months or years of rehabilitation. It can be scary to not know where the money for this care will come from, or even if you can hold anyone responsible for this financial and emotional strain. (See our list of resources for brain injury.)
Knowing where to turn in the face of these serious injuries is the first step on the road to recovery. Here, we'll take a look at some of the characteristics of a head or brain injury, what you should do if you or your loved one has experienced such an injury, and how you may receive compensation to help.
How to spot a head or brain injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other head injuries can easily cause the brain to malfunction. These malfunctions can be temporary or could last for the rest of an individual's life.
Oftentimes, these sorts of injuries are called "invisible injuries." This means that the symptoms of head and brain injuries are not only invisible to the eye (especially when compared to broken bones or lacerations), but they can take days or weeks to show any symptoms.
It's recommended that you get checked out anytime you've been in an accident so that head and traumatic brain injuries can be diagnosed quickly. Some common symptoms of head or brain injury include:
Nausea and vomiting
Depression or irritability
Feeling numbness in any body part
These symptoms should not be ignored; visit a doctor to be on the safe side, and make sure to request copies of all medical documentation. This will help if you decide to file a claim later on.
What sorts of accidents often cause head or brain injury?
A number of different accidents can cause severe head injuries or a TBI. However, most of the time, they are caused by a blow to the head or violent jerks of the neck like whiplash. Head and brain injuries are commonly caused by:
Slip and falls
Anytime an accident results in a blow to the head, there is the potential for a severe injury even if the accident seems relatively minor.
Can I sue for my head or brain injury? Who is liable?
As we've mentioned, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries can cause high medical bills and the added stress of potentially life-long disabilities and struggles. Filing a personal injury claim is a way to receive compensation for these damages.
As with other personal injury claims, some degree of negligence must be established in order to hold another party liable for the damages. The person responsible for the accident must have shown some form of negligence (i.e. running a red light) and that negligence must have directly caused the accident/injuries.
In order to prove their responsibility, a person must have been shown to have had a duty to another, ignored that duty, and caused the accident/injury by doing so. For example, a driver has a duty to follow all rules of the road. If the driver runs through a stop sign, he or she is negligent, and if that action causes an accident, the driver is legally responsible for the damages that accident causes.
There are several parties that could be held liable for the injuries: another driver, a doctor guilty of medical malpractice, or someone at work that may have caused your accident.
Head and brain injuries can lead to several types of compensation in Texas
Since head injuries and TBIs are often serious, life-long damages are a real possibility for victims. This means that a higher compensation amount is needed to cover the various damages. In Texas, damages are divided into two categories: special and general.
Special damages are economic ones. They all are associated with monetary loss or expense. Some examples of special damages include:
General damages refer to non-economic losses. These losses are for things that money couldn't buy. Some examples of general damages include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of quality of life
Loss of companionship in the case of a wrongful death
Texas offers compensation for both economic and non-economic damages in personal injury cases.
How do I know when I need an attorney?
With some personal injury claims, it can be difficult to know if you need to hire an attorney or if you can handle the legal process yourself.
If head injuries or a TBI is involved in your case, your damages are likely to be high. Medical costs for such serious injuries are numerous and pain and suffering are likely day-to-day struggles. It can be hard to add up the total amount of damages for your injuries.
Not only that, to build a strong case for compensation, you will need to establish proof of your injuries. Because head and brain injuries are "invisible" it can be more difficult to prove injury than with other, more obvious, personal injuries. Any emotional trauma like depression or anxiety will also be difficult to show.
You'll want to solicit the testimony of experts to prove such injuries, and doing so can be difficult and expensive.
This is where an attorney comes in.
Enjuris Tip: Getting a lawyer is recommended if your medical bills are more than a couple thousand dollars. Check out our list of 11 signs you may need a personal injury lawyer.
Hiring an expert attorney can take some of the stress away from building a successful personal injury case. When a head injury or TBI is at the center of a personal injury case, there are numerous losses and nailing down the details can be tricky. Each of these is a red flag signaling that a personal injury lawyer may be needed.
If you've fallen victim to a serious head injury or traumatic brain injury in Texas, you aren't alone. Here are a few resources to help you through your injuries and the recovery process.