Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also called closed head injury (CHI), occurs within the skull at the cellular level. The sudden back-and-forth movement of the soft brain within the hard skull tears at and disrupts the structures that support brain function.
Brain injuries vary in severity, but someone who has suffered a TBI in a pedestrian accident is likely to have extensive medical bills. They may be unable to work for an extended period of time or suffer a permanent disability requiring around-the-clock care.
If you’ve suffered a TBI in a pedestrian accident, there are some steps you must take to protect your right to fair compensation from the at-fault driver.
Get Medical Attention
You should get medical attention as soon as possible after any sort of traffic accident, even if you think you feel fine.
Unless the accident trauma produces hemorrhaging within the skull, imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs generally won’t show your brain injury. Diagnosis instead depends on symptoms like:
- Memory loss
- Confusion and lost concentration
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Blurred vision or tired eyes
- Sleeplessness and fatigue
- Mood swings and raging
- Cognitive dysfunction like the lost ability to reason
- Nausea and vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Lost consciousness and coma
- Slurred speech and inability to retrieve words
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
- Lost coordination
- Depression and suicidal ideation
- Anxiety, restlessness, or agitation
If you are suffering from symptoms of traumatic brain injury, make sure your medical care provider knows. Request referral to a brain injury specialist if necessary. Follow all medical advice. Do not ignore brain injury symptoms.
Gather Any Relevant Evidence
If you are physically able to do so, you should try to gather and preserve evidence at the accident scene and afterward. Photos, videos, and statements from witnesses can all help establish fault for the accident.
Under Washington personal injury law, a pedestrian can make a monetary recovery against the vehicle driver and owner if the pedestrian can prove all of the following elements of negligence:
- The driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care, which would generally be true whenever the driver’s actions created a foreseeable risk of harm to the pedestrian.
- The driver breached that duty of care, such as by exceeding the speed limit, failing to stop at a light or sign, or failing to yield to a pedestrian of whom the driver knew or should have known.
- The driver’s breach of duty was a proximate cause of the pedestrian’s injuries, meaning both a cause in fact and a foreseeable or natural cause.
- The pedestrian suffered damages as a result, which could include not only the pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life from the traumatic brain injury and other physical, mental, and emotional loss, but also wage loss and medical expense.
Because Washington requires vehicle owners to insure for driver liability, the damages recovered in such a case generally come from the vehicle owner’s insurance company. If the owner broke the law and failed to insure the vehicle, as is sometimes the case, then the recovery may come from the pedestrian’s own uninsured-motorist coverage or another source.
Do Not Talk to the Insurance Company on Your Own
Be careful when talking to insurance companies, especially companies that insure the other driver and vehicle owner. Insurance companies exist to make a profit, which means they will do whatever is necessary to reduce the amount they pay for your claim. Any information you provide could easily be misinterpreted to blame you for your injuries.
Do not accept a settlement offer from an opposing insurer without retaining an expert personal injury lawyer to review it. Insurers are trying to pay as little as possible to make the case go away—not what is necessary for your recovery and fair for your pain and suffering.
Request a Free Consultation With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Max Meyers Law offers a free consultation to help you learn more about your right to compensation after a pedestrian accident caused by another party’s negligence. Contact us today to discuss your next steps.