A personal injury lawyer may help you file a lawsuit from a brain injury from a car accident, but one is not necessary to file one. Filing a lawsuit can help you get compensation to help you with the financial costs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Before you can make someone pay for your injuries, you have to prove that they were negligent. To hold the careless person accountable, we have to prove all four of the elements of liability:
- The person must have had a legal duty toward you. Drivers have a legal duty to keep a careful lookout and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. For example, if you were driving your car responsibly and a vehicle came flying out of a side street, ran a stop sign, and smashed into your car, the driver of the vehicle that hit you had a legal duty of care toward you.
- We must show that the driver breached their duty of care. Running a stop sign, speeding, and crashing into oncoming traffic breached the driver’s duty of care. Violating a duty of care is negligence.
- The negligence must cause the harm you suffered. The collision caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury. This fact satisfies the causation requirement of liability.
- The harm must be measurable. If the reckless driver’s car had careened at the last second and barely missed crashing into your vehicle, you would not suffer measurable harm. Momentary fright is not sufficient as harm. However, if the speeding car slammed into your vehicle and caused you to sustain a traumatic brain injury, this harm is measurable.
Do Not Delay in Filing a Lawsuit
In every state, the legislature sets time limits (called statutes of limitations) for filing different kinds of lawsuits. If you file suit accusing the defendant of negligence, you will have a different amount of time to bring the lawsuit than if you sued someone for a breach of contract or a defective product. Your personal injury lawyer will explain the deadlines, but if you wait too long and the time for filing has passed, a lawyer cannot help you.
Getting Damages for Your Traumatic Brain Injury
Once we establish who was liable, we will build your case for compensation. Here are some of the damages you can receive, depending on your facts, for a traumatic brain injury from a car accident that was someone else’s fault:
- Medical costs: You can recover all the reasonable and necessary medical expenses because of the accident. We will use your medical bills, insurance statements, invoices, and receipts to prove your losses for the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, diagnostic testing, medical treatment, therapy, rehabilitation center, and prescription medications.
- Lost income: This includes wages and other income you missed out on because of the accident, treatments, and recuperation. We use your employer’s records and other documents to prove these losses.
- Pain and suffering: This is for your physical pain and mental anguish. We will calculate a fair amount for this type of damage.
- Disability or decreased earning potential: If you are unable to work or earn less because of the traumatic brain injury’s impacts on your cognitive abilities, memory, coordination, and other skills, we will use your medical records and a vocational expert to determine the extent of your disability or decreased earning capacity.
- Long-term care: If you need assistance with daily living activities or medical care because of the brain injury. We establish the value of this aspect of your claim using experts.
- Your spouse’s loss of consortium: If the brain injury adversely affected your relationship, your spouse’s testimony may be vital in making this claim.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Traumatic Brain Injury if You Were Partly at Fault
In many cases, more than one person was negligent in causing an accident. Let’s say that you were speeding and another driver changed lanes without looking. The two cars collided and you suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Both of you were negligent, but you can still get some damages for your injuries. The Washington law of comparative fault will apportion the fault between the two drivers and reduce the compensation to each injured person relative to that person’s proportion of the total fault.
In other words, if the judge decides that you were 20 percent at fault, comparative fault will reduce your damages of $100,000 by 20 percent ($20,000). You will recover $80,000.