The Mayo Clinic defines traumatic brain injury (TBI) as when “an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.” The injury typically happens during a violent blow to the head, such as in the event of a collision with a large truck. Mild TBI can cause brain dysfunction for a limited period, but more severe TBI can physically damage the brain such that the person suffers long-term impairment or death.
In either case, victims of truck accidents who suffer a TBI can pursue compensation by filing a lawsuit against the liable truck carrier. Filing a lawsuit for a brain injury after a truck accident requires identifying, valuing, and proving the short- and long-term effects of the injury. Brain injury lawsuits should account for the victim’s financial, physical, and emotional losses to recover full compensation.
What Are the Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Victims of moderate to severe TBIs may experience altered states of consciousness, such as:
- Locked-in syndrome. The person is awake and aware of surroundings, but cannot move or talk.
- Minimally conscious state. The patient has some awareness of surroundings but still suffers from a significant amount of altered consciousness.
- Coma. This is a transitional state because, after a matter of days or weeks, the patient either regains consciousness or is in a vegetative state.
- Vegetative state. In this state, the patient can move, make sounds, even open their eyes, but is not aware of the surrounding environment.
- Brain death. Brain death is irreversible. Doctors diagnosis brain death when the patient has no measurable brain activity.
In addition to altered states of consciousness, TBI can have other effects on the patient. Some of the possible consequences of a TBI are:
- Intellectual problems, such as memory, cognitive ability, attention, learning, and problem-solving.
- Communication issues, including understanding speech, reading, writing, and speaking.
- Social challenges, with difficulty following and appropriately participating in conversations, and understanding nonverbal communication.
- Emotional changes, such as depression, mood swings, anger, and insomnia.
- Seizures, that can begin within days of the injury. If the seizures continue long-term, the patient has post-traumatic epilepsy.
- Cranial nerve damage, which can cause facial paralysis, double vision, difficulty swallowing, double vision, loss of vision, and loss of the sense of smell.
How Does the Severity & Symptoms of a TBI Affect Recoverable Damages?
The effects of the TBI will influence the damages that are recoverable in a lawsuit. Thus, our firm investigates not only the cause of the accident, but explores the medical, occupational, emotional, and other damages that our clients experience.
For example, medical bills are among the most significant financial damages following a TBI from a truck accident. Patients need initial emergency care and may require surgery, physical therapy, medication, and long-term follow-up care. Some people may require care for a few months which can cost tens of thousands of dollars; others require lifetime care that may cost millions of dollars.
Some patients need speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services that add to these costs. We retrieve, review, and present existing medical bills and records, and work with expert witnesses who can testify regarding the long-term medical effects of the injury and required care.
Other damages that people with TBIs may experience include:
- Lost wages and earning capacity, including loss of benefits, pension, and promotion.
- Cost to hire professionals to perform chores that the patient once performed, like yardwork, child care, and even self-care.
- Loss of enjoyment of life, including no longer able to participate in hobbies and other activities.
- Pain and suffering, and other emotional effects like depression.
Who is Liable for a Traumatic Brain Injury from a Truck Accident?
Whoever was at fault for the accident that caused the TBI on the person will be responsible for these massive damages. In many cases, a truck driver is responsible for driving irresponsibly or failing to inspect and maintain the vehicle. However, the truck carrier that employs the truck driver may be vicariously liable for damages.
If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by a truck accident, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000. We will meet with you for free to go over the accident, the injuries, and how the injuries affect your (or your loved one’s) life.