Over two million victims, including over 400,000 children, suffer traumatic brain injuries every year in the United States. Traumatic brain injuries also cause over 50,000 deaths in this nation every year, and traffic collisions are one of the top causes of traumatic brain injuries.
Should you – or one of your loved ones – sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a traffic crash because another person was negligent here in South Texas, can you receive compensation? Will you have to take legal action? Exactly what are your rights and legal options? Can an Edinburg brain injury lawyer help?
HOW ARE “TRAUMATIC” BRAIN INJURIES DEFINED?
Any impact to someone’s skull that impairs brain functioning may cause a traumatic brain injury. TBIs are distinct from brain injuries that may be caused by strokes or infections, which are categorized as “acquired” brain injuries (ABIs).
Neurologists classify three types of TBI: severe, moderate, and mild. Most TBIs are mild, and TBI victims typically improve over time. In some cases, however, the effects of severe TBI can linger for years or even for life.
When a punch, blow, or jolt to the head “slams” the brain into the skull, soft brain tissue absorbs the impact and becomes damaged. The extent and severity of a traumatic brain injury depend on the force and location of the impact.
HOW ARE BRAIN INJURIES SUSTAINED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS?
Here are the most typical ways that traumatic brain injuries happen in traffic accidents:
A concussion happens when an abrupt blow or jolt to the skull causes the brain to suffer trauma.
Contusions are bruises on a victim’s brain. Severe contusions require surgery.
“Diffuse axonal” injuries happen when a sharp, unnatural head rotation damages the brain.
Any penetration of the skull by something like glass or shrapnel can cause a severe traumatic brain injury.
Overwhelmingly, most TBIs are concussions, but even mild concussions – which are common in sports accidents and traffic collisions – can leave a victim with long-term medical difficulties.
WHY IS A MEDICAL EXAM IMPERATIVE AFTER A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT?
If you’re injured in a vehicle collision in Texas, have a medical examination conducted by a professional healthcare provider at once – even if you feel no injury symptoms. Not all TBIs are immediately detectable or apparent, but swift detection and treatment are the keys to recovery.
Left untreated, a TBI can emerge as a serious medical situation. Have a medical exam – without exception – after any vehicle crash that involves you.
Some TBI symptoms develop over days or even weeks. Symptoms may include nausea or vomiting, dilated pupils, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. A brain injury victim’s emotions, memory, and judgment may also be affected.
Traumatic brain injuries sometimes cause epilepsy. TBIs also heighten the risks for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE WHEN A TRAFFIC COLLISION HAPPENS?
If you’re injured in South Texas and you subsequently need to file a personal injury claim, you must have an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney working on your behalf. What should you do at the scene when a traffic crash happens?
Gathering documentation is imperative. Of course, there will not be an attorney advising you at the accident scene, so unless you are catastrophically injured or incapacitated, you will need to think clearly, and you must take several steps to protect yourself:
Summon medical assistance and the police. Find out how to acquire a printout of the police report and how soon it will become available.
Get the other motorist’s name, contact details, and automobile insurance information. Take photos of the damage to the vehicles, the general accident site, and any of your own visible injuries.
Retain in a safe location several copies of every pertinent document, record, and report arising from the accident.
After you leave the scene, don’t speak with the other driver or with his or her attorney or auto insurance company. Refer all of those calls and questions to your accident attorney.
Arrange at once to meet with an accomplished Edinburg auto accident attorney who will explain your rights and options – which may include taking legal action.
SHOULD YOU TAKE A QUICK SETTLEMENT OFFER?
An automobile insurance company might try to make a quick settlement offer. The legal process in a personal injury case can take some time, so be patient, and don’t accept any offer to settle the case before you’ve consulted with your accident attorney.
If you have grounds for a personal injury claim, and you choose to pursue that claim, you’ll pay your attorney nothing “up front.” Most accident lawyers will not collect a fee until they’ve obtained a judgment or a settlement on your behalf.
A good accident attorney may also ask medical authorities and/or accident reconstruction specialists to examine the evidence and provide statements or testimony on your behalf.
HOW ARE MOST PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS HANDLED IN TEXAS?
Although personal injury trials are not rare in Texas, most personal injury claims are resolved by the attorneys for both sides – privately and out-of-court. Usually, a traumatic brain injury victim won’t even have to make a court appearance.
However, if a TBI claim can’t be resolved out-of-court, your attorney may recommend going to trial and asking a jury for justice and compensation.
Speaking frankly and candidly, a severe or moderate TBI can challenge a victim for the remainder of his or her life. With a good accident lawyer and a successful personal injury claim, a traumatic brain injury victim can move ahead – as constructively and positively as possible.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A TEXAS ACCIDENT LAW FIRM?
Texas limits the amount of time that TBI victims have to take legal action. The statute of limitations is two years from the date that the injury occurred, the date that the injury was discovered, or the date when the injury should have been discovered.
Of course, you must not wait two years with a brain injury and decide to act at the last moment. Don’t even wait two weeks. Contact a reliable and experienced Texas auto accident attorney as soon as possible after you have been examined by a healthcare professional.
If you suffer a brain injury in Texas because another motorist was negligent, talk to an accident attorney as soon as you can. That is your legal right.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.