As McAllen personal injury lawyers, we know that at any age, an injury to the brain is a serious medical condition. However, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at an early age can impair a child’s learning capacity, social growth, and physical abilities, thus creating difficulties or “delays” in development that may impact the child for life.
What do parents need to know about TBI? And what are a family’s rights if a child suffers a traumatic brain injury because another person was careless or negligent.
WHAT ARE THE FACTS AND STATISTICS REGARDING TBI?
Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of childhood mortality and morbidity, and children are suffering from traumatic brain injuries at a rate that has been increasing for more than a decade.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told us that in the U.S., TBI is the leading cause of disability and death for children ages 0-to-4 and for adolescents ages 15-to-19.
Also in the U.S., about 150,000 youths below age 20 are currently living with the long-term cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral effects of a traumatic brain injury.
HOW DO CHILDREN SUSTAIN TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES?
Children sustain traumatic brain injuries in a number of ways. Traffic accidents are a leading cause of TBI. So are playground and sports injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can be the result of bike and skateboard accidents, falls, swimming pool accidents, and other types of accidents.
The consequences of a traumatic brain injury upon a child can be somewhat different from the effect of the same type of injury on an adult. In fact, the long-term effect of a brain injury on a child may not be immediately apparent because a child’s brain hasn’t fully developed.
A child’s traumatic brain injury may cause a continuing and ongoing process of injury and disease because a child’s brain injury symptoms will emerge and change over time.
WILL A CHILD’S BRAIN INJURY HAVE LONG-TERM EFFECTS?
Pediatric researchers are also finding that children who sustain a traumatic brain injury are at a much higher risk of developing serious headaches, clinical depression, and mental or emotional disorders for as much as five years after the injury.
In a 2018 presentation to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, researchers reported that 39 percent of the children who suffer any kind of brain trauma are likely to experience the following symptoms:
intellectual, emotional, or mental disability
severe depression or anxiety
seizures or permanent brain damage
Also in 2018, the CDC reported that 61 percent of the children with a moderate to severe brain injury may suffer a long-term disability.
HOW DO TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES IMPACT CHILDREN’S LIVES?
A traumatic brain injury may be caused by a jolt, a blow, or a simple bump against the head. Signs or symptoms of TBI may or may not be immediately apparent. In fact, the symptoms may emerge weeks or even months after the traumatic brain injury occurs.
What is perhaps most important for children who are brain injury victims is the possible loss of cognitive functioning. Children with severe or even moderate brain injuries have difficulty remembering and processing information.
TBI can impair someone’s capacity to think, concentrate, learn, and remember. Children may also experience irritability, rapid mood swings, depression, and emotional outbursts. Physical symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, headaches, sleep disorders, seizures, and/or tinnitus.
Sadly, a child who suffers a severe or moderate brain injury may become an adult with substantially diminished employment prospects, especially in a high-tech, information-based economy.
WHAT ARE A FAMILY’S RIGHTS WHEN THEIR CHILD IS A TBI VICTIM?
The law in Texas entitles the injured victims of negligence to compensation for “future lost work capacity” – that is, lost future wages. But how can future wages be projected when a child is too young to work?
Here in Texas, an experienced McAllen auto accident attorney can help parents answer that question – a question that no family, of course, should ever have to confront.
The younger a child is, the more difficult it will be to make a determination of lost future income. There is no way to know if a young child will – or would have been – a financier or a dishwasher.
HOW IS FUTURE LOST INCOME DETERMINED?
Still, any child who sustains permanent brain damage due to someone else’s negligence is entitled by Texas law to considerable compensation. When the child’s parents retain a personal injury lawyer, that lawyer may consult neurologists, vocational specialists, and financial experts.
Then, when a reasonable figure for future lost income is determined, and the family seeks that amount with a personal injury claim, the testimony and statements of those authorities will be helpful in supporting the family’s claim.
In south Texas, if your own child suffers a traumatic brain injury because of someone else’s negligence in a traffic collision or any other accident scenario, arrange at once to meet with an experienced Edinburg auto accident attorney.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
After any blow to the head, have your child examined immediately by a physician. Then speak to an attorney. When someone else is responsible for a child’s injury, the parents have the right to be fully compensated, and a Texas personal injury lawyer can help.
Gyms, playgrounds, water parks, and other recreational facilities provide great fun, but they also pose genuine hazards. If someone was supposed to supervise your child at one of these facilities and didn’t – and your child was injured – speak to an attorney about your family’s rights.
Schools and daycare centers are obligated to protect kids, but if an inexperienced or unqualified person supervises children, a serious injury is more likely. Never let a child ride as a passenger with anyone who may be an irresponsible or negligent driver.
WHAT WILL IT COST A FAMILY TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR THEIR CHILD?
In Texas, if your child sustains a brain injury because someone else was careless or negligent, you must speak with an accident attorney immediately. Your first meeting with an attorney will cost you nothing.
You’ll learn what your family’s rights and options are and how to seek compensation for the child’s injury. If you take legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee until your attorney acquires compensation on your behalf.
Nothing is more important than our children. When children are injured in Texas because someone else was negligent, the parents have rights, and a good attorney’s help is one of those rights.
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.