The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania says every 15 seconds someone in the US experiences a brain injury and that every year 500,000 people are permanently disabled. According to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, there are 98,000 new traumatic brain injuries each year in Pennsylvania alone. Those statistics are shocking, and many of those brain injuries could have been prevented had it not been for the negligence of another. In such instances of negligence, malpractice, or product liability, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to receive due compensation.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can be caused by a wide range of accidents. The type of injuries that commonly show up in lawsuits include the following:
- Concussions, resulting from violent shaking or a strong, sharp blow to the head
- Contusions, which are bleeding bruises within the brain itself and require surgery
- Penetration injuries, in which the bone of the skill is breached
- Diffuse axonal injuries, which result from shaking or rotating of the head
All of these injuries can lead to serious cognitive complications that can forever change a victim’s life.
Types of Brain Injury Lawsuits
The cause of your brain injury — fall, motorcycle accident, surgical complications, sports accident, a faulty PPE helmet, or other potential causes — will determine the type of lawsuit that is filed. If you were injured as a result of an incident during a surgical procedure or as the result of negligence on the part of a physician or other medical practitioner, then a medical malpractice claim should be filed. If, on the other hand, the brain injury was the result of a motorcycle accident, a negligence action would likely be filed against the other driver or responsible party. A faulty product that leads to an injury, such as a construction helmet worn on the job, could lead to a product liability claim. With all of that being said, the vast majority of brain injury lawsuits involve negligence.
You Are Going to Need an Attorney
The legal landscape that makes up a brain injury lawsuit requires the skills of an experienced attorney. There are deadlines that must be met, crucial evidence that can be difficult and time-consuming to uncover, dependable expert witnesses to be hired, and perhaps a settlement to negotiate. In addition, you need an experienced lawyer who can calculate a reasonable estimate for the compensation that you are entitled to under the law.
Expert Witnesses are a Must
Once a lawsuit has gone to trial, expert witnesses are going to be a key factor. While their services can be pricey because of the level of expertise they bring, they are a necessary expense. Without a knowledgeable expert witness, you will not be able to prove the cause of your brain injury and explain to the judge (and jury) how much the injury has impacted your life. Also, keep in mind that the defense will try to prove that the brain injury has some other cause and they are not responsible for what happened to you. Proving the cause of the brain injury is challenging and simply cannot be done without skilled assistance from both an attorney and a team of expert witnesses.
Damages in Brain Injury Lawsuits
Damages will certainly include medical expenses but can also include lost wages as a result of the time you missed at work due to medical treatment and the extensive rehabilitation that is involved with brain injuries. Both you and your immediate family may be able to receive damages for pain and suffering, and your spouse can often claim loss of companionship for the time that you were receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation. In the state of Pennsylvania, punitive damages may also be incurred if the defendant’s conduct is proven to have been wanton, willful, or malicious. The purpose of punitive damages is to prevent similar injuries from occurring to others.
Statute of Limitations
In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, including those involving traumatic brain injuries, is 2 years from the date of the injury. Medical malpractice also must be litigated within two years, but the countdown is a bit different: the two years begins from the time that you should have reasonably discovered that you had been injured. Those two years will go by very quickly, especially if you spend a great deal of time in the hospital or in rehabilitation. Outside of that two-year deadline, you will likely no longer be able to file a lawsuit or expect to receive any compensation.
Brain injury lawsuits are complex, perhaps reflecting the complexity of the injuries themselves. The type of lawsuit that is filed depends on how you suffered the injury, but regardless of the type of lawsuit involved, you will need the assistance of a lawyer and expert witnesses to prove your claim. And if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, remember that you only have two years in which to file a claim.
Contact Sacchetta & Baldino Today!
If you or someone you care about has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you need legal representation to make sure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Let Sacchetta & Baldino trial lawyers put the law to work for you! We have been representing injured clients and their loved ones since 1991 and we will fight just as hard on behalf of you and your family. Contact our offices today!