What is a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
A brain injury lawsuit is a legal action that seeks to hold accountable a person or group negligent in causing someone’s brain injury and resulting damages. Brain injuries may result from accidents or illnesses with no one to blame, but in many cases, someone is responsible.
A lawsuit is a way to hold that person responsible but also to recover damages. The costs of a brain injury add up and include more than just medical bills: lost wages, home healthcare equipment, disability, pain, and suffering.
Who is Negligent in My Brain Injury?
Understanding negligence in a brain injury case can be tricky for anyone without legal experience in personal injury or medical malpractice cases. If you suspect that someone could be held accountable for your injury, talk to an experienced lawyer. They can help you determine if negligence played a role, and if so, who is responsible.
Here are some examples of situations that may involve negligent brain injury and the person or group liable for damages:
- Many brain injuries result from vehicle collisions. Another driver could be negligent in a car accident for not following traffic laws, driving under the influence, or texting while driving.
- A child may acquire brain damage through lead poisoning from a toy. The manufacturer of the toy with unacceptable lead levels may be liable for damages because of product liability.
- After an injury at work that causes brain damage, the employer may be negligent for failing to comply with workplace safety regulations.
- In a fight at a bar, a victim of assault could hold the aggressor negligent. The bar may also be negligent if they overserved the patron or did not intervene to help the victim.
- A baby is born with a brain injury because of difficult labor that led to asphyxiation. If the doctor failed to monitor fetal health and intervene, they could be negligent and guilty of medical malpractice.
How Do I Know if I Should I File a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
Laws governing personal injury and brain injury cases can be confusing. You may be unsure if someone is negligent, if you were to blame, or if the incident was purely accidental. A brain injury lawyer is the best person to advise you. They have the expertise and experience working on similar cases to help you understand if you have a strong case and should file.
How Much is My Brain Injury Lawsuit Worth?
Recovering damages is the main reason to file a lawsuit after a brain injury. You need to know what your case is worth to see if you should file a lawsuit and to get an idea of what to expect. Your lawyer can estimate your case’s worth and your odds of recovering damages, but they cannot make any guarantees. Your damages depend on several factors:
- Your injuries. The more severe the injuries, the more damages you may receive, especially if they are permanent.
- Current medical bills. Medical bills related to the injury inform damages.
- Future medical bills. Your lawyer, along with input from medical experts, will also estimate what you expect to pay in the future for medical care.
- Lost wages. Your lawyer will consider wages you have lost from being unable to work, now and in the future. You may also consider any lost earning potential if your injury prevents you from doing the same work.
- Non-economic costs. Pain, suffering, emotional harm, disfigurement, and damaged relationships all contribute to damages.
- State damages caps. Laws also impact damages recovered. Some states cap the amount of non-economic damages you may recover.
- Your fault in the incident. Some states also have laws for contributory negligence. If you have any degree of blame or negligence in the incident that caused the brain injury, the court could reduce your damages in a jury verdict.
How Will the Lawsuit Proceed?
If you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer will take the official steps for you. A good lawyer will keep you informed along the way so that you can make the best choices.
The official complaint begins the lawsuit and is a document sent to defendants. It notifies them of your allegations and gives them a chance to respond.
Investigation and Discovery
Both your lawyer and the defendants’ lawyers will begin to investigate the incident and your injury. They collect evidence, in the case of your lawyer, to prove negligence, and on the other side to disprove or show that proof of negligence is inadequate. During discovery, both sides share information.
With the evidence in place, most defendants will agree to negotiate. Going to trial is risky because if you win, you will likely recover more in damages as awarded by the jury. A settlement works in your favor because it lowers the risk of not getting anything at all and speeds up payment.
If negotiations fail, you can take your case to trial in front of a judge and jury. Here, both sides present evidence, experts, and witnesses and argue for or against negligence. The jury decides if the defendant is negligent, and if so, what they owe in damages.
If you don’t like the outcome of the trial, you may appeal. The other side may appeal as well. An appeal goes to a higher court where judges may decide to keep or overturn the verdict.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Lawsuit?
You should act quickly to file a lawsuit if you decide it is the right step to take. States have varying time limits on personal injury cases. This is known as the statute of limitations, and it can be as short as one year after the incident. This is why it is important to consult with a lawyer right away, even if you decide not to file a lawsuit.
A brain injury lawsuit is sometimes a necessary step to recover damages after a terrible accident. These kinds of injuries often cause lasting health problems and years of medical bills. Those responsible must be held to account.