Why You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You in your Brain Injury Claim
By David Carnes, Staff Writer
Brain injuries occur over a million times a year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brain injuries can be caused by accidents (such as industrial accidents), by medical malpractice or by both. Personal injury lawsuits arising from brain injuries tend to produce large verdicts and settlements, because brain injuries are often debilitating. Wrongful death lawsuits are also common because of the high fatality rate associated with brain injuries.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Most of the symptoms of brain injury could also be symptoms of another condition. Nevertheless, if you have suffered a head injury and you experience a combination of several of the following symptoms, or if your symptoms are particularly severe, you should seek medical advice to determine if you have a brain injury:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fainting spells
- Loss of memory
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Dilated pupils
- Sleep disturbances (too much or too little)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent headaches (especially if they get worse over time)
- Mood disorders (such as depression or constant anxiety)
- Personality changes
- Seizures or convulsions
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits (if the victim dies) are filed under state law. To win, you must prove that you were injured by a defendant’s negligent (careless), reckless or intentional act. You might sue a drunk driver, for example, who caused a car accident that resulted in a brain injury. If you win, you can collect an amount calculated to compensate you not only for your medical bills and lost work time, but also for psychological difficulties such as pain and suffering. Amounts awarded for pain and suffering often greatly exceed amounts awarded for medical expenses and lost work time.
Brain Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
There are a number of ways that medical malpractice can cause or exacerbate a brain injury, including:
- Errors in prescribing medication (overdoses, for example, can cause brain damage)
- Infections caused by surgery (perhaps not even originating in the brain)
- Surgical errors during neurosurgery
- Failure to promptly diagnose a brain condition such as encephalitis or a stroke
- Improper treatment of a pre-existing brain injury
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A medical malpractice lawsuit is a type of personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit that is filed against a medical defendant, claiming that the plaintiff was injured by inappropriate medical treatment. Winning a medical malpractice lawsuit can be difficult for two reasons:
- Gathering evidence is difficult and requires a certain amount of medical knowledge. You may need one or more expert medical witnesses to testify that your injury was caused by medical malpractice, for example, and you may need to gather extensive documentation of facts that you may not even understand if you are not a medical professional yourself.
- Medical defendants such as doctors and hospitals tend to fight medical malpractice lawsuits tooth and nail, because they see them as attacks on their reputations. Malpractice insurance companies employ the services of a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers to defend lawsuits against them. You are also likely to face an experienced medical malpractice lawyer or insurance adjuster in settlement negotiations.
Taking the First Step
Winning a brain injury lawsuit or negotiating a settlement for a brain injury are complex tasks that require both legal skill and a certain amount of medical knowledge. If you believe that you have (or a loved one has) suffered a brain injury, selecting the appropriate brain injury lawyer to handle your case might just turn out to be the decision that determines whether or not you are fairly compensated.