Accidents & Traumatic Brain Injuries
When you have suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident, the consequences can be serious and life-long. According to a March 2015 CDC report, there are approximately 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States every year. Victims of TBIs may find it difficult to get answers and find all the resources available. There is often a significant amount of pain, confusion and medical disability that makes getting back to their daily routine a struggle. Here are just a few tips for people who have suffered minor or major traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident.
Signs of a Brain Injury
Sometimes brain injuries are not obvious. Even minor collisions can cause brain trauma. The effects of brain injuries are sometimes not caught until weeks or months later when neurological issues begin to surface from the trauma. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident where their head was struck or shaken, here are a few signs to watch out for:
- Trouble walking or with balance
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Vision disturbance
Seek Medical Attention
After any accident, it is always best to be properly checked by a medical professional. The prognosis for brain injuries can be affected by the prompt medical care that is sought after the accident. Even if you think the injuries are minor, it is best to confirm the injury with a doctor. More information is beneficial to establishing the evidence necessary to prove your claim.
Stay Organized, Document Everything
If you are a victim of a traumatic brain injury, document everything you remember about the accident. Keep all medical bills in a designated binder or folder and update it frequently. Keep a log of all procedures performed and name and contact information of all doctors involved. You may also request your medical records, or sign a HIPAA release to allow your attorney to access these documents. Keeping everything documented and organized is key to receiving the compensation that you or your family member deserves. Here is a quick list of items to keep track of:
- Medical bills
- Receipts for medication
- Copy of all correspondence with insurance companies
- Dates of medical treatment
- Name and contact of doctors who performed procedures
- Copy of medical records
- Recommended Physical or Occupational Therapy
- Photographs of the scene of the incident, vehicles if a collision and injuries
Do not sign any type of records release, authorization or settlement agreement until you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. A free consultation should be provided. You should not feel pressured to accept any settlement that does not fully compensate you for the injuries and pain caused by someone else’s negligence. Negligence is determined by the facts of the accident and state law. Illinois has modified comparative negligence as the adopted standard for recovery of damages. This means in order to recover you have to be less than 50% responsible for the accident. Your recovery may also be discounted by the percentage that you were at fault. How these certain percentages are determined can get quite complex. It is best to address these issues with our attorneys directly.
The disability caused by a traumatic brain injury often lasts beyond the initial injury. Some TBIs require serious long-term rehabilitation. The long lasting effects of a TBI need to be taken into account when considering your legal settlement. A personal injury attorney with experience in brain injury cases must have the knowledge of what constitutes a fair settlement with specific facts of your case. You should feel comfortable and confident with your attorney. Your attorney should have an established track record of success and involvement with the bar association.
Traumatic Brain Injury Resources
There are many national and locally based resources for those with a traumatic brain injury. Here is a brief list that can assist you in getting the help you need.
Illinois Dept. of Health Care & Family Services-Home & Community Based Waiver Program for Traumatic Brain Injury: A list of services offered by the state for those suffering from a TBI.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center: Illinois based resource center that helps those with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries.
Brain Injury Association of America- Illinois Chapter: A group dedicated to support and helping those with traumatic brain injuries access local resources.
Disability Resources- Illinois: A good place for state resources for those suffering from a TBI.
CDC ACE Plan- Acute Concussion Evaluation Care Plan: A form used to track transition back to normal activities.