Brain injuries are among the most catastrophic results of accidents, medical malpractice, and mishaps involving dangerous products. Victims who survive brain injuries in Orange County often confront physical and cognitive limitations that substantially reduce the quality of their lives.
When a brain injury is caused by another person’s carelessness, the injury victim is entitled to pursue compensation. An experienced Orange County brain injury lawyer can assemble a team of experts to evaluate the victim’s future needs and to estimate the funds that will be needed to restore the victim’s ability to function independently.
If you or a loved one experienced a brain injury in Southern California as the result of another person’s negligence, you can get help from a brain injury attorney by calling Timothy J. Ryan & Associates at 800-838-6644.
Causes of Accidental Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are usually caused by a blow to the head, but they can also be caused by a violent movement of the head or by actions that deprive the brain of oxygen. In some cases, including gunshot wounds, brain injuries are caused by an object that penetrates the skull and makes contact with the brain. In most cases, a traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain collides with the skull.
Accidental causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Car accidents. When a car crash causes an occupant’s head to strike the steering wheel, the side of the car, or an airbag, the impact may force the occupant’s brain to collide with the skull. Even when the occupant’s head does not strike an object, the sudden backward-and-forward movement of the head caused by a vehicle’s sudden change of speed can cause the brain to smash against the skull. Flying debris in a car accident can also penetrate the skull and produce brain injuries.
- Motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle crashes typically cause riders to be thrown from their bikes. When their heads hit the pavement, a wall, or another vehicle, even the most crashworthy helmet may not be adequate to prevent a traumatic brain injury.
- Slip-and-fall injuries. The careless failure to remove a tripping hazard or to mop up a wet floor can cause business patrons to fall. When their heads strike the floor, a shelf, or some other hard surface, the impact of the brain against the skull can cause a traumatic brain injury.
- Gunshot wounds. Gunshot wounds to the head are usually fatal. When the victim survives, lasting brain damage is a common outcome. Gunshot wounds can be caused by negligence when children play with guns that the owner failed to lock in a gun safe, when hunters fail to assure that no person is within a bullet’s possible line of travel, and when guns accidentally discharge while being cleaned or handled.
- Medical malpractice. Obstetricians sometimes damage the brains of babies during delivery by misusing forceps or applying excessive force to the baby’s head. The negligent application of anesthesia during surgery may deprive the brain of oxygen, while the prescription or administration of an incorrect medication can also have an adverse impact on brain functioning. All of these are medical malpractice.
- Toxic chemical exposure. Ordinary household products can cause brain damage if they are not kept out of the reach of curious children. Toxins from fires, chemical fumes, pesticides, lead, mercury, and other chemicals or pollutants that are negligently allowed to enter a homeowner’s environment may also result in brain injuries.
- Sports injuries. Participants in contact sports accept the risk that they might experience a concussion. They do not accept the risk that a negligent coach might return them to the game, placing them at risk of a second (and potentially more devastating) concussion before their first concussion has healed. Coaches, trainers, and athletic departments are responsible when their negligent “return to play” decisions contribute to traumatic brain injuries.
- Defective products. A defective furnace that causes carbon monoxide poisoning, a defective seatbelt or airbag that fails to prevent a head injury, and a defective escalator that causes a department store customer to fall are all examples of defective products that could be responsible for head injuries. The manufacturer of the product, as well as a business that fails to maintain elevators and escalators on its premises, may be liable for brain injuries that caused by product defects.
Any other negligent act or failure to act that causes a brain injury may also entitle the injury victim to compensation. A brain injury lawyer can explore the facts and determine who should be responsible for compensating brain injury victims.
Brain Injury Compensation
The kind of compensation a brain injury victim should receive depends upon the impact of the injury. When a victim dies from a brain injury, California law permits a surviving spouse and certain other relatives to seek wrongful death damages.
Compensation for a death cannot replace a life, but it can replace lost income that the family member would have provided. It can also send a message of justice by holding the person who caused the death financially accountable for the loss of love and companionship that surviving family members will be forced to endure.
Some brain injury survivors experience long-term cognitive disabilities. The injury victim might have difficulty learning new facts or finding the right words to express an idea. The injury might cause a loss of memory or impair the ability to retain new memories.
In some cases, injury victims are able to compensate for their cognitive losses by learning techniques that help their brains process information in new ways. Compensation can pay for the neuropsychological treatment that is needed to maximize recovery.
Some brain injuries result in loss of speech functions, impair vision, or cause other sensory losses (such as the ability to smell, to hear certain noises, or to feel heat or pain). A speech-language pathologist and other specialists may be able to provide rehabilitative therapy that will help the victim recover some of those functions or to adjust to their loss.
Some brain injuries produce attention deficit disorders and personality changes. A neuropsychologist may be able to design a treatment plan that will alleviate or minimize those symptoms.
Some brain injuries impair motor skills, making it difficult for victims to walk, climb stairs, or drive. Physical therapists may be able to help victims overcome those difficulties.
When brain damage makes it impossible for a victim to return to work, occupational therapists and vocational rehabilitation specialists may be able to help the victim learn skills needed to obtain new employment. Therapists can also teach brain damage victims coping skills that will allow them to maximize their ability to function independently.
Brain injury victims require compensation to pay for the specialists who can help them maximize their recovery. They need compensation to replace the stream of income they will lose because of their lost employment.
They may need compensation to pay for assisted-living facilities, homecare workers, wheelchairs, and other equipment and personnel that will help them live a meaningful life. And they need compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress that has become part of their life.
Orange County Brain Injury Lawyers
An experienced brain injury lawyer in Orange County can help you understand how compensation can improve the life of a brain injury victim. By assembling an appropriate team of medical experts, rehabilitation specialists, and economists, Timothy J. Ryan & Associates works to assure brain injury victims of full compensation that will help them achieve maximum recovery from their brain injuries.
Whether a brain injury victim will be able to live independently after rehabilitation or will need lifelong assistance, Timothy J. Ryan & Associates fights for the compensation that victims deserve. To learn more about how brain injury compensation can change a victim’s life, call Timothy J. Ryan & Associates at 800-838-6644.