When Can You Sue for a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in Pennsylvania?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often have life-altering consequences. Even relatively minor forms of TBI can present an increased risk for permanent damage in the event of a subsequent injury, while more-severe forms of TBI can immediately cause lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities.
Brain injuries sustained in vehicle collisions and other accidents can also be incredibly expensive. It is not unusual for TBI patients’ medical bills to climb into the tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars. Loss of income and other out-of-pocket expenses can further add to the lifetime costs of a TBI. Add in TBI patients’ pain, suffering and emotional trauma, and you can quickly begin to see how these injuries impact all aspects of accident victims’ lives.
5 Key Factors for Determining if You Have a Brain Injury Lawsuit
With this in mind, anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident should consult with a lawyer about their legal rights. Accident victims who suffer a TBI will be entitled to financial compensation in many cases. Here are five key questions for determining if you have a brain injury lawsuit:
1. Did You Suffer Your Brain Injury in an Accident?
To have a claim related to your brain injury, you generally must have suffered your injury in an accident. Some people develop genetic and degenerative brain disorders; and while these conditions can have life-altering effects, they typically don’t give rise to claims for financial compensation (unless they result from diagnostic errors or other forms of medical malpractice). Generally speaking, brain injury lawsuits involve traumatic injuries—or injuries that result from a severe impact on the body or the brain.
All types of accidents can cause brain trauma. We already mentioned vehicle collisions, but there are numerous other examples as well. Falls, dog attacks and virtually all other types of accidents have the potential to result in a mild, moderate or severe TBI.
2. Was Someone Else (or a Company) At Fault in the Accident?
Suing for a traumatic brain injury also requires proof that someone else (or a company) was at fault in your accident. If you accidentally injured yourself, this won’t justify a lawsuit in most cases.
Fault can take many different forms, and the grounds you have for filing a lawsuit will depend on the nature and the circumstances of your accident. For example, let’s say you suffered a TBI in a car or truck accident. In this scenario, your grounds for filing a brain injury lawsuit may include:
- Drunk, distracted or drowsy driving
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Other forms of driver negligence (i.e., running a red light or stop sign)
- Negligent vehicle or road maintenance
- Faulty vehicle design (i.e., a vehicle defect)
There are a variety of other possibilities as well; and, with other types of accidents, there will be an entirely different list of potential grounds for seeking just compensation. When you suffer a TBI in an accident, your legal rights depend on the facts of your case, and you will need to hire an experienced lawyer to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.
3. Did the At-Fault Party Owe You a Duty of Care?
The third key question for determining whether you have a brain injury lawsuit is whether the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. In vehicle collision cases, the answer is almost always “Yes.” But, issues can arise in certain other circumstances, such as when you suffer a concussion or other TBI on someone else’s property.
In Pennsylvania, when you get injured on someone else’s property, your legal rights depend on why you were there. While property owners owe duties to their visitors and guests in most cases, their duties are limited with respect to trespassers. Exceptions can arise in other circumstances as well; and here too, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer who can carefully assess—and help you assert—your legal rights.
4. Do You Have Significant Losses Related to Your Brain Injury?
Even if you have grounds to file a lawsuit, it won’t be worth filing a lawsuit if your losses are not significant. However, as we noted above, TBI victims’ losses often will be significant; and, as a result, it will be worth hiring a lawyer to file a claim in most cases. In a typical scenario, an accident victim who has been diagnosed with a TBI will be entitled to financial compensation for his or her:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Other out-of-pocket costs
- Loss of income and benefits
- Pain, suffering and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium, companionship and enjoyment of life
5. Can You Prove that Your Losses Are Related to the Accident?
Finally, to file a successful brain injury lawsuit, you must be able to prove that your losses are related to the accident. This means that you need to be able to prove when you suffered your TBI, and you also need to be able to prove your brain injury’s financial and non-financial costs. Both of these present a variety of challenges; and, as a result, if you are coping with the effects of an accident-related traumatic brain injury, it is strongly in your best interests to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will evaluate all aspects of your case and help you make an informed decision about filing a brain injury lawsuit. If you have a claim, and if you decide to pursue it, your lawyer will then rely on his or her experience to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Brain Injury Lawyer in Pennsylvania for Free
If you need to know more about asserting your legal rights after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Pennsylvania, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 888-479-9197 or contact us online today. With offices in Doylestown, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Stroudsburg, we represent accident victims throughout the Commonwealth.