Brain injuries can be the result of many different accident scenarios, but the common element that many victims share is severe suffering from both short- and long-term consequences. There is the agonizing pain in the immediate aftermath of an accident, especially when the trauma requires emergency care or surgery. Plus, there are ongoing implications, as brain injuries affect almost every function of the human body. You may lose independence, endure chronic pain, and even become temporarily or permanently disabled. Brain injury lawyers can help if you’ve suffered an injury.
If you suffered brain injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you do have rights under California law. It is possible to recover compensation for your devastating losses, so your first step should be retaining an experienced attorney who will protect your legal rights. Please contact the San Francisco brain injury lawyers at Wakeford Gelini to schedule a free consultation regarding your legal options. Answers to the most frequently asked questions about brain injuries claims in California should also be useful.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Brain Injuries?
Any incident that causes a blow to the head can lead to brain trauma, such as:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents;
- Being struck by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian or while riding a bike;
- Slips, trips, or falls due to hazardous conditions on property;
- Intentional attacks and assault;
- Medical malpractice; and,
- Many other types of accidents.
While the skull offers substantial protection, the brain is suspended in fluid material inside the outer shell. Any of these above incidents can cause such a violent impact that the delicate tissues will bruise as they come into contact with the skull. In addition, a penetrating injury could lead to tearing and damage to brain matter.
Can I Recover Compensation for My Losses?
You can pursue the person or entity that was responsible for causing your brain injuries, which usually means proving a claim based upon negligence under California’s Civil Code. You must establish that:
- The responsible party had a duty to exercise ordinary care or skill under the relevant circumstances;
- That individual breached this duty of care;
- This breach led to the accident that caused your brain injuries; and,
- You suffered losses as a result of your injuries.
What Types of Damages Are Included in a Claim for Brain Injuries?
Generally, you are entitled to recover two types of compensation for your injuries, which are classified as:
1. Economic Damages, including such losses as out-of-pocket medical expenses and the income you do not earn if you are not able to work;
2. Non-Economic Damages, which are more subjective in nature. This category includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. It also encompasses the losses you endure due to how your injuries impact your personal relationships with your spouse, children, and other loved ones.
Should I Discuss My Claim with an Insurance Company?
In many claims involving the most common causes of brain injuries, you will not pursue the responsible party; you will seek compensation from the insurance company that provides coverage for the motor vehicle or property owner. Before you decide whether to talk to an insurer about your claim, consider the role of the provider. The company is a business that is motivated by profits, and it does not increase revenue by paying out large sums to victims like you.
Instead, an insurance provider will do everything it can to deny or reduce payment. An adjuster may contest your version of the accident or contradict the severity of your brain injuries. Worse, the insurance company may even push blame for the accident on you. Brain injury lawyers fight to get the maximum settlement for you.
How May Brain Injuries Affect My Life?
The brain is a very complex organ and even the most highly reputable medical specialists do not fully understand how injuries may affect function. The implications for every victim will be different, but some common symptoms include:
- Decreased physical capabilities;
- Impaired cognitive functions;
- Memory loss;
- Behavioral and emotional issues;
- Depression and mood swings;
- Difficulties concentrating;
- Seizures and muscle spasms;
- Fatigue and headaches; and,
- Many other medical issues.
Does California Have a Time Limit to Bring a Claim?
In California, there is a law called the statute of limitations that restricts the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit for your brain injuries claim. Measured from the date of your accident, the law allows you two years to sue the person who is responsible for your injuries. If you do not initiate litigation, you are prohibited from recovering compensation in your case and the negligent party can raise the statute of limitations as a defense. Though there are some exceptions to this rule, you should not delay in taking action after you suffer brain injuries.
Are There Any Legal Issues that May Impact My Rights?
California personal injury laws do not allow a claimant to recover a windfall when his or her own conduct contributed to brain injuries. A legal concept termed comparative negligence will prevent you from recovering full compensation if your actions were careless or reckless, but you can obtain a percentage of your monetary damages. The comparative negligence rule applies a percentage of fault to your conduct and reduces your financial recovery by this multiplier. For example, if your total losses are $100,000 and you were 25 percent at fault for your brain injuries, you may receive an award of $75,000.
Consult with Dedicated San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyers Right Away
Your life can change forever if you suffer brain injuries in an accident that was not your fault. The brain controls the rest of the body, physically, developmentally, cognitively, and in so many other ways. If you or a loved one sustained head trauma, it is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney that has specific experience assisting victims suffering from brain injuries. Time is a factor due to California’s statute of limitations, but it is also important to act quickly so you can preserve the evidence in your case.
For more information, please contact the dedicated San Francisco brain injury lawyers at Wakeford Gelini. You can reach our office at 415-578-3510 or fill out a contact form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your circumstances and legal options.