The tragic aftermath of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be difficult for families to bear, especially when the injury leads to the unfortunate death of a loved one. In Missouri, when a TBI is caused by someone else’s negligence, the deceased’s family may have the legal right to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Such legal actions hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions, ensuring justice for the victim and their grieving family members.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to compensate the deceased’s survivors for their losses, such as lost wages, funeral expenses, and emotional distress.
For a successful claim, it must be proven that the death was a direct result of the defendant’s negligent or intentional actions.
In cases where a traumatic brain injury caused the death, it becomes essential to establish a clear link between the actions (or inactions) of the defendant and the resulting TBI.
Missouri law is specific about who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the deceased’s immediate family, such as spouses, children, or parents, have the first right to file a claim. In instances where there are no immediate family members, a sibling or a personal representative may be eligible.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are many causes of traumatic brain injuries, with car accidents being one of the leading causes. A car accident caused by another’s negligence can result in severe trauma to the brain, leading to injuries ranging from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries.
Blunt force trauma, often seen in car crashes, can result in damage to brain tissue, causing swelling, hemorrhage, and sometimes, permanent disability.
Additionally, falls, sports-related incidents, and even violent assaults can also lead to brain injuries. Recognizing these causes is a significant step in determining responsibility in a traumatic brain injury claim.
Assessing the Severity of the Traumatic Brain Injury
Medical professionals categorize brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe.
A mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion, can be deceptive. While labeled “mild”, the symptoms can be quite distressing, including headaches, dizziness, and memory loss.
These injuries may not show on standard medical tests like CT scans but can have lingering effects on the victim.
Moderate traumatic brain injuries involve a higher degree of brain damage. Symptoms are more pronounced, and victims may lose consciousness for a few minutes to several hours.
Medical attention is vital, and prolonged care might be necessary.
Severe Head Injury
Severe head injuries are the most life-threatening. They can result in prolonged unconsciousness or amnesia. Such a severe injury can cause significant brain swelling, hemorrhage, and permanent neurological disorders.
In cases where a car accident or another traumatic event leads to a severe TBI, it’s crucial to consult with a brain injury lawyer to understand your legal rights.
Every traumatic brain injury is unique, and the damage can vary widely based on the force and nature of the impact.
Different types of TBIs can manifest in varied ways, influencing a person’s cognitive, physical, and emotional state.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury: This injury happens when the brain moves inside the skull, causing shearing or tearing of the brain tissue. Often resulting from car accidents, it can lead to brain damage or even death.
- Contusion: A direct impact to the head can cause a contusion, which is essentially a bruise on the brain tissue. Severe contusions may require surgical removal.
- Penetration Injury: These injuries occur when a foreign object, such as a bullet or sharp fragment, enters the brain. They can result in significant damage to the brain tissue and are among the most serious forms of TBI.
- Coup-Contrecoup Injury: This refers to contusions that appear at both the site of impact and the opposite side of the brain. This happens when the force of the impact is so strong that it causes the brain to slam into the opposite side of the skull.
Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may help you understand if a death was possibly caused by a TBI, even if this is not immediately apparent.
Symptoms may appear immediately or may be delayed days or even weeks after the injury. These can include persistent headaches, confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, blurred vision, and behavioral or mood changes.
More severe symptoms can consist of seizures, persistent nausea or vomiting, and inability to awaken from sleep.
Your Legal Rights After a Traumatic Brain Injury
In Missouri, the law allows victims and their families to seek compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Living victims of traumatic brain injuries are also wise to work with a personal injury lawyer to ensure they are properly compensated by the insurance company for mild head injuries, severe TBI, or any type of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Whether the injury occurred due to a car crash, a fall, or any other negligent action, you have the right to a fair settlement.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process, helping you understand your rights and the potential remedies available to you.
Types of Damages in Brain Injury Cases
Brain injury cases often involve various types of damages that victims can seek compensation for. These include:
- Economic Damages: These represent the quantifiable financial losses, including medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and other related expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and diminished quality of life.
It’s often challenging to link a traumatic brain injury directly to a wrongful death because brain injuries can be hard to diagnose. Symptoms may be subtle, and standard medical tests might not always detect the injury.
However, with comprehensive medical records, expert testimonies, and evidence, it’s possible to establish the connection.
It’s here that partnering with a knowledgeable brain injury lawyer becomes invaluable and gives you a real shot at getting all the compensation you’re entitled to after a serious brain injury.
How a TBI Lawyer Evaluates a Case’s Settlement Value
When evaluating a traumatic brain injury claim, an experienced brain injury lawyer will consider various factors to determine its potential worth. These factors include:
- Severity of the Injury: The degree of the traumatic brain injury, whether mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury, can greatly influence the settlement value. Severe TBIs typically result in higher compensation due to the extensive medical care required and the long-term impact on the victim’s life.
- Medical Expenses: Current and future medical bills related to the injury are considered in traumatic brain injury claims. This can encompass hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and any required ongoing care.
- Lost Wages: If the victim is unable to work due to severe brain injury or other factors, compensation for lost wages and potential future earnings is accounted for.
- Pain and Suffering: This encompasses the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the brain injury victim. It’s often a significant component of the claim, especially in severe injury cases.
- Evidence of Negligence: The stronger the proof that someone else’s negligence caused the injury, the higher the potential settlement. This might include evidence from car accident reports, witness testimonies, or other relevant documentation.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
Understanding the intricacies of Missouri’s legal system and the complexities of traumatic brain injuries requires specialized knowledge. It’s important to work with a lawyer who knows all the deadlines and regulations required to successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit in Missouri.
An experienced lawyer can ensure that all potential sources of evidence are explored and that the true extent of the damages is represented.
Moreover, they can negotiate effectively with insurance companies, who often aim to minimize the compensation they pay out after a car accident or other incident.
It’s vital to remember that insurance companies are businesses looking to protect their bottom line. Often, they might offer settlements that seem fair on the surface, but don’t truly account for the full impact of the injury. An experienced personal injury lawyer can act as your advocate, ensuring that insurance companies fairly evaluate your claim.
Time is of the essence following a traumatic brain injury. Missouri has specific statutes of limitations governing when a personal injury or wrongful death claim can be filed. Moreover, acting swiftly ensures that crucial evidence remains available and witnesses’ memories remain fresh.
Get a Free Consultation with Experienced Missouri Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, we advise you to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
During a free consultation, we can discuss the details of your case, providing guidance on the best steps forward.
During your consultation, it’s beneficial to discuss the circumstances leading to the injury, any medical attention received, potential witnesses, and your current physical and emotional state. Having a clear understanding of these details will allow us to give you the most accurate advice.
Why Hiring the Right Personal Injury Lawyer Matters
Choosing a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the nuances of traumatic brain injuries and Missouri’s legal landscape can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case.
An attorney with experience in this area will be more adept at demonstrating the full scope of damages and negotiating with insurance companies.
Traumatic brain injuries can be life-altering, not just for the victims but for their families as well. While compensation can never truly replace what has been lost, it can ease the financial burdens associated with such injuries.
At Holman Schiavone, LLC, we are committed to ensuring that our clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, reach out to us at 816-399-5149 for a free consultation and let us help you navigate this challenging time.