Florida Brain Injury Lawyer
Traumatic Brain Injury Claims
Head and brain injuries are among the most serious types of injuries a person can suffer. Victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are likely to require extensive medical care and may sustain significant damage, leading to long-lasting or even lifelong impairments.
At Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A., we recognize the devastating impact brain injuries have on victims and their loved ones. If you believe your or your loved one’s injury was the result of someone else’s careless, reckless, or negligent conduct, reach out to our firm today to learn how we can help. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, future damages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys can help you fight for the maximum recovery you are owed—to date, we have secured more than $300 million in compensation for our clients.
How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
TBIs are relatively common in the United States, with an estimated 1.7 million people—including about 475,000 children—suffering serious brain injuries every year. The most common type of TBI is concussions, which comprise about 75% of all traumatic brain injuries (along with other mild TBIs) annually.
Below, we’ve compiled some additional statistics regarding traumatic brain injuries:
- More than 3 million people live with permanent disabilities due to TBIs
- Every year, about 52,000 people die after suffering a TBI
- TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the U.S.
- Approximately 275,000 people are hospitalized with TBIs every year
- Nearly 1.4 people are treated and released from emergency departments for TBIs annually
What Are the Leading Causes of Brain Injuries in the U.S.?
Any serious accident or catastrophic event can lead to a severe head or brain injury. However, studies have found that TBIs are more likely to result from certain incidents.
The most common causes of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. include:
- Falls: Serious falls, including falls from heights and slip and fall accidents, are the leading cause of TBI, representing about 35% of all traumatic brain injuries.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Passenger car, commercial truck, and motorcycle accidents are one of the leading causes of TBI, accounting for about 17% of traumatic brain injuries. This includes accidents between vehicles, as well as collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Workplace Accidents: On-the-job accidents and work-related injuries account for approximately 16% of all traumatic brain injuries. This includes falls, explosions, and other serious incidents.
- Sports and Recreation Accidents: An estimated 10% of traumatic brain injuries result from sports (including youth sports) and recreation-related accidents, such as boating accidents, swimming pool accidents, or playground accidents.
- Violence: Criminal activity, such as assault/battery or domestic violence, is responsible for about 10% of traumatic brain injury cases.
When another person or entity is responsible for a serious accident or injury, the victim (or their loved ones) can take legal action against the at-fault party. Our Florida traumatic brain injury lawyers can evaluate your case and inform you of your various legal rights and options. We recognize that no two cases are identical, which is why we follow a personalized approach to developing innovative legal strategies and building powerful, persuasive cases for our clients.
Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are categorized in several ways. First, there are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and acquired brain injuries (ABIs). A TBI is one that occurs after a person is born due to a catastrophic event, such as a car accident or near-drowning. An ABI, on the other hand, occurs when the brain is damaged due to internal factors, such as developmental problems in the womb, toxic exposure, or oxygen deprivation.
Additionally, traumatic brain injuries are categorized as either:
- Closed-Head Injuries: These occur when the brain is injured or damaged without any external injury to the head or skull.
- Open-Head Injuries: An open head injury occurs when the brain suffers injury or damage, and there is physical injury to the head and/or skull.
Some of the most common types of brain injuries include:
- Anoxic brain injuries
- Brain infections
- Diffuse axonal injuries
- Penetrating head injuries
- Skull fractures
While some brain injuries are milder than others, all brain injuries are considered serious. If you suspect that you or someone else may have suffered any type of head or brain injury, seek immediate medical attention.
Brain Injury Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a brain injury depend on both the type and severity of the injury. They can appear as physical, behavioral, or sensory symptoms and will likely range in severity depending on the degree of injury, type of injury, victim’s health, and other individual and conditional factors.
Some of the most common signs that someone has suffered a brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness (brief or prolonged)
- Disorientation and confusion
- Memory loss, especially of the accident
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Headache, especially one that persists or worsens
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Issues with coordination and/or balance
- Difficulty speaking/slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Sensitivity to light and/or sounds
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood/anxiety
- Mood swings and other behavioral changes
- Irritability and/or agitation
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Dilated pupils
- Clear fluids issuing from the ears or nose
Generally speaking, the more severe the injury, the more severe the symptoms. However, you should always seek medical attention if you notice any signs of a brain injury, regardless of how mild, in yourself or another person.
Call us at (954) 504-6577 today to request your complimentary consultation.
Like other personal injury cases, the success of a brain injury claim depends on several factors. As the person bringing the claim (known as the “plaintiff”), you have the burden of proof. This means you are the one responsible for proving that the other person or party (known as the “defendant”) is liable for your injuries and damages.
In most cases, proving liability in a brain injury case involves proving the following:
- Duty of Care: You must first establish that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This means that they had some legal responsibility to reasonably avoid causing injury or harm.
- Breach: Next, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. Typically, this involves demonstrating that they were negligent or acted wrongfully.
- Injury: To have a case, you must prove that you were, in fact, injured. Establishing medical proof of your brain injury is a critical element of your case.
- Causation: Lastly, you must prove that the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct was the proximate cause of your injuries and, therefore, your damages.
Our Florida brain injury lawyers are well-versed in the state’s personal injury laws, as well as statutes related to motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, premises liability, and more. We can help you determine if you have grounds for a case, as well as the potential value of your claim.
Get Started with a Free Consultation Today
If you or someone you love has suffered a serious or even life-altering brain injury, our team at Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. is here to provide the guidance you need to seek the justice you deserve. Since 1994, we have been aggressively representing the rights of accident victims and the injured throughout the state, providing client-focused service and a results-oriented approach. We fight to maximize our clients’ claims so that they can secure the financial resources they need to heal and move forward with their lives.
There is no cost and no risk in speaking to a member of our legal team about your brain injury case. We encourage you to get in touch with us today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our attorneys do not collect any legal fees unless they recover a settlement or verdict for you.
Q:How Much is a Florida Head Injury Case Worth?
A:How Much is a Florida Head Injury Case Worth?: The long-lasting impact for individuals suffering a head injury during an accident can be debilitating and lead to huge past and future medical expenses. Often, the attorneys for negligent parties seek to offer what seems like a fair offer, but their main interest is in simply making this problem disappear. Closed head injuries, often referred to as mild traumatic brain injury can have longstanding or even lifelong effects. Doctors are just now beginning to understand the long term consequences of a concussion. The Concept of Special Damages For example, when it comes to special damages, the aforementioned medical expenses are a key facet of what’s become commonly known as “out of pocket” losses. In addition to those costs, aspects like income lost from being unable to work or the long-term impact on not working due to disability or death are considered. Also, property damage related to the accident is factored in, as is the tragic consideration of expenses for a funeral and burial in the case of death. Explaining General Damages: From the standpoint of general damages, the suffering endured and the emotional devastation need to be calculated. Other areas focus on more uncertain areas like damage to one’s reputation or self-esteem, the loss of companionship for a family, or in the case of spouse, the loss of consortium. Given that actual bills or receipts will be a part of these costs, those litigants need to save all items to accurately calculate the costs incurred. For general damages, some record-keeping that carefully documents instances of all accident-related pain will be helpful in showing the true impact. Due to the nebulous nature of coming to an accurate amount with general damages, the amount calculated can range wildly to 50 percent more than the special amount to as much as five times that number. Crunching Numbers: Once those two numbers have been determined, adding them together provides the actual claim amount. That number should then have expected legal fees removed and a gauging the chances of actually winning. Weighing Options: The final settlement is often determined by a confluence of factors. Among them are where the case is heard, determination of actual liability and the number of those at fault. In some cases, the level of guilt by the defendant or the plaintiff’s image may be an issue or whether the plaintiff own medical treatment is at fault. Comparing the Numbers: Another area to consider is gauging verdicts that have come down in the past few years. A competent attorney will be able to perform a verdict search to see amounts of jury awards in similar cases. This is often the best barometer.
Q:What is a TBI?
A:A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a blow, jolt, or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.
Q:What is a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?
A:A person with a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache; confusion; lightheadedness; dizziness; blurred vision or tired eyes; ringing in the ears; a bad taste in the mouth; fatigue or lethargy; a change in sleep patterns; behavioral or mood changes; and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.
Q:What is a Moderate or Severe Brain Injury?
A:A person with a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away; repeated vomiting or nausea; convulsions or seizures; an inability to awaken from sleep; dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes; slurred speech; weakness or numbness in the extremities; loss of coordination; and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
Q:What is a Closed Head Injury?
A:A closed head injury is a type of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by movement of the brain within the skull. Causes may include falls, motor vehicle crashes, or being struck by or with an object.
Q:What is an Open or Penetrating Head Injury?
A:An open or penetrating head injury is a type of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a foreign object entering the skull. Causes may include firearm injuries or being struck with a sharp object.
Q:What is a Concussion?
A:A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. You don't have to pass out (lose consciousness) to have a concussion. Some people will have obvious symptoms of a concussion, such as passing out or forgetting what happened right before the injury, where others won't. With rest, most people fully recover from a concussion, and recovery can take hours or weeks. In rare cases concussions cause more serious problems. Repeated concussions or a severe concussion may require surgery or lead to long-lasting problems with movement, learning, or speech.
Q:What are Some of the Symptoms of a Brain Injury?
A:A person with a brain injury can experience a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can include, but are not limited to: Spinal fluid coming out of the ears or nose Loss of consciousness (may not occur in some concussion cases) Dilated or unequal size of pupils Vision changes (blurred vision or seeing double, not able to tolerate bright light, loss of eye movement, blindness) Dizziness/balance problems Respiratory failure Coma (not alert and unable to respond to others) or semicomatose state Paralysis, difficulty moving body parts, weakness, poor coordination Slow pulse Slow breathing rate, with an increase in blood pressure Vomiting Lethargy (sluggish, sleepy, gets tired easily) Headache Confusion Ringing in the ears or changes in ability to hear Difficulty with thinking skills (memory problems, poor judgment, poor attention span) Inappropriate emotional responses (irritability, easily frustrated, inappropriate crying or laughing) Difficulty speaking, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing Body numbness or tingling Loss of bowel control or bladder control
Q:How Many People Sustain a Brain Injury Each Year?
A:1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year.
Q:What are the Leading Causes of TBI?
A:Traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls (35%), car crashes (17%), workplace accidents (16%), assaults (10%), and other accidents (12%).
Q:How Do You Treat a Brain Injury?
A:No two people are exactly alike, and therefore, no two brain injuries are exactly alike. For some, brain injury is the start of a lifelong disease process. The injury requires access to a full continuum of medically necessary treatment and community-based support furnished by interdisciplinary teams of qualified and specialized clinicians working in accredited programs and appropriate settings. Changes and improvement continue, although sometimes they are so slight they are hard to notice. It can take days, weeks, and years to see improvement. Some of the deficits may remain for a lifetime while others may improve to the point that they are no longer a major factor in day-to-day living.
Q:How to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries?
A:Auto Accidents: Choose a car, truck, or SUV with a good crash test safety rating and properly maintain your vehicle. Check your tires regularly and replace as needed. Wear your seatbelt and make sure that children are properly restrained (child safety seat, booster seat). Follow all traffic safety rules (speed limit, traffic signs) and be aware of inclement weather conditions and road construction. Also eliminate driver distractions (texting and driving, talking on cell phone, eating while driving) and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Gun and Firearm Accidents: Children and teenagers are curious and adventurous, which can lead to accidental shootings if proper safety measures are not taken. Every day, approximately five children are injured or killed on a nationwide basis as a result of handguns. Adults with firearms should keep all firearms stored unloaded in a locked cabinet or safe and they should store bullets in a separate secure location. Slip and Fall Accidents: Remove tripping hazards such as small area rugs and loose electrical cords. Ensure handrails are in place and in working order. Where appropriate, install window guards or child safety gates. Use non-slip mats in bathroom near toilet, shower, and tub areas and install grab bars for easy entrance and exit. Use an appropriate ladder for reaching items up high. Be aware of weather conditions, uneven curbs, and construction areas. Wear appropriate footwear for your activity (shoes, sneakers, flip-flops). Sports-Related Accidents: Concussions are the most common brain injuries and are often the result of a hit or fall that causes temporary brain function problems (headache, loss of consciousness, and seizures). Medical professionals refer to concussions as mildly traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Using the proper protective equipment is the best way to prevent these. Helmets should be worn for any contact or risky sport (football, hockey, lacrosse, baseball, biking, skateboarding, and horseback riding). Recreational Accidents: Make sure children's playground equipment (swing set, slide, bounce house, trampoline) is not broken or outdated and properly maintained (use mulch and sand instead of concrete). Ensure that swimming pools have the necessary fencing and alarm systems. Make sure recreational activities are age appropriate (ATV's, jet skis, parasailing) and that the appropriate safety equipment is used. Never leave young children alone at play; always make sure there is proper adult supervision. Chocking and Strangling Accidents: Choking can cause brain damage from lack of oxygen to the brain. People should watch what they eat, especially young kids. Children under three should avoid foods like hot dogs, grapes, and hard candy and they should not play with toys that have small, removable parts.
Q:Can brain injury severity be measured?
A:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex brain injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. The impact on a person and his or her family can be devastating. Typically TBI’s are caused by an outside force, for example, a violent blow to the head or object penetrating the skull. When TBI’s do not result in death such injuries are catastrophically disabling. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S., contributing to about 30 percent of all injury-related deaths. Those that survive a TBI can face effecting lasting a few days to disabilities, which may last the rest of their lives. However, not all blows, bumps or jolts to the head result in TBI. The severity of a TBI is measured by a variety of factors and can range from “mild,” commonly called concussions to “severe” where there is an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury. Measuring the Severity of TBI A variety of measurements are taking to assess TBI due to the delicate nature of traumatic brain injury and to the differences in patient's symptoms of TBI. Glasgow Coma Scale Score, Imaging Technology and Neurological Assessment can help assess the severity, location and type of injury to the brain. Glasgow Coma Scale Score A common method used to measure the severity of a traumatic brain injury is the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. The GCS rates a patient's level of consciousness from 3 (worst) to 15 (no impairment) based on a patient's ability to open his or her eyes, talk, and move. The GCS is typically given by a healthcare professional upon admission to the emergency room or intensive care unit. However the test does have some shortcomings. Factors such as drug use, alcohol intoxication or low blood oxygen can alter a patient’s consciousness and lead to an inaccurate GCS score. Imaging Technology CT scans and MRI are the most common forms of imaging technology that is used to diagnosis and measure the severity of traumatic brain injury. Cranial tomography (CT) is an X-ray procedure that scans the brain and detects disorders such as bruises, blood clots, and swelling of the brain. This procedure is usually for people with moderate to severe TBI and a patient can expect to have several CT scans during the course of a hospital stay to track any lesions that were discovered. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are also a valuable tool in measuring the severity of TBI. MRI creates a picture of the brain based on magnetic properties of molecules in tissue. Use of an MRI might be restricted if there is any metal around the person, such as metal parts in medical devices. It’s important to note that these technologies while informative also have their limitations in measuring the severity of TBI. It is possible to have a severe TBI and be in a coma and to have normal scan results in both CT and MRI. This is because the scans cannot detect all the types of brain injury due the the complexity of tissues in the brain. Neurological Assessment The neuropsychological assessment is a specialized task-oriented evaluation of human brain-behavior relationships. It relies upon the use of standardized testing methods to evaluate sensory-motor processes, mathematical assessment, spatial coordination and higher cognitive functioning. Evaluations are performed by neurologist and a neuropsychologist and go into great detail to review the patient’s case history, hospital records, and acquire about how the individual was before the injury.
Q:Why Brain Injuries occur in Infants
A:Brain injury is the leading cause of death in children—that’s why it’s so important that you understand how these injuries occur and what to do when they happen. Since the skulls of young infants is much softer than our own, they are more susceptible to damage when shaken, played with too roughly or in minor accidents. You child may be at risk if they've suffered: Falls Shaking Rough Play Sudden Stops Trauma If your child has been the victim of a brain injury you may not see external cuts or bruising. Always seek the help of a qualified doctor if your infant shows blindness, cognitive difficulty, slowed speech, too much or too little crying or their eyes don’t focus. It’s important that you child get immediate help – to get help as quickly as possible, use a law office like Zimmerman & Frachtman to defend you and your child.
Q:My Child/Infant Has Suffered Brain Injury, how can you help?
A:If your child has been the victim of a brain injury you may not see external cuts or bruising. Always seek the help of a qualified doctor if your infant shows blindness, cognitive difficulty, slowed speech, too much or too little crying or their eyes don’t focus. It’s important that you child get immediate help – to get help as quickly as possible, use a law office like Zimmerman & Frachtman to defend you and your child. Contacting Zimmerman & Frachtman will raise your chances or pursing legal action against the guilty parties. Your child’s life may change forever and uncertain times are ahead make sure you have the financial support you need to care for your child during these troubled times. Zimmerman & Frachtman will be your partner assisting you in getting the expert advice and testimony you need then getting you the financial compensation you and your child deserve.
Q:Why is a Life Care Planner Involved in a TBI Lawsuit?
A:Courts and juries have sought the expert advice and specialized knowledge of life care planners to educate all parties involved about the long-term effects of debilitating injuries and the associated economic damages of such cases. Due to their expert opinion, a life care planner can be an integral expert witness for attorneys representing traumatic brain injury clients.
Q:What is a life care planner?
A:No family is ever prepared for the drastic, life-altering changes that a brain injury can cause. Life care planners clarify and detail future needs and expenses to consider for an individual suffering with a traumatic brain injury. Creating a life care plan outlines the many factors that TBI patients (and patients with other chronic, debilitating conditions) and their families need to consider. For example, the life care plan addresses medical, therapy, evaluation, transportation, equipment and supplies, medications and other needs of the person and all associated costs.
Q:What is a Life Care Plan?
A:Life care planning is a process for evaluating the patient and disability in order to establish and anticipate any and all needs by the onset of the disability. Careful consideration is given to the goals, the needs and interest of the patient, the needs of the family and the realities of the patient’s location.
Q:How does a Life Care Planner Work?
A:Life Care Planners are usually certified in their primary disciplines (for example, nursing, psychology and case management) with foundational experience in rehabilitation and case management. Most also carry a board certification in life care planning (CLCP) which is governed by the Commission on Health Care Certification.
Q:Is A Life Care Planner an Advocate or Educator?
A:While the Life Care Planner plays an integral role in determining traumatic brain injury patients' rehabilitation plans, it is important to note that life care planners are educators, not advocates. An advocate is a person who “intercedes on behalf of another person.” Life care planners are educators, as they offer an expert opinion or information on what to do. The Life Care Planner clearly communicates the extent of the patient’s disability, effects of the disability, and the limitations that patient are expected to endure for the rest of their life.
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