An injury to your brain, head, or neck can follow you for the rest of your life, particularly if not treated properly. A severe head, neck, or brain injury can leave you paralyzed from the neck or waist down. You may be unable to verbally communicate. Severe, long-lasting pain is a common consequence of these kinds of injuries, as well. Contact an experienced brain injury attorney in Kansas City, MO for legal counsel if you have suffered a TBI in an accident that was the result of negligent actions of someone else.
Brain, head, and neck injuries are also expensive. Because they involve parts of the body that dictate your basic functions and ability to move, they can be extremely tricky to treat. It’s common for medical bills to pile up in the wake of a severe brain, head, or neck injury. Families can be left feeling at a loss for what to do.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to your brain tissue that leads to some sort of damage. Usually resulting from a violent jolt, such as in a car accident, or a violent blow to the head, brain injuries can range from mild to severe. However, any form of brain injury can lead to lifelong complications and life-threatening conditions.
Traumatic brain injuries can have numerous physical and psychological symptoms. Depending on the type of brain injury and the incident that led to the damage, signs and symptoms can appear as soon as immediately after the injury to days or weeks later.
Mild traumatic brain injury can lead to feelings of confusion, disorientation, and dizziness. You may experience a loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, and problems with speech. Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, problems with memory, and mood swings are also common symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury.
Moderate to severe brain injuries may lead to the following symptoms.
- A prolonged loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
- A worsening or persistent headache
- Clear fluids draining out of the nose or ears
- A severe and persistent headache
- Vomiting, nausea, and convulsion
- Weakness and numbness in the extremities
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion, agitation, and slurred speech
- Coma or inability to wake up
All brain injuries can lead to life-threatening complications if you do not seek medical attention immediately. You should always see a doctor after you suffer a blow to your head that concerns you or if you experience any of the above symptoms after the injury. You may not experience symptoms until days after the injury, so it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Addressing Your Specific Brain Injury
If you have experienced a brain, head, or neck injury in Kansas City, MO, Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can help. An experienced personal injury attorney in Kansas City specializing in brain, head, and neck injuries, he and his legal team can professionally assess your case to determine who was at fault. Whether a manufacturer, reckless driver, or other negligent party was the cause of your injury, we can help.
When determining the sort of compensation you should receive in the wake of your brain, head, and/or neck injury, it’s important to determine the nature of severity of your condition. Properly diagnosing the problem is also key to receiving treatment that works. Brain injuries are commonly classified into three levels of severity:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
If you feel confused, foggy, or dazed following a blow to the head, you likely experienced a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Concussions can range in severity, and while medical science can prevent the extreme danger to life a concussion can cause when the brain swells, doctors can’t do too much to accelerate your healing.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
If you hit your head very hard or have your head shaken violently, the result may be a moderate traumatic brain injury. Hallmarks of this level of severity include cognitive, behavioral, and physical impairments continuing for a few months, or sometimes permanently.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
If your head is crushed, or you experience a penetrating blow, your injury can be quite severe. Brain hemorrhage and skull fracture are common, and there is a present risk of death. These brain injuries can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and similar brain conditions. You will require lifelong treatment in their wake.
Because the neck is the top of the spine, an injury to the neck can have consequences as severe as an injury to the brain.
One of the most common neck injuries is whiplash, which typically occurs during a car accident where a driver stops abruptly. The causes the neck to whip from front to back too quickly, damaging the bones, cartilage, or muscles of the neck. While whiplash typically heals in a few weeks or months, chronic whiplash can plague accident victims for much longer. This painful condition requires prompt and proper treatment to be prevented and stopped. If you were involved in a car collision and sustained a brain injury, contact a Kansas City accident lawyer today.
Other kinds of neck injuries include strains, sprains, and fractures. While these conditions typically can be healed without severe lasting consequences on the patient’s health, some patients aren’t so lucky. Treatment can last a lifetime, and pain may become a constant companion.
Common Events Causing Brain Injuries in Kansas City
Brain injuries can be devastating for victims and their families. Brain damage can occur with intense impacts to the head or an object striking the head. Here are some of the most common ways brain injuries can occur.
Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States. They are also one of the leading causes of brain injuries. Brain injuries can occur from car crashes, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, or any other incidents on the road. People also often experience whiplash in car accidents, which can damage the brain and spinal cord.
Sports and other athletic activities can lead to brain injuries. Concussions are one of the most common types of mild brain injuries. Some athletes experience multiple concussions throughout their lifetime. Concussions occur more often in contact sports such as football, soccer, boxing, lacrosse, hockey, and some extreme activities like skateboarding.
Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse, and other types of assault can all seriously damage the head. Shaken baby syndrome, when someone shakes a baby so hard his or her brain hits against the skull, also causes serious brain injuries and often death.
Traumatic brain injuries are not uncommon among people who experience explosions or see combat. Military personnel who are involved in combat situations can suffer head injuries and even have permanent cognitive difficulty in some circumstances.
If the courts determine the defendant is liable for your injury, they can award you two types of damages: special damages and general damages.
Special damages, or economic losses, are damages for which the court can easily determine a monetary value because it is the money you spent or will spend to care for your injury. Some potential special damages are:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Future and past medical expenses
- Property damages
In cases of wrongful death, the court may also award damages for funeral and burial expenses.
General damages, or non-economic losses, are more difficult to monetize because they cover things that do not have specific financial costs. Some potential general damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Shock and mental anguish
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of society and companionship
- Emotional distress.
If someone is filing for wrongful death, the court may also award damages for loss of consortium, which covers lost comfort, lost support, and other aspects that loved ones usually provide.
In extreme situations, the court may also assign punitive damages. While special and general damages focus on helping the victim recover, punitive damages focus on further punishing the responsible party. Courts may assign punitive damages if they believe the defendant was grossly negligent and was aware of the reckless nature of his or her actions and deserves harsher punishment.
Do You Need a Kansas City Brain Injury Attorney?
Many different incidents can lead to traumatic brain injury, from car accidents to acts of violence to falls from unsafe workplace equipment. If someone else’s negligence or recklessness led to your brain injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a brain injury lawsuit – and Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet is here to help.
Hiring one of our personal injury attorneys can provide numerous benefits to your case, increasing your chances of obtaining maximum possible compensation.
- Your traumatic brain injury attorney will have the experience and knowledge of brain injury law you need to build a compelling case. Head injury cases can involve many different aspects of personal injury law, depending on the cause of the incident. In addition, you need someone who has extensive medical knowledge of your brain injury to build your case. Hiring an attorney with experience working with brain injury victims can help you fully investigate and file your personal injury lawsuit.
- Brain injury cases require several key pieces of compelling evidence to prove that a victim requires compensation. Your attorney will have knowledge of where to find this evidence and have the authority to access it. You will not have to worry about collecting this evidence yourself, giving you more time to focus on recovery and medical care.
- In addition, your attorney will have a wide network of experts he or she has worked with in the past who can provide valuable testimony on your behalf. These witnesses can range from accident reconstruction experts to brain injury specialists – whoever you need to help build your case.
- Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is difficult by itself without an additional legal process. Filing a lawsuit can be difficult and stressful, and your Kansas City personal injury attorney can help. He or she will guide you through the process, from negotiations to court dates to helping you secure a settlement. That way, you have more time to focus on your recovery from brain injury symptoms.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
When you hold an at-fault party accountable for your brain injury in Missouri civil court, you have to prove that the cause of your head injury was negligence on the part of that at-fault party. Proving negligence can be difficult depending on your case, especially if liability is not clear or if there are multiple parties involved.
Hiring an experienced Kansas City traumatic brain injury lawyer can increase your chances of successfully proving negligence in Missouri civil court. To do so, you and your attorney will need to satisfy four key elements.
- First, you will need to prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. If a car accident caused your brain injuries, you can claim that the other driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely and honor traffic laws. If you tripped over a broken stair in your apartment building and you suffered a brain injury, you can claim that your landlord owed you a duty to maintain safe premises.
- Next, you will need to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to you. For example, if the other driver was speeding and rear-ended you, you can prove that he or she was not following applicable traffic laws. If your landlord knew about the broken stair and refused to fix it, you can prove that he or she did not maintain safe premises.
- Then, you will need to prove that you suffered your traumatic brain injury as a result of the at-fault party’s breach of his or her duty of care. Your medical records can help prove this element, as well as expert testimony and statements from your care team.
- Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages that you can recover through the lawsuit. The damages you can recover in a traumatic brain injury lawsuit include past and future medical expenses, disability, pain and suffering, lost wages and earning potential, and emotional trauma.
Comparative Negligence in Missouri
Missouri courts follow the comparative negligence rule, which gives them the right to reduce compensation depending on how responsible the victim was for the injury. For example, if the court determines a victim was 15% at fault for the incident, it would reduce the overall compensation by 15%.
Unlike many other comparative negligence states, Missouri adheres to pure comparative negligence. In other states, a plaintiff cannot receive any compensation if he or she is more than 50% responsible for the incident. In pure comparative negligence states such as Missouri, the victim can receive compensation even if he or she is more at fault than the defendant. As long as the victim is less than 100% responsible, he or she can receive compensation for the injury.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in Kansas City, get medical help immediately and take time to heal. If your children suffer a head trauma during sports, insist they sit out the game until they see a doctor. Likewise, if an elderly loved one falls, do what you can to keep them still until he or she has time to recover.
Can You Recover From a Brain Injury?
Recovery from a traumatic brain injury is possible. However, the process varies based on the severity of your injury, its cause, and where the damage lies in the brain. Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe, and can lead to lasting, lifelong complications.
Only your medical team can predict whether you will make a full recovery or not. Depending on the cause and extent of your injury, your medical team will put you on a specialized rehabilitation program. Your full participation and cooperation with this program will be key in your recovery.
The brain does have a limited ability to heal itself. Within the first six months after your injury, you will experience a period of the fastest recovery. However, your recovery and healing rate will gradually slow down as time passes. It is very normal to make little progress after the first year. However, you may gain more function in the years following your injury.
You can promote your recovery and your overall brain health following the injury by engaging in the following behaviors.
- Participate fully in your rehabilitation program. Attend therapy, take your medication, and listen to your medical staff.
- Engage in healthy brain-boosting behaviors. Exercise regularly and avoid alcohol and drugs, which can harm your brain development.
- Take it slow. Brains are complicated organs and it may take a very long time for you to reach your maximum recovery point.
- If you feel overwhelmed by a task, do not be afraid to ask for help or to take a break.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on TBI in Missouri?
Every state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have after an injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit to civil court. If you do not file your lawsuit within this timeframe, the court will most likely refuse to hear your case – and you can lose your chances at obtaining compensation for your traumatic brain injury.
In the state of Missouri, you have five years from the date of your accident to bring your claim to state civil court. The state also imposes a two-year statute of limitations for cases involving medical malpractice, and a three-year statute for cases involving wrongful death.
It is important to begin the lawsuit filing process as soon as possible after your injury. Once you receive medical attention, contact Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet to schedule your free consultation. Our attorneys will be able to provide guidance on your case and advise you on how to move forward, as well as begin to file your lawsuit.
Have You or a Loved One Been Seriously Injured in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you've been injured in the Kansas City area you should speak with an experienced serious injury lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.