Suffering a brain injury in an accident can change your life forever. You may have permanent physical and mental health problems connected to your brain injury that interferes with your ability to work and your quality of life.
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC is an advocate for brain injury victims in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia. Our brain injury lawyers have years of legal experience and the financial resources to stand up for you, including taking your case to trial if an insurance company does not treat you fairly. Our number one goal is to fulfill your needs as our client. Find out how we can help you today.
Why You Need a Brain Injury Attorney in Morgantown, WV
Filing a brain injury lawsuit in West Virginia is no easy task. Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for treating clients unfairly and trying to save money by devaluing claims. This can be especially problematic with an injury as serious as a brain injury, as your family will most likely have to pay for ongoing medical care and the lost capacity to earn.
Hiring an attorney gives you the power to fight back against insurance company tactics that may otherwise convince you to settle for less than you deserve. An attorney can handle tasks such as investigating your accident, determining fault, filing a claim, and gathering evidence for you. A law firm will also have connections to medical experts who fully understand the mechanisms of brain injuries. Your lawyer can handle all of the processes it takes to recover financial compensation while you undergo treatments and therapies to heal from head trauma.
Types of Brain Injuries – Morgantown TBI Lawyers
A brain injury can describe anything that causes damage to the brain, such as the destruction or death of the brain’s cells or fluids. A traumatic brain injury describes damage to the brain from a source of external trauma, such as a bump or blow to the head. An acquired brain injury is damage from a non-traumatic injury, such as a lack of oxygen.
Many different types of brain injuries can occur in accidents in Morgantown, including:
- Swelling or edema
- Bleeding or hemorrhaging
- Coup-contrecoup injury
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Skull fracture/open head injury
There is no such thing as a minor brain injury. All brain injuries are serious and require professional medical attention. Even a common brain injury such as a concussion can have painful or inconvenient symptoms, as well as related medical bills and lost wages. A severe brain injury, on the other hand, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime care and be permanently debilitating.
Common Brain Injury Symptoms
Every brain injury is unique. The symptoms experienced by a victim will depend on many factors that change from patient to patient, including the location and severity of the injury. For this reason, some brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose. This is why it is critical to go to a hospital after any accident that involves trauma to the head.
If you notice any of the following issues after an accident, it may be a sign of a brain injury:
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Headaches or sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensory changes
- Confusion or disorientation
- Short-term or permanent memory loss
- Cognitive challenges
- Problems focusing or concentrating
- Trouble sleeping or fatigue
- Seizures or convulsions
- Loss of consciousness or coma
You may experience only one of these symptoms, or you might notice many symptoms. Your symptoms could also be delayed and appear hours or even days after your accident. Going to a hospital immediately after any accident involving your head or brain can lead to prompt injury diagnosis and the care you need to heal.
Frequent Causes of Brain Injuries near Morgantown, West Virginia
Most serious brain injuries in West Virginia are preventable. They take place when one or more parties are negligent. Negligence is the legal term for carelessness that causes injuries to others. If someone is negligent and this causes a brain injury, he or she can be financially responsible – or liable – for related bills.
Negligence is behind the most common accidents that cause brain injuries in Morgantown, including:
- Car and truck accidents
- Motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Falls and bumps to the head
- Sports impacts and injuries
- Falling objects striking the skull
- Swimming accidents and drowning
- Poisoning and exposure to hazardous substances
- Injuries related to defective products
- Strangulation or choking
- Acts of violence, such as stab wounds or gunshots
- Explosive blasts
If someone else caused or contributed to your brain injury, that person may be legally responsible for the injury and how it has impacted your physical, psychological, and financial well-being. Filing an injury claim can allow you to hold someone accountable and recover the compensation you need.
Common Complications of TBIs
TBIs can lead to various complications, ranging from physical and cognitive issues to emotional and social changes. Some complications appear immediately following a traumatic event, while others emerge over time. The severity and extent of these complications can vary widely based on factors like the nature of the incident, the location of the injury in the brain, and overall patient health.
Here are some common TBI complications:
- Physical complications – Headaches, seizures, sleep disorders, vertigo, and sensory problems, such as issues with vision, hearing, or balance
- Cognitive issues – Problems with memory, concentration, and attention or difficulty with executive functions, like planning, organizing, and decision-making
- Speech and language problems – Difficulty speaking or understanding speech, reading or writing, and interpreting non-verbal cues
- Psychological and emotional changes – Changes in personality, as well as conditions like depression, anxiety, anger, mood swings, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Behavioral changes – Changes such as irritability, aggression, or socially inappropriate behavior
- Long-term health issues – A higher risk for developing certain neurological disorders later in life, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders
- Social challenges – Occupational challenges, difficulties maintaining social relationships, reduced participation in community activities, and changes in family roles or social networks
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
When a person sustains a traumatic brain injury, long-term effects can be significant and multifaceted, impacting nearly every aspect of their life. Physical and cognitive impairments often hinder personal independence, while emotional and behavioral changes can strain social relationships.
The financial burden of a TBI can also be profound, with costs accruing from ongoing medical care, rehabilitation needs, and loss of income due to disability. In severe cases, TBI patients require lifelong support and care.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics in West Virginia
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a significant health concern throughout the United States:
- In one recent year, there were more than 611 TBI-related hospitalizations each day nationwide.
- In another recent year, there were an average of 190 TBI-related deaths in the U.S. per day.
- These figures do not include the numerous TBIs treated in emergency departments, primary care facilities, urgent care centers, or those that go untreated.
- People 75 and older have the highest numbers and rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths, accounting for approximately 32 percent of hospitalizations and 28 percent of deaths.
Data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) indicates TBIs are just as much of a problem in West Virginia. In a recent three-year period:
- West Virginia had 1,264 TBI-related deaths – a rate 20.8 percent higher than the U.S. average.
- Of these TBI-related deaths, 717 were intentional. Of these intentional TBI-related deaths, 603 were suicides, and 114 were homicides.
- More than 500 of these TBI-related deaths were unintentional – 139 were from motor vehicle crashes, 300 were due to falls, and 15 were from struck-by or struck-against object accidents.
Who Can Be Responsible for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A TBI can occur due to a variety of incidents, ranging from car accidents to falls to sports injuries. Depending on the specifics of how the injury occurred, different parties could be liable for the injury, such as:
- Drivers – In the event of a car crash, the driver who caused the accident could be liable for any injuries resulting from the accident, including TBIs.
- Property owners – If a TBI occurs because of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, the property owner could be liable under premises liability law.
- Employers – If a TBI happens at work, the employer could be liable. In most cases, liable employers cover their employees through workers’ compensation, but this doesn’t always apply.
- Product manufacturers – If a TBI is caused by a defective product, such as a faulty helmet or malfunctioning device, the product manufacturer could be liable under product liability law.
- Medical professionals – If a TBI is the result of medical malpractice, such as a surgical error, improper treatment, or failure to diagnose, a healthcare provider could be liable.
- Government entities – In some circumstances, a government entity could be liable for a TBI. That could be the case, for example, if the injury occurred due to a poorly maintained public space or road.
How to Prove Negligence in a West Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
Proving a TBI case involves demonstrating that another party’s wrongful behavior led to the TBI. This often requires substantial evidence to establish liability and the extent of the injury. A skilled attorney can gather various types of evidence to prove negligence in a TBI case, such as:
- Medical records related to the TB
- Testimony from medical experts, vocational experts, financial experts, and others
- Statements from witnesses
- Photographs and videos
- Personal journal entries
- Proof of TBI-related bills and losses
- Physical evidence
- Cell phone and GPS data
- Vehicle black box data
- Employment or school records
Statute of Limitations on WV TBI Cases
A statute of limitations is a law that sets a maximum time limit for taking certain types of legal action. After the expiration of the relevant time limit, you can no longer bring lawsuits related to the accident before a court. The time limit varies depending on the state and the type of case.
Here in West Virginia, the statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases, including traumatic brain injury cases, imposes a two-year time limit. This means you have two years from the date of the accident that led to the TBI to file a lawsuit.
However, TBIs are complex injuries with symptoms that often don’t show up right away after an accident. In such cases, the discovery rule could apply. This rule essentially starts the clock on the two-year time limit when you discover or could have discovered the TBI rather than when the incident occurred. This exception can be crucial for cases where a traumatic brain injury is not immediately apparent.
Insurance companies usually have separate deadlines for reporting covered events, which are typically much sooner than the legal time limits for filing lawsuits. These deadlines can be as short as a few days after the accident, so it’s important to act quickly to preserve your right to recovery.
Always consult a legal professional to understand how the statute of limitations or other deadlines could apply to your situation, as laws and interpretations can vary widely based on the circumstances.
What Compensation Is Available for a Morgantown, WV Brain Injury?
At Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, we know that nothing can make up for a brain injury. However, our years of experience representing victims with brain injuries have also shown us the importance of financial stability for survivors. Receiving a financial recovery for your losses can give you and your family peace of mind about how you will pay for medical care and other expenses – right when you need peace the most.
A settlement or jury verdict could pay for many accident-related expenses, including:
- Medical expenses: surgeries, x-rays, and hospitalization
- Future medical needs, including rehabilitation and medications
- Lost past and future wages
- Disability-related expenses, including home or vehicle modifications
- Any property damage related to your accident
- Intangible losses, such as physical pain and emotional distress
- Punitive damages if the defendant was guilty of gross negligence
- Out-of-pocket costs and legal fees
The financial damages you can claim during a brain injury lawsuit depend on how the accident and injury have impacted your life. A brain injury lawyer in Morgantown can carefully review your case and help you create a comprehensive list of your losses. Then, your attorney can negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster on your behalf to argue for an amount that adequately compensates you and your family, including for your future needs or disability.
Call (304) 594-1800 Now for a Free Consultation in Morgantown, WV
Serious injury cases deserve serious personal injury lawyers. Attorney Jeff Robinette has years of legal experience and has obtained millions of dollars on behalf of his clients. He also has a history as a prior insurance defense lawyer, giving him unique insights into how insurance companies evaluate and handle injury claims.
If you or someone you love has a brain injury from an accident in Morgantown, we can help. Discuss your case in detail at no cost or obligation today by contacting us online or calling (304) 594-1800 now.