South Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
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What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a TBI, usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that goes through brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.
What can cause a traumatic brain injury?
People most commonly get TBIs from a fall, firearm-related injury, motor vehicle crash, or an assault.
Research shows that:
- Falls lead to nearly half of the TBI-related hospitalizations
- Fire-arm related suicide is the most common cause of TBI-related deaths in the United States
- Car crashes, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents are other common ways a person may get a TBI
For more detailed information on the leading ways people get TBIs and the groups of people most likely to get a TBI, check out CDC’s TBI data reports.
The risk of head injury is high in the adolescent population and is twice as frequent in males than in females. Studies show that head injuries are more common in the spring and summer months when children are usually very active in outdoor activities such as riding bicycles, in-line skating, or skateboarding. The most common time associated with head injuries is late in the afternoon to early evening hours, and on weekends. Although usually not life threatening, head injury that occurs in competitive sports such as football, soccer, hockey, and basketball can result in concussion and postconcussive syndromes.
What do I do when my child gets a Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI?
There are many causes of head injury in children. The more common injuries are sports injuries, falls, motor vehicle accidents (where the child is either riding as a passenger in the car or is struck as a pedestrian), or a result of child abuse.
A TBI during childhood may affect brain development
TBI affects children differently than adults. An injury of any severity to the developing brain may:
- Disrupt a child’s development
- Limit their ability to participate in school and other activities, like sports
As a result of a TBI, children may experience changes in their health, thinking, and behavior that affect learning, self-regulation, and social participation, all of which are important to becoming a productive adult.13
CDC’s Report to Congress on the management of traumatic brain injury in children details the potential effects of a TBI on children and their families.
If your child suffered a TBI, you should:
- Get Medical Care – You may be taken by ambulance to a local hospital or emergency room. Your child should see a doctor as soon as possible after a brain or head injury. Often times, brain or head injuries are difficult to see because there are no cuts or bumps. It is smart to see a medical provider right away.
- Collect Evidence – There is evidence you can gather at the scene of the accident. Whether it was a fall, a car accident, or truck accident, or some other type of accident, any evidence can be helpful. Use a phone to take pictures and video of the surroundings. Also, ask for witnesses’ names and contact information.
- Keep a Journal – After the injury, keep a journal or daily log to record your child’s actions and day-to-day events. Include the activities your child can or cannot do like playing with friends, household chores, reading, or any other activities they previously did. This may help refresh your memory months later of how your child felt and acted. If the child is old enough to write, it may be helpful to have them keep a journal too.
- Call a South Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer.
If you are able, we recommend keeping a journal or daily log after a traumatic brain injury. Journals help you remember what you may have felt at the time of the injury, help you recall details, feelings, your surroundings, and possible struggles you were facing. A journal can be in many forms – it can be handwritten, typed, spoken on your phone, video recorded. Journals can also help with mental health after a brain injury.
What is a skull fracture?
A skull fracture is a break in the skull bone. There are 4 major types of skull fractures:
- Linear skull fractures. For linear skull fractures, typically there is a break in the bone, but it does not move the bone. In most instances, people who suffer a linear skull fracture can be observed in the emergency department or the hospital for a brief amount of time, and can usually resume normal activities in a few days. No interventions are usually necessary.
- Depressed skull fractures. This type of fracture may be seen with or without a cut in the scalp. In this fracture, part of the skull is actually sunken in from the trauma. If the inner part of the skull is pressed against the brain, this type of skull fracture requires surgical intervention to help correct the deformity.
- Diastatic skull fractures. These are fractures that occur along the suture lines in the skull. In this type of fracture, the normal suture lines are widened. These fractures are more often seen in newborns and infants.
- Basilar skull fracture. This can be a serious type of skull fracture, and involves a break in the bone at the base of the skull. People who suffered basilar skull fractures may have clear fluid draining from their nose or ears due to a tear in part of the covering of the brain. Many times people require hospital or medical treatment.
How much is my traumatic brain injury case worth in South Carolina?
Every case is different and, therefore, it depends. However, if you hire an experienced and creative attorney like Keibler Law Group, they can rely on top resources, experts, and technologies to convince a jury, the court, and opposing counsel to pay more.
No one can determine how much any case is worth without first analyzing the facts. However, there are certain factors you can use to make an approximate estimation of your claim.
First, you must look at the “economic” damages or those you can quantify. Then you can recover additional, “non-economic” damages for pain and suffering and other damages that are more difficult to quantify. Finally, depending on the particular circumstances, you may be able to recover punitive damages – or damages designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future bad actors.
The main factor that will affect the value of your claim is the damages, or losses you incurred. The more damages involved in the case, the more your claim is worth because you can be compensated for all of them. Some of the most common forms of damages include
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Future therapy treatments
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Next, you must analyze liability or fault. Who is at fault and how much “fault” will a jury attribute to them? If the other party was 100% at fault, then you can recover 100% of your actual damages. However, South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state – in other words, if a jury determines you are 10% at fault, any award a jury gives you will be reduced by 10%. Keep in mind, your fault must be less than 51%. Additionally, if the at-fault party showed gross negligence or blatant disregard for the safety of others, the courts may award you punitive damages. In this instance, your case will be worth more.
Once liability is established, you need to make sure the defendant has money to pay you. In South Carolina, automobile insurance minimums are $25,000, and, unfortunately, that is what most drivers choose. Therefore, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury from a car accident and the at-fault driver only carriers the state minimums and has no other assets, then the max compensation you can receive from that defendant is $25,000. Creative lawyers, however, may be able to locate other responsible parties.
If your catastrophic injury is from a truck accident or product liability case, then the money available to recover is likely much larger. An experience traumatic brain injury attorney can help.
Can a family member of a traumatic brain injury victim also recover damages?
Maybe. Not only does the injured person have new, additional needs because of their TBI, but their family members and caregivers do as well. Family members must adjust to the life changes caused by TBIs. The victim’s personally may drastically change, which may cause emotional and psychological distress. Experienced South Carolina traumatic brain injury lawyers will work to ensure that the losses experienced by the victim as well as their family are prioritized and sought from the wrongdoer.
How long do I have to bring a claim for a traumatic brain injury?
Most likely you have three years from the date of the injury. In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of an accident or injury to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If the negligent party is a government entity such as a school or hospital, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act requires you sue within two years of the accident or injury.
What kinds of medical treatment may be required because of a traumatic brain injury?
Victims who suffered a severe brain injury may not be unable to live in his or her home any longer. That may be because the victim cannot care for him or herself; the requirements may be too much for others in the household to manage. The person may have to move into an assisted living facility such as a group home or nursing home. All of these options can be very expensive.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury, the victim’s focus should be on their physical and mental health. There are many medical treatments available for TBI victims, but the treatment path depends on your particular injury. Possible treatments for these injuries include:
- Emergency medical care to prevent the injury from becoming worse
- Surgeries and operations
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy, particularly if you have lost function or mobility in a part of your body
- Cognitive therapy can help if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, if you’re suffering from trauma, and/or if your injuries result in mental health challenges
- Medication to treat the injury or manage pain
- Vocational rehabilitation helps patients recover skills the injured person needs to be able to return to work of find new employment
- If you or your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, speech and language therapy may be necessary.
Traumatic Brain Injury settlements in South Carolina
Typically, traumatic brain injury cases are resolved in settlement agreements. This is when the insurance company and/or wrongdoer or “tortfeasor” agrees to cover your costs and damages including past medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, lost anticipated income, and pain and suffering. In return, you agree to not file a lawsuit against the wrongdoer or to dismiss an ongoing lawsuit.
You should not accept insurance company’s lowball offers. Insurers or wrongdoers may try to get you to accept less than you deserve. For traumatic brain injuries it can be particularly difficult to calculate future damages and, therefore, hiring a knowledgeable South Carolina traumatic brain injury lawyer can help get the best results available to you.
What is a Contingency Fee?
How do I pay for the lawyer?
We work on a contingency fee basis meaning the victims we represent pay nothing at all unless we win. Once you receive money from either a settlement or verdict, we receive a certain percentage of that settlement or verdict. If your lawsuit is unsuccessful, you will not owe us any attorney fees. This allows the plaintiff to reap the rewards without risk of having to pay for a loss.