Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious public health problem within the United States and an unfortunate reality that can happen to anyone at any time. Every year, TBIs contribute substantially to the number of new permanent disability cases and deaths among the population.
While a TBI may be caused by a jolt, blow, bump to the head, or penetrating head injury that results in disrupted brain function, not all hits to the head result in a TBI. The severity of TBIs ranges from “mild,” where the individual only has a brief change in their consciousness or mental status to “severe,” where the individual experiences an extended period of amnesia or unconsciousness following the injury.
Examining the Data on TBIs
In 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health published data indicating that TBIs were a leading cause of death in the State of Illinois. TBIs accounted for 229 deaths in children and young adults up to 24 years of age and contributed to just over one thousand hospitalizations in the same age group.
Illinois also published a Special Emphasis Report on Traumatic Brain Injuries in 2015, showing that among 108,101 people who sustained a TBI that year, 12.5% of injuries were fatal and 70.5 percent required hospitalization. While children up to 14 years old had the most emergency department visits related to TBIs, traumatic brain injury hospitalizations and deaths were highest among adults aged 65 and up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report on traumatic brain injuries and concussions, noting that about 166 people die from TBI-related injuries every single day.
What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that affects how the brain works and results from significant trauma to the head or a penetrating injury such as a gunshot wound.
Even though TBIs are a major cause of death and disability in the United States and can affect people of all ages, there are certain groups who are more likely to experience long-term health problems or risk of death from a TBI, including:
- Racial and ethnic minorities
- People who are homeless
- Active service members and veterans
- People in detention or correctional facilities
- People living in rural areas
- Survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
There are three major types of traumatic brain injuries, ranging from a mild TBI or concussion up to a moderate or severe TBI.
Mild TBIs and Concussions
Most brain injuries that occur are either mild TBIs or concussions. Aside from direct contact to the head, mild TBIs may also occur from a hit to the body that causes the brain to quickly move back and forth.
Any sudden movement of the head or body may cause:
- Chemical changes within the brain
- The brain to twist or bounce in the skull
- Stretching and damaging of brain cells
When this sudden head movement occurs and impacts the brain, the individual may experience symptoms of mild TBI or concussion that affect the way they think, feel, act, or sleep.
Moderate and Severe TBIs
Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries are linked to thousands of deaths in the United States each year. The majority of moderate and severe TBIs are caused by falls and firearm-related injuries, with falls being one of the leading causes of hospitalizations associated with TBIs. Firearm-related suicide attempts, motor vehicle crashes, and assaults are other common causes for severe and moderate TBIs in individuals.
Anyone who experiences a moderate or severe TBI will require ongoing care to assist them with quality of life and recovery, making treatment for TBIs costly. A traumatic brain injury not only results in a significant economic burden and societal impact but also directly affects the life of the individual who suffered the TBI and their immediate family.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries in Chicago
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a TBI surveillance report that detailed the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. Out of all the TBIs recorded between 2016-2017, unintentional falls accounted for nearly 50% of all hospitalizations related to TBIs while motor vehicle crashes made up nearly 25% of hospital admissions.
After unintentional falls and vehicle crashes, the next most common causes of TBIs, particularly in males, included unintentionally being struck by an object, intentional self-harm, and assaults. Among the general population, medical negligence, birth trauma, workplace accidents, and sports also contributed to a significant number of TBIs.
Traumatic brain injuries related to unintentional falls were one of the most common causes of TBI-related hospitalizations. When someone accidentally falls and their head hits a hard surface such as concrete or rock, the sudden movement and shaking of the brain within the skull significantly increases the chance of a TBI occurring.
Car and Truck Accidents
Car and truck accidents closely followed unintentional falls as one of the most common causes of TBIs. When one motor vehicle strikes another at high speeds, high forces and impact velocities may result in traumatic brain injuries for drivers and passengers involved.
Traumatic brain injuries may occur during birth, where trauma to a baby’s brain or skull results in either a lack of oxygen flow to the brain during birth (birth asphyxia) or brain bleeds (intracranial hemorrhages).
Medical negligence and medical malpractice may result in traumatic brain injuries, especially when the attending physician fails to diagnose a serious condition, such as a heart attack or stroke. During surgery or a procedure, excessive bleeding may lead to decreased oxygenation and eventual brain injury.
Some workplaces, such as construction sites, locations with heavy machinery, or an environment with a large number of metal pipes or sharp edges in a small or narrow environment may potentially result in workplace accidents leading to a TBI.
Sports, especially high-impact sports like American football, may result in traumatic brain injuries for players involved in a bodily impact or fall. Additionally, sports like rock climbing or skiing have a heightened TBI risk due to the hard surfaces involved (rock and ice), and the close proximity of the individual’s head from those hard surfaces.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Cost
Once a traumatic brain injury has occurred, there’s little that can be done to reverse the initial damage.
To prevent additional damage, meeting with specialists such as surgeons, neurologists, and psychologists can help prevent any additional harm from occurring.
Treatment of TBIs can take many forms, depending on the extent of the injury, and may include:
- X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans
- Emergency medical treatment
- Intensive care or hospital stays
- Surgical procedures
- Medication to manage the TBI
- Rehabilitation, such as physical and speech therapy
- Prescribed assistive devices that can help manage a TBI
- Continued care, therapy, and counseling for the injured individual
Costs to treat TBIs can add up quickly. According to the CDC, “The lifetime economic cost of TBIs, including direct and indirect medical costs, was estimated to be approximately $76.5 billion (in 2010 dollars).”
Prognosis for Someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury
The outcome and prognosis for someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury varies and depends on the severity of the TBI as well as the individual’s age.
If the TBI is mild or resulted in a concussion, damage may resolve in as little as a month. For severe traumatic brain injuries, permanent disability or premature death may occur.
Compared to adults, the way TBIs affect children differs as their brains are still developing. If a child suffers from a TBI, there may be noticeable effects such as developmental delays.
Similarly, older adults may experience severe impacts from TBIs, particularly if the brain injury is missed or misdiagnosed due to several other conditions existing alongside it.
Who's liable for traumatic brain injuries resulting from negligence in Chicago?
Depending on how the traumatic brain injury occurred as well as the location and circumstances surrounding the incident, liability for a TBI may belong to an employer, medical professional, driver, property owner, or manufacturer.
If a traumatic brain injury occurred in the workplace due to unsafe conditions or a preventable hazard or circumstance, your employer might be liable for the accident and resulting TBI.
For traumatic brain injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, liability may be tied to the driver of the vehicle that initiated or was a part of the crash. The specifics of liability in a car crash scenario are contingent upon a thorough investigation and analysis of the incident.
If a medical professional such as a physician or surgeon causes a TBI through negligence or medical malpractice, they may be responsible for your injury.
Product or equipment manufacturers may be liable for a traumatic brain injury if it occurs due to a preventable defect, negligence, or inappropriate safety disclosure on the part of the manufacturer.
If an incident occurs on someone’s property, leading to a traumatic brain injury, they may be liable for the TBI depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Available Damages for a Traumatic Brain Injury
Depending on the situation and circumstances surrounding a TBI, an injured victim may be able to claim both economic and non-economic damages.
The types of damages that can be claimed for a TBI may include:
- Medical bills: You may receive compensation for your medical bills due to rehabilitation, therapy, surgery, or any procedures required to manage or treat the TBI, either in the past or future.
- Lost wages: If you have to miss work due to a TBI resulting from an accident, you may be eligible for damages for past and future wages.
- Pain and suffering and quality of life: If a TBI results in pain and suffering or impacts your quality of life, you may be able to claim non-economic damages.
- Chronic pain: TBIs can sometimes cause ongoing pain for which you may be eligible to collect additional compensation.
- Permanent disability: Any person disabled as a result of their TBI may be able to claim damages depending on the circumstances of the incident.
- Property damage: You may be entitled to economic damages for property damage stemming from the accident or incident causing your TBI.
- Wrongful death: If you lost a loved one injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, you may be eligible to receive wrongful death damages.
Successful Chicago Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
The experienced traumatic brain injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have handled thousands of cases involving personal injuries and wrongful death claims in Chicago. Over time, they’ve successfully recovered over a billion dollars on behalf of their clients and their clients’ families, helping them with the significant cost of treatment and recovery.
Some of our notable brain injury results include:
in a medical malpractice settlement for a former police officer. The officer suffered a life-altering brain injury as a result of nursing staff negligence at a hospital in Chicago
for a birth injury, where a young girl suffered a brain injury during birth, causing cerebral palsy. Physicians failed to perform a timely C-section, resulting in the TBI.
settlement for medical malpractice in Chicago. The family of a young woman received the settlement due to the failure of doctors to provide proper treatment and surgery in a timely manner. The woman suffered a TBI from which she never recovered.
The lawyers at Levin & Perconti are nationally recognized and help their clients with brain injury cases in Chicago, Illinois. They have over 200 years of combined litigation experience and a solid track record of successful cases and positive outcomes for their clients.
If you or your loved one has suffered from a brain injury, contact Levin & Perconti today for a free consultation.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.