What you need to know about brain injuries in Colorado.
Every year, millions of Americans and their loved ones will suffer the consequences of a traumatic brain injury. An unexpected car accident or an accidental blow to the head can send you to the emergency room. Brain injuries are debilitating and costly, resulting in serious, long-term symptoms and consequences. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common causes of brain damage. Let’s take a look.
TBI at a Glance:
According to the CDC:
- 3 million people will be treated for head and brain injuries every year.
- It can happen to anyone. Children account for almost 1/3 of all cases.
- Nearly 300,000 persons are hospitalized and diagnosed with TBI every year.
- In 2014, TBI contributed to the deaths of 56,800 people, including 2,529 deaths among children.
- From 2006 to 2014, traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53%.
- In 2014, falls caused 48% of all TBI emergency department visits, with the very young and very old being most vulnerable.
- Motor vehicle collisions account for 1 in 5 TBI-related hospitalizations – 20% of all cases!
Brain injuries are not only difficult to diagnose; they are also particularly difficult to treat, with many people experiencing a wide range of different symptoms. Depending on what part of the brain is damaged, brain injuries can have long-lasting impacts on our senses, or even cause debilitating physical challenges. You might experience difficulty with focusing, remembering things, or even regulating your emotions.
For these reasons, you need a traumatic brain injury attorney on your side that understands and empathizes with you, your family, and the difficult process you are going through. The next few months will no doubt be one of the most challenging times you and your loved ones will ever go through, but be rest assured that our attorneys will fight for you every step of the way until you are made 100% whole.
We know better than anyone that finding a traumatic brain injury attorney you can trust is often difficult. We know the emotional, physical, and financial toll that a brain injury entails. As part of our advocacy, our firm will work with your neurologists, rehabilitation therapists, and other medical experts to help you forge a path forward toward recovery and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Whether you need representation yourself or are seeking justice for a loved one, the top-rated attorneys at Marathon Law are here to go the distance.
Every Case Is Different
Brain injury cases vary as much as the people we represent.
The brain is responsible for everything that we do and all that we are, from coordinating our movement to regulating our mood, memory, planning, and other complex brain functions. Despite its importance, the brain is highly vulnerable to injury. These injuries damage nerve cells within the brain, attract immune cells, and initiate inflammation leading to further and even permanent damage.
300,000 people a year are hospitalized for traumatic brain injuries. A fifth of those is from auto accidents. These types of injuries commonly occur during an automobile collision when your brain hits against the side of your skull. A car collision can result in swelling of the brain, bruising, and even internal bleeding.
Concussions are the more mild, non-life-threatening subtype of TBI, but serious nonetheless. Usually, a concussion leads to a loss of consciousness and other cognitive symptoms (see below). That said, even if you think your symptoms are mild, you should still see a medical professional. The most important part of healing after a concussion is lots of rest and not overdoing it.
Acquired Brain Injury
Many brain injuries occur when the brain loses its supply of oxygen. Cells begin to die almost immediately, a common consequence of a clot or a stroke. Many medical malpractice cases result from mismanagement, misdiagnosis, or mistreatment of a stroke. The region of the brain which is damaged determines the symptoms you will experience. For example, if the language section of the brain is damaged, you might have a hard time speaking.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Every brain injury is unique. Often, the signs begin to manifest within the first three days of your injury. Our Denver, CO attorneys are familiar with these symptoms and how they impact your daily life. In most instances, a loss of consciousness will occur. Commonly, you will also notice some of the cognitive and sensory issues listed below. After a stroke or other types of acquired brain injury, you might develop a host of sensory or motor deficits as well as challenges with communication.
Your symptoms can range in severity and involve any of the following:
- Loss of consciousness or coma
- Brain fog: Difficulty focusing or multi-tasking, confusion, problem-solving difficulty
- Challenges in regulating emotions or mood
- Problems with judgment
- Memory loss
- Development of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and/or sleeping problems
- Partial paralysis on one side of the body
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty with balance or making quick, smooth movements
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in hearing, vision, touch, smell, or taste
- Aphasia, which affects your ability to speak, write, and understand language – both verbal and written
- Challenges identifying and understanding objects, words, or numbers
Long-term Challenges of Living with TBI
Will I Recover?
This is the most important question, and one of the most difficult ones for doctors and lawyers alike to answer.
Most people who experience concussions or milder TBI’s will recover. However, according to the CDC, “[d]espite initial hospitalization and inpatient rehabilitation services, about 50% of people with [moderate-to-severe] TBI will experience a further decline in their daily lives or die within 5 years of their injury.” These are very serious cases requiring expert medical care and legal skill.
After a moderate or severe TBI, patients often develop hypersomnia, where they require much more sleep. People who suffer a moderate or severe brain injury face other hardships as well:
- 50x greater risk of seizures
- 11x greater risk of accidentally taking the wrong medication
- 9x more likely to receive an infection
- 6x more likely to receive the pneumonia
- More than 50% will not be employed within 5 years of their injury
Even with mild TBI or concussion, patients may sleep more for the first 1 to 2 weeks but will then develop insomnia and difficulty sleeping.
What Kind of Help Will I Need?
A good traumatic brain injury attorney understands that a brain injury will impact all aspects of his client’s daily living and routine. You might find it difficult to brush your teeth, dress, or even go to the bathroom. After a more severe injury, you might even face difficulties in the workplace.
In addition, some of the communication deficits and changes in mood or judgment will impact your interpersonal relationships. Often, it might take months or years to help you fully recover, and that’s if you have a dedicated team of healthcare professionals. Some deficits, however, will remain for life. Luckily, in Colorado, the law entitles you to receive 100% compensation to help you finance these treatments.
At first, it’s often unclear how many medical bills you will need to pay or what the law dictates your settlement should be. Occupational and vocational therapists will work through the symptoms that affect your ability to work. Due to cognitive and communication difficulties, you may need specialized therapy so that you can return to work. Additionally, you might require a therapist or psychiatrist if you experience anxiety or depression.
Finally, physiotherapists can work to help you regain your motor function. This process is long, frustrating, and expensive. But the personal injury attorneys at Marathon Law are here to guide you through the process every step of the way to ensure that (1) not only do you recover as much as possible, but (2) that you get 100% of the compensation you deserve. Anything less is not Justice.
Let’s take a look at how Colorado law breaks down damages in a personal injury case:
- Hospital or emergency care bills
- Inpatient and outpatient medical bills
- Vocational therapy
- Psychological or psychiatric care
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Loss of future earning potential
- Property damage
- Building additions to your home to improve accessibility
- Paying for a personal care assistant
- Paying for a personal driver or other needs-specific transportation
- Physical and mental pain and suffering;
- Emotional stress;
- Loss of quality of life;
- Physical impairment; and/or
The Insurance Company Will Low-Ball Your Traumatic Brain Injury Case
Make no mistake. Insurance companies exist for no other reason than to collect as many premiums as possible, and pay out as little settlement dollars as possible. Why do you think State Farm made $5.6 BILLION in 2019? Insurance companies are in the business of devaluing you and your case.
After a brain injury, many people will undergo incredible life changes. They will need to significantly change their lifestyle; they will face numerous challenges at work; and they will somehow have to fit extensive medical care and endless doctor appointments into their busy schedules which is not cheap nor exactly convenient.
Ultimately, you will present your case to an insurance adjuster, he will robotically run it through a software program designed to devalue your case, and then he will tell you to “take it or leave” whatever low-ball settlement offer he makes you.
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need an attorney; the insurance company would make sure you were 100% compensated for your injuries. But we don’t live in a perfect world. This is why you need an attorney who is willing to go the distance – all the way to trial if necessary – to get you the settlement you deserve.
A Colorado Brain Injury Attorney Answers Your Questions
Q: What is the average time to settle a traumatic brain injury lawsuit?
A: People hate it when they ask injury lawyers a question because the answer is always, “it depends.” But any good personal injury attorney will tell you that the amount of time it takes to settle your case will depend on multiple factors. Traumatic brain injuries are different for every person. All good brain injury lawyers know this.
For an injury victim to fairly evaluate his/her legal options, it’s quite common for your attorney to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement before his legal team can assess your actual damages. “Maximum medical improvement,” or “MMI” is just legalese for saying you’ve gotten as good as your going to get, and that your treatment has effectively flat-lined.
While waiting to get to MMI might be time-consuming and frustrating for clients, your attorney has to know the full extent of your injuries before (s)he can credibly evaluate how much your lawsuit is worth.
Q: What if it’s not clear who or what caused my injury?
A: Sometimes, who or what caused your injury or injuries may not be that clear. Your attorney may need to investigate liability, causation, or both. Sometimes it is clear-cut and simple to determine the party at fault, or what caused your injury; other times, it might require more investigation.
Q: How do I prove pain and suffering?
A: Pain and suffering is just one part of your non-economic damages profile. It is your atorney’s job to show how your traumatic brain injury has affected your life in the past and present, and how it will impact your life in the future. It’s also important to show that different victims may recover differently, and that recovery takes many different forms. Injury cases involving motorcycle accidents may look completely different from those involving motor vehicle accidents.
When assessing non-economic damages, a jury is supposed to consider any non-monetary losses or injuries you have suffered in the past, present, or will suffer in the future. Non-economic damages include physical and mental pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, loss of quality of life, and any other recoverable nonecomonic losses for which there is sufficient evidence.
Part of the litigation process is you, the patient, keeping a detailed record of your medical visits, and keeping a daily pain and perceptions journal to document how you’re feeling and your progression. This can obviously be quite difficult to do if you’ve suffered a mild-to-severe brain injury. Therefore, it’s critical that, if you’ve suffered a serious injury, that you engage injury-specific counseling, therapy, and/or psychiatry in order to make sure your prognoses and progress are being adequately recorded. If you have a family member or friend that can record their own observations of you on a regular basis, even more helpful.
Q: What is a good settlement offer?
A: A good settlement offer is one that makes you 100% whole. Anyone that values your case at the front end in dollars and cents is not being straight with you or has a crystal ball. As we’ve said, you may recover fully, partially, not at all, or even get worse over time. The value of your lawsuit depends on so many individual factors, that it would be foolish to try and pin a number to it before you’ve complete treatment and we have a physician’s future care assessment.
Every client is different, which is why you need a brain injury attorney who not only understands the basic medical science, but an attorney who can distill your damages down to a clear and convincing argument that everyone, even an insurance adjuster, can understand.
Local Denver, CO Resources
While your brain injury attorneys are critical to your legal journey, it takes a village. Here are just a few resources available to persons going through the trauma of a brain injury:
Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado: This alliance aims to help victims impacted by brain injuries thrive within their community. It brings together resources for anyone that might be injured, their families, and their healthcare providers.
Brain Injury Hope Foundation: This organization strives to provide people who experienced mild TBIs with financial resources. Additionally, they provide education about the signs and treatment of mild TBI’s.
MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network – This is a central hub for many other resources within the state. It includes a library of educational resources to support your community as well as aprogram that aims to help you regain your independence. MINDSOURCE is part of the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Colorado Kids with Brain Injury: This website provides educational resources for parents, peer support groups for pediatric patients and resources for child educators.
A Good Attorney Doesn’t Back Down From a Fight
According to Colorado law, you have the right to 100% compensation for your damages.
When we talk about “damages,” we mean the tangible (economic) losses you’ve incurred as a result of your brain injury, as well as the intangible (non-economic) losses you have suffered and will likely continue to suffer in the future.
At Marathon Law, our brain injury attorneys will identify and communicate your economic and non-economic damages in a clear and convincing manner to the jury or insurance adjuster in a way that will increase your chances of getting 100% of the compensation you deserve.
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most serious types of lawsuits we see. At Marathon Law, our firm is dedicated to ensuring your traumatic brain injury lawyer gets you every last penny you deserve. As always, we offer a free case evaluation so that can you can determine if our law firm is the right fit for you or your loved one, and you’re comfortable working with our injury lawyers over the long-term. These cases are not quick-and-dirty settlement cases. They take a long time and involve a lot of long-term planning and care.
Choosing the right traumatic brain injury lawyer is one of the most serious decisions you will ever have to make. We take that commitment seriously. Contact Marathon Law today to schedule your free consultation.
Marathon Law: Because we go the distance.