Sleep Better at Night With Answers to Your Top Questions on Virginia Brain Injury Claims
Experiencing something as traumatic as an accident in Chesterfield County can leave your head spinning with questions and uncertainty. Get the answers you need fast in this FAQ series from Richmond brain injury attorney Kevin Mottley.
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How can I support my loved one after a traumatic brain injury?
Whether caused by a vehicle crash, a work accident, or a slip and fall, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) frequently result in lifelong changes that require significant adjustments to everyday activities. While the victim of a TBI directly deals with their injury, it is also necessary for you personally to make changes and help your loved one cope with these new challenges.
How to Help a Traumatic Brain Injury Victim
Medical professionals and therapists can offer a brain injury victim rehabilitation and coping techniques, but they will still likely experience significant difficulties with previously routine actions. You as a spouse, child, sibling, or friend can help your loved one in these simple ways:
- Assist with appointments and recordkeeping. Cognitive problems after a TBI are common. Your friend or family member may need gentle reminders for when to pay bills and show up for doctor visits. Providing transportation if they can’t drive or have difficulty following a bus schedule is also frequently necessary. You may additionally need to maintain medical records to provide details to caregivers and healthcare professionals.
- Be patient. It is extremely easy to become frustrated with a TBI victim’s behavior and take emotional outbursts personally. Your loved one may not know what they need or have problems expressing their needs, and they may find it difficult to do things they used to love, like reading a novel or watching a movie with loud sounds.
- Help reduce stress and distractions. Difficulties associated with brain injuries are made worse by distractions and stressful situations, so other people may need to frequently take care of basic chores like cleaning and cooking.
- Make sure they have a personal injury lawyer. Getting justice for your loved one’s injury by holding the negligent party responsible is just the beginning. Medical costs associated with a TBI can be astronomical, and your loved one might not be able to work. Work with an attorney to prove negligence caused the injury so your family member can receive the full compensation they are owed.
- Maintain a schedule. Avoiding confusion that leads to extreme frustration is critical. Besides making a regular schedule, be ready to break bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable actions and allow plenty of time for breaks.
Taking the Next Steps to Help Your Loved One After a TBI
Are you ready to help your loved one with the challenges of living with a traumatic brain injury? Get in touch with The Mottley Law Firm so we can discuss the brain injury case and connect you with support groups for more help.
How are lost wages calculated in a car accident claim?
Everyone knows when you are injured by a negligent driver you deserve to receive compensation, but you don’t have just the cost of medical treatment to consider. Bills don’t stop coming in because you were in a car accident, which is why you can also recover damages if your injury prevents you from working.
Trying to understand how lost wages are calculated when dealing with insurance carriers and seeking a settlement from the at-fault party can be more complicated than you think, however. That’s why it is so important to have a skilled attorney working with you after a collision.
Lost Wage Calculations After a Virginia Car Wreck
Lost wages can be recovered whether you are a self-employed freelancer, a salaried manager, or an employee paid hourly or via commission. In some cases, the calculation is as simple as multiplying your hourly rate by the number of days you missed work. That’s not always the whole story though, especially if your injury requires long-term therapy and rehabilitation. You also need to take into account:
- Benefits or pensions you can no longer utilize
- Loss of future earning potential if you can’t return to work for an extended period
- Missing out on promotions that would have occurred in the future
- Overtime you expected to work
- Yearly, seasonal, or end-of-project bonus pay
To get what you are truly owed, you need to provide proof of your lost earning capability as well as show the injury directly caused that loss. That’s why it is critical to see a doctor after a car accident, even if your injuries don’t immediately seem life-threatening. Your attorney can then utilize medical records, eyewitness testimony, video or photo evidence, forensic economist experts, pay stubs, tax forms, client correspondence, and other sources to make the best possible case.
Are You Unable to Work After a Car Accident?
When recovering from a car or truck crash, you don’t want to miss out on recovering the full amount you are owed from your injuries. An attorney with experience in Virginia personal injury lawsuits can help you negotiate the best settlement, or even take the case to court if necessary. Send us a quick message to start a consultation about your case.
What evidence do I need for my brain injury case?
To recover damages after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the burden falls on you and your lawyer to show that your injury was caused by negligence. If you’re considering a lawsuit, you may question if you have the evidence necessary to prove your case and receive a settlement or get a successful outcome in court. Let’s take a look at what evidence you can already access, and what details a skilled attorney can help you gather.
Evidence of the Accident and TBI
First and foremost is proving that the accident occurred and that it was responsible for your TBI. Whether you were in a vehicle crash, injured due to a work mishap, or suffered a slip and fall, these are the most common forms of evidence to look for:
- Photographs of the scene where the injury occurred
- Police reports
- Video evidence if the accident was filmed
Directly showing the extent of your brain injury is also crucial to a successful case. Brain injuries often aren’t physically obvious, which is why you need to see a doctor after any blow to the head. In particular, these are the types of medical documentation that best help in a TBI case:
- Diagnosis from an emergency room doctor or neurologist
- Medical documentation of the injury such as an MRI or CT scan
- Cognitive evaluation from a neuropsychologist
Evidence of Future Expenses Due to a Traumatic Brain Injury
Expenses for a TBI don’t stop just at the initial emergency room visit or hospital stay, however. You may require ongoing and expensive medical treatment, from additional surgeries to long-term therapy and even assisted living costs.
Additionally, severe TBI patients often lose the ability to earn income as they can’t work due to cognitive and language difficulties caused by brain injury. You may be able to recover damages for continuing expenses and loss of wages. That's why you need to keep track of:
- Pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns
- Treatment notes from any physical, occupational, or speech therapy
- Expert witness testimony
That last type of evidence is typically handled by your attorney, who may consult with economic, medical, or vocational experts to provide context to your situation. You need a personal injury lawyer who understands how TBI cases work and knows the ins and outs of both state and federal law to put this evidence together into a compelling argument.
Get Help for Your Virginia Traumatic Brain Injury Case Today
Whether you or a loved one are experiencing hardship after an accident led to a brain injury, contact us for a consultation. We’ve got a strong track record of positive outcomes for patients who have suffered a TBI and we can help you gather the evidence you need.
What factors determine the value of my brain injury case?
From hospital stays to loss of employment, unexpected financial stress is common after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is why you want the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation. Whether the at-fault party agrees to a settlement or the case is successfully litigated in court, the specific monetary value of a TBI case can vary dramatically depending on several important factors.
Calculating Brain Injury Damages
The main component to keep in mind is the severity of the brain injury and the impact it has on your daily life. For instance, mild TBI cases with a short period of unconsciousness followed by lingering headaches typically result in less compensation than a more severe injury with lifelong repercussions.
The value of a brain injury case goes up when significant vision, language, or cognitive difficulties occur that interfere with your ability to hold down a job or perform everyday tasks. In most instances, these are the main factors that will be taken into account when determining the value of your Virginia traumatic brain injury case:
- Medical treatment costs from the initial accident
- Long-term care costs
- Pain and suffering beyond the original injury if you experience a loss of quality of life
- Lost wages and earning potential if you are unable to work after your accident
To accurately establish the value of your case and recover the full amount you are owed, it is critical to see a doctor immediately after the accident to establish a paper trail. You will need documentation to prove the accident caused your brain injury as well as to show the extent of the injury’s impact on your life.
With that information in hand, TBI cases still require dealing with insurance adjusters who have a vested interest in reducing or denying your claim, as well as at-fault parties who often don’t want to admit their responsibility. For the best shot at a successful recovery, you need a local attorney with a track record of positive outcomes for traumatic brain injury victims.
Get the Financial Compensation You Deserve for Your Traumatic Brain Injury
You have a legal right to seek damages after suffering an injury caused by negligence, but you need a skilled personal injury attorney to assess the details of your specific injury first. Come in for a consultation and we can help determine the possible value of your case while holding the at-fault party responsible for your pain and suffering.
What are my options if I was in a car accident with an uninsured driver?
Unlike many other states, it is actually legal to drive without auto insurance in Virginia as long as a yearly uninsured driver fee is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The simple truth is that there are people on the road without insurance, whether they have paid that fee or not, and eventually some of those people will get into accidents. Even if you’ve done the responsible thing and bought insurance, you may end up with a hefty pile of bills after an accident with an uninsured driver.
What to Do When You Are Injured by a Driver Without Insurance
This all-too-common scenario can be especially devastating if you require a lengthy recovery period where you can’t work, which is why you want a personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. Even if you have excellent auto insurance, your policy is unlikely to make a dent in the costs of emergency room visits, physical therapy, or long-term absence from employment.
When dealing with an uninsured driver, your options are unfortunately limited. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you make the best of a bad situation in one of these three main ways:
- File an uninsured motorist claim against your insurance company. Many insurance plans include an uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage clause. You need to specifically file a claim to seek compensation through this type of coverage, and the amount is typically capped. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have this coverage and if the covered amount can be increased before an accident occurs.
- Seek compensation from the uninsured driver’s assets. While you may want to go after the negligent driver who caused your accident, this is often the least useful option. A driver without insurance likely doesn’t have the personal assets required to cover your medical bills or loss of wages.
- Look for other liable parties to hold accountable. In some circumstances, a different party beside the driver may have been at fault for your injury. For instance, a construction crew or city government may have behaved negligently and created unsafe road conditions, or an auto manufacturer may be responsible if they released a faulty part that caused the crash.
Regardless of which option is best for you, an attorney can also handle communication with your insurance company. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer shows you intend to pursue compensation to the fullest extent of the law, which makes both insurance carriers and negligent drivers more likely to settle.
Get the Help You Need After a Virginia Uninsured Driver Accident
You aren’t out of options if you were hurt by an uninsured driver. Set up a consultation with The Mottley Law Firm today to discuss your case and find out if we can help you seek compensation for your auto accident near Richmond, VA.
What is a cerebral laceration?
Despite its importance to the human body, your brain is a fragile organ. Any number of common injuries may lead to a cerebral laceration. These lacerations might result in mild to severe cognitive impairment causing monetary setbacks that go far beyond medical bills, as you may no longer be able to work after a head injury. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of lacerations so you can seek proper treatment and find an attorney to help you recover monetary damages.
How Cerebral Lacerations Occur
A laceration is an actual tearing of brain tissue, rather than a simple contusion or bruise. Any of these accidents can lead to cerebral lacerations:
- Slip and fall
- Vehicle crash
- Workplace accident caused by your employer’s negligence
- Direct violence
The cut itself occurs when a sharp blow to the head causes the skull to fracture and pierce the brain, or when the brain strikes a ridge on the skull. Lacerations can still occur without any actual penetration or fracturing of the skull, however. Tearing may take place if the brain quickly and violently twists and moves inside the head during an accident.
While the laceration itself is dangerous and may create life-long medical issues, it can also lead to devastating secondary effects. In particular, the laceration may cause swelling in the brain due to bleeding.
What to Do After a Cerebral Laceration
Cerebral tears can occur even if you don’t lose consciousness or suffer any immediate cognitive difficulties after the accident. Because of the potential for serious health problems, it is important to see a doctor after any head injury to determine if a laceration has occurred. Cerebral laceration treatment may require an extended hospital stay so you can be monitored for swelling, ensure your brain is receiving enough oxygen, and manage pain.
A doctor visit also establishes a paper trail on your injury so an insurance carrier or at-fault party can’t claim the damage to your brain occurred in a previous incident. If someone else caused your cerebral tear, you should contact an experienced attorney focused on traumatic brain injury cases to determine who is legally at fault for your injury and seek compensation.
Did You Suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury in an Accident?
It is your legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against the person or business responsible for your cerebral laceration. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case and find out if we can help you seek justice after a traumatic brain injury.
Am I entitled to compensation if I am partially at fault for my car accident?
Many states have some form of comparative negligence or shared fault rules that allow drivers to still seek compensation even if they were partially at fault for their own accident. Unfortunately, Virginia has extremely strict laws covering what’s known as contributory negligence. If you are partially at fault for your injury in a Virginia vehicle accident, you simply can’t be compensated.
How to Protect Your Right to Compensation After an Accident
The doctrine of contributory negligence applies even if the other party is mostly to blame and your fault is minimal. That can mean people who were severely injured in an accident won’t have any recourse for compensation and are on the hook for their own medical bills and potential loss of wages.
To protect yourself, you should never admit fault for an accident, either at the scene or when speaking with your insurance carrier after the crash. Since the insurance company doesn’t have to pay your claim if you are partially at fault, your adjuster may incorrectly claim you share some of the accident’s responsibility.
That’s why you should consult an attorney before making any statements or signing any documents related to the accident. Even if you think you may have been partly at fault for the collision, let an experienced legal team review all of the facts first.
An attorney with experience in Virginia personal injury cases can thoroughly investigate the accident and potentially prove you don’t share any of the blame through:
- Testimony from accident witnesses
- Data culled from police reports
- Photos or video from the scene
- Seeking the advice of accident reconstruction experts
Let Our Personal Injury Attorney Review Your Virginia Car Crash Claim
Before giving up your right to compensation for an accident, get in touch for a quick consultation to go over the facts of your case. Our goal is to do everything in our power to help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a Virginia car crash.
Can a traumatic brain injury be cured?
When a head injury causes brain tissue to be damaged, there is no way to reverse the damage. So in that way, traumatic brain injuries cannot be cured. However, the limitations and disabilities imposed on the victim by the damaged brain can be overcome through intensive therapy and rehabilitation. These options can be very expensive and may not be covered by health insurance. If you or a family member sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle crash or slip and fall, you might be able to hold the negligent party responsible for paying for your long-term medical needs.
What Are Treatment Options for Traumatic Brain Injury?
Depending on the severity of the TBI and the abilities it has affected, the appropriate treatment may include physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the patient regain as much of the function he or she has lost, including the following:
- Gross motor skills, including walking, balancing, throwing a ball, and exercising
- Fine motor skills, such as picking up objects, holding utensils, writing, and crafting
- Speech and communication skills, which may include speech therapy or learning alternative forms of communication.
- Occupational skills, including relearning work tasks or learning new skills in order to get a job
- Counseling to cope with the emotional and psychological effects of the accident and injury
These therapies may be needed for months or even years in order to make up for the deficits caused by the injury and are very expensive. If the accident that left you injured was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences.
Should Someone Else Be Paying for Your Rehab?
If another driver, property owner, or another negligent party was responsible for causing the accident that left you injured, you might have a claim for compensation from their insurance company. At the Mottley Law Firm, we are experienced with traumatic brain injury claims and understand what kinds of long-term therapies and treatments may be required. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in an accident, reach out to our firm today to find out if we can help. We only accept a few personal injury cases at a time because we want to provide each of our clients with the highest level of service. If we can do your case justice, we will tell you how!
Do I need to see a doctor after a car accident even if I feel ok?
No one is ever prepared for a car accident. These are shocking and unexpected events, and it is hard to know what you should do afterward. You may feel perfectly fine and, even though you know the crash was not your fault, you may not be worried about holding the other driver responsible. However, one of the best pieces of advice we can offer is to always get yourself checked out by a doctor.
Car Accident Injuries Are Not Always Immediately Obvious
If you can get out of your car and walk around after a crash, you might assume you’re ok. You might have a minor ache or pain, but you don’t want to make a big deal about it at the scene. Despite this, it is important that you make an appointment with a doctor as soon as you can after the accident to see if you have injuries that are not obvious right away. Common delayed-symptom car accident injuries include the following:
- Whiplash. The symptoms of whiplash can take several days to become noticeable. That does not make the injury any less serious. Whiplash can cause debilitating headaches, back pain, and neck pain. In some cases, it can also cause traumatic brain injury. It is important to be evaluated for whiplash by a doctor within a few days of the crash.
- Concussion. In a car crash, your head could hit the steering wheel or dashboard, causing a concussion. Even if you don’t hit your head, the force of the crash could be enough to cause brain damage by shaking up your brain inside your skull. You may not experience headaches, sleeplessness, dizziness, memory loss, and other symptoms for several days after the crash.
- Psychological trauma. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after a car crash will not develop right away. You may begin experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, a fear of driving, anxiety, and depression several days, or even several weeks, after an accident. An early exam by a therapist can diagnose the problem and help you cope.
Other injuries, such as soft tissue damage and back problems, may also manifest days or weeks after a crash.
Seeing a Doctor Is Key to Building a Strong Claim for Compensation
In the days and weeks after your crash, the reality of what has happened will sink in. You will talk to your insurance company, and bills will start to come in. If the crash wasn’t your fault, you will begin to realize that you need to take legal action. Seeing a doctor early in the process will provide documentation of your injuries and make a causal connection between the crash and your medical costs. Talking to a personal injury attorney will also put you on the right path to getting the compensation you deserve. Call the Mottley Law Firm to find out more about what you can do to protect your legal claim. We are here for you.
What is the difference between a mild, moderate, and severe brain injury?
Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an accident—or helping a loved one who has been injured—is a frightening and confusing experience. At the time of the injury, doctors often aren’t able to tell you much about the prognosis for recovery. However, you should be given information about the severity of the injury, which will give you an idea of what the road ahead will look like.
Three Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury
Whether you or your loved one has sustained a concussion, contusion, penetrating injury, or diffuse axonal injury, your injury could be considered mild, moderate, or severe. Based on the symptoms and expected recovery, brain injuries are generally rated as follows:
- Mild. When there is no—or a very brief—loss of consciousness and symptoms such as confusion, headaches, and dizziness are brief and minor, the brain injury is considered mild. Mild TBIs are often diagnosed based on the fact that there was an impact to the head rather than on scans showing brain damage or permanent impairments.
- Moderate. If the person was unconscious for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, the TBI would be considered moderate. Long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional effects are possible with a moderate TBI. These impairments could last for several months, and some changes may be permanent.
- Severe. A severe TBI is often permanently debilitating or fatal. An injury that crushes or penetrates the skull and damages brain tissue is considered severe because there is no way to repair the damage. If they survive, victims of a severe TBI cannot expect to return to the life they had before the accident.
No matter what level of brain injury you or your loved one has suffered, if another person’s negligence caused the car accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident that lead to your TBI, you need an attorney to help you fight for damages. Contact the Mottley Law Firm to learn more about our traumatic brain injury legal services.