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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Should I release my medical records to the insurance company after a brain injury?
Whether you were hurt in a vehicle collision, slip and fall, or some other type of accident, you can expect to deal with major medical bills and life-changing symptoms from a brain injury. To recover compensation for those costs, you will likely end up talking to the at-fault party’s insurance provider at some point. Before cutting a check, that provider will need to see proof you were injured and that the wound was caused by the accident. This is where things can get tricky and an attorney becomes an absolute necessity to get the full amount you are owed.
Why You Shouldn’t Sign a Medical Record Release
You’ve probably already heard about HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and know that it protects your personal info and prevents doctors from sharing your medical history. Because of HIPAA laws, a company like an insurance provider has to request you sign a waiver to gain access to medical documentation. They can’t simply look the information up without your permission.
Obviously, you want to prove to an insurance adjuster that you were hurt so you can receive a settlement for your injury’s costs. There’s a big catch, however. Having insurance is important to protect yourself in the event of a catastrophe, but you have to keep in mind how insurance actually operates. Insurance providers are businesses first and foremost. Just like any other type of business, their goal is to make a profit by cutting costs and spending as little money as possible.
Unfortunately, this means there are several ways an insurance adjuster may attempt to trip you up and refuse a payout you are owed. The insurance adjuster’s job is to look for reasons to reduce or deny your claim, such as by using irrelevant medical history to claim your injury occurred in the past. The same is true of social media posts and videos or pictures you upload to your personal profile. Even completely innocent family photos may be taken out of context so the insurer can argue you aren’t actually injured or aren’t as hurt as you claim.
Let Your Personal Injury Attorney Deal With the Insurance Company
The bottom line is that you should not provide a recorded statement or sign a broad release of your full medical records directly after the accident. If asked, politely decline and let the adjuster know you are consulting with your legal counsel before making any decisions.
Instead of immediately signing anything, allow your attorney to provide the details that are needed and craft a more limited release that only includes the records pertinent to the claim. If an emergency room visit for an unrelated issue years ago has no bearing on your brain injury, the insurance company simply doesn’t need to see those records. Additionally, your attorney will investigate the accident to make sure you have all the evidence you need to prove negligence and show the at-fault party is responsible for your brain injury.
Your best bet is to let a legal professional handle medical records issues for you to avoid costly mistakes. Your attorney will also negotiate with insurance so the company takes into account your full costs, like:
- Wages lost while recovering in the hospital as well as future losses if you can’t go back to work
- The intense pain and suffering often resulting from a traumatic brain injury
- Medical bills, including a hospital stay after the original accident, any medications or therapies you require, and any future surgeries or treatments that may be necessary
Finally, it’s important to understand that a traumatic brain injury attorney isn’t just there to talk to the insurance company, but also to potentially file a lawsuit to ensure the statute of limitations doesn’t expire while negotiations are ongoing.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Attorney Before Signing Anything
Always talk to a lawyer after any serious injury, especially when dealing with catastrophic issues like brain or spinal cord damage. You want someone on your side with experience in these kinds of cases to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call to set up a free consultation with The Mottley Law Firm before signing anything or providing a recorded statement to an insurer.
What should I do if my child suffers a brain injury in a swimming pool accident?
It only takes an instant for an afternoon of fun in the sun to turn into a medical emergency that can change your child’s life forever. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can easily occur in accidents at the local city waterpark or at a friend’s personal backyard pool. Because children’s brains are still developing, they are at increased risk of serious, long-term repercussions when suffering a TBI.
Causes of Child TBIs in Swimming Pool Accidents
Teens and younger children may experience a traumatic brain injury from directly striking their head against the bottom or side of the pool, or from a prolonged lack of oxygen reaching the brain during a drowning incident.
In these cases, you need a skilled lawyer who specializes in brain injury cases to investigate the accident and discover the root cause of the injury. Your child’s TBI may have been caused by negligence from the pool owner, such as:
- Absence of barriers to prevent children from entering the pool unattended
- Failing to utilize proper drains and drain covers in compliance with state law
- Improper maintenance of diving boards, ladders, and areas around the pool creating slip and fall hazards
- Lack of proper warning about shallow areas, such as “no diving” signs or clear markings indicating the pool depth
- No lifeguard on duty to watch for accidents and injuries
After seeking medical attention for your child, your next step should be to go over your legal options with a traumatic brain injury attorney who has extensive knowledge of Virginia laws and statutes. You may need to seek a settlement through the property owner’s insurance or pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an Attorney Quickly If Your Child Was Hurt in a Pool
Medical costs for traumatic brain injuries in children can be astronomical, and you may be unable to return to work full time if you need to provide specialized care for your child at home. Talk to The Mottley Law Firm today so we can set up a consultation and find out more about your case. We want to help protect your child’s legal rights and ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve.
How do I know if my brain injury settlement is actually fair?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims often have to deal with extensive medical bills while recovering. You deserve to recover damages after suffering a TBI, but the amount offered by an insurance company may not reflect your actual costs. That’s why it’s important to have a skilled personal injury attorney who is on your side and wants to help your financial recovery.
Key Factors in the Value of Your Brain Injury Settlement
In many cases, the first settlement offer won’t actually be the full amount you deserve. Unfortunately, insurance carriers typically want to pay you as little as possible. To get a reasonable settlement, you need an attorney to handle the negotiations and accurately value the damages you can recover, which could include:
- Previous medical costs covering your hospitalization and treatments after the injury
- Additional medical costs you are likely to incur in the future, such as surgeries or long-term therapies and rehabilitation
- Out-of-pocket costs while seeking treatment for your injury
- Lost wages if you couldn’t go back to work, as well as a loss of earning potential if you were passed over for a promotion or need to find a different line of work after the accident
- Non-economic damages that have an impact on your daily life, such as pain and suffering, PTSD, permanent disfigurement, cognitive impairment caused by the brain injury, and so on
After reaching a number, your attorney can help you decide if the settlement offer is fair by comparing it to the potential value of litigation against the at-fault party while keeping in mind the potential risks and mitigating factors that may interfere with a court case.
Talk to an Attorney Before Accepting Any Settlement
Wondering what to do next and not sure how to proceed with insurance or a lawsuit? Always consult a traumatic brain injury attorney before accepting anything from the insurance carrier. Set up a free consultation so we can learn about your injury and find out if The Mottley Law Firm is the right fit for your case.
What exactly is a temporal lobe injury and how will it affect me?
One of four main regions of the brain, the temporal lobe is critical to both emotional response and understanding visual cues. Sitting behind the temples and crossing both the left and right sides of the brain, the temporal lobe is susceptible to damage from car accidents, slip and fall injuries, or intentional acts of violence.
How a Temporal Lobe Injury Can Impact Your Life
Because it is separated across both hemispheres of the brain, any traumatic brain injury (TBI) involving the temporal lobe can affect numerous cognitive and physical functions. A temporal lobe injury may impact:
- Automatic physical responses like feeling pain or experiencing hunger
- Basic language function such as the ability to understand what words mean
- Emotional regulation
- Retaining existing memories
- Sensory input like recognizing visual objects and interpreting sounds
Obviously, symptoms from temporal lobe injuries may have drastic repercussions on your normal daily life and your ability to work. Accident victims with this type of injury can experience severe anxiety or anger that makes it difficult to maintain personal relationships. Cognitive issues, like remembering specific faces or clearly communicating ideas while speaking, as well as the potential for severe physical symptoms like seizures, may interfere with everyday tasks.
Recovering Damages After a Temporal Lobe TBI
An attorney with a deep knowledge of Virginia personal injury law is a critical component to your recovery after any TBI. A Richmond brain injury lawyer can help by investigating the accident and gathering evidence proving a negligent party caused your injury. Through a settlement or court case, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Basic medical costs like an emergency room visit or hospital stay
- Future medical expenses for severe TBIs that require long-term therapy or surgeries
- Loss of hourly, salaried, or self-employment wages while recovering
- Losing future earning potential if the temporal lobe injury interferes with your ability to continue working
- Pain and suffering or loss of quality of life
Have you or someone you loved suffered a temporal lobe injury in an accident? Call or message The Mottley Law Firm today and tell us about your case.
How is my lost income calculated after a brain injury?
Negligent behavior can change your life forever if you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a slip and fall or car accident. Getting back on your feet after such an accident means taking into account both physical and economic recovery. While medical costs are an important factor to keep in mind, your income itself is just as important. Your regularly monthly bills will still keep arriving even if you can’t earn a wage while recovering,
How Lost Income Is Calculated in a TBI Case
An insurance settlement or court judgment after a TBI can cover lost wages if you have to work part-time or can’t return to work in any capacity after the accident. In some instances, this amount may be a simple calculation of the number of hours missed multiplied by your hourly wage. Other cases may become more complex, however, such as if you end up having to take a lower-paying job or get passed over for a promotion.
Here’s what is specifically included in lost wage calculations:
- Self-employment income if you work from home or run your own business
- Full hourly or salaried wage if you can’t work at all
- The difference between your previous wage and current wage if you have to work fewer hours or take a pay cut at a new job
- Lost benefits, like sick and vacation days
- Missed bonuses or other perks you would have received
- Additional economic damages from lost future employment opportunities
It's fairly simple for your attorney to use pay stubs and employment records to calculate lost wages for days spent in the hospital recovering. Because traumatic brain injuries often have long-term repercussions, however, your legal team may need to go a step further to arrive at a full accounting of your future wages. Physicians, economic experts, and other witnesses might be utilized to show the full extent of your economic losses.
If You Suffered a TBI, You Need an Experienced Attorney
We want the opportunity to fight for your full recovery, and that includes lost income while you deal with the physical and emotional changes caused by a traumatic brain injury. Call or message us today to let us know the basic details of your case.
If I’ve had mild traumatic brain injuries in the past, can I still recover damages for a new injury?
You’ve probably heard phrases like “pre-existing conditions” get tossed around on TV shows and in the news, and that may leave you thinking you can’t seek compensation if you suffer more than one brain injury. Thankfully, that’s not actually true. The law is on your side if you’ve been hurt in multiple accidents, although there are unique challenges in this sort of situation that an attorney will need to walk you through.
Legal and Physical Consequences of Multiple TBIs
Lawsuits from victims of multiple injuries are sometimes referred to as involving the “eggshell plaintiff” or “eggshell skull” rule. This essentially means that due to a previous accident, you were more likely to be injured again in the future.
Here’s the simple truth to understand—just because you were harmed in the past and were susceptible to additional injuries down the line doesn’t mean people are allowed to behave negligently. If you suffered another traumatic brain injury, whether from a car crash with a distracted driver or by slipping and falling when a store manager didn’t handle a problem, you can still seek compensation.
In fact, it is particularly important to pursue your legal right to recover damages after multiple injuries, as repeated TBIs—even mild ones—can result in serious cognitive and behavioral changes. Repeat mild traumatic brain injuries are often associated with mood disorders and difficulties with memory that may prevent you from working and drastically interfere with your daily life. In more serious cases, they can also cause problems with your vision and ability to communicate.
Cases involving plaintiffs who have experienced TBIs in the past can be more difficult to win, however, because you will need to show:
- How your previous injury made you susceptible to further harm
- That your current medical costs and loss of wages stem from this new accident
- Proof that the at-fault party behaved with negligence, whether by driving under the influence, failing to fix broken steps, or some other behavior
An attorney is absolutely critical to this process and can help by utilizing medical records, police reports, and eyewitness testimony to provide compelling evidence in a lawsuit.
Have You Suffered More Than One Traumatic Brain Injury?
Even if you’ve been injured in previous accidents, you still have a legal right to hold the negligent party in any new accident responsible for your costs. We’d like to hear more about your case to find out if we are the right fit to help you pursue legal action—send us the basic details of your situation today.
How can I support a loved one who recently suffered a brain injury?
Recovery after a TBI (traumatic brain injury) is an ongoing process that requires changes not just to the victim’s daily life, but also to yours as a close loved one. When a child, parent, sibling, spouse, or a personal friend suffers a brain injury, you can be a vital part of overcoming their day-to-day struggles.
How You Can Be There for a Traumatic Brain Injury Patient
Depending on the severity of the TBI, your family member or friend might be unable to return to work, incapable of driving themselves to appointments, or even have trouble with daily chores Your goal should be to keep stress levels down as your loved one deals with these potentially life-long changes while also potentially pursuing a legal case against the negligent party responsible for the injury. These are some of the ways you can specifically be the most helpful:
- Be prepared for difficulties. Patience is a critical element of helping a TBI patient, as behavior changes and frustration with new challenges are common.
- Encourage your loved one to take legal action. Recovery isn’t just therapy, medication, and learning new coping techniques. It also involves holding those responsible accountable for their actions and handling financial matters. If the traumatic brain injury was caused by negligence, your loved one may be able to recover damages for medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
- Gain an understanding of the medical repercussions. TBIs may cause a range of physical, mental, and emotional issues that can deeply impact daily life and relationships with friends and family, from post-traumatic stress disorder to mood changes and even difficulties with vision.
- Help remember the small details. Your loved one will likely need assistance keeping records, writing down questions, and tracking bills that need to be paid. It is extremely easy for a TBI patient to become distracted or forget important dates and details.
- Make necessary changes at home. There are many things you can do to keep your loved one as safe and comfortable as possible, such as installing assistive equipment. In some cases, you may need to consider long-term care at a facility for more in-depth assistance that can’t always be provided at home.
- Seek out TBI rehabilitation experts to assist in the recovery process. This may include doctors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and support groups for TBI victims.
Get the Help Your Loved One Needs for Their Traumatic Brain Injury
Your loved one’s case is unique, and the specific care they require and ways you can help can vary depending on the type of accident and TBI that was sustained. Get in touch with an attorney to learn more about what you can do, and be sure to also sign up for our newsletter to receive regular information with more information brain injury cases.
What do I need to know about filing a lawsuit for a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
When dealing with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the word “mild” is something of a misnomer, as you may still experience serious symptoms over an extended period. Unfortunately, that word alone can cause problems when dealing with insurance companies or filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver. Here’s what you need to know before taking your next legal steps.
Impact of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild TBIs such as a concussion are easily missed the first time around, as they often don’t appear physically on a scan like bruising or a cerebral laceration. That makes a mild TBI case difficult to prove in court if you don’t have a CT or MRI scan clearly showing a physical injury. Insurance companies are also more likely to push back on covering costs associated with a mild TBI, and they may even try to avoid paying your claim outright.
Before providing a statement, you need an attorney’s help to handle communication with the insurance adjuster. An experienced TBI lawyer can utilize medical records, eyewitness accounts, and other evidence to prove your injury was caused by the accident and had a financial impact on your life. It’s critically important to have a brain injury lawyer perform an investigation and provide evidence if you need to take the negligent party to court.
Even mild brain injuries can have a big impact on your finances as you rack up expensive medical bills—especially if returning to work full time isn’t always possible. Symptoms after suffering a mild traumatic brain injury in an accident can include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Changes to thought processes, such as delays in thinking or difficulty comprehending concepts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dizziness and nausea
- Emotional issues like irritability, mood swings, and sudden angry outbursts
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
- Memory loss
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensory issues like loss of smell or sensitivity to light and sound
- Vision problems
Even these supposedly “mild” symptoms may prevent you from completing your normal work duties, stop you from driving, or otherwise interfere with your daily routine and cause a financial loss. You have a legal right to recover damages for those losses if your injury was caused by negligence, whether in a car crash, slip and fall, or other incidents.
Are You Considering Legal Action After a Mild TBI?
If you are suffering symptoms after a mild TBI, you should discuss your case with a legal professional to weigh your options and help decide on the right path for moving forward. The Mottley Law Firm is here to help.
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.
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.