Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are complex and devastating medical conditions that can result from a variety of incidents, from car accidents to falls. When a TBI results in death or severe impairment, families are often left grappling with emotional, medical, and legal complications. At Wells Trumbull, our team of Edmonds traumatic brain injury lawyers is committed to advocating for victims and their families. With expertise, empathy, and a comprehensive understanding of TBI-related issues, we guide you through the intricacies of the legal process to seek justice and compensation. Contact our personal injury attorneys in Edmonds today for a free consultation.
What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force, such as a blow or jolt to the head, causes neurological dysfunction. Much like wrongful death cases, TBIs can occur due to negligence, wrongful acts, or omissions by another party. Affected families may be entitled to file claims to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, loss of income, and more.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries Commonly Sustained
Traumatic brain injuries are complex and varied, affecting each victim differently. They can range from mild concussions to severe, life-altering conditions that require lifelong care. Here is a comprehensive overview of the different types of traumatic brain injuries, each of which may warrant legal action for compensation:
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Concussion – The most common and well-known type of TBI, concussions occur when the brain experiences a sudden jolt or blow. Symptoms are often mild and temporary but can lead to long-term issues if not properly treated.
- Post-Concussion Syndrome – Some people continue to experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and cognitive impairment weeks or months after the initial concussion, requiring ongoing treatment and therapy.
- Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Contusion – A contusion is a bruise on the brain caused by an impact to the head. These injuries can lead to swelling and may require surgical intervention to relieve pressure.
- Coup-Contrecoup – This type of injury occurs when the force of an impact is so great that it causes the brain to move within the skull, damaging both the site of the impact (coup) and the opposite side of the brain (contrecoup).
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) – In this type of injury, the axons in the brain’s neurons are damaged due to rapid acceleration or deceleration, often seen in car accidents. DAIs can result in coma or permanent brain damage.
- Penetrating Injury – In these injuries, an object pierces the skull and enters the brain, often causing significant damage to brain tissue and posing a high risk for infection.
- Secondary Brain Injuries
- Hypoxic Brain Injury – This injury occurs when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, possibly due to respiratory issues or blood loss. It can lead to long-term neurological impairment.
- Anoxic Brain Injury – In this condition, the brain receives no oxygen at all, often causing irreversible damage. Causes can range from choking to cardiac arrest.
- Hematoma – This occurs when there is a clotting of blood outside a blood vessel, creating pressure within the brain. Depending on its location and size, a hematoma can be a life-threatening condition.
What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Here are some common scenarios in which TBIs might occur, leading to legal claims:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – These are a leading cause of TBIs. Negligent driving, speeding, or even equipment failure can result in accidents severe enough to cause traumatic brain injuries.
- Workplace Accidents – Industrial and construction environments can pose a high risk for TBIs due to heavy machinery or falling objects. In these cases, employers may be held liable for inadequate safety measures.
- Slips and Falls – Whether in public spaces or private premises, slipping and falling can result in TBIs. Property owners may be held responsible for failure to maintain a safe environment.
- Sports and Recreational Activities – Impact sports or dangerous recreational activities can also lead to TBIs. Liability may lie with negligent coaches, trainers, or facility operators.
Edmonds Helmet Laws
Helmet laws have been enacted in many states and municipalities as a preventive measure to mitigate the severity of head and brain injuries. In Edmonds, these laws are particularly relevant to those who engage in certain activities that pose a higher risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as motorcycling or bicycling. Understanding the nuances of Edmonds helmet laws is critical for anyone involved in a TBI case as it can significantly impact legal outcomes.
In Edmonds, helmet laws mainly focus on motorcyclists and bicyclists. All motorcycle riders, regardless of age, are required to wear helmets that comply with safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Bicyclists under the age of 18 are also required to wear helmets in some jurisdictions within Washington State, although the rules may vary.
Some insurance companies may attempt to reduce or deny coverage if you were not complying with helmet laws at the time of the accident. In TBI cases, failing to wear a helmet when required by law could potentially be used against the injured party under Washington State’s “pure comparative negligence” doctrine. This means that if you are partially at fault for your injuries—by not wearing a helmet, for instance—any compensation you may be entitled to will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Edmonds Traumatic Brain Injury Statute of Limitations
The term “statute of limitations” refers to the timeframe within which a person must file a lawsuit to seek compensation for an injury or other legal claim. The timeframe for taking legal action can significantly impact your ability to secure justice and receive financial compensation for your injuries.
In the State of Washington, the general statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including traumatic brain injuries, is three (3) years from the date of the injury. This means that if you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, you have three (3) years from the date of the injury—or the date you discovered the injury—to file a lawsuit.
While the three-year rule serves as a general guideline, there are exceptions that can either extend or shorten this timeframe. If the person who suffered a TBI is a minor, the statute of limitations generally doesn’t begin until the individual reaches the age of 18. For those who are mentally incapacitated, the statute may also be tolled (paused) until the incapacitation is lifted.
In cases where the TBI is a result of medical malpractice, different rules may apply. It’s crucial to consult legal advice to understand the specifics of such cases. Washington State employs a “discovery rule,” which means the statute of limitations starts when you knew or should have known that you had a claim. This rule is often applied in TBI cases where the injury may not be immediately apparent.
Contact Our Edmonds Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers Today
Suffering a traumatic brain injury is a life-altering event that brings not only physical and emotional challenges but also complex legal hurdles. At Wells Trumbull, we are committed to shouldering the legal burden for you, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being. With a proven track record of success and a compassionate, client-centered approach, our team of specialized Edmonds traumatic brain injury attorneys are here to guide you through each step of your legal journey. Time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations, so don’t delay in securing the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and take the first step toward reclaiming your life.