Last month, we published an article discussing claims for financial compensation involving traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In that article, we highlighted some of the most common causes of TBI as identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, while some causes of TBI may be more common than others, virtually all types of accidents and incidents have the potential to lead to concussions, hematomas, and other traumatic brain injuries. While liability must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, individuals who suffer TBI due to these causes will often be entitled to financial compensation.
Common Causes of TBI and Possible Claims for Financial Compensation
So, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, do you have a claim? Here is an overview of several common scenarios in which financial compensation may be available:
Slips, Trips, and Falls
While slipping or tripping might not seem like a severe accident, these accidents frequently result in concussions and other TBI. Brain injuries are most common when individuals who slip or trip hit their head on the ground or another object while falling, and they are most likely to occur when an individual falls backward, hitting the back of their head.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? There are many circumstances in which individuals and families can seek financial compensation for slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents. If a hazardous property condition causes a fall, the property owner may be liable. This includes everything from slippery floors to cracked sidewalks and from inadequate lighting to inadequate swimming pool security.
Falls from Height
Falls from height have a high rate of TBI, and it isn’t hard to see why. These accidents frequently result in severe traumatic brain injuries, and many fall victims experience permanent behavioral changes and cognitive disabilities. Tragically, traumatic brain injuries from high falls are often fatal, and, in these cases, family members will be forced to cope with the effects of another person’s or company’s negligence.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? Like slips and trips, falls from height often occur due to unsafe property conditions (i.e., unsafe stairs and missing railings). These accidents are also prevalent on construction sites. Unfortunately, many construction companies fail to take adequate safety precautions to protect their employees on roofs, ladders, and scaffolding.
Motor Vehicle accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries, according to the CDC. While drivers and passengers often suffer concussions and other TBI when their heads make a direct impact during a collision, the sudden and violent movement of the body caused by the force of a crash can also cause the brain to move and suffer damage inside of the skull.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? Injured drivers and passengers will be entitled to seek financial compensation for motor vehicle accidents in many cases. Most cases involve driver negligence (i.e., speeding or driving while distracted), but vehicle defects, road defects, inadequate maintenance, and other issues can also justify compensation claims.
Traumatic brain injuries are a risk for both recreational boaters and individuals who work in maritime occupations. Collisions with objects onboard are a frequent cause of TBI, and collisions with other passengers, fall while participating in watersports, and job-related incidents are all common causes.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? In cases involving collisions between vessels, recovering financial compensation will most often include filing a claim with a negligent operator’s insurance company (or the operator’s employer, in the case of a collision with a commercial vessel). In cases involving falls and other incidents, assessing a victim’s or family’s legal rights requires a careful analysis of the circumstances involved.
Gunshots, assaults with other weapons, and physical altercations can result in severe or fatal TBI. Assaults can directly result in open or closed head injuries or lead to brain trauma when victims fall to the ground.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? Assault victims and families are entitled to pursue claims against their (or their loved ones) assailants under Florida law. However, as a practical matter, the likelihood of actually collecting just compensation from an assailant is limited—as most assailants will not have the financial resources to satisfy a substantial judgment against them. Thus, in these cases, it will often be necessary to pursue a “third party” claim, such as a claim against a business owner that provided inadequate security.
Being Struck By Objects
Flying, falling, and swinging objects also present risks for TBI. Accidents on construction sites and other job sites, accidents in grocery stores and big-box stores, sports accidents, and different types of accidents will entitle TBI victims to financial compensation in many cases.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? As with the other types of claims discussed above, recovering financial compensation after being struck by an object requires proof of liability. In most cases, this is proof of negligence or a failure to meet the requisite standard of care. But, in cases involving defective products, evidence of negligence is not required. Product manufacturers and retailers are subject to “strict liability” under Florida law.
In addition to accidents involving flying balls and sports equipment, other types of sports accidents can also lead to traumatic brain injuries. This includes everything from collisions between athletes on the playing field to accidents involving near-drownings.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? Athletes and families can seek financial compensation for sports accidents in a variety of different circumstances. While waivers may prevent athletes and families from pursuing claims in some cases, these waivers aren’t always enforceable, and they don’t always apply.
Playground and Other Child Accidents
Playground accidents, including falls and collisions, present TBI risks for children of all ages. From school bus accidents to tipping furniture, various other types of accidents present TBI risks for children. Unfortunately, childhood brain injuries are far more common than any of us would like to believe. Each year, countless parents in Florida find themselves in a position where they need to seek financial compensation.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? When a child suffers a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or a product defect, the child’s parents can seek financial compensation under Florida law. This includes monetary compensation for the child’s medical needs, loss of future earning capacity, and other losses. Depending on the circumstances involved, various parties could be liable, and the parents may be entitled to a significant financial recovery.
Accidents Involving Dangerous and Defective Products
We’ve touched on defective products already, but this topic deserves a brief discussion of its own. All types of products have the potential to be defective, and all kinds of product defects have the potential to lead to accidents resulting in TBI. Defects resulting in failures, explosions, and other accidents are alarmingly common, and manufacturers recall products regularly.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? If a defective product causes a traumatic brain injury, the product’s manufacturer and other companies in the product’s “chain of distribution” can face strict liability. This means that these companies are financially responsible for the victim’s or surviving family members’ losses without proof of negligence.
Nursing Home Accidents
According to the CDC, three million seniors seek emergency treatment for fall-related injuries, and 20 percent of these cases involve serious injuries, “such as broken bones or a head injury.” Many of these accidents occur in nursing homes. While nursing homes are supposed to provide safe and supportive living environments, too often, these facilities cut corners and hire unqualified staff members who intentionally or unintentionally cause harm to residents.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in a Florida nursing home, you should speak with a lawyer promptly. When nursing homes fail to protect their residents from serious injuries adequately, they can – and should – be held accountable. Nursing home residents have clear legal rights under Florida law, and violations of these rights can entitle residents and their families to just compensation.
Medical mistakes have the potential to cause various complications. When a medical mistake deprives a patient’s brain of blood or oxygen, this can result in a life-altering or life-threatening brain injury. Diagnostic errors, medication errors, anesthesia errors, and errors during surgery can also have tragic consequences, and, unfortunately, statistics show that these types of mistakes are all too common.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? When doctors and other health care providers make serious mistakes, they can face liability for medical malpractice. Virtually all providers have medical malpractice insurance, and recovering just compensation for a severe medical mistake typically involves dealing with the provider’s insurance company. If you suspect medical malpractice, you should engage a law firm to assess your (or your family’s) legal rights promptly.
Building collapses such as the Surfside condo collapse can have devastating consequences. In many cases, victims who survive a collapse will face long and difficult roads to recovery, and some victims will face lifelong consequences due to TBI.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? Buildings should not collapse unexpectedly. When they do, there is no justification or excuse. Determining the responsible party in the event of a collapse requires an exhaustive investigation, but victims and families will have a clear right to compensation in most cases.
In cases involving brain injuries, recovering compensation requires proof that the damage was sustained in (or as a result of) the collapse. It also requires evidence of the long-term financial and non-financial costs the victim or family is likely to incur. We have significant experience helping victims and families after building collapses, and we can use this experience to help you seek the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
While employers should always provide their employees with safe work environments and appropriate safety equipment, this doesn’t always happen. Additionally, some accidents (i.e., highway accidents) are beyond employers’ control. Data show that nearly 20 percent of work-related injuries involve TBI.
When Can You Seek Financial Compensation? If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury at work, you could potentially have several options available. While workers’ compensation may be one option, you may also be able to seek additional damages outside of workers’ comp. In some cases, employees (and their families) can sue their employers, and many employees and families will have claims against third parties (i.e., building owners and product manufacturers).
Speak with a Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer for Free
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, we strongly encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. To find out if you have a claim, call us at 305-445-0011 or request an appointment online today.