brain injury scans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.5 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on an annual basis in the United States. In addition, thousands more brain injuries may go undetected, undiagnosed, and untreated.

A brain injury is often classified as “catastrophic” because it affects one of the most important parts of the body, and can have lasting effects on your life. Brain injuries can also result in extensive financial losses, and can leave your family struggling to pay the bills.

If you or a member of your family has suffered a brain injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should not hesitate to call an experienced Myrtle Beach brain injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights.

At Joye Law Firm, we understand how devastating a brain injury can be, and we will fight for your rights to financial recovery. We’re proud to have helped TBI victims and their families recover maximum compensation over the years, including a $2.41 million settlement for a crash that resulted in a TBI among other serious injuries and a $3 million settlement for a man who suffered a TBI in a collision caused by a drunk truck driver.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI is damage caused to the delicate tissue of the brain due to either direct trauma or a jolt of the head. In either case, the brain can hit the side of the skull, causing damage and potentially interrupting normal brain functioning. TBIs are classified as either mild, moderate, or severe.

The most common form of mild TBI is a concussion. While classified as “mild,” a concussion should always be taken seriously, and should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. Both untreated concussions and multiple concussions over a lifetime can have long-lasting and serious side effects, including the development of degenerative mental conditions. For this reason, you should visit a medical professional after even a slight bump to the head to ensure you have not sustained a concussion.

Moderate and severe brain injuries can have more obvious and debilitating symptoms that last even longer. For example, a moderate TBI can cause noticeable cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments that can persist for months or even years. Severe brain injuries can cause extended loss of consciousness and coma, as well as permanent disabilities once a victim regains consciousness.

No matter how relatively minor your head trauma may seem, you should undergo a full medical evaluation to ensure that all brain injuries are properly diagnosed—not only for your own safety and well-being, but also to help any personal injury claim that may arise from your injury.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries in Myrtle Beach

Brain injuries can happen in several ways, many of which are caused by the negligence of others.

The following are only some of the most common causes of brain injuries that may lead to a legal claim:

  • Falls: According to the CDC, 40 percent of all brain injuries occur because of falls. When a person falls, they can easily hit their head and suffer a TBI.
  • Traffic-Related Accidents: Victims of traffic accidents often hit their heads or suffer a serious jolt upon impact. Victims of motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents are especially at risk for a TBI.
  • Falling Objects: If heavy objects fall off shelves or from other heights, they can land on a person’s head below, causing serious brain damage.
  • Construction Accidents: Construction sites have many different hazards that can lead to accidents such as falls, getting hit by an object, injuries caused by heavy equipment, motor vehicle crashes, and more that can cause TBI.
  • Sports Injuries: Certain sports are notorious for causing concussions and other brain injuries, such as football, hockey, boxing, and soccer. If a league does not take proper precautions, a TBI from sports may lead to legal action.
  • Workplace Accidents: Certain work environments have hazards that can lead to brain injuries. Injured workers will likely have to pursue benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
  • Birth Injuries: Doctors can make errors during the delivery process that can cause brain injuries to an infant during birth. This can include pulling a baby against the pelvic bone or misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors.
  • Nursing Home Abuse: When an abusive nursing home staff member hits a resident in the face, head, or neck, the resident may likely sustain a TBI.
  • Swimming Pool Accidents: People can sustain damage to the brain tissue in or around a swimming pool due to falls or other trauma, or due to lack of oxygen from near-drowning events.
  • Explosions: Anyone who is too close to an explosion may have their brain vibrate in the skull, leading to a TBI.
  • Violent Assaults: Assaults including blows to the head, getting hit with a blunt object, stab wounds, and gunshots can all lead to severe brain injuries.

Brain Injuries Can Result in Extensive Losses

No matter how a brain injury occurs, the effects of the injury will depend on the location of the injury and the severity of the damage. Many brain injury victims require an extended period during which they must rest both physically and mentally. For some victims, this can mean missing work or school. Even when they are cleared to return, they may feel ongoing effects and challenges as a result of their brain injury.

Such challenges may include trouble communicating in social situations, following instructions, verbal and written expression and comprehension, memory issues, loss of emotional control, and much more.

Some of the many losses that brain injury victims can suffer include:

  • Extensive medical bills for treatment, hospitalization, and ongoing rehabilitative care
  • Lost earnings from missed work and the future inability to work
  • Lost opportunities if unable to finish school or pursue a prior career path
  • Physical pain and suffering from symptoms
  • Emotional distress due to impairments and challenges
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Permanent disability

If a brain injury occurred because of another person’s negligence, that person should be held liable for all of the losses experienced by the victim.

What Are the Long-Term Complications of a TBI?

A TBI can lead to a range of long-term complications that vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, the area of the brain affected, and the individual’s overall health. These complications can be physical, cognitive, emotional, or social, and can affect an individual’s quality of life significantly.

Some of the long-term complications of TBI include:

Cognitive Impairments

  • Memory problems, particularly issues with short-term memory
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Impaired judgment and problem-solving
  • Slowed processing and understanding of information

Physical Complications

  • Chronic pain, especially headaches
  • Seizures, which can develop immediately after the TBI or years later
  • Sleep disorders, including difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Dizziness and balance issues

Sensory and Perceptual Issues

  • Partial or total loss of vision or hearing
  • Impaired perception of touch, temperature, movement, limb position, and vibration
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Communication and Language Problems

  • Difficulty understanding speech or writing
  • Problems with speaking or writing (expressive communication)
  • Difficulty with social communication, including body language and facial expressions

Emotional and Behavioral Changes

  • Personality changes, including increased aggression, impulsivity, or apathy
  • Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social withdrawal and isolation

Degenerative Brain Diseases

  • Increased risk of developing brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other forms of dementia

What Are the Legal Aspects of a TBI Claim?

TBI claims are a complex area of personal injury law, often involving substantial legal, medical, and financial considerations.

Here’s an overview of the key legal aspects:

Proving Negligence

To win a TBI claim, the plaintiff (the injured party) typically needs to prove that the defendant (the party being sued) was negligent. This involves establishing four elements:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant had a legal obligation to act with a certain level of care towards the plaintiff.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to meet this standard of care.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s TBI.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered quantifiable harm as a result of the injury.

For example, drivers must obey traffic signals (duty of care). If a driver runs a red light (breach of duty), and strikes a pedestrian legally crossing the street (causation), then the driver can be held responsible for the pedestrian’s medical bills (damages).

Complexities in TBI Cases

TBI cases are complicated. Knowing how to navigate them successfully requires experience and extensive legal knowledge:

  • Medical Expertise: Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe trauma. Understanding and proving the extent and impact of a TBI often requires testimony from medical experts in neurology, psychology, and other specialties.
  • Long-Term Effects: Brain injuries can have long-lasting or permanent effects, complicating the calculation of damages. Lawyers need to consider future medical costs, loss of earning capacity, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
  • Causation Issues: It can be challenging to link the defendant’s actions directly to the TBI, especially if the symptoms of the injury were not immediately apparent or if the injured individual had pre-existing conditions.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence: In South Carolina, if the injured party is found to be partially responsible for the incident that caused the injury, their compensation may be reduced accordingly.
  • Statute of Limitations: In South Carolina, most TBI claims must be filed within three years from the date they occur or from the date that victims become aware that they suffered a TBI.

What Role Do Expert Witnesses Play in TBI Claims?

Expert witnesses play a pivotal role in TBI claims, primarily due to the complex and often highly technical nature of these cases. Their involvement is crucial in establishing the cause, extent, and future implications of the injury.

Here’s an overview of the roles and contributions of expert witnesses in TBI claims:

Medical Expertise

  • Neurologists, Neuropsychologists, and Psychiatrists: These experts can testify about the nature and extent of the TBI, the cognitive and psychological effects of the injury, and the prognosis for recovery. They can interpret medical records, imaging studies, and the results of neuropsychological tests to establish the severity of the TBI.
  • Rehabilitation Specialists: Experts in rehabilitation can outline the necessary therapies and interventions, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. They can provide detailed insights into the long-term care needs of the individual. This can help your lawyer calculate how much compensation is needed to provide these services.

Future Planning

  • Life Care Planners: These experts can project the future costs associated with the TBI. This includes ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, medications, assistive devices, home modifications, and any other long-term care needs. 

Vocational and Economic Experts

  • Vocational Experts: They assess the impact of the TBI on the individual’s ability to work and earn a living. They consider factors such as the individual’s work history, education, skills, and the extent of their disability to determine how their injuries may impact their ability to progress along their current career path in the future.
  • Economists: They calculate the economic losses resulting from the TBI, such as lost wages and lost earning capacity—including future promotions, bonuses, and benefits—alongside additional costs arising from the injury.

Establishing Causation and Liability

  • Accident Reconstruction Specialists: In cases where the TBI resulted from an accident with a disputed cause (like a car crash or a fall), these experts can help scientifically establish how the accident occurred, potentially linking the incident directly to the TBI.
  • Biomechanical Engineers: They can provide insights into the mechanics of the injury by analyzing the forces and impacts that caused the TBI, further establishing causation.

Call a Myrtle Beach Brain Injury Lawyer for Help Today

At Joye Law Firm, we have helped many TBI victims obtain compensation for their losses as a result of their life-changing injuries. The attorneys in our Myrtle Beach office handle cases where a victim was injured across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee Regions, including Horry, Florence, Dillon, Georgetown, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties.

Our attorneys have over 300 years of combined legal experience, and we are ready to put it to work for you. Please contact our Myrtle Beach brain injury attorneys for a free consultation today.

Joye Law Firm Myrtle Beach Office Location

2050 Corporate Centre Dr Suite 140,
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
(843) 285-6010