Phoenix Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

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Phoenix, AZ TBI Attorney

The human brain is an incredibly powerful, important, but also sensitive part of the human form. This means that injuries to it can have a significant impact on a person. Some injuries a person may make a full recovery from, but many of them can have lifelong impacts and even require lifelong care and treatment. If you or a loved one’s TBI was caused by another party, you should seek compensation with the help of a Phoenix traumatic brain injury lawyer.

It’s tragic when these kinds of injuries occur and particularly hard when they are the result of another person’s negligence. When that happens, the costs of the injury, whether medical, psychological, or otherwise, are the responsibility of whoever caused it.

Getting the compensation needed after a traumatic brain injury can be a challenging process at times. Most of the time, the compensation is paid out by insurance companies who aren’t eager to do anything that could hurt their profits.

Civil law, though, allows those with traumatic brain injuries, or someone with legal standing who acts on their behalf, to take insurance companies to court to seek what they are owed. Working with a traumatic brain injury attorney can be a vital part of the process to get what you deserve. At the Bleaman Law Firm, our experienced team of Phoenix personal injury lawyers is an invaluable asset for your TBI claim.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries constitute a broad category of injuries that can affect the brain. The severity can cover a wide range of different levels. People recover from minor TBIs in a matter of days, but severe TBIs could also result in severe brain damage, leading to a requirement for lifelong care and treatment.

In many cases, these are injuries that come from some kind of blunt force trauma, like in a motorcycle accident and bicycle accident although there may be other ways they could be caused as well.

Traumatic brain injuries come in many different forms, but some of the more common ones include:

  • Concussions
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Second Impact Syndrome
  • Brain Contusions
  • Penetrating Injuries
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injury
  • Hematoma
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury
  • Anoxic and Hypoxic Injuries

How Is Liability for a Phoenix Traumatic Brain Injury Proven?

In order to seek compensation for an injury in Phoenix, AZ, most cases will require the process of going through a personal injury claim, although it’s possible that an injury at work, such as construction accidents in Phoenix, could involve a workers’ compensation claim. The process of winning a personal injury claim hinges on proving that the defendant’s negligence caused the injuries.

To prove this, the plaintiff’s lawyer will rely on a variety of evidence gathered in the process of investigating the injury, including potentially calling upon eyewitnesses and expert witnesses. They will need to prove the three components of negligence.

A Duty of Care

A duty of care may be unfamiliar terminology, but the concept is something that many people are generally familiar with. The idea is that because we live in a society, there is a level of care that all of us owe to the people around us.

We have a responsibility to those who could be affected by our actions to not place them in any unreasonable danger or risk. Of course, this duty doesn’t mean we have to act with unreasonable paranoia, but we do have a duty to take reasonable precautions.

In some cases, such as anything involving automobiles, this duty to care is fairly obvious and not particularly disputed. The inherent danger of something like a motor vehicle is well understood. Most people understand what is and isn’t an unreasonable way to behave with regard to a motor vehicle.

In less familiar cases, such as skydiving, those in the courtroom are less likely to know what the appropriate duty is. A skilled traumatic brain injury lawyer will need to be able to educate the court as to what the duty is in these less well-understood circumstances.

A Breach of Duty

Once that duty is presented, it becomes the responsibility of the plaintiff’s lawyer to explain how that duty was breached. In other words, it must be shown how the actions of the plaintiff failed to meet the duty required of them in that situation. This will usually require proving two things. The plaintiff will need to prove what the defendant actually did in the situation. This proof may rely on a variety of evidence and possibly even eyewitness testimonies if relevant.

Once what was done is established, the plaintiff’s attorney will need to explain why those actions or inaction constitute a breach of duty. Here, again, the circumstances will dictate what constitutes a breach and how it will be demonstrated to the court. Some things are generally well-understood as being an obvious breach of duty. If it can be established that someone was driving drunk, then it’s not particularly challenging to argue that it was a breach of duty.

In more industry-specific circumstances, it can be a bit more challenging. Most people are not familiar with what the expectation is regarding a duty of care and what would constitute a breach of duty when giving commercial tours of a remote cave system.

In cases like that, there may be some benefit to bringing in an expert witness, such as, in our example, another individual who gives commercial tours of remote cave systems. These witnesses can help make clear to the court what should have been expected and how what was done fell short of that.

The Cause of Injury

The final element of negligence that the plaintiff’s lawyer must demonstrate is that the breach was, indeed, the cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. In cases of traumatic brain injuries, particularly those involving some sort of blunt force trauma, this could mean proving two elements: that the breach led to an accident of some sort and that the accident led to the injuries.

A breach being the cause of an accident is not necessarily a given. If we consider again the idea of drunk driving being an obvious breach, we can realize that there are some cases where it may not be the cause of the accident.

If someone is above the legal BAC limit but otherwise driving safely, that breach is not likely the cause of an accident if they are involved in a collision where another party ran a red light. Therefore, the plaintiff’s team must show a clear, direct connection between the breach and the accident.

It’s also critical that there be a direct connection between the accident and the traumatic brain injury. There are some situations where people try to blame a pre-existing condition or something that happened afterward as being a product of the incident. Others have tried to exaggerate their injuries in order to get a larger compensation package.

The plaintiff’s team must be able to show that the injury was a result of the accident and be able to give a comprehensive description of what those injuries are.

What Is Compensated for in Traumatic Brain Injury Case?

Most traumatic brain injury claims will be personal injury claims, in which compensation is paid through something called damages. These damages will cover the costs associated with the injury, but it will be necessary to prove that these costs are the direct result of the injury.

Documentation of these costs is essential to being able to prove a connection, so things like doctor’s notes, medical bills, and anything else that shows the costs can be important to keep track of. These damages will also be paid out in different categories.

Which Damages Cover Financial Costs?

The first category of damages that is usually calculated is economic damages. These cover all the costs that have a very clear financial component. In the case of a traumatic brain injury, a significant portion of these will be medical bill-related. Things like doctor visits, medication, testing, surgeries, medical devices, and physical therapy and rehabilitation are all fully covered under economic damages so long as they are directly related to the injury.

Depending on the kind of accident that led to the traumatic brain injury, there may be some property damage involved. For instance, a car or motorcycle could have been damaged in the accident. All of the physical property that needs to be repaired or replaced is also addressed through economic damages.

A third major category included in economic damages is lost wages. For many people, a brain injury involves missing work. The wages lost from missing work are also something that economic damages will cover.

Of particular importance for those with more serious traumatic brain injuries is the fact that economic damages will cover expected future expenses as well. If there is a condition that requires ongoing medical care, those costs will be included in economic damages. Additionally, as is the case with many traumatic brain injuries, if the injured person is unable to return to work at the same capacity, then lost earning capacity is also covered under economic damages.

Which Damages Cover Psychological Costs?

Non-economic damages are a category that covers a variety of less tangible costs that lack a clear financial element. The psychological and emotional impact of a traumatic brain injury can be significant, so things like mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life are given values and then compensated through non-economic damages. This is not, of course, expected to solve these kinds of problems, but compensation can at least ease burdens in other portions of life.

Which Damages Punish the Defendant for Their Actions?

A potential third category of damages that could be awarded is punitive damages. These are damages that are awarded based on the behavior and actions of the defendant, not what the plaintiff has suffered. Punitive damages serve as a civil version of a punishment and deterrent. Although rare, these damages are then awarded in cases where the actions of the defendant were malicious or otherwise egregious.

Can Anything Limit the Compensation in Traumatic Brain Injury Claims?

Fortunately for victims of traumatic brain injuries and their families, there are no damage caps in Arizona that would set a hard limit on the financial award that may be given. There is, though, another way a damage award could be reduced that is worth considering.

Arizona civil claims operate under a doctrine called pure comparative negligence. This system gives the defendant in a case the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff was also negligent and that their negligence contributed to their own injuries. They will need to prove the same components of negligence that the plaintiff did regarding the defendant. If they are successful, both parties will be given a percentage by the court that represents their share of fault for the injuries.

In many states, if the plaintiff is awarded a share that is 50% or greater, then they are prevented from collecting damages. Arizona, though, operates on a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that even a plaintiff who is more at fault than the defendant can still collect damages.

However, when a plaintiff is found to be at fault at all, their damage award will be reduced by a percentage proportionate to their share of fault. A plaintiff 25% at fault on an award of $1 million takes home $750,000. One of the important things that a Phoenix traumatic brain injury attorney will do is defend against comparative negligence claims.

Should We Settle Our Claim or Take It to Trial?

Whether or not to settle a case or take it to trial is something decision-makers on the plaintiff’s side will likely have to make a decision on. There’s rarely a clear-cut answer, and there are often risks and benefits to either option.

What choice is right in your case will depend on a variety of factors, not the least of which is your own desired outcome and tolerance for risk. Generally, though, there are some points that can be broadly considered about the decision of whether to settle or go to court.

In a settlement, it’s to be expected that both sides will have to give something up because it’s a kind of compromise. For the defendant’s side, this usually means giving up the possibility of a successful defense in court and not having to pay anything.

For the plaintiff, this means giving up the opportunity for a total victory in court and maximizing the financial compensation that they receive. One might wonder why a plaintiff would want to do this, but it’s important to recognize that there are a couple of significant benefits to settling instead of going to court.

What Are the Benefits of Settling?

The first real benefit of settling is the element of time. The legal process can sometimes move very slowly. It’s quite possible that a civil trial, particularly a complex or contentious one, could go on for months or even years. For those who need their compensation sooner or don’t want to wait, settling can be a means of getting compensation much more quickly.

Another important benefit of settling a claim is that it eliminates risk from the situation. Any time that you take a case to trial, there is some level of risk. There is always the possibility that the court won’t see things as you do and rule against you. There’s a chance that a comparative negligence situation ends up going heavily in the defendant’s favor.

No one can guarantee the outcome of a trial, and a plaintiff can lose even the most thorough of claims. By settling a case instead, you can avoid the risks related to a trial and ensure that you get the amount that is agreed upon.

A Phoenix Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Could be the Difference in Getting the Help You Need

Traumatic brain injuries can be some of the most impactful and potentially tragic things that someone can have happen to them. Many of these injuries can cause substantial disruption of a person’s life and cause them tremendous pain. There are usually significant medical costs that are involved in treating such a sensitive part of the body.

For serious situations, these costs are likely to continue into the future, as ongoing treatment and care are necessary. This is, of course, all paired with significant psychological and emotional costs as well. All of these costs are the responsibility of those who caused the injury with their negligence or, more accurately, the responsibility of their insurance provider.

Insurance companies can be resistant to paying what they owe, even when the responsibility is overwhelmingly clear. It becomes necessary to make use of the civil law system to get what is owed. Plaintiffs going through this process can benefit tremendously from working with a Phoenix traumatic brain injury attorney.

At the Bleaman Law Firm, we work with our traumatic brain injury clients to seek the compensation they deserve. We negotiate firmly with the insurance companies, and if no solution can be found, we put forth a formidable argument in court. It’s our aim to see that our clients get the financial compensation they deserve.

Contact us today if you or someone close to you has been impacted by a traumatic brain injury case.


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