Chicago Brain Injury Attorney
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago personal injury attorneys have obtained what was the largest verdict in Illinois history for a brain injury. To read about this record-setting verdict by our incredible Chicago brain injury lawyers, please click here.
What is a Brain Injury?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, brain injuries impact 1.7 million people in the US annually. In fact, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) are two of the most common causes of disability and death in the U.S.
Trauma to the brain can be caused by various factors. A physical blow, jolt or bump to the head, or some other serious event in which the brain is deprived of oxygen can cause brain trauma. Situations where oxygen to the brain is cut off or other neural damage occurs like anoxia, electric shock, vascular disruptions, disease, tumors, and poisoning can also result in traumatic brain injury. A closed brain injury is when there is no break in the skull. A penetrating brain injury is when there is a break in the skull.
An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is defined by the Brain Injury Association of Illinois as “an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, present at birth, or degenerative,” most often referred to as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
A TBI, with or without a skull fracture, can produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness (dizziness or fully unconscious state), and can result in temporary or prolonged changes to memory or judgment, physical control and response, or emotional functions.
Concussions and other mild forms of brain injuries make up 75% of the most common brain injuries annually. Mild brain injuries may cause a person to feel temporarily dazed or confused, or cause a brief loss of consciousness, but should never be taken lightly. Concussions can lead to post-concussion syndrome, which can include lingering or worsening symptoms. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, mental slowing, and fatigue, lasting only a few months, or permanently.
What are the Causes of a Brain Injury?
The most common causes of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. result from violence, motor vehicle accidents, and construction accidents. After a serious traumatic or acquired brain injury there can be a multitude and complex blend of deficits. Cognitive, motor, perceptual or sensory, communication and language, functional and regulatory problems can all arise as well as personality or psychiatric changes.
A traumatic brain injury is also known as an intracranial injury. It occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. This results in temporary or permanent impairment and or structural damage to the brain and its functionality. Even in the absence of an impact, momentous acceleration or deceleration of the head can cause a traumatic brain injury.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Injury?
Symptoms of TBI are based on the type and the part of the brain that is affected. A mild TBI is generally when a patient loses consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, or it may be the case that the patient remains conscious. Some other symptoms of mild TBI include:
- Lack of motor coordination
- Difficulty balancing
- Blurred vision or tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Changes in sleep patterns
Mild TBI Symptoms
Cognitive and emotional symptoms of mild TBI include:
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
- Personality changes
Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms
Symptoms of a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury include:
- A headache that does not go away
- Repeated vomiting and or nausea
- Inability to awaken
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech, aphasia (word-finding difficulties), dysarthria (muscle weakness that causes disordered speech)
- Weakness or numbness in the limbs
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion, restlessness or agitation
Our Chicago brain injury attorneys understand the importance of immediate access to quality medical care. Quality care includes rehabilitation therapies and ongoing disease management as a means to reduce complications and speed recovery.
Proving Your Brain Injury Claim
A brain injury lawsuit functions similarly to any other personal injury claim. A plaintiff’s Chicago injury attorney must establish four elements of negligence to succeed with a brain injury lawsuit.
Duty of Care
The plaintiff’s attorney must establish the defendant’s duty of care in a given situation. For example, in a brain injury claim resulting from a car accident, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the at-fault driver was involved in the accident in question.
Breach of Duty
The next element is the breach of duty. The plaintiff’s attorney must convey to the court how the defendant violated his or her duty of care to the defendant.
Next, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the plaintiff suffered damages and provide evidence that establishes the extent of those damages. Proving complex damages or non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, often requires testimony from expert witnesses.
The final element is causation. Causation is proving the plaintiff’s damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
If a plaintiff’s attorney can establish these four elements of negligence, success with the case is likely. However, brain injuries are very complex medical issues that can result in unpredictable and highly variable short and long-term effects for victims. Pursuing a brain injury claim requires extensive research and input from relevant experts that can help determine the full extent of a plaintiff’s damages and likely future medical concerns.
Recoverable Damages From a Chicago Brain Injury Lawsuit
The number of recoverable damages in a brain injury claim hinge on the extent of the plaintiff’s damages, and some of those damages are more difficult to prove than others. For example, a brain injury lawsuit for a concussion that led to several weeks of intense headaches may not involve much in the way of direct medical expenses, but the jury may award a sizeable amount of compensation for the weeks of pain the plaintiff endured following the accident in question.
Brain injuries can also involve life-threatening physical wounds, dramatic cognitive and psychological impairment, and long-term disability requiring constant in-home medical care. A brain injury victim may not even have the ability to pursue a lawsuit on his or her own behalf. If a brain injury leaves a victim in either a vegetative state or profoundly disabled, a personal representative or close loved one may need to pursue a brain injury lawsuit on his or her behalf.
Damages in a brain injury case are usually significant.
- Plaintiffs can claim their immediate and future medical expenses related to a brain injury.
- If a victim missed work during recovery, he or she can claim lost income as damages. Additionally, if a brain injury leaves a victim unable to work in the future, he or she may claim compensation for lost future earnings.
- If the defendant’s actions damaged or destroyed any of the victim’s property, the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property are also recoverable damages.
- Plaintiffs generally receive pain and suffering compensation in proportion to their physical pain and psychological suffering resulting from a brain injury. For example, if a brain injury results in permanent intellectual impairment, the victim’s pain and suffering recovery would likely be substantial.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer Today
We understand that both the injured and their families need help navigating the often-fragile circumstances they face. Our Chicago TBI lawyers will work hard to ensure you or your loved one does not suffer financially. This also includes protecting your right to have the appropriate insurance company pay for necessary future treatment, loss of wage, loss of livelihood and pain and suffering.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates invites you for a free consultation to discuss your injury with our Chicago brain injury lawyers. You can also email us or even speak with us right now on LiveChat, located in the lower right corner of the screen. Even if you do not wish to retain an experienced Chicago brain injury attorney, we can set you on the right path for free.
Most of our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience. We have an outstanding track record in helping our clients and creating a strong trust relationship, as you can see in our Success Record. Please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822, or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822. You can also call our toll free number at (800) 985-1819.
Resources for Brain Injury Victims
Brain injuries are serious, complex wounds that require careful treatment and often necessitate ongoing care. Individuals who sustain brain injuries may need assistance performing basic daily tasks during initial recovery or even indefinitely in the event of a permanent disability from a brain injury. Fortunately, Chicago is home to some of the most highly respected brain injury treatment centers in the U.S.
- Rush University Medical Center, located at 1653 West Congress Parkway in Chicago.
- The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, located at 710 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
- Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, located at 1401 South California Avenue in Chicago.
These are just a few area treatment centers specializing in brain injury care.