If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The Birmingham child injury attorneys of Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can help you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to obtain restitution. We have been helping North Central Alabama residents get compensation for their injuries for over twenty years, and we can put that experience to work for you and your family.
Call us at (205) 324-1212 today for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you need to cover all your expenses and move forward with life after your child’s brain injury.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A Traumatic Brain Injury is any injury that affects how the brain functions. A TBI usually occurs because of a bump, jolt, or blow to the head. The term covers a wide array of possible injuries and has various causes. TBIs are one of the most common causes of death and disability in the United States. About 61,000 people died from TBIs in 2019. That’s roughly 166 people every day.
TBIs are particularly dangerous for children because their brains are still developing. A TBI can disrupt this development and cause long-term health consequences, even with only a minor injury. Statistics show that TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in minors ages 0-4 and adolescents ages 15-19. An estimated 145,000 children and adolescents ages 0-19 are living with the long-term health effects of TBI in the United States. These effects include cognitive and behavioral changes that can affect a child’s social interactions, self-regulation, and thought processes. TBIs in children are considered a chronic disease process rather than a one-time injury, as the effects can sometimes take months or years to fully manifest.
Causes of TBI in Children
TBIs are a regular occurrence in children simply because they tend to be more active and because, especially at younger ages, children are still developing their balance and proprioception, or the body’s sense of movement and position. As children age, these senses develop and become more acute, which reduces the chances of TBI from falling, but increases chances of TBI from other causes, such as sports injuries or bike accidents.
The main causes of TBI in children are falls (50.2%), getting struck by an object or striking an object (24.8%), car accidents (6.8%), assault (2.9%), and other injuries (15.3%).
Younger children such as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are more likely to suffer TBI by falling, assault, or shaken baby syndrome, and children elementary school age and older are more likely to suffer TBI via car accident, bike accident, or sports injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
There are three types of TBI: mild, moderate, and severe. TBI has two classifications: primary TBI and secondary TBI.
Mild TBIs usually come in the form of concussions. Concussions are characterized by a bump, jolt, or blow to the head that causes the brain to impact the inside of the skull. They can occur with or without loss of consciousness. Symptoms for concussions include the following:
- Blurred Vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory loss
Moderate TBIs are characterized by an impact to the head that causes injury lasting more than a few minutes after impact. Symptoms can sometimes take days to appear and may last for months. They include the same symptoms of a mild TBI as well as more severe symptoms, such as:
- Loss of consciousness for a few minutes to several hours
- Severe confusion or disorientation
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Numbness in extremities
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Muscle weakness
Severe TBIs are characterized by an impact that causes severe or penetrating damage to the skull and/or brain, such as gunshot wounds. Severe TBIs can cause unconsciousness for an extended period of time and require extreme medical intervention to treat. Symptoms include those listed above for mild and moderate TBI, as well as the following:
- Unconsciousness for a few hours to weeks or months
- Brain swelling
- Brain bleeding
- Clear fluid draining from nose or ears
- Profound behavioral change
- Loss of memory
- Cognitive difficulties
- Impaired movement
Primary TBI is an injury caused by the initial impact. This can include hematoma, concussions, lacerations, or skull fractures. Secondary TBI is an injury that appears anywhere from hours to days after the initial impact. Secondary injuries can include hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), edema (swelling of the brain), and epilepsy.
Symptoms of TBI in Children
Children may have difficulty communicating the symptoms of a TBI, so it’s important to watch for the following indicators:
- Persistent crying
- Change in eating or nursing habits
- Easy irritability
- Change in attention span
- Loss of interest in toys or activities
- Change in sleeping habits
How Can I Get Compensation for My Child’s Injuries?
If another person or party is responsible for your child’s injury, you may be able to obtain compensation by filing a claim with their insurance company for damages or by filing a lawsuit with the help of an attorney. The process can take anywhere from weeks to years and typically follows a set procedure that may include these steps:
- Hire an attorney after your child’s accident. We will review your case information and determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation. If you do, we will investigate the accident thoroughly, gather evidence and documents, and interview witnesses to support your claim in preparation for submitting it to the insurance company.
- We submit a demand letter. Once we complete our investigation and gather all the necessary facts about your case, we will compose and submit a demand letter to the responsible party’s insurance company. This letter serves as written notice that you intend to seek compensation.
- The insurance company reviews your claim. After we submit the demand letter, we wait for a response from the insurance company. They will likely take this time to investigate your claim from their end to see if they believe it has any merit and determine whether they should offer a settlement in response to your demand.
- Negotiation. In most cases, if your claim is legitimate, the insurance company will offer a settlement, which is intended both to compensate you for your losses and release the defendant from any liability. If the settlement amount is close to or equal to the amount you requested, your attorney will likely advise you to accept it, and the process ends. If it is not, we will try to negotiate a higher amount. If negotiations are not successful, we move on to the next step.
- File a lawsuit. The vast majority of claims are handled with a settlement to keep the case from going to court, which can be both costly and time-consuming for all involved. In those cases where no settlement agreement is reached, your attorney can assist you in filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. This process can take months or years and carries additional risk. If the judge or jury are successfully convinced by the insurance company that their client was not at fault, you can lose the case, and you receive no compensation at all.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost for My Child’s Brain Injury Case?
We understand that most people don’t save up for the day they will one day need to hire a lawyer. This is why we work on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee arrangement works like this. You bring us your case in an initial consultation, and we review the facts. If we believe it has merit, we sign an agreement to represent you and begin investigating. You pay nothing upfront.
We then go through the procedure described above. We investigate, compose and submit a demand letter, negotiate a settlement, and, if necessary, take your case to court. Throughout this process, you still pay nothing.
If and when we obtain a settlement or a judge or jury rules in your favor at the end of a lawsuit, we take an agreed-upon percentage of the amount you are awarded. It’s that simple. If we are not successful in getting you compensation in the form of a settlement or verdict, you pay nothing. You only pay for our services if we’re successful. This gives us incentive to represent you with vigor and tenacity and allows you to concentrate on helping your child recover from their brain injury instead of worrying about how you’re going to pay for legal counsel.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you believe someone else was responsible for your child’s brain injury, don’t wait any longer. Call a Birmingham child injury attorney from Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get compensation after the injury.
You shouldn’t have to pay medical expenses for injuries that were caused by someone else. Call (205) 324-1212 today. Our Birmingham personal injury law firm is standing by to help.