Any brain injury, no matter how “minor,” should be taken seriously as it can alter brain function and your ability to lead the life you want. Many personal injury accidents can result in head injuries and brain damage. If you or someone you love sustained head injuries in an accident, please contact a San Jose brain injury attorney immediately.

Brain injuries involve complicated medical issues and challenging legal matters. The experienced legal team at GJEL Accident Attorneys understands the nuanced nature of brain injuries and how to protect your legal rights. We’ve represented clients who’ve suffered brain injuries from birth injuries to slip and fall accidents. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

traumatic brain injury
Traumatic Brain Injury

Types of Accidents That Cause Head and Brain Injuries

Multiple types of accidents and incidents can cause brain injuries. Depending on the circumstances, any blow or other trauma to the head or body can damage the brain and its supporting structures. The most common events that can cause a head or brain injury include the following.

Falls

Falls can be deadly, especially the older you get. Even falling from bed or in the bathtub could result in a head injury. Tripping over something on the sidewalk, falling off a ladder or stairs, or being involved in a construction site accident are common causes of traumatic brain injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Accidents involving vehicles and large trucks can also leave victims facing brain injuries. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders who make an impact with larger cars and trucks are at a higher risk as they might hit their heads on the pavement if they fall to the ground.

Violence

Violent crimes can lead to brain injuries, including gunfire, child abuse, domestic violence, and other types of assaults. Infants who are victims of the shaken baby syndrome could suffer brain injuries.

Birth Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can result from complications when giving birth, typically from a loss of oxygen to the brain. Many birth injuries are avoidable. That means the medical professionals involved in pre-natal care and delivery might have some culpability. Birth injury claims fall under medical malpractice cases, which are usually complex. Do not attempt to pursue compensation for a brain injury resulting from delivery complications without speaking to a proficient brain injury attorney in San Jose first.

Defective Products

Some brain injuries can be linked to the use of various products. If your vehicle malfunctions in an accident, you might have an additional claim against the manufacturer. Machinery, appliances, and other equipment could also cause brain damage in the event of a malfunction.

Sports Injuries

Athletes, especially those engaged in contact sports, are always at risk of falling or colliding with a person or object that might cause head trauma. But injuries aren’t limited to professional athletes. Recreational games of soccer, football, lacrosse, and hockey could also result in brain injuries. Any extreme sports or high-impact activities increase the risk of a head injury, such as boxing, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, and wrestling.

Military Duty

Military members in active combat zones could be injured by explosive blasts, penetrating wounds, shrapnel, and more.

Common Types of Brain Injuries in San Jose

There are two main types of brain injuries—traumatic and non-traumatic.

A non-traumatic brain injury is also called an acquired brain injury (ABI). Someone has an ABI after an illness or condition rather than a physical blow to the head. Examples of non-traumatic brain injuries include stroke, cancer, brain inflammation, aneurysm, lack of oxygen from a heart attack, and more.

Traumatic brain injuries, often called TBIs, do not necessarily involve a skull fracture or open head wound. These brain injuries result from accidents, falls, violence, etc., and can lead to personal injury claims. Examples of traumatic brain injuries include the following conditions.

Concussion

A concussion is one of the most common brain injuries. This injury occurs when the brain hits the internal walls of the skull, resulting in some functional changes. The risk of more severe damage occurs after multiple concussions.

Hematoma

A hematoma involves a ruptured blood vessel that leads to blood pooling in the brain or the empty spaces around the brain. Hematomas can occur in different parts of the brain.

Edema

When the brain swells, it’s referred to as edema. Edema can cause brain pressure because the skull cannot expand to accommodate the swelling.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injuries involve damage to the brain cell axons, rendering them unable to function. These brain injuries don’t involve bleeding, but they can cause swelling. Some victims have permanent loss of brain functions.

Coup-Contrecoup Injuries

These injuries result from brain movement in the skull during an impact. This injury is essentially two brain injuries. One injury occurs when the brain impacts the front of the skull, and the second occurs when the brain moves back and impacts the rear of the skull.

Skull Fractures

A skull fracture is rarer but could result in brain damage and infection. A thin skull fracture might require only monitoring by a doctor. A depressed fracture or one that results in leaking cerebrospinal fluid will need surgical intervention.

Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Brain injury symptoms can vary depending on the severity of your injury.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Potential symptoms and signs of mild traumatic brain injuries might include:

  • Loss of consciousness that lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes;
  • Memory and concentration problems;
  • Drowsiness or fatigue;
  • Speech problems;
  • Dizziness or losing balance;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Headaches or sensitivity to light or sound;
  • Changes in mood and feelings of anxiousness or depression;
  • Problems with concentration or memory;
  • Sensory issues (e.g., blurred vision, changes to the ability to smell, ringing in the ears, or a bad taste in the mouth); and
  • Sleeping more than usual or problems falling asleep.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all symptoms you’re experiencing, as it’s crucial to ensure your seemingly minor brain injury isn’t more severe.

Moderate to Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

More severe brain injuries can include any of the mild symptoms. Additional symptoms that might develop within the first hours to days following a serious head injury include:

  • Loss of consciousness that lasts from several minutes to hours;
  • Repeated episodes of nausea and vomiting;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Seizures or convulsions;
  • Numbness or weakness in toes and fingers;
  • One or both pupils showing dilation;
  • Loss of coordination;
  • Combativeness, agitation, or other odd behaviors;
  • Clear fluids draining from ears or nose;
  • Persistent headaches or one that worsens;
  • Noticeable confusion; and
  • Coma or other consciousness disorders.

If you have a young child with a potential brain injury, it might be more challenging to understand their symptoms because they cannot communicate clearly about sensory issues, headaches, confusion, or other conditions. Always see a doctor if your child sustained a blow to the head, no matter how minor.

The categories of mild to severe describe how the injury affects brain function. Even a mild injury can be severe, which is why you should seek medical treatment immediately.

How Are Brain Injuries Diagnosed and Treated?

The first step to diagnosing a brain injury is to conduct a medical exam, including a neurological evaluation. The doctor evaluates your motor function, cognition, coordination, sensory function, reflexes, and eye movements. Additional tests might include CT and MRI scans.

Treating a brain injury depends on the injury type and severity. Mild concussions might not need any treatment but rest. With more severe injuries, doctors need to ensure there’s enough oxygen to the brain and adequate blood supply. Some injuries may require medications that help limit any secondary damage to your brain. In other situations, you might need emergency surgery to minimize permanent damage.

Most people with moderate to severe brain injuries will need rehabilitation. Your treatment plan might commence in a hospital setting, move to a specialized rehabilitation unit, and eventually involve outpatient services. Rehabilitation differs for every patient. Your medical team will discuss what is best for your particular situation.

Why Choose GJEL as Your San Jose Brain Injury Lawyer?

You have many personal injury law firms to choose from in San Jose, so you might wonder why you should retain GJEL Accident Attorneys over other San Jose brain injury lawyers. Our accomplished team is committed to helping you fight for the compensation you deserve. A few things that set us apart from other law firms include:

  • We’ve recovered over $950 million for our clients from insurance companies and corporate defendants;
  • We have had over a 99% success rate since the early 1970s; and
  • Our peers continue to rank us as one of the country’s top personal injury law firms.

We strongly believe that it’s necessary to establish a personal connection with each of our clients. We want to fight for you and hold negligent individuals and corporate defendants liable when they’ve done something wrong. We are passionate about providing the best legal services possible, prioritizing quality over quantity. Brain injury cases are typically complex and require significant attention to detail. That’s why we are highly selective about the cases we agree to take.

You’ll find other personal injury firms that will agree to handle brain injury cases. But how much knowledge and trial experience do they really have? When you hire a GJEL San Jose brain injury attorney, you can rest assured you have one of the best personal injury lawyers representing you. We fight tirelessly for all our clients. You’ll never be just another case file in the system when you hire GJEL.

How Does a San Jose Brain Injury Attorney Help You?

You might be wondering why you need a brain injury lawyer in San Jose to represent you in the first place. Most personal injury cases are complicated because they involve medical diagnoses and prognoses. Even a knee injury involves challenging medical and legal issues. Now imagine brain injury cases—they are exceedingly complex. It is prudent to have a lawyer to protect your rights and preserve all evidence supporting your claim. We always conduct a thorough and independent investigation to gather and preserve all evidence.

When you have legal representation, the insurance company or lawyer for the defendants cannot speak with you directly. They direct all communication to your attorney. We will handle all contact with the insurance adjuster, including settlement negotiation discussions.

If the insurance adjuster is unwilling to negotiate a meaningful settlement, we’re prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Some law firms care only about resolving cases quickly so they can move on to the next. That means the attorneys want to resolve the claim without litigation. We are not afraid to take a case to trial. We have the skills and resources to see even the most complex brain injury case through to the end.

Because brain injuries are complicated, hiring one or more industry experts is often necessary. The expert’s area of specialty will depend on the circumstances. If liability is disputed after a car accident, we might hire an accident reconstructionist to prepare a report and share their findings. In a medical malpractice case involving a birth injury, we might need to hire a medical expert to discuss the duty of care and whether this medical professional breached theirs.

Filing a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit might be necessary, even if you’re still negotiating a potential settlement. That’s because of a law known as the statute of limitations. This law determines how much time you have to file a lawsuit. So, if you don’t resolve your dispute through settlement negotiations in a timely manner and the statute of limitations has passed, the at-fault party’s insurance company will have absolutely no reason to offer you anything in compensation. 

In California, you typically have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injuries resulting from accidents, such as car crashes. However, the deadline differs depending on a variety of factors.

Some cases might have a much shorter deadline, such as medical malpractice. If you have a child with a brain injury resulting from a birth injury, you must give 90 days’ notice before filing. In addition, you typically only have one year from the date of discovery or when you should have known about the injury, or three years from the date of injury, whichever was earlier. Claims involving government offices or agencies also have special rules. You must file an administrative claim as early as six months following the injury.

Not filing within the limitations period usually means that your case is over and that you won’t be getting any compensation from the negligent parties. These deadlines are generally strictly enforced, so it is wise to have an attorney who knows the rules and makes sure you comply with the filing deadlines.

Who Is Responsible for Your Brain Injury?

Identifying all responsible parties is a crucial step in the claims process. You need to know every person, business, or agency who should be contributing financially toward your recovery. Who you pursue money from depends on the circumstances of your injury. If your brain injury resulted from a car accident, you might be suing the other driver for negligence. If your airbag didn’t deploy properly, you might have another cause of action against the vehicle manufacturer.

Before collecting compensation for your injuries and other damages, you must prove liability against the responsible parties. For a standard negligence claim, you must meet four requirements:

  • Demonstrate that the defendant owed you some legal duty;
  • Provide proof that shows how the defendant breached this duty;
  • Show the defendant’s breach of duty is related to the brain injury you suffered; and
  • Have verifiable damages related to your brain injury.

Proving negligence in any personal injury case requires strong evidence. Claims involving brain injuries can be significantly more complex, which is why you need a GJEL San Jose brain injury attorney on your side.

Recovering damages after a brain injury in San Jose is directly tied to whether you have any fault for your brain injury. State negligence laws vary, which can severely impact your claim. California law allows you to recover compensation even when you’re primarily at fault for an accident. This legal statute is called pure comparative negligence. If you are 20% at fault, you will receive a maximum of 80% of your damages. If you’re 75% at fault, you can still receive 25% of your damages in compensation.

Insurance adjusters will do their best to place the maximum percentage of blame on you. The company’s top priority is its bottom line, not your health and recovery. A San Jose brain injury lawyer at GJEL will protect your rights and put your recovery first.

Potential Compensation for a Brain Injury in San Jose

Compensation in a brain injury claim depends on your case circumstances. In general, you might be eligible to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses to date,
  • Future medical expenses,
  • Lost wages,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Property damage,
  • Permanent disability,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Mental anguish, and
  • Loss of consortium.

More severe brain injuries typically equate to greater damages. Don’t let the insurance company try to take advantage of you when negotiating a settlement. The claims adjuster will undoubtedly argue that your case is worth less than your damages indicate. That’s why it might be necessary to hire one or more experts to prepare a report discussing reasonable expenses for future care and lifetime disability.

When you hire a GJEL lawyer to represent you, there’s no need to worry. We’ll handle all the settlement negotiations, so you don’t have to.

Contact a San Jose Brain Injury Attorney at GJEL Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love sustained a brain injury, speak with the legal team at GJEL immediately. With decades of experience and a proven record of success, you can relax knowing your case is in good hands. We understand what a stressful time this is for you and your entire family, and we stand ready to assist. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation, so one of our skilled attorneys can review your case. We’ll be there for you at every step of the claims process and fight tirelessly to help you recover the compensation you deserve after suffering a traumatic brain injury.