If you suffer a brain injury caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful actions, you may be wondering, “When should you hire a Chicago brain injury lawyer?” Hiring a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident can significantly improve your chances of recovering fair compensation for your injuries. Brain injuries can have serious consequences that result in long-term health problems and significant medical costs. A brain injury lawyer can help you take legal action to make sure your medical bills get paid.
Indications that You Should Hire a Brain Injury Lawyer
Determining when you should hire a brain injury lawyer can be a challenge, especially if the insurance company appears to be cooperating with your injury claim. Even if you have received a settlement offer, however, you may need to hire a lawyer to make sure the amount you’ve been offered is fair and your rights as a victim are protected.
It may be time to hire a brain injury attorney if:
- You suffered a serious brain injury that interfered or continues to interfere, with your ability to work
- Your brain injury impacts your ability to perform daily living skills
- The TBI required or continues to require medical treatment
- Your brain injury caused you other significant losses
- The insurance company is denying your personal injury claim
- The settlement offer you received from the insurer does not seem reasonable
In many cases, insurance companies contact brain injury victims soon after an accident happens. They often attempt to settle these types of cases out of court, before the person realizes the extent of his or her injuries and how they will impact the victim’s future. Most of the time, the settlement offers they make are for substantially less than victims’ claims are worth.
Before you sign anything, accept a settlement check, or agree to a settlement amount, it is a good idea to consult with a brain injury attorney who can estimate the value of your case. If you settle with the insurance company, you can be barred from recovering additional compensation for your losses.
What Does a Brain Injury Lawyer Do?
A brain injury lawyer plays a major role in the success of a personal injury claim or lawsuit. According to recent studies, victims who hire attorneys to handle their TBI cases recover an average of three times more compensation than those who file personal injury claims on their own.
Although no amount of money is enough to pay for the reduced quality of life arising from a brain injury, financial compensation will help pay for the medical bills, ongoing medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering that the victim faces. A settlement or jury award will also offset the loss of income arising from the inability to work and help with any living assistance needs due to physical and/or mental impairments caused by the brain injury.
Benefits of Hiring a Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer
A Chicago brain injury lawyer can provide many benefits in a personal injury case. These include, but are not limited to:
Investigating the Circumstances of the Injury
Brain injury lawyers in Chicago have access to experienced investigators and accident reconstructionists who will identify crucial details that may otherwise be missed. In many cases, these small details are what it takes to win injury cases. Sometimes, a professional investigation may even provide evidence that indicates that additional defendants should be held liable for damages.
Gathering Important Medical Evidence
When a brain injury occurs, documented medical evidence is essential to prove a case in court. Claims that involve traumatic brain injuries must be well-documented for a successful outcome. A brain injury lawyer can gather important medical evidence such as medical reports from doctors that show proof of all office exams; treatments; surgeries; x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs; prescribed medications; lab results; rehabilitation and therapy; follow-up visits; and diagnosis and prognosis for recovery.
Handling Settlement Negotiations
Traumatic brain injury cases frequently involve substantial financial losses for victims and their families. With such large sums of money on the table, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to minimize victims’ injuries, dispute fault, or deny claims altogether to avoid paying out on a claim. A brain injury lawyer can present evidence to establish the severity of your injuries, demonstrate your financial losses, and persuade the insurance company to offer a fair settlement for your claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Court
Traumatic brain injuries often result in substantial personal and financial losses for the injury victim. If the brain injury is caused by negligence or wrongful actions, a brain injury lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to recover substantial damages for the victim. The attorney will present evidence to the jury, cross-examine witnesses, and make sure your voice is heard.
Understanding the Significance of a Brain Injury
To understand the significance of a brain injury, it’s important to understand some general information. An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An ABI results in a change to the brain’s neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain.
There are two types of acquired brain injury – traumatic and non-traumatic – and they have different causes and symptoms. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force, like a blow to the head. A non-traumatic brain injury is caused by internal factors such as exposure to toxins, lack of oxygen, tumors, and strokes. While it’s usually difficult to predict or control non-traumatic brain injuries, traumatic brain injuries are usually caused by car and motorcycle accidents, falls, sports injuries, physical assaults, and explosions, often due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another person.
Each year, over 1,000,000 people suffer catastrophic medical events and about 425,000 of those events are traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Many of these people never fully recover from their life-altering medical emergency. Two-thirds of people who do recover are left with some type of physical or mental disability that impacts their job, finances, and lifestyle.
A TBI caused by a sudden blow to the head can result in physical and cognitive symptoms that may have a profound impact on a person’s daily life. While physical symptoms like dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and nausea are obvious, cognitive symptoms like loss of coordination, memory loss, mood changes, and sleep difficulties may be mistaken for symptoms of common illnesses. For this reason, any sudden blow or hard impact to the head should be evaluated by a licensed medical professional as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Severe traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term complications, permanent physical and mental disabilities, and even death.
When a traumatic brain injury is caused by negligence or wrongful acts, a Chicago brain injury lawyer can pursue legal action against the responsible party to recover damages for injuries.
What Damages Are Recoverable in Brain Injury Cases?
When it comes to brain injury claims, the cause and the severity of the TBI have a significant impact on what damages are recoverable.
Because catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries typically require special accommodations, the financial payouts awarded in these cases are usually substantial. Compensation for these types of injuries is meant to cover more than just medical expenses and lost wages because brain injuries often affect various aspects of the victim’s life. Survivors of brain injuries often require numerous surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, wheelchairs and walking aids, and in-home assistance to help them perform basic living skills and household duties. In many cases, people suffering from severe brain injuries cannot return to their jobs because of debilitating injuries and disabilities.
Damages for brain injuries usually include compensation awards for the following:
- Medical bills and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and suffering
- Rehabilitation and therapy
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are sometimes awarded in car accidents and falls, which are the leading causes of brain injuries. Punitive damages are awarded on top of other damages. They are designed to punish the party whose wrongful actions caused injury to another person. When egregious actions cause harm, punitive damages are also awarded to deter other people from engaging in similar conduct.
The usual terms that characterize conduct justifying punitive damages include bad faith; fraud; malice; oppression; or outrageous, violent, wanton, wicked, and reckless actions. These aggravating circumstances typically refer to situations where a person acted with disregard for the rights and interests of another person or with the intention to cause harm to another person.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded to injury victims after car accidents, motorcycle accidents, hit-and-run accidents, and pedestrian accidents that involve speeding, impaired and/or drunk driving, drowsy driving, and reckless driving. In the case of exceptional recklessness or intentional, willful, or wanton behavior, the court may award punitive damages to the injury victim.
How to Choose a Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain injuries commonly involve complex medical issues and significant financial costs. Hiring a Chicago brain injury lawyer who is experienced with these types of cases is essential to a good case outcome. Finding the right lawyer for your case may be difficult, however. When choosing a brain injury lawyer, there are several important things to keep in mind.
Area of Practice
While some lawyers may focus on specific fields of law, others are referred to as general practice attorneys. Although general practice lawyers may have some experience with brain injury cases, their knowledge and experience is usually spread between various types of cases. When a traumatic brain injury occurs, it’s essential to choose a lawyer who has a substantial amount of knowledge and experience investigating these types of cases, negotiating with insurers when large settlement amounts are at stake, and representing victims in court when these cases go to trial.
The brain injury lawyer’s success rate should also be a factor when deciding who to hire. There are various ways to learn more about a lawyer or law firm’s success rate. Many attorney websites contain sections that feature case results. You can view these results to see what types of cases the lawyer has won, and the settlements and verdicts that were achieved. You can also ask the brain injury attorney about his or her success rate in brain injury cases.
When looking for legal representation, choosing a brain injury lawyer that is located nearby can make things much easier. It’s also important to choose a lawyer who practices law in the area where the accident or incident occurred. If a brain injury is caused by a car accident in Chicago or surrounding areas, look for a Chicago brain injury lawyer to represent the case. State laws regarding accidents, injuries, and negligence vary from state to state, so it is essential to choose a lawyer who is knowledgeable about state laws that may impact the case.
The Size of the Law Firm
A larger law firm may have more resources to help you win your brain injury case. In many cases, established law firms will have developed strong working relationships with top accident reconstructionists, professional investigators, medical professionals who can provide the specialist care you need, and other experts who can provide testimony in court.
In an accident and personal injury cases, many lawyers work on a contingency basis. In contingency cases, the lawyer will only receive payment for his or her legal services if the case has a successful outcome (if the injury victim recovers damages). Contingency fees can vary on a case-by-case basis, and they are subtracted from the final damages awarded in a case. When choosing a Chicago brain injury lawyer, look for a lawyer who works on a contingency basis, then discuss the details and financial arrangements with the lawyer.
Choosing a lawyer for legal representation can be difficult, especially when the personal injury case involves severe injuries to the victim. It’s a good idea to look for lawyers that offer free consultations before choosing a Chicago brain injury lawyer. Scheduling a free consultation before hiring a lawyer is a big help. During the consultation, the injury victim can see if the lawyer is a good fit by asking important questions about the legal process. The victim can also find out more information about a potential court trial, settlement negotiations, the timeline of the case, and potential financial awards in a successful case.