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Brain injuries

The term “head injury” includes an injury to the brain, skull, or scalp. It can range from a mild bruise or bump to a traumatic brain injury. Most common head injuries include concussions, scalp wounds, and skull fractures. The treatment and consequences of a head injury varies greatly, depending on what caused the head injury and its severity.

Head injuries can be either an open or closed injury. A closed head injury is one which doesn’t break or penetrate the skull. An open, or penetrating head injury is one in which something breaks the skull and enters your brain.

It is difficult to assess the seriousness of a head injury by just by looking at it. Some minor head injuries bleed heavily, while often major head injuries don’t bleed at all. It’s important to treat all head injuries seriously and seek proper medical attention.

Liability

Head injuries generally can be divided into two categories based on the cause, either due to blows to the head, or head injuries due to shaking.

Head injuries caused by shaking are found most frequently in infants and small children, but they can also occur any time one experiences violent shaking, for example during an auto accident.

Head injuries caused by a blow to the head are usually caused during a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a physical assault, or as the result of a construction or work accident.
Often referred to as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a person with a severe brain injury needs hospitalization, and may have long-term problems affecting:

  • Thinking
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Coordination and balance
  • Speech, hearing or vision
  • Emotions

A severe brain injury can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including relationships with family and friends, the ability to work or be employed, do household chores, drive, and complete other normal daily activities. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury often caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by an impact (car collision) causing the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This can damage brain cells and create chemical changes in the brain. Even though not life threatening, the following symptoms after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, may be a sign of a concussion, or serious brain injury:

  • No recall of events prior to or after a hit or fall
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Forgets an instruction, confused about an assignment
  • Clumsy movement
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness, even briefly
  • Mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems

 

Liability

Where a head or brain injury, however caused, was the result of another person’s negligence, the injured party will most likely have a claim in law for damages.
In California, a person is liable for injuries caused by his or her failure to exercise reasonable care, in the circumstances, towards another.

Time is of the essence as there are statutes of limitations applicable to all civil claims against in California, whether the responsible party is an individual, a corporation, or a governmental agency, through an employee, such as a bus driver, heavy equipment operator, or police officers. Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury in California. However, if the injury was caused by the State of California, any of its Counties, Cities, any of their agencies, and/or by any employee/s, it is mandatory to give notice of your intent to file a lawsuit as required by statute. This has to be done no later than six months after you were injured. Unless filed in a timely manner you will forever lose your ability to file a lawsuit for damages.

It is important that you consult as soon as possible with an attorney who understands this complex area of the law, who can review issues of liability and damages with you, and make recommendations on the best course of action you can follow. Call to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Pruitt v Alexander

Represented client injured by custodial staff while in prison. Case settled for $500,000 before trial.

Riley v Orange County

Represented client injured by custodial staff while in jail. Case settled for $335,000 before trial.

Confidential Settlement.

Represented client subject to unreasonable search and seizure, and then subject to excessive force, being Tased by a police officer. Case settled for $400,000 before trial.