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California Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney

When you live in one of California’s busy cities, injury-causing mishaps are often unavoidable. In many instances, people walk away from accidents with only minor damage; however, other injured victims endure life-changing conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, following their accidents.

Many everyday occurrences can cause brain injuries, which may occur on business properties, construction sites, in homes, in public spaces, or during car accidents. Brain injuries happen when accidents or intentional acts cause a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Workers can receive head injuries when they fall from elevated surfaces, and children can sustain concussions and other brain trauma while playing or participating in organized sports or on playgrounds.

The occurrences that cause TBIs are usually sudden and unpredictable, but injured people and their families deal with common issues. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) alters the way people live. Injured individuals often endure emergency and in-patient medical treatment and long-term rehabilitation, while others may develop a slower onset of symptoms. In some cases, they must manage a lifetime of medical bills, recovery efforts, decreased earnings, and economic losses.

When a person, a business, a corporation, or any other entity is responsible for a brain injury, that party should pay for the damages.

We Make Responsible Parties Pay

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we’ve always done everything within our power to make responsible parties pay. Our personal injury attorneys are respected professionals. They’ve earned awards and gained respect for their legal and community accomplishments. When we’ve handled cases for our injured clients and their families, we’ve committed our time, manpower, and legal resources to produce the best outcomes.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys we have been delivering results and serving people in California including:

 

Our attorneys have taken the time to understand how a brain injury changes an injured person’s life. We understand that treatment, recovery efforts, income losses, and medical expenses are often ongoing and costly. We’ve worked with medical and economic experts to properly evaluate what that means to each individual. Our clear focus and experience have allowed us to produce the best outcomes for our injured clients.

Our Law Firm’s Results

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have negotiated, settled, or tried some of the most complex brain injury cases in the country. Through persistent effort over the past 10 years, we have won over $500 million in judgments and settlements. Our personal injury lawyers have produced consistently successful results because we understand the issues and prepare a winning strategy for each case.

Gomez Case Results

We’ve always believed that it’s important to resolve cases based on what’s best for our injured clients and their families. When defendants and their attorneys responded fairly, we’ve negotiated on our clients’ behalf. When aggressive negotiations haven’t produced the results our clients required, we’ve presented our evidence in court.

Our case results demonstrate our firm’s dedication to our injured clients and our willingness to work hard to produce the best outcomes.

  • $16,200,000 settlement: Slip-and-fall/mild traumatic brain injury
  • $13,500,000 jury verdict: Auto accident/brain injury
  • $12,300,000 jury verdict: Mild traumatic brain injury

  • $10,800,000 jury verdict: Brain injury and cervical fracture
  • $3,270,000 settlement: Medical malpractice/brain injury
  • $2,750,000 settlement: Trucking accident/brain injury

How Do Brain Injuries Occur?

A brain injury usually occurs due to a jolt, bump, or blow to the head that’s causes an alteration consciousness. The type of head trauma that causes a brain injury is often the consequence of an unexpected event. Consider the following:

  • Auto accidents: Of the 16,495 people in the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) database, 51 percent sustained injuries in vehicular accidents. That makes it the number one cause of brain injuries. Auto accidents often cause brain injuries, and the most damaging crashes involve collisions between mismatched vehicles. When a car, truck, or SUV is significantly larger and heavier than the other vehicle, the occupants sustain more serious injuries during a crash.
  • Slips and falls: Falls caused 27 percent of traumatic brain injuries in the TBIMS database. These injurious events occur on playgrounds, in work environments, in public spaces, or when a person is simply walking down the street. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show, fall-related head trauma motivated 81 percent of the emergency department visits for adults age 65 and over and 49 percent for children up to age 17.
  • Medical malpractice: Medical professionals cause head trauma during surgical procedures and under other treatment circumstances. Newborns experience brain injuries as a result of medical errors and oxygen deprivation during delivery. This often happens as monitoring technology minimizes direct interaction with medical patients, women in labor, and their unborn babies. Medical personnel miss signs that a patient or newborn is in distress. Doctors may delay C-sections or use vacuum extraction and forceps inappropriately. They sometimes overlook anesthesia complications and prescribe and dispense inappropriate medications.
  • Abusive head trauma: When a parent, babysitter, or caregiver severely shakes a young child, the trauma sometimes causes brain damage and shaken baby syndrome. Abusive head trauma usually occurs in children age five and under. When a person shakes a small child, bleeding sometimes occurs around the brain and eyes. AHT causes impairments, developmental delays, and death.
  • Sports: When children and adults play sports, they increase their risk of concussions and severe brain injuries. The CDC explains that when children return to sports too soon after a concussion, they place themselves in danger of sustaining additional head trauma. A second head injury is usually more serious and sometimes causes permanent damage.
  • Violence: Violence is number three on the list of TBI causes. This often involves a gun wound or a blow to the head with an object.
  • Defective products: When a product malfunctions, it causes a variety of injuries, including head trauma and TBIs.

Living With a Moderate to Severe Brain Injury

A brain injury presents varying challenges depending on the person, the extent of the injury, and the location of the trauma in the brain. Patients often bounce back quickly from mild brain trauma, but for others, even with mild trauma, their symptoms may last months, years, or even be permanent. It’s vastly different for those with the most serious injuries.

Vegetative States and Comas

As the National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) explains, only 20 to 40 percent of TBI patients survive when they have a “profound disturbance of consciousness.” Some patients with severe brain injuries remain in a vegetative state or a coma for an extended period. Vegetative TBI patients show signs of awareness, such as sleep cycles, eye-opening, and reactions to loud noises. Comatose patients display no eye-movement, physical reactions, or other signs of awareness.

TBI Complications Last a Lifetime

The NIDILRR describes moderate to severe TBI as a lifelong condition. When a seriously injured patient reaches maximum recovery, he or she must still learn to manage a range of temporary and permanent impairments as well as lifestyle issues.

  • Poor overall health: Some patients suffer from seizures, infections, pneumonia, and other chronic or progressive conditions.
  • Changes in functional abilities: Some TBI patients require assistance with everyday tasks—57 percent remain unemployed, and 40 percent to 60 percent stop driving
  • Decreased life expectancy: Life expectancies are lower for patients who are older, male, unmarried, and have severe TBIs or other factors.
  • Quality of life issues: 29 percent of TBI patients express dissatisfaction with their lives.

Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Patients recovering from moderate to severe TBIs must learn to manage cognitive, emotional, behavioral, sensory, and physical issues. Severely brain-injured patients usually begin comprehensive rehabilitation before they leave the hospital. Healthcare organizations structure programs to help patients address multiple issues that frequently require attention over a lifetime.

TBI patients participate in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They relearn compromised skills and develop coping strategies to overcome memory, language, physical strength, and other long term issues.

  • Physical challenges: Some TBI patients must learn to compensate for balance, hearing, vision, touch, and other deficits.
  • Alcohol use: Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC)  cautions TBI patients about alcohol consumption. Drinking during brain injury recovery often enhances cognitive deficits and emotional issues, such as depression. Drinking also increases the chances of reinjury.
  • Employment problems: Depending on the severity of symptoms, brain injury patients often perform well on job tasks they learned and mastered before they were injured. Cognitive, memory and other issues sometimes interfere with learning and retaining new information and procedures. A TBI may also slow job performance, requiring more time to accomplish job responsibilities.
  • Driving skills: Over half of TBI patients eventually return to driving. They must first work to overcome problems with concentration, memory, coordination, and reaction time.
  • Family and personal relationships: Physical and emotional issues and changes in personality often affect personal and family relationships. Everyone involved must accept that TBI patients can’t meet pre-injury expectations. They must adjust their lifestyles accordingly.
  • Long term disease progression: The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes severe TBI as a disease. Some patients improve, but others experience a progression of symptoms and conditions over time and may develop endocrine disorders, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and other chronic conditions.

Who Is Responsible for Brain Injuries?

People sustain traumatic brain injuries in many situations and circumstances. As with every injury case, a thorough investigation will help reveal the responsible parties. The list of potentially negligent individuals and entities changes depending on the nature of the accident, but may include:

  • Auto or pickup driver: Motor vehicle accidents cause more traumatic brain injuries than any other situation. The negligent driver is the obvious culprit, but the vehicle owner is also on the list of responsible parties. The term “vehicle” also includes motorcycles, ATVs, and other mechanical modes of personal transportation.
  • Large truck driver: When a large commercial truck causes a collision, the driver, employer, trucking company, vehicle owner, and leasing company may also have liability exposure. Catastrophic injuries occur more frequently when an accident involves a truck with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Premises owner: When you sustain a TBI due to a fall, a violent act, or another incident on someone else’s property, the property owner, maintenance company, security contractor, employees, and other entities may share liability for your damages.
  • Sports team managers and trainers: TBIs occur during diving, skiing, football, and other team sports. Team owners, managers, sponsoring schools, and other entities may share liability when a child sustains a TBI. So too might the manufacturers of defective equipment that cause brain injuries.
  • Doctors and medical professionals: A medical professional is legally liable for a TBI when he or she causes an injury due to a violation of a standard of care.
  • Commercial entities: Auto accidents, slip-and-falls, and other job-related adverse events cause brain injuries. Employers meet their responsibility for employee injuries with worker’s compensation coverage. You may also have a valid liability claim against any non-employer or non-coworker who causes or contributes to your on-the-job injury.
  • Designer, manufacturer, and distributor: When a defective product causes an injury, entities in the chain of design, manufacturing, or distribution of the product may share responsibility for your injuries.

What Damages Can a Brain Injury Victim Recover?

Settlements and judgments include economic damages, general damages, and sometimes punitive damages. Economic damages reimburse an injured victim for out-of-pocket costs. A settlement includes lost wages, medical bills, and other current and projected future expenses.

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Medical bills
  • Medications
  • Prosthetics and mobility devices
  • Physical Therapy
  • Transportation
  • Home care and services
  • Funeral and burial expenses

General damage settlements pay an injured person for emotional and psychological damages. These may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Spousal and family relationship issues
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of brain function
  • Permanent disabilities

Courts sometimes award punitive damages to punish responsible parties. A plaintiff must show clear and convincing evidence that a defendant committed an act of malice, oppression, or fraud to receive punitive damages.

How Do Responsible Parties Defend Themselves?

Traumatic brain injuries produce lifelong impairments and are costly for the person living with the injury. Consequently, TBI cases have high dollar values. Responsible parties and their insurance companies enlist defense strategies designed to avoid paying the full amount of an injured plaintiff’s damages. They don’t always settle, even when it’s the most reasonable course of action. This occurs for several reasons.

  • Large commercial entities are sometimes self-insured or have policies with high-dollar retention limits. As the first dollars of a settlement come from their corporate funds, they retain some control over a case’s disposition.
  • Private passenger vehicle drivers who cause TBIs often have insurance limits that are too low to pay for the damages they cause. If their insurer can’t settle within the policy limits, the insurer may decide that it has no choice but to try the case. Paying policy limits while a lawsuit is still pending exposes its insured to financial ruin due to the potential for a high judgment. It also sets up the insurer for a bad faith claim.

  • The defense of a case is sometimes a negotiation strategy. Responsible parties and their insurers force plaintiffs to spend money on discovery costs, hoping they will choose settlement as a more expedient and economical option. This is often an issue in TBI cases, as brain injury cases are medically complex. Plaintiffs must present expert medical and economic testimony to prove the damage value. When combined with legal and liability issues, preparing a TBI case for trial is often costly and time-consuming. Defendants and their insurers realize that, unlike Gomez Trial Attorneys, many law firms don’t have the resources to prepare for trial. Sometimes a defense strategy forces plaintiffs to accept a lower settlement.
  • Outdated medical data: Defendants often rely on outdated medical literature and opinions to try to confuse the court to the jury.

In some cases, defendants rely on creative defenses to convince a judge or jury to render a verdict favorable to the defense. They hope to at least produce a lower judgment than the plaintiff’s demand.

  • No negligence: Responsible parties try to prove they were not negligent and therefore not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Assumption of risk: Defendants allege that an injured plaintiff assumed the risk of entering a situation and therefore assumed the risk of injury. Premises owners and sports teams sometimes rely on this defense.
  • Comparative negligence: Under California’s pure comparative negligence standard, a court reduces a plaintiff’s award if the defendants prove the plaintiff contributed to the circumstances that caused an accident.
  • No defect: When a vehicle or product defect causes an accident, the designers, manufacturers, distributors, and other responsible entities defend their legal interests and force the plaintiff to prove the defect.
  • Damages: Defendants sometimes hope to diminish a claim’s value by disputing some or all of the damages or claimed injury costs.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, our experience and firm resources give us an edge when trying a TBI case. Long before entering a courtroom, we’ve evaluated the evidence and prepared our cases for trial. Defense attorneys and insurers understand that our firm has never let preparation time and expenses, creative defense strategies, or trial costs interfere with our drive to provide our clients with the best possible legal outcomes. We know how to these counter defense tactics.


Call Our California Brain Injury Attorneys Today

Attorney John Gomez
John Gomez California Brain Injury Lawyer

If you or a family member is struggling with a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else’s negligence, please take the proper steps to protect your legal rights. TBI injuries can prove challenging, and the consequences often last a lifetime. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have the experience, dedication, and resources to produce results. Call us today at (866) 395-6792 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Gomez Trial Attorneys’ Dedicated Brain Injury Division Shines as a Beacon of Hope, Help, Experience, and Expertise for Brain Injury Victims and Families. Contact us now.

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