Boston Brain Injury Lawyer

Have You Suffered a Brain Injury in Boston?

If you or a loved one recently suffered any type of brain injury due to the negligence of another party, your family likely faces significant economic hardship from the resulting damages. Brain injuries are serious injuries that typically require expensive immediate treatment as well as ongoing care. A brain injury may also force the victim to miss work for an extended time during recovery, and he or she will lose the wages from those lost work days. A brain injury may result in a permanent disability that prevents the victim from working at all in the future, and he or she may require constant in-home medical care following the injury.

Many types of brain injuries are possible, and the term brain injury applies to any damage to the brain that occurs from external forces. Some brain injuries result from natural causes, such as birth defects, but acquired birth injuries from external causes may constitute grounds for a  lawsuit with a Boston personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Brain injury defined

Common brain injuries in Boston brain injury lawsuits

The cost of a brain injury in Boston

Who is liable in Boston brain injury claims

What compensation is available in a Boston brain injury case

How a brain injury attorney will help you with your case

What Is a Brain Injury?

A brain injury is any harm that affects the brain, be it from a fall, a severe cut, or the effects of a collision. Some brain injuries result from complications during childbirth, and other common causes include sports accidents, motor vehicle crashes, and swimming accidents. It is important to remember that not every brain injury is a physical injury or penetrating wound. Some brain injuries can occur from reactions to anesthesia, oxygen deprivation, or as secondary causes from other injuries.

The brain is the control center of the human body and any injury to the brain can have serious and long-lasting effects. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a traumatic brain injury is caused by an impact to the head which disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) contribute to a substantial number of deaths and is one of the leading causes of permanent disability in the United States every year.

Brain Injury Statistics

Recent data from the CDC indicates that:

  • 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year
  • 52,000 die from a brain injury
  • 275,000 go to the hospital
  • Over 1.3 million are treated and released from emergency care.
  • TBI is a contributing factor in over 30% of all injury-related deaths in the United States
  • (MTBI) Mild traumatic brain injury accounts for about 75% of brain injuries that occur each year
  • Falls account for over 40% of the brain injuries that occur in the United States each year
  • In 2000, brain injury accounted for an estimated $60 billion in medical costs and lost productivity
  • Almost half a million emergency room visits for TBI are made by children ages 14 and under
  • In every age group, males receive brain injuries at a higher rate than females

These numbers do not account for the many who don’t even know they have sustained a brain injury and the families of brain injury victims who must cope with the fallout of these injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury Emergency Room Visits in Massachusetts

Massachusetts brain injury hospital visit

The Brain Injury Commission requested a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The chart above shows the annual sum of visits to the emergency room in MA at a rate of 100,000 persons. The most common cause is unintentional falls at roughly 425,000 people and being struck and motor vehicle accidents showing 100,000 people.

Common Types of Brain Injuries in Boston Accident Claims

Brain injuries can take on many different forms and can vary widely in terms of severity. Some common brain injuries include:

  • Concussion – Perhaps the most common type of brain injury, a concussion occurs when the brain is jostled by a sudden impact to the head. This can occur in many situations ranging from contact sports to car accidents.
  • Contusion – Caused by a direct impact to the head, this type of injury is bruising of brain tissue which can cause swelling and hematoma.
  • Closed Head Injury – This type of injury is categorized by a lack of outward signs of a brain injury, such as bruising or bleeding. Because of this, they can be more difficult to detect or diagnose, but can still be just as serious as other brain injuries.
  • Open/Penetrating Injury – Just as it sounds, a penetrating injury is classified by an object, forcing its way into the skull, causing fracture or outward signs of damage.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury – These types of injuries are caused by a shaking or strong rotation of the head, much like whiplash. The stationary brain lags behind the movement of the skull, causing brain and nerve tissues to tear and disrupt the natural chemical processes of the brain.
  • Anoxic Brain Injury – This occurs when the brain does not receive oxygen. Brain cells without oxygen will begin to die in as little as four minutes.
  • Hypoxic Brain Injury – Similar to anoxic brain injury, this occurs when the brain is getting some, but not enough oxygen. This can happen when blood flow is restricted or blood pressure is reduced.
  • Second Impact Syndrome – Also known as “recurrent traumatic brain injury,” this occurs when a person receives a second brain injury before a previous one fully recovers. A second injury causes even more swelling and widespread damage.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome – If a baby is shaken to violently, either intentionally or unintentionally, it can cause the blood vessels between the brain and skull to rupture and bleed. This type of injury can cause lifelong disability, seizures, and death.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Boston Traumatic Brain Injuries

  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble finding words
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Amnesia (memory loss)
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Confusion
  • Changes in social behavior
  • Paralysis
  • Chronic pain
  • Seizures
  • Loss of hearing
  • Feeling fatigued

Common Causes of TBI’s in Boston

Brain injuries can result from forceful contact with virtually any object.  Some common causes include:

How Expensive Is the Treatment and Cost of a TBI in Boston?

An injury as catastrophic as one to the brain will cost a significant amount in medical expenses. Necessary treatments can include multiple surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, therapies, medications, medical assistive devices, live-in care and ongoing care. You may have to pay for numerous doctor’s appointments, tests and treatments, as well as travel to see a brain injury specialist. 

Although each patient’s experience is unique, the average brain injury costs thousands of dollars over the patient’s lifetime. A study in 2017 found that the average cost per stay of someone diagnosed with a TBI was $21,000. The cost of you or a loved one’s TBI will depend on the severity of the brain injury. A minor concussion, for example, may cost only a few hundred dollars. A severe traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, could cost hundreds of thousands in required medical care.

In determining the value of your TBI claim in Boston, you or your personal injury lawyer will need to add together your existing medical costs as well as estimate your future losses. Your lawyer can help you total up the costs of hospital stays, ambulance fees, treatments and medications based on insurance statements and bills. Then, your lawyer can accurately estimate the future costs associated with your brain injury based on the specifics of your case. Your lawyer will demand the highest possible compensatory award to match the value of your treatments and other associated costs.

Who Is Liable in a Boston Brain Injury Case?

If you were not 100% at fault for the accident that led to your TBI, you should not have to pay 100% of the related costs. The civil justice system exists to save injured accident victims from having to pay out of pocket for losses caused by negligent or reckless parties. If someone else caused your accident and TBI, that person may be liable for your damages. You will need to determine the liable party, however, before you can file a claim in Boston.

  • Driver
  • Product manufacturer
  • Property owner
  • Employer
  • Business owner
  • Construction site manager
  • Doctor/surgeon
  • Criminal 
  • Multiple parties

Liability for a TBI in Boston will come down to who owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and caused the injury in question. It will be up to you or your brain injury attorney to prove through clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for your damages. Establishing liability may or may not require proof of negligence, depending on the case. If you have a strict product liability claim, for instance, your lawyer will not have to prove negligence to obtain compensation. Discuss liability and the related laws in Massachusetts with an attorney today.

Massachusetts’ Comparative Negligence Rule

A common argument used by defendants during brain injury cases is that the victims contributed to their own accidents or injuries. This is a tactic meant to diminish the defendant’s degree of liability – ultimately reducing the amount the defendant will have to pay for the TBI. Your lawyer can help you combat this defense using evidence of the defendant’s negligence and majority share of fault. 

If the defendant in your case tries to allege that you caused your own brain injury, or made damages worse by failing to keep up with medical treatments, this could impact your ability to recover compensation. Massachusetts uses a 51% modified comparative negligence rule, meaning the bar on a plaintiff’s negligence is at 50%. 

If found more than 50% responsible for your TBI, you will not recover any compensation (with a few exceptions). Less than the majority share of fault will not bar you from recovery, but it will reduce your award by a percentage that matches your degree of fault. The lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP can help you deal with a comparative negligence defense during a TBI claim in Boston to maximize your recovery.

What Compensation & Damages Are Available in Boston Brain Injury Cases?

A brain injury lawsuit can lead to several types of compensation for a victim. Generally, if another person or party caused your brain injury, then the responsible party is liable for all of the resulting damages. It is important to work quickly with an attorney to start building a strong case, but it is also important to refrain from accepting any settlement offer until the victim has received a professional assessment of the full scope of his or her damages.

Brain injuries can cause long-term medical complications, cognitive disabilities, language problems, memory problems, sensory issues, and may cause significant changes in personality and mood. These are severe damages, so it is important for brain injury victims to secure legal representation from attorneys who can fully explore every available avenue of compensation. The damages in a brain injury case can be substantial.

  • A plaintiff can secure compensation for any and all medical expenses resulting from a defendant’s negligence. This includes immediate treatment costs in an emergency room or intensive care unit, hospital bills, prescription medication costs, medical device costs (in case the victim requires a wheelchair or other medical device following the injury), and any costs for necessary long-term medical treatments. Many brain injury victims require rehabilitative treatments like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health counseling.
  • Plaintiffs can secure compensation for lost income following a brain injury. If a victim’s injury prevents him or her from working for an extended time, he or she can claim compensation for the income lost during that time. It is also possible to secure compensation for lost future earnings if a plaintiff can no longer work after a brain injury. The plaintiff’s attorney will likely call on an expert witness with a financial background to explain to the court the severity of the victim’s lost earning capacity.
  • Property damage can also come into play if a defendant’s negligence damaged or destroyed the victim’s personal belongings, such as a vehicle in a traffic accident or expensive personal belongings damaged or destroyed in the claimed event.
  • Plaintiffs in brain injury case can also often recover non-economic damages for the physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional suffering resulting from a defendant’s negligence. A brain injury can change a victim’s life in profound ways, so the pain and suffering damages a plaintiff receives can be quite substantial. Some courts will award a lump sum in pain and suffering damages while others will use a “per diem” system to award a set amount of compensation per day until the victim reaches maximum medical recovery.
  • Punitive damages come into play if a defendant’s behavior exceeds the scope of typical negligence, or if the defendant engaged in an intentional tort that caused the victim’s brain injury. The amount a plaintiff receives in punitive damages typically hinges on state laws and the financial status of the defendant. Wealthier defendants should expect to pay much more in punitive damages than defendants with minimal financial assets.

Typically, it is in both parties’ best interest to settle a personal injury lawsuit as quickly as possible without going to trial. However, it is important for plaintiffs and their attorneys to find a balance between meeting the applicable statute of limitations for the claim and securing as much compensation as possible as more relevant facts about the situation come to light.

Accepting a defendant’s settlement offer usually comes with the condition of signing a release of liability; if the plaintiff accepts the defendant’s settlement offer, the plaintiff agrees to release the defendant from any liability for future lawsuits over the same claim. Accepting too soon could cost the plaintiff a substantial amount of compensation, and dragging settlement negotiations out too long could lead to significant legal fees for all parties involved.

Why You Need a Boston Brain Injury Lawyer

Some plaintiffs may believe they can handle their own legal representation and save money by foregoing hiring an attorney. In very rare circumstances, plaintiffs have successfully managed self-representation in civil claims, but this is generally only possible in very simple and straightforward claims with minimal damages involved.

A brain injury case is one of the most complicated civil claims the average person will face. Brain injuries involve substantial damages, complex medical reports, and input from expert witnesses. The average person with no legal training or experience will likely not have the time, energy, or resources to pursue a legal claim without representation. Additionally, a brain injury may require the victim to rely upon a spouse or other relative to manage the legal proceedings due to the effects of the injury.

Hiring a Boston brain injury lawyer not only increases a plaintiff’s chance of winning a brain injury lawsuit but will likely additionally lead to securing much higher compensation than the plaintiff could have otherwise secured alone. Attorneys understand the legal system and which types of compensation can apply to different types of cases. Attorneys also build networks of contacts with experts, legal professionals, and other important figures all over the country to assist with the most complex civil cases. A brain injury case may require testimony from more than one expert witness, and the average person without an attorney would likely have no idea where to look for assistance with expert witness testimony.

The brain injury lawyers in Boston at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP believe in pursuing case results that set a precedent for greater public safety in the future. When negligent parties cause brain injuries to others through negligence or intentional torts, we hold them accountable and collect the compensation our clients deserve. We have helped past clients secure millions in compensation for their damages.

Boston brain injury lawyer

Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer in Boston Today

Even if you have sustained a brain injury, it does not necessarily mean that securing compensation for your injuries will be straightforward. Brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose and detect, especially since the effect of a traumatic brain injury may not be evident until several days or weeks after the initial trauma occurs. Moreover, establishing fault and determining causation after an accident can take time and resources.

If you are in pain or are feeling disoriented, the last thing you want to do is fight a legal battle or negotiate with insurance companies on your own. The Boston brain injury attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law have the legal and medical knowledge and resources necessary to effectively represent victims of brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of another, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law today. We will provide a free evaluation of your claim and will diligently pursue compensation for all medical expenses and future damages caused by your injury.

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