How Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Impact Accident Victims

When the force of motor vehicle collisions, slip and fall accidents, and other harmful events cause people to endure trauma to the head, accident victims can sustain permanent injuries that significantly impact their quality of life. If the impact of the collision causes an accident victim’s brain to collide with the interior of their skull, they may sustain severe damage in the form of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, sustaining a TBI can have fatal consequences. In fact, 85% of all Canadian accident victims killed in cycling accidents had sustained some form of brain injury. TBIs are the leading cause of death for Canadians under the age of 35. In Ontario alone, TBIs are responsible for approximately 800 deaths per year. 

Those who survive their traumatic accidents with acquired brain injuries often experience physical pain and discomfort, emotional turmoil, and financial distress. Since TBIs can result in radical physical, cognitive, and emotional changes, injured accident victims and their loved ones may be required to make drastic alterations to their lifestyles in order to cope with their injuries. 

Accident survivors who have sustained TBIs may experience a range of symptoms varying in severity based on the manner in which their injuries were acquired. While symptoms may be mild and manageable for some people, others may experience persistent– even permanent– brain damage. In cases of severe TBIs, accident survivors may develop disruptive, debilitating symptoms physically, intellectually, sensorily, and behaviorally.

People who have sustained TBIs in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence may be entitled to financial compensation for damages they have incurred as a result of their injuries. To learn more about legal options that may be available to you, contact our personal injury lawyers today.

Physical Symptoms of TBIs

Adjusting to life after sustaining a TBI in a serious accident can mean finding ways to cope with disruptive, life-altering physical symptoms. Accident survivors who have acquired brain injuries through trauma may experience sensory losses, including loss of vision, hearing, and smell, as well as a persistent bad taste in the mouth. Oftentimes, people with TBIs also experience dysphagia (i.e., difficulty swallowing). 

Additionally, TBIs may result in cognitive damage, often manifesting itself through difficulties with language. This may mean people with TBIs have difficulties processing their thoughts, challenges reading or writing, slurred speech, and trouble articulating themselves. 

Other physical symptoms associated with moderate to severe TBIs include: 

  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Chronic headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting 
  • Loss of balance
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Insomnia, or chronic fatigue 
  • And more

Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms of TBIs

In addition to the physical symptoms arising from TBIs, accident survivors may find themselves facing an entirely new reality. While the physical side effects of a brain injury will primarily affect the injured accident victim, the emotional and behavioral side effects they may develop can have profound impacts on their relationships with family members, romantic partners, friends, co-workers, and society at large. 

Since the physical symptoms of TBIs are not visible to others, many people may have difficulty understanding the emotional and behavioral changes arising from an accident survivor’s injury. Oftentimes, these changes can have adverse effects on an accident victim’s ability to maintain social relationships. 

Common emotional and behavioral side effects of TBIs include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Brain fog
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • And more

These sweeping behavioral changes may make it very difficult for people living with TBIs to continue performing the duties of their jobs. The resulting financial precariousness of becoming unable to work combined with the social difficulties often experienced by people who have sustained TBIs can have devastating outcomes. It is no wonder that  approximately half of Canada’s homeless population are the survivors of at least one brain injury. 

How Can a Lawyer Help People with TBIs?

When the wrongful conduct of a motor vehicle operator, property owner/occupier, or other negligent party leads to an injury-causing accident, the victims who sustain TBIs as a result may find themselves coping with physical symptoms, behavioral changes, and financial devastation. In Canada, the lifetime costs for a person suffering with a severe TBI can be between $600,000 to $1.8 million for medical care alone. Severely injured accident victims are likely to also incur financial losses due to an inability to work, reduced future earning capabilities, lifestyle adjustments, and more.

No one should be forced to endure these crippling financial losses because of someone else’s negligence. If your injuries were sustained in an accident caused by the negligence of another party or entity, our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for economic damages you incurred, including medical expenses, attendant care, lost earnings, adjusted living expenses, and more. 

Due to the profound impacts TBIs can have on accident victims’ overall quality of life, by pursuing a civil claim against the at-fault party whose negligence caused your debilitating accident, our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you recover financial compensation for non-economic damages.  

Examples of non-economic damages to which you may be entitled include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And possibly more

Oftentimes in civil litigation, it can be difficult to prove the extent to which an injury, especially one without observable symptoms, has had on an accident survivor’s life. That is why working with a personal injury lawyer may prove critical for those suffering from TBIs. Our personal injury lawyers may be able to illustrate the deep-seeded effects your acquired brain injury has had on your personal life, your ability to work, and your overall prospects by presenting a thorough portfolio of medical evidence, psychiatric assessments, personal impact statements from people in your life, as well as evidence related to the accident scene. 

By doing so, our lawyers may be able to prove that the at-fault party neglected to fulfill the duty of care they owed you, which led to an accident causing you to sustain serious injuries with profound impacts on your life, and the lives of the people around you. Presenting thorough, accurate, and compelling evidence may be the key to helping you recover the damages to which you are entitled. 

Can You Collect Long-Term Disability Benefits for TBIs?

Provided you have adequate insurance coverage, either through your employer’s group plan or a privately held policy, you may be able to collect long-term disability (LTD) benefits if the symptoms of your TBI make it impossible for you to return to work.

LTD benefits are intended to provide disabled workers with financial compensation when their medical conditions prevent them from performing the tasks associated with their occupations. Replacing between 60-70% of an eligible policyholder’s normal wages, these benefits may prove to be an essential financial lifeline for those struggling to make ends meet after sustaining a TBI in an accident. 

That said, in many cases, insurance providers may decide to deny a claimant’s application for LTD benefits, even if their brain injury prevents them from working. Receiving a denied claim for benefits can be extremely upsetting, and difficult to understand for those suffering from severe injuries.

Claims for LTD benefits may be subject to an increased level of scrutiny if the applicant does not exhibit observable symptoms. Depending on the injury’s level of severity, the acquired TBI may not be visible through medical imaging devices like CT scans or MRIs. In these cases, injured benefits applicants may have little objective, observable medical evidence with which to substantiate their claims. When this happens, insurers may unfairly deny their claims for benefits. 

If your insurance provider denied your claim for LTD benefits even though your TBI should entitle you to receive these much-needed monthly payments, the legal team at Cohen Highley LLP may be able to pursue legal action against your insurer to try overturning their decision and recovering the benefits you deserve. To learn more about how our lawyers may be able to help appeal your insurance company’s unfair determination, contact us today.

Contact Cohen Highley LLP Today to Learn More 

If you or someone you love has sustained a TBI in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the personal injury lawyers at Cohen Highley LLP may be able to help recover financial compensation. To learn more about the services we provide, book a consultation with us today.

Cohen Highley LLP services clients throughout Ontario from our head office in London and branch offices in Chatham, Kitchener, Sarnia, Stratford and Strathroy. For more information about how we may be able to assist with your condo purchase, contact Cohen Highley LLP today.

*Disclaimer: Please consult with a lawyer for specific legal advice as this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic. 

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