Brain Injury BookJourney Toward RecoveryJourney Toward Recovery is a family's comprehensive guide to working their way through a brain injury. From what to expect to legal issues to coping with the day to day, this guide helps survivors and families tackle the issues big and small as effectively as possible.
Brain Injury ArticleOut of the shadows into survivalJourney Toward Recovery is a family's comprehensive guide to working their way through a brain injury. From what to expect to legal issues to coping with the day to day, this guide helps survivors and families tackle the issues big and small as effectively as possible.Read the Article Here
With three major highways running through the city and plenty of outdoor activities to keep locals busy, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself in El Centro. Unfortunately, you can also suffer a serious injury in El Centro.
When it comes to injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most serious, and can result in death or permanent disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 155 people die each day in the U.S. from injuries that include traumatic brain injuries. More than 2 million individuals seek treatment from hospital emergency departments around the nation each year due to traumatic brain injuries.
If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury in El Centro due to the careless or reckless actions of someone else, you can seek compensation for injury-related expenses and the extraordinary impacts that this type of injury can have on your life by calling our El Centro brain injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys.
We Get Results in El Centro Brain Injury Cases
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, our award-winning law firm has developed a focus on brain injury cases that has netted millions of dollars for people who suffered preventable injuries caused by the negligence of others.
In just a few brain injury cases, we have recovered for our clients:
A $16.2 million jury verdict for a brain injury sustained in a slip and fall
A $16.2 million settlement for a brain injury sustained in a slip and fall
A $13.5 million jury verdict for a brain injury sustained in a car accident
A $12.3 million jury verdict for a “mild” traumatic brain injury
A $10.8 million jury verdict for a brain injury and cervical fracture
A $5.75 million settlement for a brain injury
A $5.2 million settlement for a brain injury sustained in a car accident
These are only examples, and results will vary according to the facts of any given case, but they point to the kind of law firm that we try to be—caring to and protective of our clients, but thorough in our attempts to recover all of the compensation they deserve and need to move forward.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury involves damage caused to the brain due to a bump, jolt, or blow to the head or body. Although doctors may categorize brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe, there is rarely anything “mild” about a brain injury. Even concussions that do not result in loss of consciousness can produce permanent deficits, including loss of memory and chronic headaches. Brain injuries result in approximately 30 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
Sporting events in El Centro such as football or diving
Individuals who face a heightened risk of suffering a brain injury include children under the age of four, individuals over the age of 60, young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, and males of any age group. The vast majority of individuals living with brain injury are male.
Moderate and severe brain injuries usually involve unconsciousness that can last for hours or even longer in some cases. Unconsciousness that lasts for more than 24 hours is referred to as a coma. Injured individuals who lose consciousness due to their injuries are at increased risk of acquiring a consciousness disorder, such as a vegetative state, in which the injured individual has no awareness of his or her surroundings or experiences a minimally conscious state in which there is slight, but pronounced, awareness.
The deficits produced by a particular brain injury depend on the severity of the injury, as well as the section and side of the brain that was injured. The brain has several functional sections, known as lobes.
Here is a brief glimpse at the sort of difficulties that an injury might cause depending on which lobe was injured:
Temporal lobe. The temporal lobe controls functions such as memory, receptive language (the ability to understand spoken language), sequencing, hearing, and organization. Individuals suffering an injury to this part of the brain often have difficulties with communication and memory.
Parietal lobe. The parietal lobe controls functions such as sense of touch, depth perception, visual perception, and identification of sizes, shapes, and colors. An injury to the parietal lobe can result in difficulties with the five primary senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Occipital lobe. The primary function of the occipital lobe is in controlling vision. An injury to this part of the brain can result in an inability to perceive the size and shape of objects.
Cerebellum. Functions such as balance and coordination, skilled motor activity, and visual perception are controlled by the cerebellum. Injuries to this part of the brain can result in deficits in the person’s balance, movement, and coordination.
Frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is a busy region of the brain, controlling functions such as attention, concentration, self-monitoring, organization, expressive language (the ability to speak), motor planning and initiation, awareness of abilities and limitations, personality, emotions, planning, and judgment. Damage to this part of the brain can result in an inability to control emotions, impulses, and behavior, as well as difficulty in speaking or recalling events.
Brainstem. The brainstem controls involuntary responses, such as breathing, arousal, sleep/wake cycles, and heart rate. Damage to this part of the brain is usually catastrophic, as a person cannot live without mechanical assistance if he or she can’t control involuntary responses.
In addition to the lobes of the brain, the brain also has two halves—the left half and the right half—that control certain traits. Specific deficits may occur according to the side of the brain that sustained damage.
Consider the following:
The left side of the brain controls functions on the right side of the body, as well as certain traits, such as the ability to analyze, use logic, precision, organization, detachment, and literal thinking. An injury to the left side of the brain can cause difficulties in both receptive and expressive language, catastrophic reactions (such as depression or anxiety), impaired logic, sequencing difficulties, and difficulty with movement on the right side of the body.
The right side of the brain controls functions on the left side of the body and is also responsible for creativity and imagination, intuition, empathy, and figurative thinking. An injury to the right side of the brain can result in loss of movement or control of the left side of the body, as well as visual-spatial impairment, loss of visual memory, decreased awareness of deficits, altered creativity and music perception, and loss of “big picture” type thinking.
A traumatic brain injury can change every facet of a person’s life, including:
At home. The home life of a brain-injured person is often dramatically impacted by the changing relationships in the family. Children may find themselves assuming a caretaker role over a brain-injured parent, while the spouse of a brain-injured partner may experience loss of physical intimacy due to hormone changes following the injury, as well as a loss of companionship due to the inability of the injured person to participate in activities that the couple previously enjoyed together. The appearance of the home itself may change, as modifications are made to accommodate the injury. Common home modifications that are often necessary after a brain injury include wheelchair ramps, roll-in showers, lowered countertops, and automatic door openers. It is estimated that more than half of the homeless population in the U.S. has suffered a brain injury. While some of these injuries likely occurred after the individual became homeless, many others became homeless as a result of the injury, the difficulties that the injury causes with family relationships, and the inability to earn an income after the injury.
At work. The unemployment rate of brain-injured people two years after their accidents is 60 percent, far above the unemployment rate for other adults in the U.S. Many brain-injured individuals can never return to work after their injury due to the behavioral or impulse issues that frequently persist after this type of injury, as well as other deficits that render the person unable to perform the same job-related tasks as before. Those who can’t return to work after sustaining a brain injury often find that they must modify their work schedule to allow for shorter working hours or more breaks. They also might need fewer responsibilities, as completing tasks is often a challenge for those living with a traumatic brain injury.
At school. Contrary to popular belief, children who experience brain injuries often do not fare better than, or even as well as, adults suffering this type of injury. Depending on the age of the child at the time of the injury, the deficits produced may not become apparent for several years, as the child continues to grow and develop. Like adults, task completion may prove difficult for brain-injured children. Often, if they return to school, they may need a modified schedule with shorter hours, as well as a paraprofessional who can assist as they complete tasks. Testing a brain-injured child may involve modifications as well, including allowing an oral test in place of a written one or multiple choice answers instead of essay questions. Learning may involve audio or video recordings of instructional sessions to compensate for difficulty with memory. For children suffering from traumatic brain injury, success as school often requires the coordination of everyone in the child’s life, from parents to school counselors to teachers and administration.
In society. Friends may realize that they no longer have much in common with the injured individual, due to the drastic changes in personality and physical abilities that can accompany this type of injury. Because of poor impulse control and mobility issues, it can prove difficult for an injured person and his or her family to participate in social events. Caretaker family members often state that they feel as though they are completely alone and no one understands what their family is going through.
Common Complications of Brain Injuries
For persons suffering from severe brain injury, the treatment is often extensive, as are the myriad complications they may experience.
Some of the most common complications, which can arise years later or persist throughout a person’s lifetime, include:
Increased cranial pressure
Swelling of the brain that places the individual at risk of further brain damage
Hydrocephalus, which involves “water” on the brain. This is actually cerebrospinal fluid, and may require the placement of a shunt to drain the fluid away from the brain to other parts of the body.
Low blood pressure, which can decrease the amount of oxygen getting to the brain
Fevers, which may indicate an infection or be related to damage that has occurred to the part of the brain that controls the body’s temperature.
Pneumonia, which is often caused by a lack of mobility, inflicts many brain-injured individuals during coma or recovery.
Infections in the brain or the tissue surrounding it; this type of infection generally occurs in individuals who have suffered a penetrating head injury.
Blood clots, which are also often a result of a lack of mobility. Blood clots in the injured area of the brain can lead to a stroke. Blood clots that develop in the deep veins of the legs—also known as deep vein thrombosis—can dislodge and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, producing a potentially fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolism.
Skin breakdowns, also known as bedsores, which are another common complication of being bed-ridden during coma or recovery.
Seizures, also referred to as post-traumatic epilepsy, which generally occur in the early hours and days of recovery but sometimes also occur a year or more after the injury occurs.
Heterotopic ossification, which involves the growth of an extra bone and is suffered by many individuals with severe brain injuries. This bone often appears in joints, such as the shoulder or hip, and impacts the individual’s range of motion in that joint and causes inflammation and pain.
A higher risk of cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
The High Cost of Treating Brain Injuries
Around 1.7 million people in the U.S. are currently living with brain injuries, and their lifetime costs, as a result of their injuries, will be between $85,000 to $3 million. The CDC notes that the brain injury price tag is steep for society, too. The U.S. pays around $76.5 million a year in direct and indirect costs associated with the treatment of brain injuries. About 90 percent of those costs are incurred in the hospitalization of individuals who subsequently die from their injury.
El Centro Brain Injury FAQ
<As the largest city and the county seat of Imperial County, there is plenty to see and do in El Centro. Unfortunately, there are also many ways in which an individual can suffer a brain injury. Brain injuries are perhaps the most serious injuries to suffer, as the brain controls the functions of the body but has only a limited ability to heal itself.
If you or your loved one suffered a brain injury as a result of the careless or reckless actions of someone else, you can pursue compensation for the expenses and impacts your injury has caused through an El Centro brain injury lawsuit.
Below are the answers to questions our El Centro brain injury clients often ask about recovering damages in a brain injury lawsuit.
How do I determine who is liable for my El Centro brain injury?
Call us. That’s our job.
In a civil lawsuit, liability is the legal responsibility for harm that another person caused. That’s not easy to prove on your own.
To determine and prove that someone else is liable for the accident that caused your injuries, you must show:
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. In almost any circumstance, individuals owe each other a duty of care to behave in a safe manner that avoids harming others. The duty of care is the way a reasonable person would act in similar circumstances, and the duty owed depends on the events leading up to the accident. For example, if your brain injury was the result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, the duty of care that was owed by that driver in that circumstance was to operate his or her motor vehicle safely and legally.
There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach is the action or behavior of the at-fault party that violated the duty to care. Using the distracted driver scenario from above, let’s say that the driver was distracted by responding to a text. The breach in the duty that the driver owed to you would be texting while driving, which is illegal in California.
This breach resulted in the accident that caused your brain injury and the subsequent expenses and impacts associated with your injury.
We have the experience you need to determine whether you have a good case, and if you do, we have the resources to pursue compensation in even the most complicated El Centro brain injury claims.
How do I recover compensation for expenses related to my El Centro brain injury?
Brain injuries are complex and serious injuries that often result in a lifetime of medical care and profound impacts both on the injured person as well as his or her family. If you have suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you can pursue recovery of damages through an El Centro brain injury lawsuit. You generally must file your claim within two years of the date of the injury. The purpose of the lawsuit is to prove who was liable for the accident that caused your injury, show the court the expenses and impacts that you have suffered and for which you seek compensation.
How much money can I get from my El Centro brain injury case?
There is no set amount of money you can receive through an El Centro brain injury claim.
However, several factors affect the amount of money you might claim, including:
The amount of insurance the at-fault party has. This is generally the biggest factor that impacts the amount an individual is eligible to recover, as insurance pays most El Centro brain injury settlements and awards. While you may sue an uninsured individual for your injury and even obtain a judgment in your favor, collecting your award would likely be very difficult as most people cannot afford to pay the expenses related to a brain injury out-of-pocket.
The clarity of liability. In California, if you are partially responsible for causing the accident that resulted in your injury, you can still file a claim against other liable parties.
Your age at the time of the injury. Brain injuries often result in permanent deficits that can keep an individual from returning to work or earning an income equal to what he or she earned before the accident. Two of the economic damages you may obtain in an El Centro brain injury case include lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. An individual at the peak of his or her career would likely have higher costs associated with those two types of damages than someone who is too young to have a career or has reached retirement age.
Brain injuries create a lot of impacts on a person’s life. How are those impacts calculated?
Non-economic damages are compensation received for the impacts that an injury has on various facets of a person’s life, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium.
We calculate these damages in the following way:
We add together the total economic damages—such as medical bills, wage losses, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Your lawyer will use experience and familiarity with your case and life to determine the value of your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
The total economic damages are then added to the total non-economic damages to establish a value for your case.
How expensive is medical treatment for an El Centro brain injury?
The lifetime cost of medical treatment for a brain injury can range from $85,000 to $3 million, depending on the severity of the injury and the complications an individual encounters through the years. However, bear in mind that this is not the only cost of the injury. The loss of productivity and future earning capacity, the provision of accommodations in the home to assist the injured person and/or his or her family in caring for him or her, and many other expenses come into play along with a wide array of impacts in every facet of the injured person’s life.
Why is it so difficult to predict how well someone will recover from an El Centro brain injury?
No two brain injuries are alike. The brain is divided into six segments, known as lobes, that each control certain functions of the body. The array of deficits that an individual will acquire due to the brain injury depends not only on the severity of the injury but also on which lobes of the brain sustained the damage. Additionally, the brain is also divided into two halves—the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere—and the side of the brain that the injury occurred on can also alter the way the damage affects the brain’s ability to function.
Numerous complications can arise in the early days of a brain injury. The ability of the medical team to identify and adequately treat these complications before they create further damage to the brain can also greatly affect the individual’s overall outcome.
My El Centro brain injury occurred due to a motor vehicle accident. Is this common?
Falls, which account for nearly half of all traumatic brain injury-related doctor visits and are the most common cause of brain injuries.
Being struck by or against an object.
Child abuse, which is among the leading causes of brain injuries in children under 4 years old.
The at-fault party’s insurance provider already offered a settlement in my El Centro brain injury case. Should I accept it?
Not without talking to an experienced brain injury attorney first. Insurance companies will often offer a quick settlement to individuals who were injured by their insured. It is how they avoid paying out what the case is really worth in exchange for a fast resolution. The problem with accepting such a settlement is that if you later discover that the money you received as compensation for your injury wasn’t enough to cover your expenses, you could be on the hook for the remainder of those costs. You can’t go back and ask the defendant’s insurance carrier for more money.
An experienced brain injury attorney is aware that brain injuries are often accompanied by complications that can persist throughout your life. The value of your case must reflect these likely complications or it will not be enough to cover your expenses.
I can’t afford an El Centro brain injury attorney. What should I do?
Actually, our El Centro brain injury attorneys provide two special services to ensure that anyone who needs the services of an attorney can afford them.
Those services include:
Free case evaluations: Also commonly referred to as free consultations, this service allows time for you to get answers to your legal questions, to share with an attorney the details of your case, and to learn more about your options.
Contingent-fee payments: A contingent-fee payment scheme means that you will not be charged for your attorney’s services until there is a successful outcome in your case.
Between these two services, you should get answers to your legal questions and even hire an attorney to begin working on your case regardless of what your financial situation is.
What services does an El Centro brain injury attorney provide?
An experienced El Centro brain injury attorney can provide services to assist you in obtaining compensation for your injury.
Some of those services include:
Guidance as to your legal options.
Determination of all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be accessed to compensate you.
A valuation of your case that is based on the expenses you have faced or will likely face in the future as a result of your injury as well as the profound impacts this type of injury will have on your life.
Timely filing of all court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction and attendance on your behalf at all pre-trial conferences and hearings.
Skilled negotiation to obtain a fair settlement offer for you.
Collection and organization of evidence and witness testimony that can be used to help prove your case.
Guidance as to the pros and cons of accepting a settlement offer.
Litigation, including the delivery of opening and closing statements, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses.
Assistance collecting your settlement or award.
If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury in El Centro, we don’t need to tell you how serious this type of injury is or how much it can alter your life. What we do need to tell you is that the experienced brain injury team at Gomez Trial Attorneys is here to help you learn more about the process of recovering damages related to your injury.
Our case results speak for themselves, and include several recent verdicts and settlements for our brain injury clients:
$16.2 million jury verdict for a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a slip and fall accident.
$13.5 million jury verdict for a client who was in an auto accident and suffered a brain injury.
$12.3 million jury verdict for a client who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness.
$10.8 million jury verdict for a client who suffered a brain injury and a cervical fracture in an accident.
For a free case evaluation with an experienced brain injury lawyer from Gomez Trial Attorneys, contact us online or call us today.
Let Our El Centro Brain Injury Lawyers Help You
If you or your loved one suffered a brain injury in El Centro, you probably have a lot of questions regarding the legal process of obtaining the compensation that can afford you proper treatment and care for your injury.
Let the experienced brain injury attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys answer those questions. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (760)-259-2166
Gomez Trial Attorneys
2299 West Adams Avenue, Suite 102
El Centro, CA 92243 (760)-259-2166