According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, injury is the leading cause of death and disability among the state’s residents, with accidents including falls and traffic crashes among the most common causes.
One of the most serious impairments is a traumatic brain injury, which is generally the result of a violent blow to the head, body, or even vehicle a person is in that damages the brain.
Suppose you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. In that case, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury through the personal injury claims process. An experienced Wisconsin traumatic brain injury lawyer from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you understand this process and provide services to assist you with your claim.
About Traumatic Brain Injuries in Wisconsin
In a year in Wisconsin, about 1,500 deaths involved traumatic brain injuries. This type of injury also resulted in about 9,800 nonfatal emergency department visits and 4,200 hospitalizations.
Falls accounted for 62 percent of Wisconsin’s nonfatal hospitalizations related to traumatic brain injuries. At the same time, other common causes include motor vehicle accidents, spousal abuse or other types of assault, work-related accidents, and sports-related injuries.
Who Is Most Likely to Suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury can happen to anyone at any time. However, certain groups of individuals are more likely to sustain this type of injury, and specific groups are more likely to die from a brain injury. Here is a look at some groups most impacted by traumatic brain injuries.
People over the age of 75 have the highest number of hospitalizations related to traumatic brain injuries and the highest number of deaths from this type of injury. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in this age group, with declines in vision, balance, and strength attributed to the falls. According to the health technology provider Abbott, 81 percent of all traumatic brain injuries incurred by elderly individuals result from falls.
Men have a higher likelihood of suffering a brain injury than women, particularly in the years of young adulthood. Some of this increased risk is due to the higher incidence of aggressive driving practices among young adult males and a higher number of males employed in jobs with a greater risk of serious injuries, such as law enforcement, military, and construction industries.
Falls are also particularly common for children and account for about 55 percent of all traumatic brain injuries diagnosed in children under 14. In teens, motor vehicle accidents are also a common cause of this type of injury as inexperience leads to a higher rate of accidents involving injury in this age group.
Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Those of American Indian or Alaska Native ethnicities have a higher likelihood of suffering traumatic brain injuries. Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations have in the past been less likely to be able to get proper treatment when incurring traumatic brain injuries due to difficulties in accessing health care than non-Hispanic white populations. The data shows that these groups are also more likely to have negative psychosocial, employment, and functional outcomes when suffering a traumatic brain injury.
Military Service Members and Veterans
In the first 20 years of the century, more than 400,000 military members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. Some of these injuries occurred due to combat-related activities, including explosive blasts; others resulted from factors such as motor vehicle accidents when the military had not deployed the individual.
As many as 46 percent of the individuals incarcerated in jails and prisons in the U.S. live with the effects of a traumatic brain injury, though the exact number is unknown. Those incarcerated who a traumatic brain injury has impacted are more likely to have mental health issues, including severe depression or anxiety, difficulty controlling anger, substance abuse issues, or suicidal ideation or attempts.
Around 53 percent of homeless individuals in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. are suffering from traumatic brain injuries. These individuals are two to four times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury and up to 10 times more likely to have suffered a moderate or severe injury.
People in Abusive Relationships
As noted by the Brain Injury Association of America, women are more likely than men to die of a head injury or suffer a head injury due to an assault. Women experiencing intimate partner violence are at high risk of suffering a brain injury, with up to 90 percent of intimate partner violence incidents involving blows to the head or strangulation.
While those with low incomes are not necessarily at greater risk of a head injury, they are at greater risk of negative outcomes due to a lack of access to appropriate care. They're less likely to receive surgical procedures to treat their injury, less likely to receive rehabilitation after the injury, and more likely to die in the hospital.
Those Who Live in Rural Areas
Those in rural areas are more likely to die from a traumatic brain injury due to the travel time needed to obtain proper care, less access to a Level 1 trauma centers, which is where they would receive the best medical care, and less access to specialized care to address their conditions and complications.
The Profound Impacts of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Doctors often categorize traumatic brain injuries as mild, moderate, and severe severity. However, there is nothing mild about an injury to the organ responsible for controlling all voluntary and involuntary functions of the body and that has a limited ability to heal from an injury. Traumatic brain injuries often result in permanent deficits, complications, and profound financial and psychological impacts on a person's life.
The costs of medically treating a traumatic brain injury and its associated complications through the duration of the sufferer’s life run between $85,000 to $3 million. The financial status of the injured person and their family often worsens due to the sufferer's inability to earn a meaningful income after the injury and the need for expensive services, such as home health care, or other expenses, such as modifications to the sufferer's home to accommodate the injury.
The Ability to Work or Go to School
Among average adults suffering from traumatic brain injuries, the unemployment rate is 60 percent two years after the injury. Many individuals can no longer perform the job they held before the injury. If they can return to work, they have often required accommodations such as decreased working hours, decreased workload, and more frequent breaks.
Despite the common belief that children suffer fewer consequences of a traumatic brain injury than adults or can make a more meaningful recovery, the true picture of the deficits a child acquires from a brain injury often does not appear until the child continues to develop.
Children suffering from traumatic brain injuries often require similar accommodations to adult brain injury sufferers in the workplace, such as frequent breaks, fewer hours in the classroom, and a reduced workload. Additionally, these children often require the assistance of a paraprofessional to help them stay organized throughout the day.
The Ability to Participate in Society
Some deficits commonly incurred due to traumatic brain injuries include the inability to control one’s emotions or impulses, difficulty with verbal communication, memory loss, and difficulty with balanced and coordinated movement. These deficits can make it difficult for the sufferer to participate in activities and events that they formerly enjoyed.
The Relationships With Family Members and Friends
A traumatic brain injury can cause extreme changes in the sufferer's relationships. Family members are often required to take on many of the tasks involved in caring for the injured person, which changes the relationship they shared before the injury.
Hormonal changes resulting from the injury can result in a loss of intimacy between the sufferer and their romantic partner. Friends often fade away as the sufferer can no longer participate in mutually enjoyable activities with their friends.
Seeking Compensation for a Traumatic Brain Injury
Suppose you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury through Wisconsin’s personal injury claims process. This process generally begins with a demand sent to the at-fault party’s liability insurance provider.
The demand provides the insurer with the details of the accident that resulted in injury, documentation of expenses, and a request for the value of the claim. Often, claims are higher for traumatic brain injury claims due to the catastrophic nature of the injury and its impact on the sufferer's ability to earn an income.
The insurance provider can accept the claim as submitted and pay the demand, deny the claim and provide the claimant with a reason for that denial, or offer to settle the claim for less than its full value. An experienced Wisconsin traumatic brain injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurer to convince them to increase their offer.
Suppose the insurer fails to pay the claim in full or makes an offer that fairly compensates the claimant for the expenses and impacts they have incurred or will likely incur. In that case, you may pursue a personal injury lawsuit in a Wisconsin civil court. The time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Wisconsin is typically three years after the injury.
To have a successful outcome to a Wisconsin traumatic brain injury claim, you must be able to show that the injury occurred as a result of someone else’s careless, reckless, or even intentional acts. The source of liability for a traumatic brain injury depends on how the injury occurred.
For example, in a claim involving an injury that occurred due to a traffic accident, you can hold the negligent driver liable. Suppose the accident that caused the injury involved a slip and fall at a retail store. The business could be liable for the failure to protect visitors from hazardous property features. If the injury resulted from the assault, you can hold the individual who committed the assault liable or even the owner or manager of the property where the assault occurred.
Regardless of circumstance, a traumatic brain injury claim must show:
- The at-fault party owed you to take reasonable actions to avoid harming you in specific circumstances.
- The at-fault party breached the duty through careless, reckless, or intentional actions.
- This breach resulted in an accident in which you suffered a traumatic brain injury and subsequently incurred expenses and impacts.
The Compensation You Can Seek
Individuals who suffered a traumatic brain injury can obtain compensation for medical costs, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, property damage suffered in the accident (such as damage to your car in a traffic accident), physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Talk to an Experienced Wisconsin Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Let an experienced Wisconsin brain injury lawyer from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers help you understand the personal injury claims process and the services we can provide to help you with your claim. For your free case evaluation, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers online or call (218) 460-5863.