Athens Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
A brain Injury in Athens, Georgia requires an attorney that’s experienced in dealing with these types of cases. That’s why, if you’ve experienced a brain injury in Athens, then its time to Michael C. Daniel, a partner with the prominent Athens law firm of Prior, Daniel, & Wiltshire. Even mild brain injuries can have a serious and lasting effect on every aspect of your life. How much more serious, then, would a traumatic brain injury be to your livelihood? Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating at best, and even more so when the brain injury was the result of another party’s actions or negligence. In those circumstances, obtaining high quality legal representation from a qualified traumatic brain injury attorney is pinnacle to recovering financial damages – a traumatic brain injury attorney such as Michael C. Daniel.
Michael C. Daniel is a highly qualified, highly decorated traumatic brain injury attorney in Athens, Georgia with decades of legal experience. Once serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, appointed by none less than then President Ronald Regan, Mr. Daniel has helped to recover millions of dollars in damages for his brain injury victim clients. As a recipient of the highest award available to an attorney, a Martindale-Hubbard AV Preeminent, you can trust that Michael C. Daniel is the best brain injury lawyer in Athens that you will find.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury is sometimes referred to as intracranial injury, and is the result of a violent force to the head. It can occur after blunt force trauma such as with a direct blow to the skull, or from an object penetrating the brain, such as a gunshot wound or shrapnel.
Brain injuries are classified by degrees of severity from mild to severe. Of course, all degrees of brain injury can be serious in nature with lifelong consequences. Effects from traumatic brain injury range from simple disorientation to death, and include:
- Temporary state of unconsciousness
- Sensory disturbances
- Impaired memory function
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Mood disturbances
- Lethargy or general tiredness
- Speech disturbances
- Numbness or weakness in extremities
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can cause the victim to slip into a minimally conscious state, coma, vegetative state, or even suffer from locked-in syndrome. Fluid buildup in the brain, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and post-traumatic epilepsy are all very real risks in the days immediately following the injury. If the injury caused lacerations or puncture wounds, the risk of infection is also extremely high.
Call An Athens Brain Injury Attorney Today: 706-543-0002
I consider Michael Daniel “…one of the most talented business attorneys in Northeast Georgia…” – J. Drew, Athens Regional Health Services
Michael C. Daniel
490 N. Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30601
What are the Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?
By far, the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries is falls. In many cases, the fall is a simple accident with no liable party. However, many other fall injuries can be the result of negligence and should be assessed by a brain injury attorney.
Following falls, the remainders of traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by automobile accidents, struck by or against incidents, and criminal assault. In every situation, the victim or his or her family should consult with a traumatic brain injury attorney to determine where liability for the injuries lies, as well as what the proper legal course of action should be.
Why Should I Consult a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney in Athens, Georgia?
Brain injury law is vastly complex. Even establishing liability for the incident can prove challenging in many cases, especially where large insurance companies are involved. Brain injuries account for $76.5 billion in medical and loss of productivity costs annually in the United States alone, according to the CDC.
Given that approximately 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury every year, those figures average to $45,000 per injury. However, as with most things in life, the numbers are not nearly so cut and dry as that. A very mild brain injury, may only result in a few thousand dollars in medical expenses, while a very severe injury could top hundreds of thousands—or even millions. Every case is unique.
No matter which end of the financial spectrum your injury is on, insurance companies want to avoid paying out at all costs. They have highly trained adjusters, investigators, and attorneys working to do one of several things:
- Convince you to settle quickly. Insurance companies are savvy and they know how to play the game. If liability is clear, they know you may be willing to settle if they offer you what seems like a substantial sum of money up front. The problem is, brain injuries often go on to incur many thousands of dollars in expenses beyond the initial medical bills. If you accept a settlement, you waive your right to sue for those future damages.
- Discredit your story. If liability is in question, insurance companies will do whatever they can to convince the legal channels that the injury was actually your fault. If they can accomplish this goal, the insurance companies don’t have to pay a single penny, whether their client is truly liable or not.
- Deny liability. Insurance company attorneys can be vicious when millions of dollars are at stake. Even if you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that you suffered a brain injury as a result of someone else’s actions or negligence, these attorneys can argue that the insurance company is not responsible for a variety of reasons. If you have a history of alcohol or drug use, prior head injuries, or even lost consciousness at the time of the injury if but for a moment, they have a foothold. They may argue that, while the incident was unfortunate, they are not responsible for any expenses because of your prior medical history or your inability to clearly remember what occurred.
When Should I Consult with a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney in Athens?
Because brain injury laws are so complex, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the incident. At the same time, you should understand that certain information your attorney may need to initiate a claim may not be available until several days or weeks after the injury occurs.
However, consulting with an attorney early on affords you several benefits. You should avoid speaking to anyone from an insurance company until you have received advice from your attorney. Anything you say can later be used against you if there is a dispute of liability or if your claim goes to trial. Your attorney can advise you of how to respond to any correspondence or questions that are put to you.
Your attorney can also guide you in obtaining substantiating information—something you may not think about early on after the injury. You’ll need very thorough records of your medical expenses, as well as documentation that show the amount of income you lost as a result of your injury. The defending party’s counsel will examine medical records, so it’s important to be sure those records are accurate.
Having an attorney soon after the injury can also help you avoid making irrevocable mistakes in terms of your settlement. In extremely rare instances, an insurance company may actually offer a fair settlement to begin with, but this is the exception to the rule. More often than not, you’ll be offered a settlement that doesn’t come close to covering your total expenses, and accepting such a settlement can have devastating consequences.
What are the Long-Term Ramifications of Traumatic Brain Injury?
It is impossible to know what the long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury will be. Many people do make a full recovery with no lasting effects, and many more struggle with the effects for the rest of their lives. Some people are never able to walk again and others may recover basic mobility but not the ability to work.
The unpredictable nature of traumatic brain injuries is at the very core of why having a qualified attorney at your side is so crucial. Indeed, some complications from brain injuries may not manifest until years after the initial incident. In the case of a mild traumatic brain injury, it can often be difficult to connect such delayed effects to their true cause except when evaluated by someone specially trained to recognize the pattern.
While it is a fortunate truth that 75% of all traumatic brain injuries are not life-threatening, that does not mean that such a high percentage do not suffer from their injury to some degree. Even in cases where the injury itself proved non-fatal from a physiological perspective, many cases of suicide have resulted from the severe depression or mood instability that occurred after the injury.
With more than 5.3 million Americans living with the after-effects of a traumatic brain injury on a daily basis, there are plenty of living testimonies to its devastation. Cognitive functions that we take for granted every day, such as the ability to carry out a task as simple as brushing one’s teeth, are often disrupted or severed with a brain injury.
To make matters worse, intellectual ability may be left undisturbed while memory skills are severely impacted. The victim knows that he or she has the knowledge and skills needed to perform a task, but cannot remember the steps of the process in sequence. This can be beyond frustrating and can often lead to fits of anger, violence, and desperation.
Then, of course, are the physical limitations that can occur after a traumatic brain injury. These limitations can vary in severity from loss of sensation and facial muscle paralysis to complete and permanent total body paralysis.
Communication skills can be lost after a traumatic brain injury. The victim may not be able to read or respond to social cues, may have difficulty in expressing the proper intonation for a thought, or may not be able to form a thought into a comprehensive sentence at all.
These cognitive and physical limitations can leave a person unable to work or unable to care for themselves. The victim may be mobile and capable of intellectual thought, but forgetfulness or emotional disturbances make it dangerous to live independently. They may lose fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, making even hobbies frustrating or impossible.
Finally, traumatic brain injuries increase a person’s risk for developing degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia. These diseases are progressive and, as of current, have no cure. They are expensive, heartbreaking, torturous conditions, both for the sufferer and his or her family.
What are the Expenses Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury expenses are typically broken down into three major categories: medical, loss of productivity, and legal. Put that way, it can be difficult to understand the full financial implications of such an injury and how the cost becomes so high. When broken down further, we can begin to understand.
- Medical expenses include any expense incurred from skilled medical treatment and might consist of:
- Emergency care
- Surgery and anesthesia
- Imagine tests
- Prescription medication
- Physical therapist
- Cognitive therapist
- Psychologist or psychiatrist
- In-home care or long-term nursing facility
- Follow-up appointments and additional imaging tests
- Loss of productivity expenses include any lost income resulting from the injury such as:
- Lost wages from work during recovery
- Lost future wages from diminished capacity if unable to return to work
- Legal expenses consist of anything having to do with your legal representation, including:
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Administrative fees such as copies of documents, notarization, etc.
What are the Recoverable Damages for Traumatic Brain Injury?
While each case is different, the ideal minimum for recoverable damages should be no less than the total current and future expenses that resulted from the injury. This includes all expenses discussed above.
In some special circumstances, additional damages may be a possibility. These damages are usually more difficult to obtain, and are typically only awarded if your case is not settled outside of court. They include:
- Loss of consortium. This is a special provision for the victim’s spouse if the victim’s inability to work places a strain on the household. If the brain injury victim contributed the majority of the household’s income, the loss of that income can be financially devastating. Obviously, however, if the victim did not contribute to the family’s income, this provision is not applicable.
- Pain and suffering. This is a type of general damage most of us are at least mildly familiar with. It is meant to compensate a victim for physical pain, emotional suffering, and generally altered quality of life. Because pain and suffering is not easily quantifiable or provable, it can be difficult to predict if or how much any particular case may be awarded under this provision.
- Punitive damages. It is quite rare indeed to see punitive damages awarded outside a criminal trial, but it does happen. The court as an additional punishment assesses punitive damages for the defendant. It is usually only rewarded when there is a proven willful, unapologetic, extremely reckless, or morally incorrigible act that caused the injury to occur.
What if I am filing a traumatic brain injury claim for someone who is deceased?
There are, unfortunately, traumatic brain injury cases that result in death. While this is an undoubtedly trying and emotionally taxing time for the family, the family is entitled to damages if the injury was the fault of someone else.
These types of traumatic brain injury cases are as complex, if not more so, than those involving a surviving victim. Medical damages will typically be limited to those incurred from the time of the injury to the time of death. Loss of consortium may be recoverable, as might funeral expenses.
Pain and suffering may or may not be recoverable depending on the situation. The only way to be sure of your options and rights as a survivor of a deceased victim is to consult with a skilled traumatic brain injury attorney. He or she can advise you of which type of claim is appropriate to the situation, whether a survivor action, wrongful death action, or other.
What if I’m overwhelmed by everything surrounding traumatic brain injury?
If you’re overwhelmed by the complexity of it all, that’s ok. In fact, it’s perfectly normal. You don’t have to understand how traumatic brain injury legal cases work—you just need a qualified, experienced traumatic brain injury attorney who does.
The importance of finding and securing a highly skilled traumatic brain injury attorney as quickly as possible after the injury occurs cannot be overstated. Along with helping you avoid devastating mistakes and guiding you in organizing your claim and documentation, your attorney can give you and your family much needed peace of mind in the midst of tragedy.
It’s also important to understand that different circumstances surrounding various brain injuries may have differing statutes of limitations for filing a claim. Since some traumatic brain injuries may not show symptoms for many months, this can significantly reduce the amount of time you have to act before the statute runs out.
Even if you don’t notice symptoms right away, a traumatic brain injury attorney can help you monitor your recovery and make the right claim at the right time. If you’ve sustained any type of injury to your head that was not your fault, contact Michael C. Daniel today to begin your legal representation.
Athens Brain Injury Resources:
- ARMC Brain Injury Information
- Athens, Georgia Brain Injury Therapists
- University of Georgia Disability Resource Center – Brain Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injury Resources:
- The Mayo Clinic, “Traumatic Brain Injury”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Traumatic Brain Injuries – TBI)
- Brain Injury Association of Georgia, “Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Criminal Justice Professionals”
- Wikipedia, “Traumatic Brain Injury”
- Medical Ethics, Vol. 10, Issue 3, “Traumatic Brain Injury and Criminal Responsibility”