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How Do You Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury in Court?

Posted by James Hunt | Apr 12, 2021

How Do You Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury in Court?

What Is TBI, And How Is It Caused?

The CDC defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a “disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” In fact, it is estimated that about 150 people die every day from TBI-related injuries. Even a mild concussion can be classified as a traumatic brain injury. 

There are many types of accidents that may result in a TBI-related injury.  For example, car and truck accidents often result in a TBI injury.  Construction accidents – especially when proper protective head gear is not used – can result in a TBI injury.  Motorcycle and bicycle accidents often involve TBI injuries because of the lack of sufficient protection for the head and the high speeds involved.  Even a slip and fall on a sidewalk may involve a TBI injury if a person falls and strikes their head on the pavement.

TBI injuries are often catastrophic and debilitating.  Because the brain is such a complex organ, there is still a lot the medical field does not understand about the brain and how it heals after injury.   Many TBI victims require substantial medical treatment assistance for the foreseeable future.  This comes with significant medical expenses for a family.  This is why a person with a head injury must seek the advice of an experienced attorney in order to recover the appropriate damages in a negligence claim. A New York or New Jersey personal injury lawyer can investigate and prepare your case to help you prove a TBI injury in order to recover damages and monetary compensation for your claim.

How Do You Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury in Court?

Again, because the brain is so complex, it is very important to properly present evidence of a TBI-related injury in court.  A traumatic brain injury is most often proven in court with (1) medical documentation, (2) testimony of witnesses, and (3) expert witness testimony.  Medical documentation might include x-rays, cat scans of the brain, and MRI scans. Testimony may include the testimony of the injured victim, or the testimony of the victim's family members who can describe how the TBI injury has negatively impacted the victim's abilities.  An expert witness, usually a neurological doctor, should also testify as to the victim's medical diagnosis of TBI and the future impact of the TBI injury on the injured person's capabilities.

What Evidence Types Help You Prove a Brain or Head Injury in Court?

Every court venue and jurisdiction follows evidence rules differently from one another. The following forms of evidence are commonly used when proving a brain or head injury in court:

  • Imaging technology: Your physician will utilize imaging technology to assess the extent of damage to the brain. This would likely include x-rays, cat scans (or CT scan), and/or MRI scans. Medical evidence is admissible in court.
  • Expert witnesses: Expert witnesses, like medical doctors who specialize in brain injuries, have advanced knowledge related to proving traumatic brain and head injuries. A speech pathologist may be needed to assess and testify about any speech or language problems. An accident lawyer has relationships with the professionals that they can call upon during your case.
  • Eyewitnesses: Behavioral changes are a common symptom in brain injuries. The testimony of friends and loved ones will help to prove your claim.
  • Psychological analysis: A psychological analyst is someone who can help you provide medical evidence of the TBI as well. They can also speak to your mental anguish and pain and suffering as applicable.
  • Personal journals: If you work with an attorney, we may ask you to keep a personal journal regarding daily pain and emotional levels. Your account of the situation is admissible as evidence in court when proving a TBI.

You also need to demonstrate how the injury affected you or your loved one's life.

TBI Causes Wide-ranging Physical and Psychological Effects

A severe brain injury sustained in an accident may result in a number of medical impairments.  A fracture of the skull may occur, which might require surgical intervention.  Bleeding or swelling on the brain is also a severe injury requiring significant medical care.  Many TBI victims suffer from short-term or even long-term memory loss, and may also have difficulty recognizing people or things.

A TBI victim might also suffer from cognitive impairments that affect a wide range of abilities. Those suffering with TBI may also experience difficulty learning new things, concentrating, or making simple every-day normal decisions.  A person may also have trouble planning and carrying out the simplest of tasks, trouble exercising judgment, have vision problems, and changes in mood or behavior.

TBI victims may fall into a coma for short or longer periods of time.  In addition, a TBI victim's speech and language may also be impacted by a brain injury.  Treatment by a speech pathologist may be needed to improve communication skills as a result.

TBI Causes Wide-ranging Physical and Psychological Effects

Brain Injury Case Settlements & Verdicts Vary Widely

Brain damage cases are all unique and very case-specific.  The value of such a case depends on many different factors, including the particular facts of the case, the severity and level of damage, and overall victim impact and effect on the victim's family members.  However, brain injury settlements could be higher than typical injury cases since they require expensive procedures to treat, involve a major and complex organ, and could potentially have serious, life-altering ramifications.  A personal injury attorney in New York and New Jersey will help you determine the value of your case specifically.

Below, we have outlined some recent head injury settlements in New Jersey and New York:

New Jersey Head Injury Settlements

Examples of New Jersey head injury settlements include:

  • An 83-year-old Upper Saddle River man settled for $1.3 million after struck as a pedestrian.
  • A family settled for $7 million after a Passaic County doctor caused birth injuries to the child.
  • A bus rider in Hudson County for $1.25 million after the vehicle was struck and caused him a brain injury.
  • A woman was hit by a car in a parking lot and suffered a brain injury and settled for $1,050,000.
  • A Middlesex County teenager and her family settled for $9.38 million after suffering an anesthesia-related brain injury.

New York Head Injury Settlements

Examples of New York head injury settlements include:

  • A drunk driver paid $4.4 million in settlement damages to a young boy after striking a vehicle he traveled in and causing a TBI.
  • A Blair County jury awarded $10.8 million in a brain injury lawsuit caused by hospital medication negligence.
  • A Manhattan worker who fell from a ladder and suffered a traumatic brain injury settled for $3,500,000.
  • A driver suffered brain damage and was awarded a $1,900,000 settlement when a truck hit their car as a result of improper maintenance of the truck's brakes.

Keep in mind that the above-referenced settlements are “high-profile” cases for traumatic brain injury settlements and court awards. Every case is unique, and your case's value depends upon whether you can prove a traumatic brain injury in court as well as the monetary damages suffered. Because the results obtained in specific cases depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, past case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in future cases undertaken by a lawyer or law firm.

Personal Injury Lawyers Help You Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury in Court

A personal injury attorney in New York and New Jersey can assess your specific situation to determine if you have a viable case against a third party for traumatic brain injury. Our main objectives are investigating the accident to discover evidence and marshal the victim's medical records, along with appropriate medical experts and testimony, to leverage our experience and get the result you deserve. If they do not pay you what you deserve after hard-hitting negotiations, we will prove a traumatic brain injury in court on your behalf.

Connect with Hunt & Associates, LLC for a Free Case Evaluation

Hunt & Associates, LLC investigates causes of TBIs to use our findings when negotiating or litigating your case. Call us at (866) 456-HUNT(4868) or message us online for a Free Case Evaluation now. Hablamos Español o puedes contactarnos aquí.

About the Author

James Hunt

Jim Hunt, the founder of Hunt & Associates, is a former Big Law attorney who trained at one of the biggest and most prestigious law firms in the world. He now uses that unique experience and training to help his injured clients fight for justice against “the big guys,” i...


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