“Ask The Hammer” – Exploring the Legal Matters That Matter Most
Welcome to the podcast radio show with TBI attorney Darryl Isaacs, “The Hammer.” Do you have a legal question for The Hammer? Send your questions via Facebook or Twitter using #askthehammer or use the contact form on this page. You can also give the offices of Isaacs & Isaacs a call at 800-800-8888. We’d love to use your questions on the show!
Episode 11: TBI Cases – Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits
Questions answered in this episode:
- What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
- How to get proper treatment for a TBI
- How a TBI attorney works to prove you have a traumatic brain injury
- What is a Life Care Plan and when do you need one?
- What is the deadline / statute of limitations for TBI cases?
- How can family help a TBI victim?
- What is TBI rehabilitation like?
- What should we know about TBI settlements and lawsuits?
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Episode 11 Transcription: TBI Cases & Lawsuits
Welcome to Ask The Hammer, the podcast exploring the legal matters that matter most. I’m your host Jeremy Kocal, and as always we are here with attorney Darryl Isaacs — The Hammer — ready to take on the most important questions about law. Today’s episode: Traumatic Brain Injuries, known commonly as TBI. We’ll discuss first steps after a TBI the role a TBI diagnosis plays in a lawsuit, when Life Care [00:00:30] plans become important and information on traumatic brain injury settlements. Let’s dive in now with The Hammer.
Darryl, so you list some of the more common causes of TBI’s on your website and those include: car accidents, motor vehicle collisions, falls — especially for the elderly and children, you have violence: domestic abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, and crime. And explosive blasts that may be job related or in military service. But we should really probably [00:01:00] start with a definition of TBI. So what is a traumatic brain injury?
The Hammer :
A traumatic brain injury — and I think the whole world refers to it as TBI — It’s where the similarity between a traumatic brain injury and other injury ends. One moment the person is normal and then the next moment his life is altered. The real issue with the brain is, since the brain basically defines who we are, when you have a brain injury it can affect all aspects of your body and your life, including [00:01:30] your personality.
I mean for me, because I have a brain injury, it alters the little things. Before it, let’s say a normal day consisted of — wherever I was going, I would remember how to get there. After it, you know I might drive to the same location I’ve driven to for 10 years and all of a sudden I forget to take the right exit. You know, it just alters a little bit, it’s little things that are off that… maybe I see a person that I’ve known for 20 years and all of a sudden I can’t remember his name. It’s small nuances that — it’s just your life is altered.
So when you’re going down [00:02:00] this tough road of traumatic brain injury treatment, what really is your first step for proper TBI treatment?
The first step is diagnosing it because that’s the problem. The consequence of brain injury is most people don’t realize they have it. You know people just say I’m getting older, my memory is getting worse. But you know, what happens when you’re younger and you know, children… and all of a sudden you can see it shows up like maybe your behaviors changed or you’re short where your personality you know, becomes a little more aggressive.
So when you start… you know there’s all kinds of symptoms, but [00:02:30] when your family or loved ones notice some things that isn’t normally “the norm” for you, then they need to get you to a doctor and they need to try to properly diagnose a TBI.
So as a TBI attorney, when you are reviewing a case to consider initiating a traumatic brain injury lawsuit, how do you demonstrate that an injured client in fact has a TBI?
You have to have it diagnosed. You know, you can have a mild TBI, severe. You know, once you get the diagnosis, then it depends on… then you’ve got to look into the treatment. Like with the moderate [00:03:00] or severe TBI, the diagnosis is always pretty evident. You know, when you’ve got, say a life threatening injury… like say from a car accident and you know, you have a massive head injury — it’s easy to see. The harder part is when you have a closed head injury and you don’t see it.
You know, let’s say the person’s on a ventilator and he’s sedated so they can, you know, evaluate with the brain injury. Those you can… obviously if it was moderate or severe… but it’s just the mild traumatic brain injury which is what I have… those are the hardest to diagnose.
And… [00:03:30] so you’re asking OK what what can the attorney do? Let’s say it’s related to a car accident, then the attorney representing the person who has a TBI, then they may have to get, depending on the type, they may have to get a Life Care Plan. Or maybe they’ve got to get something that, let’s say this person can’t go back and do the type of work he was.
Let’s say he’s a coal miner and now he can’t go back to coal mining. So you’re going to have to try to get him what they call lost wages with lost ability to earn. You’re also going to have to get medical bills or [00:04:00] treatment. And where a lot of people go to Life Care Plan is… medical facilities and treatment can be very expensive. And if… you’re talking about about someone and the rest for life. I mean these Life Care Plans can be in the millions of dollars.
What exactly is a Life Care Plan?
A Life Care Plan is part of a case management. It can be used with PACE patients, families, professionals. It specifies the long term medical or psychological and or the rehabilitation needs of a person throughout [00:04:30] his or her life. Let’s say a person has a severe brain injury and because of that, they can’t walk. Or they’re in a wheelchair for the rest of life. What is the cost of watching them by professionals and medical providers and taking them to doctors and therapy? So the Life Care planner comes up with a way to calculate the cost over the lifespan or the life expectancy of this person.
So let’s say that they calculate that this person is going to live 45 more years [00:05:00] and it’s going to cost this much. So that’s what a Life Care planner would provide. And then the attorney representing the plaintiff knows how much compensation they need to seek, at least for the medical bill portion for the Life Care Plan
In some cases TBI symptoms may not show up right away. What’s the deadline for filing a TBI claim to open a lawsuit, especially for folks that might be at risk for experiencing traumatic brain injury symptoms years later. Is there a statute of limitations for TBI cases?
In Kentucky, [00:05:30] if you sustain injuries in a car accident, you have two years to bring a claim, unless you’re a minor child. Generally, it’s two years after the date of accident, unless you have PIP benefits, no-fault benefits, and then it’s two years after the date of the last no-fault payment.
So if you get treatment, for say two years, and your insurance company for your PIP just paid a bill, you get extended by two more years. If you wait four or five years and then it shows up, it may be too late [00:06:00] to collect on it. You can still get it diagnosed.
I think, there’s a lot of symptoms that I can tell you that, you know, occur when you have traumatic brain injury, like say long term effects. Memory loss is one, impaired language skills, mood swings is a big one. I mean I notice that every day. You have sometimes loss of sensation in the body like fingers and toes. Loss of balance. Sometimes you can have partial paralysis. It can also lead to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s [00:06:30] or other degenerative conditions long term. You can have impaired cognitive function.
What’s your message to family members who have a loved one dealing with a TBI? What action can they take to help?
First and foremost is get an attorney that can help you in a personal injury action, that’s familiar with traumatic brain injuries. They can also recommend certain doctors if they don’t have them, or whatever they need to deal with this. But family members can help the person who sustained it by making sure they get it diagnosed [00:07:00] properly, quickly. If you see symptoms, like the ones I mentioned memory loss… when you noticed subtle changes, then you’re going to want to contact the doctor and let them test and get more for it.
What should we know about how traumatic brain injury rehabilitation works?
OK there’s different ones — there’s rehabilitation care centers. Basic stuff, teaching me how to get my balance, how to walk correctly, working on speech, my mental state. And then there’s, obviously there are some that, [00:07:30] like acute treatment… if something is really severe they may have to do some surgical treatment to prevent maybe losing the blood flow and oxygen to the brain to making it worse. But usually if someone’s got a moderate or severe brain injury, they’re going to be doing some type of in care at a facility… that they’re watched, you know 24 hours to do whatever can be done.
When we consider the financial perspective of collecting money damages for these types of injuries, how would you address settlement amounts for traumatic brain injuries, [00:08:00] or pursuing mild traumatic brain injury settlements and closed head injury settlements?
A TBI really, you know unless there’s a trial set, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to get a quick settlement because you’ve got to see what are the long term and lasting effects of the TBI. How we can enhance the settlement or the value is, you know besides getting the experts to prove whoever is at fault, we also would get experts that are… deal with TBIs.
Like, sometimes it can be actually that the treating doctor or you can also have them be [00:08:30] seen by another specialist that can link the causation and describe what they’re going through. And then that on top of like the Life Care Plan. You know that’s why you really need an experienced attorney that’s handled these so they can make sure you get the maximum dollar to deal with your injury.
If you have a legal question you’d like to Ask The Hammer reach out to us on Twitter on Facebook or the website: isaacsandisaacs.com we’d love to tackle your [00:09:00] question on our next show. And here’s our legal disclaimer: this podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever. If you have specific legal questions contact an attorney to discuss specific legal matters about your case. The attorneys of Isaacs and Isaacs operate nationally with their primary office in Louisville Kentucky. Listeners should note that legal services may be performed by others. Join us next time with Darryl Isaacs on Ask The Hammer. Thanks for listening.
Get Your Question Answered By Darryl Isaacs
Got a legal question for The Hammer? Reach out using the contact form on this page or give the team at Isaacs and Isaacs a call at 800-800-8888. Be sure to check out the The Hammer’s blog and more podcast episodes from attorney Darryl Isaacs!
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Louisville, KY 40299