Brain injuries can drastically transform your life, affecting everything from your career to your relationships to your hobbies. Given how common car crashes and construction accidents are, numerous New Yorkers suffer from traumatic brain injuries every day. These injuries can cause severe financial strain on your life and leave you with extensive medical debt as you try to heal from your trauma. If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s actions, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation and recover the costs of your injuries.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, is a respected personal injury law firm in New York that has been successfully representing the rights of injured victims since 1990. With our 50 years of experience, we have secured exceptional financial results for our clients and can provide you with the same outstanding legal aid. If you or someone you love has suffered a coma, brain injury, or other serious injuries, you should call (212) 986-7353 to speak with a New York brain injury attorney at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today.
Initial treatment for a traumatic brain injury is a lot like treatment for any other major injury: Doctors do their best to repair the physical damage and take the patient out of danger. But once the patient is stabilized and able to participate in his or her own recovery, it's time for rehabilitation. Rehabilitation focuses on two things: Restoring those functions that were destroyed by the injury, and, if that's not possible, adapting to their loss. Because the brain controls so many different functions, this can vary widely between patients and can be very complex. Each individual patient, and his or her loved ones, must sit down with the doctors in charge of rehabilitation and make a treatment plan. While no two brain injuries are alike, most patients can expect to spend years working with specialists and therapists in several fields.
The first thing brain injury patients should expect is to take a battery of standardized tests designed to assess what brain functions they have lost. These functions can include:
- Cognitive functions, which are responsible for what an individual knows and what he or she can do. Learning and memory are examples.
- Executive functions, which are functions that allow a person to control his or her own thoughts and behavior -- the system that organizes and uses cognitive functions. In effect, people need executive functions to live independent lives. Examples of executive functions include directing one's attention; making plans for the future; and changing a problem-solving strategy.
- Motor functions, which control movement. In addition to causing a patient trouble with getting around, loss of motor functions can make it hard to speak clearly.
Depending on what problems these tests find, the patient may be directed to inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation; patients may also move between them as their skills improve. The professionals who help with rehabilitation can include:
- A physiatrist, who coordinates the rehabilitation.
- A physical therapist, who helps patients with movement.
- An occupational therapist, who retrains daily skills like taking a shower and managing money.
- A speech/language pathologist, who helps patients relearn how to speak clearly or communicate in other ways.
- A neuropsychologist, who monitors patients' cognitive progress and mental health.
- A recreational therapist, who takes patients into the community to apply the skills they're learning.
- A social worker or case manager, who, along with or instead of the family, advocates for the patient with insurance companies, medical staff and others.
In addition to all of this therapy, patients may need long-term medication to stop the pain, seizures, muscle spasms, insomnia, or mental illness.
Given the extensive amount of treatment required for a traumatic brain injury, victims are often left with a mountain of medical bills, weeks to months out of work, and lifelong disabilities. Covering these costs out-of-pocket is next to impossible for most families in New York who live paycheck to paycheck.
However, if the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against that person’s insurance policy for compensation. There are a variety of claims you may be eligible for depending on the nature of your accident:
- An auto accident claim against a reckless driver
- A premises liability claim against a careless property owner
- A workers’ compensation claim if you were injured at work
- A construction accident claim against a negligent contractor or property owner
- A medical malpractice claim against a negligent hospital or medical professional
With each type of claim, you will want to work with an experienced law firm that can investigate your injuries, determine who is liable, and advocate for full compensation. In addition, the legal team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, can also review your medical records and financial costs to determine how much compensation you can recover. In the state of New York, most victims are eligible to file claims for both economic and non-economic damages.
“Economic damages” refer to the financial losses a victim has suffered as a result of injuries. The majority of these damages will include medical bills and treatment, including emergency surgeries, hospitalizations, medications, and any tests you require. However, your therapy bills, ranging from physical therapy to psychiatric aid, can also be included in your claim.
In addition, New York State also allows victims to include damages related to their careers. Many accident victims have to take time off from work to attend medical appointments or rest. This can make it difficult for you to pay rent, cover living costs, and deal with your medical bills, but these lost wages can also be recovered from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. If you found it difficult to work a standard shift or missed out on a raise or promotion due to your injuries, these costs can also be calculated into your claim.
With the aid of an attorney at WRSH, you may be able to recover all economic damages caused by your injuries, including:
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost career opportunities
- Lost earning capacity
Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages involve all of the non-financial costs of an accident. In general, this is referred to as pain and suffering, or the personal costs of your injuries. This includes both the physical and mental pain of your injuries, your ability to enjoy certain parts of your life, and how the accident has affected your day-to-day life. These types of damages are much more fluid than economic damages, and you may need expert testimony to support your claim.
Noneconomic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, affection, or sexual intimacy
Brain injury treatment is a long and complicated process, requiring hard work and patience not only from the patient, but also his or her family. In addition to being difficult, it can also be very expensive. If you or someone you care about sustained a traumatic brain injury because of another person's negligence, you have the right to hold that person legally and financially responsible. To protect your rights, you should speak with the experienced NY brain injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP as soon as possible by calling (212) 986-7353.