What Is an Acquired Brain Injury?
An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any damage or trauma the brain sustains after birth, for non-congenital reasons. ABIs include traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains sudden physical damage, as in a blow to the head or a puncture wound like a gunshot. A non-traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, can happen from infection, illness, brain tumors, or loss of oxygen or blood to the brain. ABIs are common in many accidents, including car accidents, slip and falls, and accidental drowning.
Causes and Effects of ABIs
Acquired brain injuries can occur as a result of catastrophic accidents or illnesses. Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and permanent disability in the U.S., accounting for about 30% of all injury deaths. People who survive traumatic ABIs often live with the effects for days, weeks, or the rest of their lives. No two brain injuries are the same. Each victim will suffer different symptoms and short- or long-term effects. Effects may include:
- Cognitive difficulties
- Persistent headaches
- Fatigue and/or insomnia
- Tremors or seizures
- Physical disabilities
- Trouble with speech
- Sensory disorders
- Loss of consciousness
- Behavioral changes
- Permanent disability
- Coma and/or brain death
Falls were the leading cause of acquired brain injuries in 2013, the most recent year data available. Falls caused more than half (54%) of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths among children up to 14 years of age. The second-leading cause of ABIs was objects striking the head, followed by motor vehicle crashes. Data shows that risk of sustaining a TBI is highest in people 75 years and older.
Who Is Liable for an Acquired Brain Injury?
Sometimes, there is a party at fault for causing someone else’s acquired brain injury. Many types of personal injury claim have involved ABIs, including those relating to medical practice, premises liability, product liability, and negligence. Talk to a Bakersfield brain injury attorney to find out if you have grounds to file a lawsuit after sustaining an ABI at home, at work, or on the road. Potentially liable parties could include:
- An individual. If a driver, an independently contracted doctor, a property owner, criminal, or a coworker caused your injury, you could bring a claim against him or her as an individual. Often, however, individuals may not have the means to pay an award. A lawyer will look for other parties, including insurance companies, who may also be liable.
- A company. If an on-duty employee caused your injury, you could have a claim against his or her employer. You may also have a product liability claim against a manufacturing company if a defective product caused your ABI. All businesses have insurance that may step in to pay your award should you have a successful case.
- The city. The Bakersfiled government could be liable for your ABI if you sustained the injury because of a government employee, while riding in a city-owned vehicle, or because of a defect on a city-owned property. It is possible to sue the government in California, but strict rules apply. Speak to an attorney for help.
Every ABI case is unique. There is often more than one defendant liable for causing someone’s acquired brain injury, traumatic or non-traumatic. While you may not be able to sue if a brain tumor or illness caused your injury, you may have a case if your injuries happened in a preventable accident. Speak to an accomplished Bakersfield personal injury lawyer to learn more about your particular claim.