Brain InjuryBrain injuries are among the most severe and complex injuries that individuals can sustain, often leading to life-altering consequences and, in severe cases, even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a major cause of mortality and permanent disability in the United States. Whether it results from an injury at work, during recreational activities, or from being involved in an accident, the repercussions of a TBI can be devastating for victims and their families.

The risk of death from TBI is a critical concern, and these injuries demand immediate medical attention. It’s also important, in cases where the injury was caused by the negligence of a third party, to seek qualified legal counsel who can help obtain just compensation. The personal injury legal team at Shea & Shea represents TBI victims throughout the Bay Area.

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of brain injuries, particularly focusing on the risks associated with TBIs, including the immediate and long-term impacts that can increase the risk of death. In addition, we will explore the legal dimensions associated with these types of head injuries, emphasizing how a personal injury lawyer can provide essential TBI representation to secure justice and compensation for victims.

Understanding Brain Injuries

Brain injuries occur due to sudden trauma to the head, leading to damage to the brain. These injuries can vary significantly in severity, from mild concussions that may result in brief changes in mental status, to severe cases of traumatic brain injury that can result in prolonged unconsciousness or amnesia. The main causes include falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and violence. Here are the primary types of brain injuries:

  • Concussions – The most common type of traumatic brain injury, usually caused by a sudden blow to the head. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, and temporary loss of consciousness.
  • Contusions – These are bruises on the brain tissue often associated with a direct impact. Large contusions may need to be surgically removed.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injuries – These occur when the force impacting the head is not only strong enough to cause a contusion at the site of impact but also able to move the brain and cause it to slam into the opposite side of the skull.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) – This type of injury results from severe shaking or strong rotation of the head, as seen in car accidents.
  • Penetrating Injuries – Occurring when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue, these injuries are extremely serious and often result in significant neurological damage.

Each type of injury presents unique challenges and contributes to the overall risk of death from TBI, requiring specific approaches in medical treatment. In cases involving a brain injury from an accident due to another’s negligence, the specific type of injury will also influence the compensation the victim may qualify for.

Short-Term Risks After a Brain Injury

Immediately following a brain injury, several medical conditions can develop that significantly increase the risk of TBI death or impairment:

  • Increased Intracranial Pressure (ICP) – Swelling or bleeding inside the skull can rapidly increase pressure, potentially leading to brain damage or death if not promptly addressed.
  • Hemorrhage – Uncontrolled bleeding in or around the brain can lead to catastrophic outcomes, necessitating immediate medical intervention.
  • Hypoxia – A lack of oxygen to the brain, often a consequence of respiratory problems post-injury, can result in further brain damage and increase the risk of death from TBI.
  • Infection – Open head injuries, such as penetrating injuries, can expose the brain to infection, leading to serious complications that can be fatal.

These immediate risks require emergency medical care to stabilize the patient and reduce the likelihood of long-term consequences or death.

Long-Term Health Risks

The aftermath of a TBI can extend far beyond the initial recovery period, posing long-term health risks that may increase the likelihood of premature death:

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – This progressive degenerative disease, found in individuals with a history of repetitive brain trauma, often manifests years after the initial injuries, leading to cognitive decline, mood disorders, and eventually, physical impairments.
  • Neurological Disorders – Survivors of severe TBIs may face a higher risk of developing conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, which can significantly impact life expectancy.
  • Psychological Impact – Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, are common among TBI These conditions not only affect quality of life but also increase the risk of suicide.

For those who have experienced a head injury in an accident, securing TBI representation through a personal injury lawyer is vital. Such legal support ensures that the victims receive compensation that reflects both the immediate and the long-term impacts of their injuries.

Statistics on TBI Death and Recovery Rates

The mortality rates associated with traumatic brain injuries reveal the severity and potential deadliness of these conditions. One study found the following five-year outcomes for persons who sustained a TBI:

  • 22% died
  • 30% experienced worse health
  • 22% stayed the same
  • 26% improved1

The risk of death from TBI increases significantly with the patient’s age and the severity of the injury. Older adults and those with more severe injuries are particularly at risk.

Legal Considerations for Brain Injury Victims

For victims of traumatic brain injuries caused by another party’s negligence, it’s important to understand their legal rights. Key considerations include:

  • Comparative Fault Rule – California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule, which means that if a plaintiff is found partially responsible for their injuries, the damages awarded to them will be reduced accordingly. This is an important consideration in TBI cases where multiple parties may share liability.
  • Statute of Limitations – In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years. This period begins on the date the injury occurred. For claims against government entities, the timeframe to file a claim is much shorter—typically six months from the date of the incident.
  • Damage Caps – While California does not cap economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost earnings) in personal injury cases, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are capped at $250,000 in medical malpractice cases. This cap does not apply to other types of personal injury cases.

The various legal issues involved in a TBI death or injury case can be complicated. It’s vital to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to secure proper TBI representation.

Contact Shea & Shea Today

If you or a loved one is an injured person suffering from the effects of a TBI, the experienced Bay Area legal team at Shea & Shea is here to help. Persons who have suffered an injury at work or another environment due to another’s negligence may qualify for substantial compensation. Specializing in personal injury claims, our dedicated attorneys understand the complex nature of TBI cases and are committed to securing the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us at (408) 292-2434. Your initial consultation is free.



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San Jose, CA 95128

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