How Do You Prove a TBI?


July 31, 2020 / Personal Injury

As part of an insurance claim or lawsuit, how do you prove that a TBI (traumatic brain injury) happened? You have the burden of proving you have a TBI and the other party caused it if you want compensation for your injury. There are many ways the harm you suffered can be established through documents and testimony. If you’re a veteran seeking benefits for a service-related TBI, you would need to show its effects to the Veterans Administration (VA).

A TBI is usually caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, entering into the brain, can also create a TBI, according to the Mayo Clinic. A mild TBI may affect you temporarily. More severe injuries can result from bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical brain damage. These injuries can cause lifelong intellectual, psychological, emotional, and physical disabilities. A TBI could also be fatal.

How to Prove Traumatic Brain Injury in Court or During Negotiations

Whether Stephenson Rife is negotiating a settlement with an insurance company or presenting a brain injury lawsuit to a jury, to prove that a traumatic brain injury occurred, we start at the beginning. We show what happened in the accident, how, and why. We will also establish how it caused your injury and how your TBI impacts you.

If you suffered your injury in a vehicle crash, specific documentation related to it will be needed. A police report provides information about how an accident happened, the vehicles’ location, how fast they were moving, and in which direction they were heading. We hire accident reconstruction experts to get into the fine details of an accident. They can testify about who caused the accident and how it impacted you.

Your head may have struck part of the interior or an object which breached your car’s interior. The force of the accident may have caused your body to slam back and forth between the airbag, door, and seat. It may have caused your brain to violently strike the inside of your skull, causing the TBI.

What About How to Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury in Court?

You are an essential source of evidence. You can testify about the accident, the trauma you suffered, and how the TBI affects you. Your medical records will also show your symptoms, diagnosis, and progress.

Medical Experts and Documents Could Prove a Traumatic Brain Injury

You’re probably not a neurologist, so those qualified to testify, your treating physician and medical experts, could be called as witnesses. Medical professionals could take many approaches to diagnose your TBI, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Documents and testimony could prove that a traumatic brain injury occurred. They would state what tests were used, your responses, that they show you have a TBI, and how much it’s impacting you.

The Glasgow Coma Scale measures your functioning in three areas. They include your ability to:

  • Speak: Can you talk normally, in a way that doesn’t make sense, or not at all?
  • Open your eyes: Can you open your eyes when you want to or only when you’re asked?
  • Move: Can you move your arms easily or only in response to painful stimulation?

A health care provider would rate your responses and calculate a score. The lower the number, the more severe the injury.

A speech pathologist would evaluate your speech and language skills. He or she would consider the strength and coordination of your muscles controlling your speech, your use of grammar, vocabulary. How well you read and write would be examined. Your ability to communicate with others would be judged through formal tests and role-playing.

Cognition is the processes of thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, information processing, and memory. Most people with severe TBI have cognitive disabilities, often losing higher-level mental skills. Neuropsychological tests would assess your cognitive abilities.

This testing measures your cognitive, language, behavioral, motor, and higher brain functions. Those results are compared to your abilities before the accident to determine how severe your injuries are.

Medical Tests to Prove a TBI Happened

    Imaging and tests can reveal injuries to your brain. The types of these evaluative procedures include use of:

  • A computerized tomography scan (CT scan) uses X-rays to create a complete picture of your brain. It could show bleeding, bruised tissue, and other damage.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create images more detailed than CT scans.
  • Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring involves a probe inserted through the skull to monitor brain swelling, which can be caused by a TBI. If it swells too much, more brain damage could happen.

Rating a TBI

If a TBI is diagnosed, the next step is to rate the level of injury. The levels are:

  • Mild: You were not unconscious, or you were and it lasted less than 30 minutes. Memory loss lasted less than a day.
  • Moderate: You were unconscious for more than 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Memory loss lasted from one to seven days.
  • Severe: You were unconscious for more than 24 hours and memory loss lasted more than seven days.

Why Stephenson Rife Obtains Expert Testimony to Help Prove a TBI

The insurance company representing the defendant may have their experts review your condition. At a trial, they may dispute that you have a TBI or testify that it’s not as severe as you claim. Stephenson Rife takes expert testimony very seriously. We make sure our experts are well-prepared and can effectively tell your story to a jury. We will have the evidence to counter the insurance company’s efforts to minimize your injuries.

How Do You Prove a TBI to the VA?

If you are a veteran, you may have suffered a TBI in combat or because of an accident you suffered while in the military. If so, you may qualify for VA benefits. To make that determination, the agency looks at the long-term, residual symptoms you have due to the trauma you suffered.

The agency divides the TBI’s effects into different categories to evaluate your condition. Your injury would then be rated, based on the severity and impairment in each of these areas:

  • Memory, attention, concentration, and executive function impairment
  • Judgment abilities
  • Problems with social skills
  • Lessened motor activity
  • Visual-spatial problems
  • Subjective symptoms
  • Neurobehavioral impact
  • Decreased communication skills.

Your symptoms can’t be connected to a previously rated condition to be considered part of your TBI rating. If your health falls within this rating system, it may show the VA that you’re suffering a TBI and deserve benefits.

Take the Next Step: Contact Stephenson Rife for Help

A TBI can be a life-altering event. Permanent injuries could leave you unable to work or at a much-reduced level. Some of those with a TBI require constant care for the rest of their lives. If this is your situation or that of a loved one, you need to take this seriously.

For a free initial consultation with a Stephenson Rife TBI lawyer, call us today at 317-680-2501. We can talk about your injury, how it happened, and who may be responsible. We will discuss your options for getting compensation for all that you and your family are going through and the best way to move forward.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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