When Can a TBI Sufferer Take Legal Action?

 

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the more serious injuries you can suffer in an accident. Deadlines to file a legal action against the party that caused the injury fall under a state’s statute of limitations. If that deadline is missed, unless a party filing a legal claim can show extreme circumstances to justify being late, the lawsuit will probably be dismissed and legal rights to compensation will be lost.

What is a TBI?

A TBI can be caused in any number of accidents where the head is violently shaken or strikes an object. These accidents can include slipping and falling, being in a vehicle crash or a motorcycle accident, being a pedestrian struck by a vehicle or falling from a ladder or scaffolding. A TBI could also be the result of an intentional assault.

In these situations brain cells are injured when the head shakes violently back and forth, striking the inside of the skull. They can also be injured if the object struck intrudes through the skull and hits the brain directly. These injuries can result in lost physical function, personality changes and lost cognitive function.

Dealing with a serious TBI can include very expensive medical treatment and long-term rehabilitation. If the injury is severe enough, the victim may need life-long care. If you add lost work earnings and compensation for pain and suffering, a lawsuit against a party responsible for the injury could seek hundreds of thousands ,if not millions, of dollars.

When does a TBI lawsuit need to be filed?

If the victim or his or her family decides to take legal action, the statute of limitations needs to be considered. This deadline to file is created by state statute, so it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally the deadline for a personal injury case can range from one to six years from the time of the injury.

The “discovery rule” is an exception where the deadline to file starts when the injury is actually discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered. It’s possible that a TBI may not be diagnosed at the time of the accident but symptoms may present as time goes on, leading to a much later diagnosis. Another possible exception is when the responsible party lies to the victim and engages in fraud to cover up its role.

Why should an attorney get involved soon after a TBI has been suffered?

Courts generally stick to the statute of limitations deadline and are reluctant to make an exception, though it does happen. It’s best that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a TBI diagnosis if you believe another party may be responsible. This is not a legal hurdle you want to try to jump over, because if the defendant seeks the case’s dismissal because of a violation of the statute of limitations and the judge agrees, your case will be dismissed and you will lose your rights to pursue the claim.

Once a brain injury lawyer in Indianapolis is retained, he or she can start an investigation into the cause of the TBI. Facing a close deadline may cut it short, so important information may be lacking by the time a lawsuit is filed. An investigation may show that the cause of the accident is more complex than you thought and more parties are responsible than you believe.

Ideally, a lawsuit should name all responsible parties when it’s filed. But an incomplete lawsuit filed before the statute of limitations runs is better than no lawsuit at all. Even if only one of a number of possible defendants is named, that party may bring its own legal claims against the others. It will try to prove they’re the ones actually to blame and try to escape liability or at least reduce what it may need to pay eventually.

A TBI can be a very serious injury. Lawsuits filed by TBI victims can potentially involve large sums of money because of the harm done by severe, life-long disabilities. In order to avoid the possibility that legal claims may be dismissed because of failing to comply with the statute of limitations, it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney after the injury. You can discuss the accident, applicable laws and how to best protect your rights, including not waiting too long to file a lawsuit.

 

 

 

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