Brain injuries are among the most severe injuries an infant can receive and can lead to a lifetime of ongoing medical care and treatment, or even death. The brain is the most complex organ in the body, containing billions of nerve cells that provide messages to the rest of the body.
Did you know that even slight trauma to the brain can lead to lasting brain injuries that can disrupt the life of the victim for years to come?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 1.7 million people suffer a brain injury each year, resulting in around 50,000 deaths. The CDC additionally estimates that approximately 30 percent of all injury-related deaths involve a traumatic brain injury.
It is difficult for the body to function after a brain injury. Ongoing medical care is often required for the injured person to lead a somewhat normal life in the years following the accident. The CDC also reports that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death resulting from traumatic brain injuries, while falls are the greatest reason for emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
Both accidents and falls can be easily prevented. A driver who takes their eyes off the road for 5 seconds could cause a terrible accident leading to brain injuries. A property owner who does not bother to clean up liquid spills or fix a loose stair could put their guests at risk for brain injuries in case of falls.
Symptoms of Brain Damage in Infants
If your infant is showing symptoms of brain damage, it’s important to get medical care right away.
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
Physical problems due to brain injuries in infants can manifest in the following ways:
- Trouble eating and swallowing
- Inability to sit upright or hold head up
- Abnormal reflexes (weak grasp and poor eye-hand coordination)
- Stiff arms and legs
- Inability to crawl or walk on their own
- Trouble sleeping through the night
It’s normal for babies to take their time learning how to communicate with others, but if your child isn’t meeting milestones, this could be a sign of brain damage. Other signs include delayed speech development and lack of social interaction with other children.
Hypotonia means that the muscles do not respond normally to stimulation or use. This may be caused by an injury or by birth defects, or genetic disorders such as spina bifida. The muscles may also have trouble coordinating their movements together because they don’t receive signals from the brain correctly.
Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes changes in behavior, consciousness, movement, and sensation. They can occur as part of a disease process like epilepsy. A baby with seizures will need medical treatment to prevent them from occurring frequently which may be dangerous to his or her health.
The negligence standard is the driving force in most personal injury claims, and typically rests on the actions of the defendant and whether they exercised the appropriate level of care that a person in a similar circumstance would have exercised.
Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that the victim of an accident will not be able to receive damages if they are found to be more than 51 percent at fault for the accident. For example, if a court determines that the victim’s actions were 40 percent the cause of the accident, then the victim’s total damages will be reduced by 40 percent. However, if the court determines that the victim is 51 percent at fault for the accident, the victim will be barred from receiving any damages.
A victim of an accident leading to brain injuries could be entitled to bring a claim involving the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
Brain injury impacts more than just the victim. It often impacts the whole family who will have to adjust to a very different life. Brain injuries can impact the victim’s ability to speak, walk, or even comprehend daily chores. It is therefore important that the responsible party be held accountable for their actions leading to the brain injury. In Nevada, non-economic damages are capped at $350,000.
Who Is Liable for Infant Brain Damage?
Did you know your trusted medical team could be liable for your child’s brain injury? Doctors do err on the side of caution and will often prescribe medications or perform surgeries not medically necessary. If the baby suffers brain injuries as a result, the doctor could be liable for the damages.
Doctors also must provide safe care while they treat patients. If they fail to respond quickly enough to an infant’s medical needs, they may be liable if this causes serious harm to the child.
Also, hospitals are required by law to ensure that diagnostic tests are performed correctly and that emergency procedures are done safely. If a medical team fails to meet this standard, they could be liable for injuries suffered by your child during treatment.
A Las Vegas Personal Injury lawyer from our firm can help you pursue compensation for your child’s brain injury damages.
When Could A Doctor Be Liable?
A doctor can be liable for medical malpractice if he or she fails to provide the standard of care that would be expected from a reasonably prudent doctor in similar circumstances. A standard of care is the degree of care that is professional and ordinarily exercised by members of the same profession under similar circumstances. A doctor cannot be held liable for simply being wrong about a diagnosis or treatment.
However, if he or she fails to exercise reasonable care in treating a patient, then they may be liable for medical malpractice. Doctors are also expected to keep up with new developments in their fields and ensure they have the most current knowledge available when treating patients.
Other instances where a doctor could be liable include:
- The doctor failed to diagnose a condition that would have been apparent with proper testing
- The doctor did not use the most up-to-date treatment methods available
- The doctor did not follow accepted professional standards for treatment
- The care given by one physician was substandard because another physician failed to supervise him or her properly
To prove medical malpractice, you must show four elements:
- The doctor owed you a duty of care
- The doctor breached that duty by failing to provide reasonable care
- This breach caused your injuries
- You suffered actual damages as a result of this breach
A Nevada personal injury lawyer can help determine and prove the medical malpractice on the part of the doctor or hospital.
How A Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If your child has sustained brain damage, an attorney can help prove liability. An attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for filing a lawsuit and help you file a claim.
Your attorney can help gather evidence that supports your claim for damages and negotiate settlements with insurance companies. You will then have the opportunity to accept or reject these offers based on the facts and circumstances of your case. If no settlement is reached, your lawyer can take the case to court, where it will be tried before a jury.
However, the court system can be complicated and confusing. The court system requires lots of research and attention to detail. A personal injury attorney can help you avoid mistakes that could result in losing your case. An attorney knows exactly how to document the damages your child suffered and the costs involved in treating them. They can also help you navigate all of the paperwork that must be filed in courts.
Lastly, It’s important to file your lawsuit within the Nevada statute of limitation – which is three years from the date of injury, the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered. Your lawyer can help file your claim within the deadline.
De Castroverde Law Group | Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury during a tragic accident, do not hesitate to contact the Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group. Our attorneys have handled severe brain injury claims and will work closely with you and your family to pursue compensation for your injuries. Contact our Las Vegas office today for your initial free consultation.