Anyone can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and unfortunately, more than 400,000 children visit emergency rooms for these injuries every year in the US. Another 29,000 kids between 0 and 14 are hospitalized for TBI, and sadly, 3,000 die from this type of injury annually.
Sometimes, TBI can lead to lifelong disability or other health effects in children. Because of their young age and the fact that their brains are still developing, some children may or may not show signs of difficulty immediately after a head injury. With some injuries, the child seems to be acting typically, and the hospital may release them after observation. But a child with a head injury may develop other difficulties later on. One study found that kids who have suffered at least one TBI have higher rates of the following:
While there is an increased risk of these conditions associated with childhood TBI, your child may not develop any of these issues. However, you should make a note of any changes in your child’s behavior or health and report them to your pediatrician right away. Many of the above disorders can be successfully treated following a diagnosis.
More serious TBIs may lead to severe disability, and these conditions usually present symptoms shortly after the injury. In these cases, the child may need medication or surgery to prevent permanent or fatal brain damage. In other situations, even prompt treatment may not be able to reverse the effects of significant brain damage. Some children with advanced brain injuries develop permanent disabilities, including paralysis, speech or movement difficulties, cognitive impairment, and other challenges.
Your child may already have significant medical bills, even if they were only hospitalized for a few days. It might also be hard to predict if they will need additional care in the future. Or, you may already be aware that they will need medical attention for years to come or the rest of their life.
Unfortunately, healthcare can be expensive, even with good insurance, and many things are not covered or have limited coverage. For example, your child might need weekly speech therapy. Still, your health insurance carrier may only pay for so many sessions per year, leaving you struggling to continue covering the costs after you’ve reached that number.
If the negligence of another party caused your child’s injury, seeking compensation could allow you to pay for current medical bills and future care, as well as plan for anything your child will need in the future – specialized therapy, professional caregiving, mobility aids or other assistive devices, etc. A child brain injury attorney will review your child’s case and explain any options available for securing compensation.
The numbers vary depending on the child’s age. Younger children between 0 and 14 are most likely to experience TBI after an accidental fall – this accounts for about 50 percent of pediatric TBIs in the age group. Other common causes include being struck by an object and car accident injuries.
However, very young children, from infants to preschoolers, are more likely to experience a TBI from falls and assaults (including shaken baby syndrome, a type of TBI that occurs due to a child being violently shaken). Teens and elementary school-aged children are most likely to experience TBI due to a car accident, bicycle crash, or sports injury.
The best way to find out is to speak with a child brain injury lawyer. We meet many people who mistakenly believe that their child’s injury was simply an unfortunate accident or the result of bad luck. But in many situations, we find one or more negligent parties from whom we can seek compensation for the injured child.
Here are some examples of everyday situations where another person or entity may be responsible for your child’s injuries:
This is a common concern. Aside from cases that center on car accidents, most negligence cases for child brain injuries involve people or institutions the family knows – neighbors, friends, and caregivers. Many people tell us that they don’t want to sue their neighbor or they know their child’s daycare teacher doesn’t have the money to pay a judgment anyway. Fortunately, we can resolve most of these cases through an insurance claim, and the resulting settlement is paid by the insurance carrier, not the responsible party. Typically these cases are negotiated and settled out of court, and only occasionally is it necessary to go to trial.
Here are some examples of insurance coverage that may apply in child head injury cases:
Even a relatively mild TBI can put your child at increased risk of many health problems. Unfortunately, even parents who earn a comfortable living sometimes struggle to pay for medical care, therapy, and other support services their child needs following a head injury. Your family should not have to undergo financial stress due to someone else’s negligence. An experienced attorney can file a claim with the insurance company and handle any correspondence with the responsible party so that you can focus on helping your child recover.
At Tatum & Atkinson, our personal injury attorneys have worked on many child brain injury cases. We have the knowledge and experience to determine how much compensation will be needed (including future costs) and pursue a claim against the responsible party or their insurance carrier. We understand that caring for your child after a head injury can be a confusing and stressful, and we’re always available to answer your questions and explain the options in your case. Please contact us at any time for a free consultation.