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How a TBI Claim Is Impacted By Whether the Injury is Open or Closed

A blow to the head of any kind can have a serious impact on your life. Injuries from head trauma can range from a mild concussion to long-lasting and debilitating brain damage. Cases involving traumatic brain injury (TBI) must be taken seriously. This means that if you have suffered a blow to the head of any type, you should seek immediate medical care, even if you believe you are not injured. It is also important that you discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. 

This article will address four topics:

  1. The difference between an “open” TBI and a “closed” TBI.
  2. Why open TBI cases may take longer to settle
  3. The importance of immediately seeking medical care and representation after any head injury

We will discuss each of these issues in turn.

The Difference Between “Open” and “Closed” Traumatic Brain Injuries

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is one that impacts cognitive functioning after a blow to the head. Not all blows to the head will result in a TBI. When a blow is enough to actually impair cognitive functions, it will likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Mild TBI – Examples of a more moderate TBI can include a minor concussion, which someone will typically recover from in a week or two with no lasting symptoms.
  • More Moderate TBI – More moderate TBI typically results in more severe problems, such as difficulty using one’s limbs, blurry vision, slurring speech, etc. The recovery for a moderate injury is longer than that of a mild TBI.
  • Severe TBI – Severe TBI often results in lasting brain damage with lifelong effects. Such effects can range from visual and auditory problems to paralysis in extreme cases.

There are a number of situations that can result in the victim incurring a traumatic brain injury. These include car accidents, suffering a slip and fall, being involved in a motorcycle accident, and more.

Open vs Closed TBI

An “open” TBI occurs when an object actually pierces the skull and enters the brain. Examples of this can include glass or metal piercing the skull as the result of a car accident. This is different from a “closed” TBI which involves a blow to the head that is not strong enough to pierce the skull. Examples of this can include your head hitting the steering wheel after a car accident, your head hitting the pavement after a motorcycle accident, etc. For obvious reasons, the threat of permanent and more lasting injury is higher in open TBI cases. It is important to remember, however, that closed TBI cases can also easily result in lasting difficulties.

Open TBI Cases May Take Longer To Settle Than Closed TBI Cases

Open TBI cases can often take longer to settle than closed cases due to the fact that the injuries are likely to be more severe. The reason for this is that your damages should be reasonably ascertainable before you agree to a settlement. If you accept a “quick” settlement without knowing your long-term prognosis, then you may receive less money than what you should be entitled to. It is important to discuss this topic further.

An Injury Victim’s Damages Should be Ascertainable Before They Accept a Settlement

Before you accept a settlement it is important to know your prospects for recovery, the extent to which you will need additional surgeries and ongoing medical care, and your projected medical costs. In severe injury cases, it may take some time to determine whether you will make a full recovery from an injury or not. If a victim accepts a low-ball settlement, thinking they will make a full recovery which they do not make, then they cannot receive additional money for their extra medical costs and economic losses. Accepting a settlement only after your treating physicians can be more sure of the outcome helps to prevent a shortfall in your settlement amount.

Open TBI Cases Often Require More Time to Determine the Victim’s Long-Term Prognosis

As stated above, open TBI cases involve an actual piercing of brain tissue. For obvious reasons, these types of cases are likely to be more severe. This increased severity means that a substantial amount of time may have to pass, and additional procedures may have to occur before physicians can predict whether one will fully recover. Suppose, for example, that a doctor tells someone, who is having verbal difficulties after an open TBI, that they have a 50-50 chance of fully recovering and a full recovery may take a year. The person believes they will fully recover and they accept a small settlement. Unfortunately, the person does not recover and now they cannot return to their former job. Their settlement will likely not have covered the loss of their career. This could have been prevented if they had waited to see if they actually made a full recovery.

Immediately Seek Medical Care and Contact a Fort Lauderdale Brain Injury Attorney if You Have Been in an Accident

If you have been in an accident and have suffered a head injury, then it is important that you immediately seek medical care. Failing to do so can give the defendant(s) room to claim that any injury stemmed from another event that occurred between the time of the accident and the time you sought care. Going to the hospital immediately after a blow to the head can eliminate such an argument. Once you have sought care, it is important that you immediately speak with a lawyer. Counsel will take steps to protect your interests, including contacting the relevant insurance carriers so they may deal with them directly.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Brain Injury Attorney Today

If you are in need of assistance, contact us today to speak with a Fort Lauderdale injury attorney. We believe in standing up for the rights of people and not those of insurance companies. Our office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online for immediate help.


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