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Montana Personal Injury Law Blog

How many people suffer traumatic brain injuries per year?

Many injuries cause a tremendous amount of suffering, from an incredible amount of discomfort and pain to lifelong problems with reduced mobility. However, those which involve the brain are especially concerning. To make matters worse, it can be difficult to detect brain injuries and some people suffer for years without knowing that hitting their head caused a TBI. In Bozeman, and across all of Montana, it is pivotal for those with head injuries to look into their options, especially if someone's negligence caused the injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that roughly 2.8 million were hospitalized, passed away, or visited an emergency room due to a traumatic brain injury over the course of 2013. These injuries occur in many ways, from playground accidents to mishaps on construction sites and slipping on wet surfaces. For the victims of traumatic brain injuries, life may be transformed for the worse in a myriad of ways. Brain injuries can get in the way of one's ability to perform their job duties, enjoy activities, and even maintain relationships with loved ones. Because of the serious nature of these injuries, looking at all avenues to move forward is essential, even legal action, in some cases.

What is a survival action?

The anguish and stress that comes with seeing a loved injured in Bozeman is often compounded by the responsibility placed on you to care for him or her going forward. The expenses associated with such care may leave you with little choice but to seek compensation on his or her behalf from the party responsible for his or her injuries. Yet initiating such action may add further stress to your situation given that it is impossible to know what the future holds. What if, for example, your loved one dies before his or her case is resolved? 

Suddenly, you are left fighting for someone who is no longer living. Does such a fight stop with his or her death? According to Section 27-1-501 of Montana's Annotated Code, the answer to that question is no. This statute clearly state's that any action does not abate with the death of the party on whose behalf it was initiated. Rather, it transfers to you and/or his or her other representatives. 

Considering a settlement in your case

If and when you or someone in Bozeman that you care about is injured by a defective product, you may immediately assume that a large judgment is coming your way from the product's manufacturer. Many of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have worked with in the past who have suffered similar injuries share the same assumption. They quickly learned, however, that such cases are not always so cut-and-dry. 

The Insurance Information Institute lists product liability claims as being the fourth most common element that companies fear. They worry about the damage that such cases can do to their reputations, which often motivates them to settle claims before they go to court. You should never feel pressured into accepting a settlement simply because doing so would be more convenient for all of the parties involved in your case. At the same time, you may want to ask yourself some questions before dismissing an offer altogether, namely: 

  • How strong is your case? You might view your claim as being a slam dunk, but be prepared for a defendant to challenge your actions and intent should your case go to trial. 
  • What is the local jury climate like? Some areas might be more prone to juries comprised of members that view lawsuits as frivolous and unwarranted. 
  • How badly do you need money right now? If they believe it to be in their best interest, a manufacturer may choose to allow a dispute to go to court. That means a lengthier process and loftier legal fees associated with it. 

Playgrounds and brain injuries

If you have children who are in school, you could have many concerns. For example, you might be worried about bullying or their performance in the classroom. However, there are other potential problems that parents should watch out for, such as the risk of brain injuries on the playground and elsewhere. Playground accidents are responsible for many of the brain injuries that children suffer, but there are other hazards they may come across in school and elsewhere, such as wet floors. As a parent, it can be very unsettling to find out that your child has suffered a brain injury, but you should not give up.

Sadly, brain injuries can affect children in many ways. Sometimes, these injuries can have lasting consequences, such as memory problems and other complications. Moreover, an injury may interfere with their schooling and may not even be evident until some point in the future. As a result, parents should do whatever they can to reduce the chances of this problem, such as talking with their kids and identifying problem areas.

Piecing your life together after a Thanksgiving crash

Each year, families across the country come together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this holiday can also increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle wreck happening. If you were hurt in an accident that occurred on Thanksgiving, your life may have been overturned in multiple ways. Perhaps you are reading this post in a hospital bed or maybe you have recently returned home. Either way, it is vital to know your rights and pursue any tools that can help you recover.

Auto accidents can be incredibly difficult regardless of the time of year they take place. When crashes occur on a holiday, they can ruin celebrations for the entire family, generate a lot of emotional pain, create financial hardships, leave victims with serious injuries, and even claim lives. Sadly, these accidents can be particularly problematic during the holidays because of drunk drivers, poor weather, and an increased amount of traffic on the road, among other factors. If a reckless driver has soured your Thanksgiving celebrations by causing a crash, you should look into all of you options.

Can you become "mad as a hatter?"

Like most in Bozeman, you probably attribute the term "mad as a hatter" as having originated with the Mad Hatter character from Lewis Carroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland." Yet in actuality, the term was used long before then to describe an occupational illness. Felt was often used in the making of hats, and mercury nitrate was a common component used in its fabrication. This led to countless hatmakers contracting erethism due to mercury exposure, which is characterized by delirium, hallucinations and even suicidal tendencies. 

Today, the term "brain toxicity" is used to describe brain injuries that result from toxic exposure. According to information shared by Amen Clinics, your brain's ability to soak up knowledge is almost equaled by its capacity to absorb and retain toxins. Over time, saturation from these toxins can lead to issues such as: 

  • Depression
  • Personality changes 
  • Fatigue 
  • Memory loss
  • Motor tics
  • Seizures

Understanding the Eggshell Skull Rule

Whenever someone in Bozeman loses a loved one due to another's negligent actions, it may be easy for most to understand the motivation to hold such negligent parties accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. However, simply because negligence is alleged to have caused a death does not mean that those affected are automatically entitled to collect damages. It must first be proven how the allegedly negligent party contributed to the tragedy. 

There are typically two types of cause considered in wrongful death cases: cause in fact or proximate cause. Cause in fact is fairly straightforward; it exists whenever a result would not have occurred without the attributed cause. Proving proximate cause can be somewhat trickier. It involves causes that set sequences in motion that result in forseeable effects. So, while a proximate cause may not be the direct cause of one's death, it may have initiated the events that lead to it. 

Halloween celebrations and traffic accidents

During Halloween, the chances of auto accidents occurring may be even greater for various reasons. Aside from a noticeable increase in pedestrian and vehicle traffic due to trick-or-treating and other holiday celebrations, some people also get behind the wheel after drinking too much on Halloween. Sadly, these behaviors can increase the likelihood of a crash which may cause devastating injuries or even the loss of innocent lives. If you were involved in an accident that occurred on or around Halloween, this may sound all too familiar. Whether you are facing the loss of someone you loved or a serious injury, our law firm recognizes the importance of assessing different options on the table and moving forward.

Sadly, some traffic accidents that take place on Halloween involve children, immediately bringing an end to the joy and excitement that they may experience during the holiday. Although it is important for drivers to be aware of the potentially greater chances of a traffic crash during this time of year and on other holidays, such as Christmas and New Year's Eve, many accidents take place because of another person's recklessness and simply could not have been prevented by a responsible driver who found themselves involved in the wreck. Unfortunately, many innocent lives have been claimed and even more turned upside down due to debilitating injuries, some of which follow a person around for the rest of his or her life.

When poor vision causes a crash

There are a smorgasbord of reasons why people are involved in motor vehicle crashes, whether they happen because of intoxication or roads that have been covered in ice. However, our firm realizes that other causes, some of which are ignored by certain people, can result in a fatal collision or an accident that leaves victims with debilitating injuries. For example, someone whose eyesight is poor may cause an accident if they ignore their problems with vision and get behind the wheel.

Moreover, poor vision can lead to accidents in other ways. For example, someone who may need glasses could cause a crash if their glasses fall off. Whether they are searching for their glasses on the floor or temporarily have difficulty seeing the road, this can be very dangerous. Additionally, even people with good vision could find themselves in an accident because of a problem with their ability to see the road properly. Aside from obstructions on or near the road, people may struggle with seeing the road when it is foggy or during a period of heavy rainfall.

Knowing where uninsured patients can get care

If you do not have health insurance, you may think that Bozeman's many hospitals and healthcare clinics are essentially closed to you and your family. Several of those that we here at Cok Kinzler PLLP have assisted in the past have shared this same belief. Yet we can assure you that care is available when you truly need it. Federal regulations require healthcare providers to see you in certain situations, regardless of your ability to pay. Understanding what those are may help you identify when a facility may be violating the law by refusing you treatment. 

Healthcare providers are obligated to follow the provisions of The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, EMTALA requires that: 

  • A hospital must provide you (or your loved one) with a medical screening to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists. 
  • If such a condition does exist, you (or your loved one) must be given treatment until the condition has stabilized or transport can be arranged to a facility that can provide the necessary care. 
  • The receiving facility must also agree to provide you (or your loved one) with care until you are out of danger. 

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Cok Kinzler PLLP
35 North Bozeman Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715

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