How to Sue for an Old Traumatic Brain Injury that Occurred in Texas

How to Sue for an Old Traumatic Brain Injury that Occurred in Texas

When you are injured in an accident, the extent of your injuries is not always readily apparent. This is especially true with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can profoundly affect your life but involve symptoms that are easy to ascribe to other causes. 

Usually, if you want to sue for an injury, you file a lawsuit, which requires you to prove someone else caused your injury by acting negligently. Ordinarily, you must file a negligence suit within two years of the injury. Thankfully, Texas law sometimes extends that limit through the “discovery rule,” which allows you to file within two years of when you discover or should have discovered the injury. Whether you can sue for an old traumatic brain injury in Texas may turn on whether the discovery rule applies.

At the Hartley Law Firm, our experienced personal injury attorneys understand the profound impact of TBIs. If you are interested in suing for an old head injury, contact us today to discuss your options. 

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) commonly results from blows to the head during accidents or violent events. TBIs can be mild, moderate, or severe. Whenever something hits your head with great force, you may suffer a TBI, whether the impact breaks your skin or not. 

Some of the symptoms of TBI are obvious physical reactions. Others may seem unrelated or take weeks, months, or even years to fully develop. This is especially true of the cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with TBI.

Mild TBI Symptoms

Physical symptoms of mild TBI include:

  • Loss of consciousness lasting up to a few minutes,
  • Headache,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Fatigue,
  • Speech problems,
  • Dizziness,
  • Sensory disturbances, and
  • Light and sound sensitivity.

Even mild TBIs can also lead to cognitive and behavioral problems, such as:

  • Confusion,
  • Memory and concentration problems,
  • Changes in mood,
  • Depression and anxiety, and
  • Sleep disturbances.

The symptoms and issues associated with moderate to severe TBIs are more intense.

Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms

Moderate to severe TBIs can include any of the above symptoms, as well as the following:

  • Loss of consciousness lasting several minutes or resulting in a coma,
  • Convulsions or seizures,
  • Pupil dilation,
  • Fluids draining from the nose or ears,
  • Weakness in extremities,
  • Lack of coordination,
  • Slurred speech, and
  • Unusual behaviors, like being overly combative or agitated.

If you or someone you know suffers any of these symptoms following a blow to the head, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Complications of TBI

Often, those who suffer from TBIs face associated challenges for the rest of their lives. They may no longer be able to work or enjoy activities they once loved, and they may be unlikely to ever get better. According to the CDC, in the five years after a TBI, 22% of injured people died, 30% became worse, 22% stayed the same, and only 26% improved. 

Even the experts do not fully understand all the ways TBI can affect your cognition and mental state. TBI has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia

After a head injury, people may dismiss the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of TBI. The injured person and their loved ones may not realize a TBI is to blame for behavioral changes and reduced cognitive ability. 

The very effect of TBI on your cognitive abilities may make it harder to connect the injury to the symptoms. The injured person may also feel shame and try to hide their experiences from loved ones, blaming some other cause like age or a personal failing.

Legal Claims Related to TBIs

The most common reason people sue after a TBI is because someone else’s negligence caused the incident that led to the injury. To prove someone was negligent, you have to show:

  • They had a duty of care toward you,
  • They violated their duty of care,
  • You suffered an injury, and
  • The other person’s conduct caused your injury.

TBIs caused by negligence often result from:

  • Vehicle accidents,
  • Slips and falls, and
  • Workplace injuries.

You can also sue if someone intentionally or recklessly caused your injury. Victims of domestic violence or battery may be able to recover compensation for TBIs.

Statute of Limitations 

The statute of limitations sets the time limit within which you must bring your lawsuit. In Texas, you must bring your case within two years of when the cause of action accrued. 

Your cause of action, meaning the basis for filing your lawsuit, accrues on the day the injury occurs. That means you usually must sue within two years of the injury. If you do not, the defendant will try to get the case thrown out by filing a motion to dismiss.

The Discovery Rule

If you are suing for a previous TBI in Texas, a statute of limitations exception that might apply is known as the “discovery rule.” Under the discovery rule, instead of when the injury occurs, the statute of limitations begins to run when you actually discover or, with “reasonable diligence, should have” discovered the injury. 

The discovery rule can be particularly applicable in TBI cases, where the nature of the injury can sometimes disguise that any injury occurred until years later. Defendants will always file a motion to dismiss if you sue outside the two-year period. Therefore, having an experienced personal injury attorney to help you craft the best argument that the discovery rule should apply to your case is crucial when you sue for an old traumatic brain injury in Texas.

Let the Hartley Law Firm Help You

If you want to sue for an old head injury, our office can help you determine whether you may be able to bring a claim even if the statute of limitations has passed. No matter the circumstances, the sooner you get started, the better. Contact us today.

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