Brain Injuries in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Your brain is the executive command center of your body, and an injury to this organ can result in catastrophic consequences. In fact, lifelong disability and even death are common results. Brain injury, known commonly as TBI (traumatic brain injury), can be detected through medical testing and can result in damages that sometimes amount to millions of dollars (depending on the seriousness of the injury).
The symptoms of brain injury do not always show up immediately – they can take hours, days, or even longer to manifest. That is why it is important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you do not believe that you were seriously injured. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Impaired concentration
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Pupil dilation
- Sensitivity to light
- Sleep difficulties
Someone with a brain injury may experience only a few of these symptoms (or perhaps only one). Again, it is better to be safe than sorry. Seek immediate medical attention if you even suspect brain injury.
Although damages for a brain injury claim can be immense, this is not always the case. The broad categories of possible damages are:
- Medical expenses, including anticipated future medical expenses.
- Lost earnings, including anticipated future lost earnings (suppose your injury forces you to retire early, for example).
- Consequential expenses: Child care while you are in the hospital, travel expenses to receive medical treatment, etc.
- Non-economic damages: Compensation for your physical suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. These can add up to much more than medical expenses.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant, not to compensate the plaintiff (even though they still go to the plaintiff). As such, they are only awarded when the plaintiff is already being awarded compensatory damages, and even then, only in extreme cases when the defendant’s conduct was intentional or particularly deplorable. In Maryland, the conduct must have been knowing and deliberate to award punitive damages.
Both Maryland and D.C. apply the principle of contributory negligence. Defendants and insurance companies love this principle, while injured plaintiffs hate it. The principle generally means that an injured plaintiff cannot recover a dime if she was even one percent at fault for incident that caused the injury. For this reason, defendants and insurance companies will do their best to try to find fault on the part of the plaintiff because they know that even slight fault will be enough.
D.C., however, applies a unique rule that provides special protection to injured pedestrians and bicyclists. An injured pedestrian or bicyclist can still recover full damages for an accident that was partly her fault unless her fault was a proximate cause of the injury and was greater than the defendant’s fault.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if a brain injury victim dies in a pedestrian or bicycle accident caused by someone else?
Both Maryland and D.C. allow wrongful death claims in favor of surviving family members. Both jurisdictions also allow survival actions in favor of the probate estate to compensate for the deceased victim’s medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, etc.
The D.C. exception to the contributory negligence principle that applies to personal injury claims applies to wrongful death and survival action claims as well. Surviving relatives and the victim’s probate estate can still collect full damages unless the deceased victim was more than 50 percent at fault.
My husband suffered a brain injury due to an unjustified assault by a nightclub bouncer. Can I win a claim against the nightclub?
You probably can, as long as the bouncer was operating “within the scope of his duties” at the time of the assault and as long as the bouncer was an employee of the nightclub (not an independent contractor).
I suffered a brain injury due to a car accident with a drunk driver. The driver’s insurance won’t cover all of my damages. Can I sue the nightclub that sold him alcohol that intoxicated him under a “dram shop law”?
Maryland has not adopted a “dram shop law” and thus imposes no liability on those serving (or overserving) alcohol. The only exception is if the driver was 21 and the nightclub knowingly and willfully served him or allowed him to consume alcohol. This is one of the most nightclub-friendly dram shop laws in the nation.
In D.C., you can sue the nightclub if the driver was under 21 or if the nightclub served him while he was visibly intoxicated (regardless of age).
Contact Us Today
At Henderson Law, fighting for the rights of our clients is not just a job – it’s our mission. We serve clients throughout Maryland (including Baltimore and Annapolis) and Washington D.C.
If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury, or if a brain injury claim is being asserted against you, contact us online or call (410) 721-1979 to set up an appointment where we can discuss your case and consider your options.
Henderson Law is accepting new cases in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Henderson Law is willing to take new clients across the State of Maryland, including, but not limited to, new cases arising in the following cities: Annapolis, Crofton, Bowie, Upper Marlboro, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Millersville, Odenton, Severna Park, and Pasadena. Please call Henderson Law for an initial consultation.