Call Us For A Free Consultation or a Free Online Consultation

Brain Injury

Our award-winning lawyers have successfully represented numerous brain injury clients in the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett region and throughout Washington State.

Traumatic brain injury, also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an outside force severely injures the brain. TBI can result from numerous factors, including sudden, violent impact, or an object piercing the brain tissue. Brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the location and extent of the injury. Even in the absence of an impact, significant acceleration or deceleration of the head can cause TBI; however in most cases a combination of impact and acceleration or deceleration is to blame. Forces involving cranial impact, also known as contact or impact loading, are the cause of most focal injuries, which send shock waves through the skull and brain, resulting in tissue damage. Movement of the brain within the skull, termed non-contact or inertial loading, is most often the cause of diffuse head injuries.

Mild TBI is accompanied by a wide variety of symptoms, including headache, confusion, lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, dizziness, adversely affected vision, amnesia, ringing in the ears, difficulty concentrating, cognitive deficits, fatigue, change in sleeping patterns, concussions, and behavioral modifications.

Moderate to severe TBI may have more drastic symptoms, such as seizures, slurred speech, numbness or loss of control of extremities, intense headaches and nausea, dilated pupils, loss of coordination, or extreme agitation, mood swings, and confusion.

Unfortunately, little can be done to reverse the damage done by severe impact and trauma to the brain. However, individuals with signs of TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible in order to undergo imaging tests.

Severe trauma to the brain is not always avoidable. However, there are steps that can help reduce the chances of you or a loved one suffering from a traumatic brain injury. These include always wearing a seatbelt while in a vehicle, properly securing children in the appropriate safety seats and in the correct location in the car depending on age, refraining from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, safely storing handguns away from children and separately from bullets, wearing a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle, while skiing or engaging in contact sports, and while on the job, exercising to improve coordination and balance, and maintaining adequate guardrails and safety features in homes.

The most common causes of TBI include falls, motor vehicle collisions, job related injuries, and recreational activities. In the U.S., falls account for 28% of TBI, motor vehicle (MV) collisions for 20%, being struck by an object for 19%, violence for 11%, and non-MV bicycle accidents for 3%. Recent estimates attribute between 1.6 and 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries each year to sports and recreation activities within the United States. In children aged two to four, falls are the most common cause of TBI. Falls continue to be a major cause of TBI in older children as well, accompanied by bicycle and automobile accidents.  

Traumatic brain injuries present unique challenges to families and injured victims. At SKW, we have successfully litigated numerous TBI cases, and have developed professional contacts within the medical community that are essential elements of lawsuits involving brain injuries. We understand the exceptional emotional toll brain injuries can have on victims, and are prepared to use our resources to bring justice to those suffering from brain damage as a result of the negligence of another.

Useful Links

Representative Cases

Maislen v. Associated Materials

(April 2010) $2.5 million jury verdict for 58-year-old man injured in a truck versus car crash.

Ratigan v. Central Building, LLC

(September 2004) $1,575,000 settlement for client who suffered a brain injury in a fall from a window.

James Evans v. State of Washington, et al.

(April 2003) $1,000,000 settlement for a moderate brain injury caused in a collision resulting from a lack of a highway median barrier.

Keebler v. Asmus

(October 2012) $1.235 million settlement. Bicyclist hit by a motor vehicle. Fractured leg, several vertebral fractures (no paralysis) and a mild traumatic brain injury.

Fogle v. Clark County

(March 2012) $2 million settlement with one defendant. Defective road design and signing. Traumatic brain injury to 19 year old girl. Case proceeds to trial against adverse driver and Clark County Public Utility.  Trial verdict of $4,352,350.

Dowrey v. Carl’s Jr.

May 2010) $2,000,000 settlement for a head-injured child who crawled through a gap in the children’s play area equipment and fell on his head.

Confidential v. Confidential

(April 2010) $2.85 million CDN settlement for injuries to a 49 year old woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury and facial fractures in a Canadian motor vehicle crash when the passenger air bag did not deploy.

Jane Doe v. XYZ Corporation

(March 2008) $2,650,000 confidential settlement for a traumatic brain injury due to a motor vehicle collision for the defective design and manufacture of a vehicle.

Watson v. XYZ Corp.

(December 2006) $4,900,000 settlement for woman struck in face with a leaf spring that fell off a truck suspension system.  Closed head injury and facial disfigurement.

Forestier v. City of Vancouver

(November 2006) $6,050,000 settlement for a French foreign exchange student who was a pedestrian hit by a vehicle while crossing Fort Vancouver Way on her way to school.  The City failed to provide proper lighting for the crossing.

Meza v. United Tempering Systems/Meza

(November 2006) $1,525,000 settlement for a child injured in a motor vehicle crash when a truck barreled into another motor vehicle, resulting in a closed head injury.

Meadows v XYZ Corp.

(June 2006) $3,200,000 settlement for child who suffered a brain injury in a fall from a window.

Messenger v. Electric Company

(May 2006) $2,100,000 policy limits partial settlement for a 12-year-old brain damaged boy who was a pedestrian hit by a van while crossing the street in an unmarked crosswalk.

Virnig v. a Safeco insured

(August 2003) $1,500,000 policy limits settlement for a college student who suffered a closed head injury in an auto crash.

Halasz v. CECO, et al.

(May 2003) $1,750,000 settlement for a carpenter struck by a counterweight on a crane while sitting in a SaniCan, resulting in a closed head injury with resulting seizures.

Morales v. “Yellow Cab”

(January 2002) $1,250,000 settlement for a woman pedestrian with a closed head injury from being hit by a cab.

Lau v. Crew Shuttle, Inc.

(April 2001) $2,160,000 (policy limits) settlement for a closed-head and other injuries to a pedestrian hit by a van and then a car.

Gray v. City of Shelton

(1998) $2,500,000 settlement for failure to properly design crosswalk at school crossing.  Resulted in traumatic brain injury.

Bartel v. Burlington Northern RR

(1997) $2,933,631.92 verdict for railroad crossing case for 47-year-old female cosmetologist who suffered multiple fractures and mild traumatic brain injury.

Vancil v. Undisclosed

$3,250,000 settlement in 1996 against a major national manufacturer for failure to have a safety device on a piece of industrial equipment for the benefit of a worker who suffered a severe closed-head injury.

Greene v. Pierce County

(1994) $5,466,878.23 verdict for highway design case for failure to have a stop sign at a railroad crossing.  Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and was blinded in the crash. Second largest personal injury jury verdict in the history of the County at the time.

Dussault v. Midcentury Insurance Co.

(1992) $2,825,000 settlement for bad faith of an insurance company arising out of an auto collision resulting in a severe closed-head injury.

Fraser v. Beutel

(1987) $6,149,641.34 verdict for alcohol over-serving and negligent entrustment of a vehicle.  Young mother suffered a severe head injury.  The largest personal injury jury award in the history of Kittitas County. Also, $1,702,641 settlement from two of four defendants for a young woman hit by a drunk driver who had been over-served in a cocktail lounge and a liquor store.

Hipps v. Grays Harbor County

(1986) $1,150,000 settlement for defect in roadway design and maintenance.  Resulted in traumatic brain injury.

Brown v. Yamaha

(1983) $10,000,000 verdict for fifteen-year-old plaintiff rendered a spastic quadriplegic.  Product liability case for failure to provide a kill switch.  11 years it stood as the largest personal injury verdict in the state and still stands as one of the largest personal injury jury awards in Washington State court history.

Kime v. City of Seattle
(2002) The Kime case is well known by Seattle residents who were around in the early 2000's. Young Kris Kime was trying to help an innocent victim, who was being attacked during the Mardi Gras riots of 2001, when he himself was then beaten to death. Despite Kris' friends pleas to the police, who stood nearby the beating, the officers complied with the Mayor's orders to do nothing. Suing the City was a way to hold it accountable for decisions that led to avoidable death and injuries.
Schneider v. Major Car Manufacturer
(2007) A young woman suffered profound injuries as the result of a car crash. The other driver testified that Ms. Schneider did nothing wrong. SKW brought justice against the car manufacturer of Marissa's car, for faulty design. A confidential settlement was obtained for Marissa and her family.
Sanderson v. Evergreen Rehabilitation
(2008) Because of nursing home abuse, Mr. Sanderson suffers lifelong injuries.
John LaMacchia v. Confidential
(2012) John LaMacchia thought it was a perfect day for for a bicycle ride. He rode his bicycle southbound on 25th Ave. NE in Seattle. A man, driving a Mercedes Benz sedan, suddenly and unexpectedly made a left-hand turn directly in front of John. John did not have a chance. Though his bicycle was only traveling about 20 mph, John could not stop before colliding with the passenger’s side of Ralph’s vehicle. John violently struck Ralph’s vehicle head first before being thrown to the pavement. The driver of the Benz was cited for turning left without yielding to oncoming traffic.