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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

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.

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… Read More

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

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity. ~ George Bernard Shaw. One of the worst decisions the City of Seattle ever made was to allow Pioneer Square to erupt into riots during Mardi Gras 2001. Kristopher Kime was bending… Read More

Schneider v. Major Car Manufacturer

Following her typical evening routine, Marissa Schneider left home for work, driving her 1991 vehicle southbound on road in Snohomish County. At about 7 pm, a van was driving northbound on the same road. The driver of that van was looking for a specific address, intending to turn left. That driver changed lanes into the… Read More

Sanderson v. Evergreen Rehabilitation

A 36-year-old, highly dependent brain injury patient suffered repeated neglect and abuse over the course of a one-year stay as a resident at Evergreen Rehabilitation Bremerton (Evergreen), a skilled nursing facility in Bremerton, Washington. Evergreen staff failed to monitor its patient’s meals and calorie intake as ordered by a physician, resulting in an 80-pound weight… Read More

John LaMacchia v. Confidential

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain A few years ago, on a dry, sunny day, 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… Read More

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