Has your peaceful family life been blown apart by a traumatic brain injury? If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury after an accident, you are far from alone.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million people each year sustain traumatic brain injuries.

What's worse, over the past fifteen years, long term rehabilitation options have been reduced by workers compensation programs and health insurance providers. Patients are pushed out the door too soon, sometimes as soon as two weeks, with little more than a list of medications and a pat on the back.

The lack of understanding about the uniqueness of brain injury cases is unfortunately all too common, with family members having no idea what they are up against and how long it may take their loved one to gain back some semblance of a normal life. Family counseling and family conferences, which used to be covered by insurance companies, are now a rarity. The lack of support offered to brain injury victims and their families today is truly disheartening.

Many insurance companies have phased out long-term rehabilitation options for cheaper alternatives.

As a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, specializing in brain injuries, I have been handling brain injury cases in Nevada for over 25 years. If you are hoping to see fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and other expenses, I will tell you honestly that you are facing an uphill battle. There are, however,crucial action steps you and your family can take now to ensure that your case is taken seriously be an insurance company.

Take notes

Begin to take notes as soon as possible after the injury. If you wait, your memories will have faded and you will, guaranteed, forget details that could help your case. Write down everything you can recall, everything, about the accident, including the weather, the people you were with, the time of day and any other information, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Record everything that you saw and felt when it happened. These notes will be enormously helpful later on.

You will also want to record the impact of your injury on your life, including:

  • Severity of pain
  • How your mobility and activities (including childcare duties) have been limited
  • How much work you are missing
  • Any other information that demonstrates how this injury is affecting you, no matter how small.
  • If any conversation takes place regarding the accident, write down the date and time it occurred, and with whom you spoke: a witness, an insurance adjuster, a doctor or nurse, etc. Include a brief summary of the conversation.

Revisit the scene of the accident

You will be surprised how much this jogs your memory. Make sure to visit during the same time of day, and even day of the week, that the accident occurred, so that you are able to recapture the flow of traffic or any other details that are unique to that day and time.

Take photographs from multiple angles, and take as many as you can. Later, you will go through them and select the best ones to present to the insurance company, or to the personal injury attorney representing your case. You will be taken a lot more seriously by an indifferent insurance adjuster if you present photographs; you will be demonstrating how serious you are about being fairly compensated for your injuries.

When developing the photographs, try to print them with the date displaying on each photo. If this is not possible, save the receipt that shows the vendor and date where you had them developed.

If possible, take a friend or family member with you when you revisit the accident scene, as they can serve as a witness later, should the insurance company drag its feet on your claim.

Seek out witnesses

When you revisit the scene of the accident, you may discover witnesses who were present at the time you were injured. Talk to these people. They are important. Ask them to share with you anything they remember about the accident: they may have noticed something you did not that can help your case.

Make sure you record their contact information, including phone and email. You may need to contact them later when your claim is being processed, or if a lawsuit is filed.

Cooperate with your doctor

This is crucial. The insurance company will be on the lookout for any possible evidence that you are exaggerating or lying about your injuries. They are extremely vigilant in their effort to protect themselves from insurance fraud. Insurance adjusters are doing their job well when they de​ny claims, not when they approve them. They are, after all, for-profit companies whose primary interest is in protecting the shareholders and the bottom line.

If you blow off appointments or don't take your medication as prescribed, you can rest assured the insurance company will use this against you, as evidence that you must not be that injured.

Don't push

Don't push yourself to "get back to normal" until you have been awarded compensation. Brain injury cases are serious, and may involve large payouts to victims.

Because of this, the insurance company will almost assuredly have an investigator following you. They carry video cameras and will record any evidence they can find of you appearing to be normal and functioning.

You may be eager to get back to your old self and your former life, but don't give an investigator ammunition by acting in ways that someone with a brain injury would not, such as playing football on your front lawn or posting on social media channels about your weekend ski trip. You need to rest and to heal at this time, and protect your claim from allegations of insurance fraud.

Call a lawyer

If your case is anything beyond an open-and-shut claim, you're going to want to to talk to a lawyer with experience in handling brain injury cases. Most reputable firms will consult with you for free, and won't receive a fee for their services unless your case is successful. My firm, Day & Nance, will even come to your home or hospital bed to meet with you.

Car accidents are the most common cause of brain injuries.

Brain injuries can also be the result of defective products, playing sports, falls, assaults and shootings. Proving liability in a brain injury case can be very complex. Taking on such a challenge on your own can be extremely difficult and profitless. A brain injury attorney will know exactly how to proceed and will have a minute understanding of the law that will enable him to fight aggressively on your behalf, to see that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Protect yourself

Call my firm, Day & Nance, for a free consultation. If an insurance company is giving you the runaround, if you are facing a loss of a job because of your injuries, if your claim involves any hint of malpractice on the part of the hospital staff who treated you, or if you suspect your injury was caused by a defective product, you're going to want a lawyer.

The impact of a brain injury can last years, involving expensive surgeries and rehabilitation costs, not to mention the lost wages and pain & suffering involved. Trying to cover these costs on your own would be devastating for any family. Don't leave yourself vulnerable. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible about your case.

Last updated on Nov 17, 2012.