Brain injuries are often catastrophic, meaning they have an extreme, permanent or life-changing effect on a victim. In many cases, a brain injury survivor does not have the mental capacity to understand his or her rights or take on a process as challenging and demanding as a brain injury lawsuit. This is why Texas law allows certain family members and others to file a brain injury claim on behalf of a victim.
A traumatic brain injury claim is a civil lawsuit filed in pursuit of financial compensation against one or more defendants. The defendant is the party that is allegedly at fault for causing the brain injury. If a brain injury claim succeeds, it can provide financial compensation to the victim and his or her family for related costs, such as necessary medical care, future foreseeable medical needs, lost wages and lost capacity to earn.
If a brain injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, intent to harm, or wanton disregard for the safety or welfare of others, the victim can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Common examples of accidents that lead to brain injury lawsuits in Texas are car accidents, falls, sports incidents, explosions and workplace disasters. If the victim cannot understand his or her rights or take on the legal process independently, a family member may step in to become their guardian and file on their behalf.
The legal guardian of a brain injury survivor has all of the same legal rights as the injured party in Texas. This means that the guardian can file a brain injury lawsuit or make a claim on the victim’s behalf. Under Texas law, if a family member or loved one – such as a spouse, adult child, parent or sibling – becomes the victim’s legal guardian, he or she can file a personal injury claim for the victim to pursue justice and financial compensation. Any settlement or judgment award won will be given to the brain injury victim or his or her estate.
If your loved one becomes mentally incapacitated because of a traumatic brain injury, you can become his or her legal guardian to file a brain injury claim for them. You must acquire this title through the proper legal outlets. In general, you must petition the courts for guardianship and prove that your loved one lacks the capacity to manage his or her own legal affairs due to a debilitating brain injury. A lawyer can help you with this legal process, which requires you to notify all next of kin of your petition and prove that you are an appropriate choice of guardian.
If the person with the brain injury is your child and he or she is under the age of 18, you do not need to petition the courts, as you are already the victim’s legal guardian. Parents in Texas retain the right to file personal injury lawsuits on behalf of their minor children after harmful accidents. Your family should file a petition for your medical expenses right away, while your child may have the right to file a lawsuit for his or her own losses – such as pain and suffering – after he or she turns 18. If as an adult your child does not have the mental capacity to file a lawsuit, you can take over as their guardian.
In Texas, an injured party or acting representative has no more than two years from the date that the cause of action accrues to file a personal injury lawsuit. This means that you have a maximum of two years from the date of the accident to file a brain injury case on behalf of a loved one. If you miss your statute of limitations, you will most likely forfeit the right to bring a lawsuit at all. Contact an attorney for more information about a brain injury case.