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Although data is limited, estimates indicate that over five million persons in the United States are living with a brain injury related disability. Every 15 seconds, a brain injury is suffered by someone in America. Each year, head injuries result in more than 70,000 deaths.

Brain injuries fall into one of two categories traumatic and non-traumatic.  The word “traumatic’’ indicates the origin of the injury, not its severity. Both types of injuries have the potential to be permanently debilitating, life-threatening or fatal. These injuries can take an emotional and financial toll on victims and their families. If a brain injury is a result of someone else’s negligence, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation. HKQ Law Attorney Michelle M. Quinn notes that “an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to establish liability and recover damages.”

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injury is defined as damage to the brain resulting from external mechanical force, such as rapid acceleration or deceleration, impact, blast waves or penetration by a projectile.

There are two types of TBIs: open and closed. Open TBIs result when the scalp/skull is broken, fractured or penetrated by an object such as a bullet. With a closed TBI the skull remains intact.

There are a number of causes for TBIs. They include:

  • motor vehicle accidents
  • falls
  • sports injuries
  • assaults

Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries

A non-traumatic brain injury is typically caused by some sort of internal occurrence, including:

  • stroke
  • tumor
  • aneurysm
  • infections
  • cerebral hypoxia/anoxia

Effects of Brain Injuries Can Include:

  • physical complications
  • intellectual problems
  • communication problems
  • behavioral changes
  • emotional changes
  • sensory problems

Liability for Brain Injuries

In some cases, determining legal liability can be rather straightforward. An example would be a speeding, overloaded tractor-trailer slamming into a car in front of it.

Sports injuries cases can be more complex. A brain injury may be the result of defective equipment such as a helmet, leading to a product-liability lawsuit.

Brain injuries resulting from falls at construction sites can give rise to lawsuits if negligence is involved. Negligence may also happen at nursing homes. Falls among the elderly are common, owing to an increased incidence of impaired vision, dizziness and other destabilizing health issues.

While brain injuries are usually caused by a traumatic event, they can also occur in healthcare settings, due to negligence or medical malpractice.

Examples of these include:

  • anesthesia errors
  • medication errors
  • missed diagnosis
  • misdiagnosis
  • delayed treatment
  • surgical errors
  • improper use of birth-assisting tools
  • failure to diagnose or properly treat infections

Any of these can contribute to non-traumatic brain injuries. For example, failure to detect a patient’s blood clot might lead to a stroke resulting in brain damage. The misdiagnosis of a concussion in adults, which can be somewhat common in emergency department settings, can leave the patient vulnerable to second-impact syndrome. Harmful drug interactions with anesthesia can cause injury to the brain. Urinary catheter infections, common in nursing homes, can lead to sepsis. Sepsis can lead to multi-organ dysfunction, and can result in brain damage if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

Recovering Damages

In a personal injury lawsuit, compensation can be sought for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for actual costs, such as medical expenses and lost wages due to time off for work. Non-economic damages cover intangible costs such as pain and suffering. Pennsylvania also allows an injured party to make a claim for punitive damages, damages exceeding simple compensation and awarded to punish the defendant in cases of reckless indifference or disregard.

If you or a loved one has sustained a serious brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, call (800) 760-1529 to speak with one of HKQ Law’s Personal Injury Attorneys.

About HKQ Law

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Report, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. HKQ Law was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm across multiple categories in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



As Hourigan, Kluger and Quinn addresses the concerns raised by COVID-19, the health and safety of our clients, employees and friends of the firm remain our top priority.

These are very difficult and scary times and we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and symptom free. We recognize that so many of you are understandably anxious about your health, the economic impact of this pandemic and all of the consequences of social isolation.

We also recognize that many of you are anxious about how the coronavirus is impacting the Court systems, our firm and your cases. Although all of our offices are closed, our firm has remained fully operational and we have initiated procedures that allow all of our attorneys and staff to work remotely from their homes. Each of us and our staff will respond to any emails and calls about your cases as quickly as possible.

Our Federal and State Courts have instituted significant changes in their calendars as a result of the coronavirus. Although most courthouses are closed to the public, and Hearings and Trials will be delayed for some time, there are matters that can proceed telephonically and by video. Despite these changes in the Court calendars, we are working diligently on your cases and are determined to do whatever we possibly can to assure an early and just recovery for you and your loved ones. Even under these difficult circumstances, we believe that "Nobody will work harder for you than we will."

With regard to new potential clients, we are not in a position to have an in-person new client meeting, but we will be conducting these initial meetings via phone. New potential clients should call us for a free telephone consultation at (570) 287-3000.


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