When you suffer an injury to the brain, the ramifications on your life can be significant. One moment you are living your life normally, and the next, it can be challenging to complete even the most mundane task in your daily routine. Brain injuries that arise from personal injury accidents can cause a wide range of painful and physically uncomfortable symptoms, in addition to other cognitive, behavioral, or emotional issues that intrude on your ability to live and enjoy your life.
As a victim of a brain injury that occurs because of negligence, you have a right to seek compensation under the law. Compensation is a general term that refers to any money you receive for your injuries.
Insurance companies and those at fault for your injury may try to lump all of your damages together to reduce the amount of money made available to you. However, there are specific types of compensation you are eligible to receive. For example, a brain injury insurance claim or lawsuit against the parties responsible helps ensure you account for all losses in your case.
Factors that Influence Compensation in a Brain Injury Case:
A victim that suffers a brain injury faces an uncertain future and recovery. Brain injuries are complex and delicate. What may appear to be a minor injury that will heal in time can unravel into complicated and more severe harm. The uncertainty accompanying most brain injuries also creates a difficult situation when determining the extent of the losses in a victim’s case.
Calculating the compensation for a traumatic brain injury is a tedious process requiring significant research and insight into the injuries and the effects.
Any injury to the brain can result in overwhelming expenses and damages. When a victim sustains a brain injury due to a negligent accident, the amount of money they can receive for their losses depends on various factors.
The Type of Brain Injury Involved
Not all brain injuries are the same. The classification of your brain injury will determine not only your course of treatment and rehabilitation as set out by your doctor but also your likelihood to make a full recovery, affecting the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive. While there are various categorizations of brain injuries, the most general categories are whether a brain injury is closed or penetrating.
A closed brain injury is one in which there is no physical intrusion on the brain or break of the skull. A closed brain injury commonly occurs in forceful accidents where the head jolts vigorously and quickly.
A penetrating brain injury is when an injury involves penetration or breaking of the skull. These are often immediately life-threatening injuries that require emergency intensive care. While penetrating brain injuries can be more urgent in many cases to stabilize a patient, both types of brain injuries can result in severe and permanent damage to a victim.
The Severity of Your Injury
Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. The severity of an injury often depends on how the injury will ultimately affect the victim's life. The most severe injuries hinder a victim's life without the possibility of significant recovery. Even a minor brain injury, however, can have long-lasting effects.
The Extent of Care Necessary for Your Recovery
Brain injuries affect every victim differently, and the care that a brain injury requires can be extensive. While in the immediate aftermath of a brain injury, the focus will be on emergency care and life-saving measures, as time goes on, the focus will turn to recovery and rehab, both of which can be very expensive. Rehabilitation of brain injuries can take months, years, or a lifetime.
Often a victim must undergo rigorous rehabilitation to regain just a fraction of their abilities, and this process can continue throughout their life following a brain injury.
Your Long-Term Prognosis and Impacts
The impacts of your injuries on your life and your ability to function will significantly influence the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. How a brain injury affects how you move, feel, and function affects whether you can care for yourself and work or partake in the activities you once enjoyed before the accident.
When calculating your damages when seeking compensation, consideration should include your brain injury’s effects on your everyday life and future.
How Are Brain Injury Damages Calculated?
Calculating brain injury damages is not an exact formula. The person or entity calculating the damages and the type of damages considered will affect the amount of money a victim is eligible to receive. Simply stating a number for a category of damages is not sufficient in a brain injury case.
In any personal injury case, a victim must prove their damages. This process entails detailed records, statements, testimony, and other evidence that shows your losses and any additional losses you may incur in the future due to your brain injury.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages in a brain injury case refer to any damages meant to compensate you for your loss, whether it is a tangible or non-tangible loss. The premise of compensatory damages is that the party responsible for your injuries will provide you money to make you whole following an accident.
The reality is that no amount of money can truly compensate for the harm done to you. However, compensation can help victims move forward by providing the financial means to support and acquire the care necessary to live their lives. Compensatory damages for a brain injury can include both economic and non-economic losses.
An economic loss from a brain injury directly impacts your finances. This impact can mean bills or any loss of money resulting from your injuries and any lingering effects that remain throughout your life.
The most common example of economic losses in a brain injury case is medical expenses which often account for a significant portion of your losses. Medical costs for care related to a brain injury can be exorbitant, and if you face permanent disability can continue to be a burden as you grow older.
Other economic losses for brain injury victims can be income losses for lost wages, future income losses, and loss of another economic benefit because of the limitations created by your injuries.
A non-economic loss is not financial but still significantly affects your life and how you live after a brain injury. These losses are no less important than financial ones, and the law allows a victim to pursue compensation for these damages. Calculating non-economic losses, however, is much more intricate and complex than calculating economic damages.
The reality is that many brain injury victims are never the same following an accident. Although rehabilitation can help you recover some of your functions, it may be impossible to return to how you were before the accident.
Examples of brain injury non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological effects
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
What Are Punitive Damages?
While the purpose of compensatory damages in a brain injury case is to compensate the victim directly for their losses, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer in certain extenuating cases. Punitive damages are uncommon and can only occur in cases where a court determines the outcome of a case. A court may choose to award punitive damages in limited situations when the evidence presented shows egregious actions by a party that caused your brain injury.
Who Decides How Much Compensation You Will Receive For a Brain Injury?
Reaching a resolution that fairly compensates you for your damages can be challenging. You may wonder who ultimately makes the decision as to the outcome of your case and how much money you can receive. The answer depends on what stage your case resolves.
Through an Insurance Claim Settlement
For the first recovery option, your attorney will likely investigate and pursue any insurance coverage that may apply to your circumstances. Homeowner’s insurance, vehicle liability insurance, renter’s insurance, and commercial liability coverage are all insurance policies that may be in effect at the time of a brain injury and, in turn, liable for your losses.
An attorney will work with you to gather evidence to support your losses and attempt to negotiate a settlement that allows you to get the compensation you need and avoid court if possible.
To settle, the insurer will first make you an offer. Your attorney will then advise you on what they believe is in your best interest, and you can counteroffer, accept, or reject the offer. To settle, you and the insurance company must agree. In this case, both parties have a hand in deciding what amount of compensation is acceptable.
In a Court
When there is no agreement for brain injury compensation in an insurance claims settlement, your attorney may advise you to file suit through the court. In a lawsuit, each side the victim, the insurer, and the at-fault party may present their evidence of the accident’s fault and the extent of the injuries and damages.
When a case goes through trial and reaches a verdict, the court ultimately decides who to blame, if anyone, for the brain injury and how much compensation the victim should receive for their losses. While the parties can influence the court through evidence, the court's verdict ultimately details liability and the amount of money for compensation.
What is The Best Way to Know What Your Case is Worth?
The value of your case will help you decide what solution meets your current and future needs. It is overwhelming and burdensome for a brain injury victim to figure out what their case is worth and how much money they may be eligible to receive. Insurance companies or the parties at fault will not volunteer this information to you.
The strongest way to understand the value of your case and your legal options is to hire a brain injury personal injury attorney near you.
A brain injury lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for your rights and go up against insurers and other parties that may try to downplay your brain injury or eliminate their liability.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Brain Injury Case?
Yes. Brain injuries are serious injuries that have lifelong ramifications in most instances. The impacts of brain injuries affect not just one aspect of your life but can seep into every facet making everything more challenging.
An attorney representing you who understands the seriousness of a brain injury and the widespread and costly impacts this injury will have on your life will make a difference in your financial recovery.
Fighting for just compensation following a brain injury is not easy, but a qualified attorney can help your case and increase your chances of substantially recovering your losses.