Brain Injury Compensation

September 13, 2022 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Brain Injury Compensation

If you sustain an injury to your brain, it could last a lifetime. You deserve to be compensated by the responsible party for any and all potential expenses. Before you accept any deals, our law firm can review the value of your TBI lawsuit settlement to ensure it’s fair.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when harm to your brain leads to lasting physical or emotional problems. This can mean headaches, pain, memory loss, concentration issues, loss of enjoyment, loss of ability to work, and a variety of other symptoms. TBIs are usually caused by some sort of blunt force trauma to the head.

This type of injury is more common in car accidents and medical malpractice cases than regular personal injury cases. If you suspect you may have a head injury, seek brain injury treatment as soon as possible for the best outcome. 

Brain injuries also often lead to higher settlement amounts because of their lasting impact on a person’s ability to function. TBIs can range from moderate to severe and often coincide with other mental and physical issues. 

Types of TBIs

Determining the severity of a traumatic brain injury can be difficult because the symptoms might look similar at first. However, the difference in settlement value between a mild and severe brain injury is monumental. 

Figuring out how serious your TBI is will be a vital step in determining the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. 

Mild TBI

A mild TBI might present the following symptoms:

  • Changes in mood
  • Violent outbursts
  • Excessive sleeping or depression
  • Coordination issues
  • Difficulty formulating thoughts and sentences
  • Issues with the senses (smell, taste, hearing, and sight sensitivity)
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

Mild TBI victims may ultimately be able to return to a full quality of life over time. However, those who sustain a moderate to severe injury might never completely recover.

Moderate to Severe TBI

Signs of a more serious TBI might appear a few days after the accident and present in the following ways:

  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability and combative behavior
  • Clear fluid draining from the ears
  • Clear fluid draining from the nose
  • Habitual nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking or walking
  • Unreasonable confusion

Injury victims who suffer from a moderate to severe TBI will often lose consciousness for longer than an hour after an injury. This can be indicative of how much damage a person’s brain has sustained. 

Average Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

Due to the variance in TBI cases, it’s nearly impossible to calculate an average, uniform settlement value. Most settlements and verdicts for mild-to-moderate TBIs begin in the low six-figure range, and many cases will end up settling for millions of dollars. 

Possible recoveries can be huge, so it’s very important to consult a legal professional before agreeing to a settlement. $1 million can be an exciting value to anybody, but this might be absolutely useless in compensating somebody with a permanent and severe brain injury. Total treatment could cost significantly more. The case might be worth $5 million with the right lawyer, but instead you will only get a fraction of that and end up in financial trouble as a result. 

How Are TBI Settlement Values Determined in California?

Brain injury compensation payouts can span a wide range. Understanding what affects the value of a TBI settlement can make a huge difference in the evidence you provide. Below are some of the factors that are considered when assigning compensation for brain injuries.

  • Injury severity: Mild traumatic brain injury settlements will not be the same as serious traumatic brain injury settlements. Those with a concussion might only experience mild symptoms for a few months, but others who get hit in the head might develop a post-concussive syndrome that will last for the rest of their life. The more serious an injury is, the more money you will likely be awarded come settlement time.
  • Ability to work: One of the largest expenses of a brain injury is the future lost income from being unable to work the same way you could before. If your wage-earning capacity is reduced, you can pursue compensation for the amount you would have been able to receive if not for the accident. However, you will need to prove that you would’ve earned that money to be eligible. 
  • Pain and suffering: Certain consequences of a TBI are not tied to specific dollar amounts. Lasting physical pain that continues to be a bother later into the future can decrease your quality of life. Lasting emotional changes, social challenges, the loss of intrapersonal relationships, and the inability to perform your hobbies all count as compensable issues. 
  • Medical and long-term care needs: TBIs are often more permanent than other injuries. They may even include the need for lifelong care from a professional. For this reason, younger victims may receive higher settlement amounts because they have a longer window of time they must endure and will need more continuous care.
  • Policy limits: Regardless of the extent of your suffering, you may not be able to recover more than the combined total coverage of the different insurance policies which apply to your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the policy limits ahead of time so you understand what you are getting yourself into. 
  • Liability issues: The amount you receive might be altered based on your percentage of fault in the accident. Due to pure comparative negligence laws in California, if you hold a part of the fault for your accident, you will still be able to recover damages, but not as much. 
  • Gross negligence:- In very extreme circumstances where the guilty party was acting intentionally or without consideration of the harm they were doing, you may be able to recover punitive damages. These are fines specifically incurred to discourage the defendant from carrying out similar actions in the future. They may be added on to the rest of your compensatory damages to punish the guilty party. 

How Does a TBI Lawyer Help Evaluate the Value?

Traumatic brain injury lawsuits can be very complicated. There are many different potential causes for TBIs, but car accidents are one of the most common. If you are hit by a negligent driver and it leads to a severe brain injury, an experienced Bakersfield injury lawyer can help you consider all the factors to recover compensatory damages

The following are some of the actions a Chain | Cohn | Clark attorney might take to help reduce the stress of your TBI lawsuit.

  • Investigate the accident:Sometimes there are additional layers to the claim that the plaintiff may not know toexplore by themselves. If you were hit by a drunk driver, you may be able to pursue damages from the establishment that allowed them to leave. If you got insured because your seatbelt didn’t work properly, you may have a case against the manufacturer. A good lawyer will consider all avenues to make sure you hold all negligent parties accountable.
  • Review insurance policies: A TBI attorney will check out all the applicable insurance policies from involved parties to see which ones might warrant compensation. This could mean checking to see if the guilty party has coverage limits on their policy, or it could mean checking your own (the plaintiff’s) insurance to see if there are any eligible rewards after an accident. 
  • Assess damages: Perhaps the most important step, this is when an attorney will summarize all your existing damages into one number. They will double check these expenses with other local experts to determine just how much financial support you will need as a result of the accident. A reliable lawyer will take into account any potential future expenses which may cause an issue down the road to ensure you are prepared for the worst. 
  • Insurance negotiations: Once the value has been determined, the lawyer will send a demand letter to the necessary insurance companies detailing the compensation you need and why you deserve it. Then they will continue to communicate back and forth with the insurance adjuster until an adequate benefit amount is reached.

If the insurance company will not agree to your lawyer’s demands, the case may be presented to a judge or jury for further trial proceedings. 

Remember that all of this is being done soon after you are injured in an accident. You may be dealing with serious physical and emotional trauma while trying to avoid falling into a crippling financial situation. It can be overwhelming to fight with one or more insurance companies when you are just trying to get better. 

If you decide that an attorney would benefit your situation, here are some of the things you should also consider:

  • Personal injury lawyers almost always charge a contingency fee. This means that you don’t have to pay unless you win your case. Adding in a free case evaluation, there is essentially no financial risk when hiring the right attorney. 
  • The unfortunate truth is that insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. They are trying to minimize the money that you receive and protect their bottom line. Even if an offer seems generous at first, there are often hidden fees and costs that an attorney could help you discover.

At the very least, an experienced Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you decide whether or not to seek damages after hearing about your case. They can advise you on whether or not an initial settlement offer is sufficient or if you should pursue legal action.

Dangers of Taking a TBI Settlement Too Soon

Many TBI victims think it’s in their best interest to settle quickly and start paying bills as soon as possible. This is exactly what insurance companies want you to do because it may lead to you taking a smaller payment than you deserve. There are a few factors you should consider before you agree to a settlement. 

Complicated Diagnosis

TBIs are serious injuries that can have long-term effects. It’s very difficult to know how much damage has been caused to your brain in the first few days after an accident. You might not yet have a clear picture of when you’ll be able to return to work or how much ongoing/future medical treatment you’ll need. 

There are also certain symptoms that you may experience even though they don’t show up on any medical tests. Certain subjective pains that cannot be proven or confirmed. The insurance company may try to argue that you are exaggerating or faking when you are experiencing serious pain. 

If you wait, the right lawyer might be able to help you get more in-depth imaging or testing which will reveal the full extent of your injuries. This could make the difference between an extremely low settlement and comprehensive benefits which help you live your life. 

Worsening Injuries

Sometimes you think you are healthier than you actually are in the moments after a crash because certain injuries haven’t fully taken form yet. If you are in the early stages of your recovery, you might underestimate your future care and medical needs. It may seem like you will be back to your regular life in no time.

If complications arise, you may be faced with an overwhelming array of medical expenses which you do not have funds for. Lawyers will actually communicate with medical experts to try and estimate the cost of your future needs in the event of resurfacing symptoms. Insurance companies will often leave this portion out, or change the number to benefit themselves.

Lowball Offers

When you are trying to recover compensation from an insurance company, they will use a variety of tactics to minimize their payments. They might try to rush you, put some of the blame on you, or make you believe your suffering is not as expensive as it truly is. They are focused on getting you to accept the lowest offer, not ensuring that your long-term needs are adequately funded. Their first offers will almost certainly be less than your case is worth, and less than they are willing to pay. 

An experienced attorney is familiar with insurance company tactics and will do what they can to retrieve a settlement you are happy about. 

Settlements Can’t Be Changed

A necessary part of insurance claims is that you give up your right to pursue compensation later. If your settlement does not cover the full extent of your injuries, or if it does but additional related complications arise, you will be out of luck. Therefore, you should be sure that the compensation you recover is enough for both current and future medical expenses. A good lawyer will remind you of all the potential future costs to help you settle on the right amount of benefits. 

Chain | Cohn | Clark Lawyers Can Help You Recover Brain Injury Compensation

Before you accept any type of traumatic brain injury lawsuit settlement, speak with a lawyer from Chain | Cohn | Clark to ensure that it is a good deal. We offer a free case evaluation and solid representation. Call (661) 616-9829 or fill out our online contact form today to get started.