A brain injury is a catastrophic injury; therefore, it could warrant significant compensation. Yet, how much compensation you could get for a brain injury ultimately depends on the specifics of your case, including the severity of the injury, your age, the type of case you file, and even the state you live in. A brain injury attorney can evaluate your case and explain how much you can seek.
Your Compensable Losses Depend on Your Accident and Injuries
The average compensation for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not well-documented; however, according to a study from the Institutes, the average cost of a TBI from a slip and fall was $269,643 in the years studied. This does not take into consideration brain injuries from other types of accidents or incidents, such as car accidents or medical malpractice.
It is possible that compensation for a brain injury can run much higher or much lower than the amount the Institute reports. An op-ed in Next Avenue, a non-profit digital journalism publication for older Americans, reports that the lifetime costs of treatment for a traumatic brain injury range from $85,000 to $3 million.
These numbers only speak of the costs of treatment and do not include other hardships, like pain and suffering.
Figuring out Your TBI Compensation
Compensation for your personal injury case will vary based on the losses you claim. Yet, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will offer that sum. This is yet another reason to consider partnering with a lawyer. They can look at your situation as a whole to determine how much you need.
If the liable insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer may present additional evidence of your losses and keep negotiating. They may also file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, which they must do in accordance with your state’s statute of limitations.
Recoverable Damages in a Brain Injury Case
Compensable losses in your case may comprise:
Economic losses are financial losses. They include any money that you lost or had to pay because of your accident and injuries.
- Medical bills, such as hospital stays, surgeries, labs, and doctors’ visits
- Future medical expenses
- Assistive devices and mobility equipment
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Mental health services
- Property damage costs
- Lost income and benefits
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Replacement household services, such as cooking, cleaning, lawn care, pool maintenance, grocery shopping, etc.
- Temporary transportation costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses
This is not a comprehensive list. You may have other expenses related to your TBI not listed here.
Your non-economic losses are the losses, hardships, or injuries you experience that are unrelated to money. Non-economic losses refer to the harm you suffered to your body, mind, or quality of life.
Examples of non-economic losses include:
- Reduced cognitive processing
- Reduced mobility
- Other temporary or permanent disabilities
- Mental health complications, such as depression and anxiety
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Reduced quality of life
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
Just like your case’s overall value, how much you can recoup for your non-economic losses depends on your situation. The severity of your condition, the cause of your accident, and other factors dictate your settlement’s possible value.
If someone else caused your brain injury through particularly reckless, wanton, or intentional actions, you could seek punitive damages. For instance, a drunk driving accident may warrant punitive damages. The courts award these damages to punish offenders and deter similar incidents from happening in the future.
How Is Compensation for a Brain Injury Calculated?
A lawyer can calculate your economic and non-economic losses by evaluating your situation. While this seems straightforward, they cannot quantify economic and non-economic losses in the same way.
Economic losses are tangible because they are directly tied to money. For instance, the cost of a 10-day hospital stay comes with bills and receipts. Your pain and suffering does not come with such documentation.
Calculating Your Economic Damages
Because economic losses have a monetary value, you can add them up to determine what you’re owed. Further, they are relatively easy to prove because there is usually documentation indicating how much they cost.
To determine the total amount of your economic damages, your brain injury attorney could gather:
- Medical bills
- Healthcare costs schedule
- Receipts for accident-related purchases
- Bank statements
- Pay stubs or invoices indicating your previous income
- Work schedules or contracts detailing upcoming work
- Property damage estimates, if you suffered injuries in a collision, for instance
It is imperative that you seek medical treatment if you suffer any blow to the head. Your life and your claim for compensation depend on it. A doctor can diagnose and treat your injuries. The resulting medical expenses could comprise a significant portion of your personal injury claim.
Calculating Your Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic losses are difficult to quantify because they have no inherent financial value. They affect your ability to walk, think, focus, work, carry on relationships, get a good night’s rest, or perform simple daily tasks. There are no standard costs for these things. Their worth differs from one person to the next, as does the way a brain injury affects them.
For this reason, an attorney or insurance company must assign a value to your pain and suffering. The value they assign will depend on multiple variables some of which may seem irrelevant to your situation.
Yet, when you appoint a lawyer, they intend to calculate each of your losses by considering your:
- Health status
- Condition’s severity
- Life expectancy
- Family obligations
- Quality of life
Your attorney may also base a portion of your non-economic damages on the economic losses you’ve incurred. They can also consult with field experts, evaluate your situation, and speak with your healthcare team to learn what you need.
What Goes Into Seeking Compensation for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
To secure a financial recovery for your injury-related losses, you must:
Prove That the At-Fault Party Acted Negligently
Securing compensation is a multi-step process. Generally, if you bring a case that alleges negligence, there are four elements that you need to establish.
Proving negligence requires you or your lawyer to demonstrate:
- Duty of care: The at-fault party had a duty to act with care. For instance, motorists have a duty of care to drive their vehicles safely.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party failed to act with the same care that a reasonable person would have under the same circumstances.
- Causation: The other party’s actions resulted in the accident and your brain injury.
- Damages: You suffered harm to your physical, mental, or financial state due to the accident and resulting injuries.
Not all personal injury cases require you to prove negligence. For instance, suppose you suffered a brain injury from a poorly designed product. In that situation, you could sue the product manufacturer without needing to prove that its negligence caused your condition.
Use Evidence to Show the Other Party’s Negligence
To prove the elements of negligence, your attorney must investigate your accident and gather the appropriate evidence.
Depending on how your brain injury occurred, supporting evidence in your case may include:
- The accident report
- Your medical records
- Information from your healthcare team
- Research studies or statistics
- Security camera footage
- Cellphone videos
- Photos of the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Testimony from family, friends, co-workers, or employers
- The at-fault party’s history, if appropriate
To recover compensation for a brain injury, your lawyer must show the other party’s liability. You could learn more about this process when you start a free case review with a legal professional.
Frequently Asked Questions About Seeking Compensation for a Brain Injury
As you consider seeking compensation in the aftermath of a brain injury, you may ask:
What Is the Average Settlement for a Brain Injury?
There is no legal database that keeps records of the average settlements for brain injuries. Many insurance settlements are confidential, too—only known between the injured claimant and the liable insurance provider. As noted, how much you can seek for your injuries, accident, and damages depends on your unique situation.
How Long Does It Take to Recover Compensation After Suffering a Brain Injury?
Your case’s progression depends on many factors, including the evidence available to support your case. It could take days, weeks, or even months to ultimately settle. When you partner with a lawyer, they aim to resolve your case as quickly as possible. This involves addressing any complications, protecting you from bad faith insurance practices, and upholding your legal rights.
What Should I Do After Suffering a Brain Injury?
Seeking medical care is one of the most important things you should do after suffering a traumatic brain injury. This may include visiting your primary care doctor or going to the emergency room. Even if you want to write off your injury as “not a big deal,” think again.
Some brain injuries worsen over time, especially those that don’t receive prompt medical attention. In addition to safeguarding your health, visiting a doctor generates evidence to support your case.
For instance, to supplement your claim or lawsuit, your lawyer could use:
- Imaging scans, such as MRIs
- Statements from your doctor
- Information from your physical therapist
- Your medical records
- The dates of any follow-up appointments
How Much Does It Cost to Partner With an Injury Lawyer?
Many lawyers who handle brain injury cases work on contingency. This arrangement means you pay nothing upfront or out of pocket to have a lawyer start your case. You could learn more about this arrangement when you begin a free case review. You can also get answers to your questions, including how much compensation you could seek through a claim or lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
How long you have to file a lawsuit depends on many things, namely, where you live. You could have anywhere from a few months to a few years to initiate legal action. One thing’s for certain: if you miss the filing deadline, you lose the right to seek damages. This would leave you with few options for seeking damages, even if you’re dealing with thousands of dollars in losses.
What Are Some Leading Causes of Brain Injuries?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that car accidents and falls are two of the leading causes of brain injuries.
Other causes include:
- Gunshot wounds
- Contact sports, such as football
- Near-fatal drowning
- Medical malpractice
Even if you don’t see the specific cause of your injury listed here, a lawyer can identify your options for seeking compensation.
How Could a Brain Injury Affect Your Life?
While any physical injury can lead to mental or emotional dysfunction, brain injuries are unique. A person with brain damage may experience disruptions that lead to psychological, emotional, and cognitive challenges. This is in addition to the physical impairments they may suffer.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury, you could be more likely to suffer:
- Drug poisoning
- Substance abuse
You Can Work With a Brain Injury Lawyer to Determine Your Compensation
The compensation you can get for a brain injury is not set in stone. Further, determining that amount is a difficult undertaking. There are many factors that could affect your damages in a personal injury claim.
While you can add up your bills and receipts to learn about your economic damages, figuring out your non-economic damages is a different story.
If you’ve suffered a TBI due to the negligence of another party, and you want to seek damages, a personal injury lawyer can manage the claims process. They can file your claim, negotiate a settlement, and fight for what you need.