How Much Is My Traumatic Brain Injury Case Worth?
Few injuries have the ability to profoundly alter the course of someone’s life the way that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can. Although every TBI is different, common symptoms include sleep disorders, memory loss, inability to concentrate, or even changes in personality. Skills you spent a lifetime acquiring might be gone. Relationships may be altered. And while most people fully recover within 3-6 months, a significant percentage never do.
Traumatic brain injury settlements can be significant for these and other reasons. At Crosley Law, many of our biggest wins have come in traumatic brain injury cases, including $20 million for a young man hit while riding his bicycle, and $16 million for a master plumber hit by a wrong-way truck driver.
However, obtaining these large settlements can be extremely difficult. There is a lot of misinformation about traumatic brain injuries. Even worse, because the symptoms are often “invisible,” insurance companies frequently deny that your TBI is as bad as you claim. In fact, in that same $16 million win mentioned above, the insurance company initially argued that our client was totally fine and denied his claim.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the factors that go into calculating brain injury settlements, and common challenges that injury victims face. But if you want to know how much your TBI case could be worth, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule your free consultation with Crosley Law, call us today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
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How Are Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements Calculated?
As with any other type of personal injury lawsuit, you can claim several different types of damages. Broadly speaking, these include:
Your economic damages include the financial costs you suffered (or will suffer) as a direct result of your brain injury. Examples include:
- Past and future medical expenses (hospital bills, medications, rehabilitation, cost of future medical treatment, etc.).
- Lost wages if you are unable to work.
- Reduced future earnings, if you can return to work but only part time or in a different occupation with lower earnings.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses you can directly tie to the injury, such as childcare, transportation costs to medical appointments, or hiring someone to provide household services you can no longer perform yourself.
Non-economic damages are awarded for more subjective losses that you’ve suffered as a direct result of the injury. Non-economic damages don’t have a specific price tag, like medical bills or lost wages, but they clearly have a significant impact on your life.
Some examples that are common among brain injury victims include:
- Physical pain and suffering (for example, if you experience constant headaches).
- Emotional distress (from mood swings, memory loss, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, etc.).
- Loss of enjoyment of life, if you can no longer enjoy hobbies or spend time with your friends.
- Loss of consortium, if your brain injury has affected your relationship with a spouse or partner.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in personal injury cases if the at-fault party acted with particularly egregious, reckless, or malicious behavior (as opposed to simply being negligent). Rather than compensating a victim for specific losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant. Some examples of cases where punitive damages might be considered include drunk driving car accidents and intentional assaults.
What Is an Average Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injury?
There really is no such thing as an “average” brain injury settlement. Some cases are worth a few thousand dollars. Others are worth millions. It depends on countless factors, including the duration and severity of your symptoms, whether you’ve suffered a permanent disability, the strength of the evidence, your age and life expectancy, your occupation, the skill of your personal injury lawyer, the amount of insurance coverage available, and more.
One thing is true: mild traumatic brain injury cases are often highly complex. Due to the nature of brain injuries, injury victims often face significant obstacles when attempting to negotiate a fair TBI settlement. The best way to overcome these challenges is by speaking with an experienced brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
Why Is It So Hard to Get Fair Compensation for a Brain Injury?
Certain challenges are common to all personal injury claims. Insurance companies don’t want to pay out more than absolutely necessary to settle a claim. They’re looking for a quick, cheap solution—not your best interests.
Yet brain injury claims can be especially difficult to prove for a variety of reasons. Here are a few common ones:
- Late diagnoses. Mild traumatic brain injuries are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Often, people don’t realize at first how seriously they’ve been affected and don’t seek medical attention right away. However, even emergency room staff can miss the signs of a mild traumatic brain injury, particularly if there are other injuries that need treatment.
- Invisible injuries. Objective tests aren’t always available to prove you suffered a brain injury, or that your mental and emotional struggles are as severe as you claim them to be. Conventional brain scans usually look normal, and victims may even look and act fairly normal to someone who does not know them well. Proving that your symptoms are real and severe, and you aren’t just making them up, may require significant testimony from doctors, therapists, colleagues, family members, and more.
- Scientific misconceptions. There are still many common misconceptions about brain injuries. Despite the name, a “mild” brain injury can result in significant, permanent, severe symptoms just like a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. However, many people mistakenly assume that all mild brain injuries clear up in a few months, or that if you didn’t lose consciousness during the initial accident your brain injury cannot be permanent. Carefully and persuasively explaining the science to an insurance company or a jury can be extremely challenging.
- The difficulty of calculating damages. Subjective losses such as constant anxiety, depression, feeling alienated from friends, and loss of self-confidence are common among people who have suffered a brain injury. But unlike lost wages or medical bills, these kinds of losses can’t be easily translated to dollars and cents. In short, they’re worth whatever a jury says they’re worth. That makes it even more important to rigorously document how your brain injury has affected your daily life.
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The Best Way to Maximize Your Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement Is to Talk to an Experienced Attorney
Before you begin (or go any further with) your brain injury claim, we strongly recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer with a solid track record in handling brain injury cases.
Getting fair compensation for a so-called “minor” brain injury usually requires lots of difficult, detail-oriented work. You want to know your lawyer is willing and capable of going the extra mile for you—including taking your case to trial, if necessary.
A great brain injury lawyer can help you by:
- Ensuring you get the best possible medical care from the right medical specialists, including those who may provide more sophisticated exams and testing. (In one of our previous cases, we were able to get our client into a cutting-edge research study that was able to show conclusive evidence of the damage to his brain.)
- Identifying all possible sources of insurance coverage that apply to your situation.
- Carefully compiling medical records, doctors’ notes, and testimony from medical specialists.
- Speaking with life care planners, economists, psychologists, and other experts who can accurately predict your future care needs.
- Speaking with friends, family members, co-workers, and others who can explain the subjective losses you’ve experienced as a result of your head injury.
- Understanding the science behind brain injuries well enough to not only explain it in common language to a jury, but also effectively cross-examine the “experts” hired by the defense. In one notable Crosley Law case involving a child who suffered a head injury at a trampoline park, we were able to pick apart the testimony of a hired neuropsychologist who claimed our client had fully recovered and needed no future treatment. We ended up winning an $11.5 million verdict in that trial.
Again, these cases are often extremely complex. The insurance company you’re up against will use that to their advantage. They may try to get you to accept a lowball settlement for far less than what you deserve. They will usually hire their own experts who will argue their point of view.
If you’re suffering the effects of a head injury or post-concussive syndrome, the last thing you should have to worry about is the finer points of personal injury law. An experienced attorney can take the weight off your shoulders and allow you to focus on healing and spending time with your loved ones.
Contact Crosley Law Today for a Free Consultation
Our San Antonio law firm isn’t afraid to take tough brain injury cases and fight for what’s right. Attorney Tom Crosley has written and lectured extensively throughout Texas and the United States on the topic of brain injury litigation. Our firm has won multiple multi-million settlements and verdicts for brain injury clients.
The call costs you nothing. The initial case review is free. And we work on contingency, meaning you never pay us anything unless we successfully negotiate a settlement or win your trial.
To set up your consultation with one of our brain injury attorneys and learn more about what your case may be worth, call us today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our brief contact form.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.