Compensation for accidental brain injuries can vary widely. Some people recover in a few weeks with treatment, while others have permanent impairments that affect every aspect of their life. Compensation should reflect the individual situation in question.
An experienced injury lawyer can explain how much compensation you might expect for a brain injury after your consultation. The cost of a brain injury can vary based on the injury and its severity, so you need an evaluation of your circumstances. An attorney can rely on their past experience and consult medical professionals to determine how much compensation you deserve.
If you are dealing with a brain injury, you may not have the physical or cognitive capacity to even handle daily tasks - let alone consider a claim or lawsuit. Never wait to hire a brain injury lawyer to pursue a fair settlement for your brain injury.
What Determines the Cost of a Brain Injury?
Several factors can determine the cost of a brain injury, specifically from the perspective of a lawsuit. When calculating the cost of your injury, your lawyer will consider:
The Specific Type of Brain Injury You Suffer
There are a few different ways to categorize a brain injury, though most brain injuries fall under the category of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) defines two types of brain injuries:
- Penetrating traumatic brain injury: A penetrating brain injury happens when an object—even a bone fragment—penetrates the skull and brain.
- Non-penetrating traumatic brain injury: Also known as a blunt TBI, this injury happens when the brain moves within the skull.
Regardless of whether someone suffers a penetrating or non-penetrating brain injury, they can experience significant symptoms of the injury.
The Severity of the Injury
Medical authorities often categorize TBIs as mild, moderate, or severe. However, remember that ANY type of brain injury is a serious matter. Even a concussion with an initial mild designation can plague a victim for years. These initial categorizations should not influence the overall compensation you receive.
The more trauma your brain sustains, the more severe a brain injury’s effects.
The severity of a brain injury may depend on:
- How the brain injury happened
- The amount of force imposed on your body (leading to the brain injury)
- Whether the brain injury causes permanent damage
- The specific symptoms resulting from your brain injury
- Your body’s unique response to the injury
Your lawyer will consult your doctors (and possibly their own trusted medical experts) to diagnose the severity of your brain injury.
The Effect of the Brain Injury on Your Work
Those who suffer brain injuries often miss work temporarily, indefinitely, or permanently. The details of your professional life and how your injury affects your ability to work will affect the total cost of your traumatic brain injury.
Your lawyer will consider:
- How much income you make
- Whether your income is guaranteed while you suffered an injury or whether you lose all income while unable to work
- Whether you were eligible for bonuses or promotions that your brain injury may have cost you
- Whether you can recover fully and return to your pre-injury earning power
- Whether your brain injury prevents you from working again
Your attorney may work with economists and experts in your professional field. They will calculate the cost of all professional damages related to your brain injury.
The Effect of the Brain Injury on Your Personal Life
Brain injuries can disrupt every aspect of your life, including relationships with spouses, dating partners, children, friends, and acquaintances.
After a brain injury, some people:
- Cannot care for themselves due to injury-related symptoms
- Experience personality changes because of the injury
- Suffer memory loss
- Experience suffer depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, mood disorders, or other mental health disorders
These problems can fall within the damages known as pain and suffering. Your lawyer and their team will calculate the cost of these substantial non-economic brain injury damages.
Whether a Brain Injury Proves Fatal
Surviving loved ones suffer in several ways when their loved ones die from brain injuries. From paying medical bills to losing the decedent’s financial support, fatal brain injuries change the lives of the people they leave behind.
Worst of all, fatal injuries rob loved ones of the decedent’s companionship and other non-economic support. Personal injury lawyers file wrongful death lawsuits to get justice for those affected by fatal brain injuries.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Be Life-Changing (and Even Debilitating)
Though each brain injury victim has different symptoms, medical providers know the common effects of brain trauma.
Several symptoms may interfere significantly with one’s personal and professional lives, including:
- Persistent headaches
- Speech problems
- Vision issues
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory and concentration issues
- Changes in personality
- Anxiety, depression, and other mental health deficits
- Sleep disruptions
- Loss of consciousness (which can be prolonged when someone goes into a coma)
- Lack of sensation or strength in extremities
- Coordination problems
- Permanent brain damage
In some cases, brain injury symptoms never go away, even with time and treatment. The nature of a victim’s injury symptoms will influence the value of a brain injury case.
How to Diagnose the Symptoms of a Brain Injury
As your lawyer builds your case, they will need a clear diagnosis for your brain injury.
Your attorney will want to document your specific symptoms and may do so by:
- Obtaining hard copies of a physician’s diagnosis of the injuries, as well as their description of injury symptoms
- Having the person with the injury document their symptoms
- Having a licensed neurological professional diagnose injury symptoms
- Having a mental health professional diagnose and document the psychological and emotional symptoms of the brain injury
- Obtaining brain scans to show the physical damage of the injury which can help explain the symptoms
A law firm familiar with brain injuries can refer you to medical professionals who will diagnose and document your injury symptoms.
Recoverable Damages in a Brain Injury Case
Your attorney will seek fair compensation for your brain injury. To do so, your lawyer must categorize your damages in detail.
Your lawyer may seek compensation for:
- Medical care: Brain injury victims often need substantial medical care to diagnose and treat their injuries. Brains are an especially fragile body part, so you may need emergency care and treatment from specialists. Medical bills may add up quickly after brain trauma occurs.
- Mental health treatment: Brain injury symptoms may require mental health treatment. Mood changes, personality changes, and conditions like anxiety may require the victim to take medication, receive counseling, or undergo other types of treatment.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering can include emotional anguish, psychological distress, physical pain, lost quality of life, and other symptoms.
- Professional damages: If you suffer lost income, diminished earning power, or any other professional harm because of your brain injury, your lawyer will seek fair compensation for these damages.
- Rehabilitation: If you need physical, cognitive, or occupational rehabilitation to recover from your injury, your attorney will calculate the cost of these services.
- Property-related expenses: In many brain injury cases, victims need compensation for property-related expenses. Such expenses can include medical equipment, replacement of damaged property (such as a vehicle), and temporary transportation.
Law firms have robust systems for identifying and valuing clients’ damages. If you hire a law firm, you can trust your legal team to assign an accurate dollar figure to all your injury-related damages.
Your Lawyer Will Determine Why Your Brain Injury Happened (and Who Owes You Money)
A personal injury lawyer does much more than identify their client’s damages. If you hire an attorney to seek a financial recovery for your (or a loved one’s) brain injury, your attorney will:
Work with Doctors to Document the Brain Injury
Your attorney will become an expert in your brain injury. They will work with your doctors to document every aspect of your injury and symptoms. This documentation will form a key component of your case, and your lawyer will provide the documentation to insurers, civil defense lawyers, or anyone else you seek compensation from.
Identify Liable Parties
Your attorney will identify all parties responsible for the brain injury. The cause of the injury will be a key consideration during this process.
Negligence is the test for liability in brain injury cases.
A negligent person:
- Has a duty of care to the person who suffered the brain injury
- Violates their duty of care to the person with the brain injury
- Takes action, or fail to take action, in a way that causes the brain injury
After proving negligence, your lawyer will illustrate the damages caused by the liable parties’ negligence.
Obtain Evidence of Negligence
Your attorney will seek objective evidence of negligence. The evidence they seek will depend on the case type.
For example, in a car accident case, a lawyer generally obtains witness accounts, video footage of the accident, and a police report. These types of evidence can help prove that a negligent motorist caused the collision and, by extension, a brain injury.
Create a Strategy for Seeking Compensation
Your lawyer may have multiple options for seeking compensation, including an insurance claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will discuss their case strategy with you and explain their reasoning.
Handle All Paperwork and Communications
Law firms employ attorneys, paralegals, and support staff who oversee every detail of their clients’ cases.
By managing both paperwork and communications, a personal injury lawyer:
- Ensures that every detail of their case is in sync
- Protects the client from parties who might want to violate their rights (including insurance companies)
- Can respond promptly to communications from insurers, courts, and others involved with the case
- Ensures that every case-related document is accurate and filed on time
By handling every detail of your case, your lawyer will also free you to focus on your recovery and other obligations.
Negotiate a Settlement
Personal injury attorneys have a straightforward job: to obtain compensation for their clients. In brain injury cases, lawyers are often pursuing large financial recoveries.
Your attorney will negotiate a settlement on your behalf, which may require them to:
- Organize evidence, documentation, and settlement calculation in advance of negotiations
- Respond to arguments by liable parties, who will be seeking to pay you as little as possible (and possibly nothing at all)
- Explain why you are deserving of the compensation your lawyer is seeking
All parties may have much to gain or lose in settlement negotiations, so you need an experienced brain injury lawyer to protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.
Complete a Trial, if Necessary
While most brain injury cases conclude with a settlement, lawyers sometimes take cases to trial. Your attorney should also prepare to take your case to trial if liable parties don’t offer fair compensation.
Hire a Brain Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This way, you can focus on your recovery and ensure no filing deadlines expire.