Settlements for Traumatic Brain Injuries: All You Need To Know

 

Brain injuries can occur as a result of any type of accident, and they can be detrimental to the function and livelihoods of their victims. Injuries in the brain can lead to permanent impairment or disability, and sometimes even death. 

There are almost 3 million cases of traumatic brain injuries in the United States each year, which account for more than $75 billion in direct and indirect costs annually. 

Because of the effects that brain injuries can have, cases that involve these injuries usually result in settlements to compensate a victim for their impairment. 

In a recent medical malpractice case, we were able to recover $2.5 million for a client who suffered a brain injury due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose a cerebral aneurysm that resulted in a stroke. 

While settlements for traumatic brain injuries can be extensive in terms of the amount paid, a settlement for any injury depends on the specific circumstances of each case. 

The Types and Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

One of the biggest factors in determining the value of a settlement is the extent of the injuries. This includes what type of damages they cause and how they occur. 

Generally, a traumatic brain injury occurs when the normal function in the brain is disrupted by tissue damage that results from a blow, bumps, or wound to the head. However, a blow to the head is not the only way that a TBI can occur. They can also be caused by whiplash, as the brain strikes the inside of the skull, for example.

There are many different types of traumatic brain injuries, each of which can occur under a variety of circumstances. The following list is not exhaustive, but these are some of the most common traumatic brain injuries.

Concussions

Concussions are the most common type of brain injury. A concussion most often occurs due to direct trauma to the head, which can happen during car accidents or if a hazard falls on someone from above. They can also occur due to rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head, as in the case of whiplash.

The effects of a concussion often depend on how hard someone was hit in the head, as well as how they were hit and by what.

Concussions can be mild; some people may not even notice that they have one until a doctor examines them. Others can be more dangerous and lead to loss of consciousness and brain damage over time, especially if concussions occur more than once in the same person. 

Contusions

Like concussions, contusions occur due to direct trauma to the head. Contusions are a lot more dangerous than concussions in that they lead to internal bleeding in the brain, which requires surgery for removal. 

Contusions can occur due to accidents in which the head is impacted by an object, being struck by a hazard, or falling on the head. If a contusion is not identified and removed, it can lead to lethal blood clots. 

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

This type of traumatic brain injury occurs when an individual is forcibly shaken or rotated, causing tears to brian tissue. This type of injury can lead to permanent brain damage, as these tears cannot be repaired. 

This injury commonly afflicts babies and young children if they are shaken by an adult in an abusive or forcible manner. Brain tissue in babies and young children is especially susceptible to trauma. Any parent or caretaker who shakes a child can be held responsible for negative impacts. 

Penetration Injuries

Penetration injuries occur when sharp or pointed hazards pierce the skull and directly damage brain tissue. An example of this is a metal rod piercing the head. 

Because damaged brain tissue cannot be repaired, penetration injuries often result in death. Survivors of penetration injuries to the head are usually left with permanent disabilities and impairments. 

Symptoms and Long Term Effects

You should be able to recognize some of the common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury just in case you ever encounter one. Some of the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include: 

  • Loss of or decreased consciousness
  • Loss of memory of the accident or in the aftermath 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Loss of or decreased vision 
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty focusing or feeling disoriented 

In some cases, traumatic brain injuries do not have any visible symptoms. If you suspect that an accident could have caused an injury, visit a doctor as soon as you can. 

While the long-term impacts of a traumatic brain injury depend on the injury and its extent, some of the more severe effects include restriction or loss of mobility, memory and other neurological problems, and even death if too much damage is incurred. 

Filing a Claim After a Traumatic Brain Injury

To receive compensation after a traumatic brain injury, you must file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible parties. 

The following are some of the important steps you and your lawyer must take in filing a claim before you can negotiate or receive a settlement. 

Receive Medical Care

The most important thing for you to do after an injury is follow up with a physician and receive the medical care you need. 

This is especially important for traumatic brain injuries because the longer they are left untreated, the more damage they can cause. 

Aside from nursing your safety, seeking medical care right after an incident occurs will help document the injury from the very beginning of your claim process. You will need medical documentation to help prove liability and determine how much of a settlement you are entitled to receive. 

Hire a Lawyer

A lawyer that specializes in traumatic brain injury or personal injury cases will be your most valuable asset through all of the legal proceedings of your case. If you were injured at work, you may also want to consider consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer. 

Traumatic brain injury cases differ in detail and circumstance. You can benefit most from your claim if you receive legal aid specific to you and your case. 

A lawyer will explain your rights to you as they pertain to the case, as well as what types of compensation you are eligible for. Schwartzapfel Lawyers is highly experienced in dealing with TBI cases, so reach out to us at 1-800-966-4995.

Gather Evidence and Prove Liability

This step is one of the most important ones in the process because it sets the foundation for your lawsuit. You cannot file a case against a responsible party or individual without proving liability. In other words, you must be able to prove a person or corporation is at fault and caused the brain injury.

To prove liability, your lawyer will gather all documentation of the event as well as your injury. They will also refer to medical and police reports, records pertaining to where the accident occurred, as well as photographs, videos, and witness statements. 

Once enough evidence has been gathered to prove liability, the case is ready for its next steps. 

Determining Case Value

As aforementioned, the settlement you receive depends on the extent of your injuries and their causes and long-term effects. 

To determine the value of your case, your lawyer will collect documentation and gather information to assess how much money the injury has cost you and how much you deserve to receive in compensation. 

Important Factors for Determining Case Value

The following are the most important factors considered when determining case value: 

  • Medical bills, including those for surgery, treatment, medication, hospitalization, rehabilitation, as well as transportation to and from medical facilities. 
  • Lost wages and income if an injury prevents the victim from going to work. 
  • Long-term impacts or permanent impairment, which would be compensated according to the extent of the impacts and impairments. 
  • The pain and suffering of the victim due to injuries incurred during the accident. 

While these are just the common factors used to determine case value, depending on your case, a lawyer may push for compensation if other factors are involved. 

Settlement Negotiations and Outcomes 

After the case has been filed and its value has been determined, your lawyer will discuss the gathered information with the defendant’s legal team. From there, both parties will work to reach an agreement. 

While opposing parties may not want to pay the full amount of compensation you deserve and may try to claim that you are not eligible to receive certain settlements, your lawyer has experience making agreements with other legal teams. 

Your lawyer’s job is to make sure you receive the best possible settlement and prevent you from being sold short. 

When a settlement is not reached, then a trial is necessary and a jury will determine the outcome. 

If your case goes to trial, you may have to testify in court about your injuries as well as the effects they have had on your health in the aftermath. Your lawyer will present evidence of your injuries as well as the accident to support your case. 

Takeaways About Traumatic Brain Injuries 

While traumatic brain injuries can be detrimental to one’s life, victims may be eligible for a settlement to help pay medical bills as well as compensate for any long-term impacts. 

While, undoubtedly, no amount of money can replace good health, those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to another party’s actions have rights that are protected by the law. 

One of the most frequently asked questions about traumatic brain injury lawsuits and other personal injury lawsuits pertains to how much compensation or settlements a victim typically receives. 

While cases in which an individual is severely impaired usually result in substantial settlements, specific amounts depend on the circumstances of the case. No average number can describe how much of a settlement someone will get from a specific lawsuit. 

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a traumatic brain injury, you should speak with a lawyer to go over the details of your case and possibly receive an estimate for how much of a settlement you may be eligible for. 

At Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C., we can provide you with a competent lawyer with experience in traumatic brain injury cases. We also have many lawyers that can help you file a personal injury lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim. 

If you want to ask questions about settlements, traumatic brain injury cases, or any other legal matter, you can schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Call us at 1-800-966-4995 to make an appointment.

Sources: 

Traumatic Brain Injury – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments | American Association of Neurological surgeons 

Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) (for Parents) | Nemours KidsHealth 

Traumatic Brain Injury / Concussion | CDC 

Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C.
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