Head injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the country. Anything from a bump, bruise, or cut to a concussion, fractured skull, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered a head injury.
How do you know how much an insurance claim could recover in your case? Discover the true worth of your head injury claim with an experienced Tulsa traumatic brain injury attorney by your side. Get the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Common Causes of Head Injuries
A head injury can happen in numerous ways, but among the most common are slip and fall incidents, motor vehicle crashes, and bicycle accidents.
Slip and fall accidents
Falls are a prominent contributor to head injuries, encompassing fatalities associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Annually, falls lead to over 800,000 hospital admissions, primarily due to head injuries and hip fractures. Each year, more than 50 percent of individuals residing in nursing homes experience falls, and among all fall-related fatalities, 60 percent are aged 75 years or older.
Motor vehicle crashes
Motorcycle accidents cause about 5,600 deaths annually. Head injuries are common in motorcycle fatalities. Over 130,000 bicyclists are hurt, and almost 1,000 die yearly in bicycle accidents. Head injuries cause about three out of four bicyclist deaths.
Determining the Worth of a Head Injury Claim
The extent of the injury is pivotal in determining a case’s overall worth. Injuries that lead to lasting physical, cognitive, and emotional limitations necessitating extended care will be appraised at a higher value compared to those that heal quickly without leaving any enduring disability.
Several factors play a role in the valuation of a head injury claim.
Type and severity of injury
Open head injuries, such as penetrating brain injuries, are among the most critical and potentially fatal. If they lead to fatalities, the victim’s loved ones may contemplate pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. Closed head wounds such as skull fractures and intracranial bleeding are equally dangerous.
Injuries to the brain frequently result in long-lasting or irreversible physical impairments such as paralysis, restricted mobility, sensory deficits, and speech impediments.
Cognitive difficulties are prevalent, as are lasting and occasionally profound emotional shifts. Patients frequently express anger, frustration, resentment, fear, and despair. The risk of suicide is notably higher in the months following a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
When brain injuries last a long time or are permanent, the money you get as compensation is usually more than for those that heal fast. But it’s not easy to ensure you get fair compensation. To figure out how much you should get, doctors and experts need to carefully check how much these injuries will affect you in the future.
Injury-related pain, emotional distress, disability, disfigurement, not enjoying life like before, or changes in your relationships are some of the worst parts of your brain injury case. Since these are not things you can see or touch, it’s hard to put a clear value on them.
Medical treatment received
The type of care you receive depends on the extent of your injuries. In cases of moderate to severe head injuries, surgical interventions are often necessary, which may necessitate extended stays in the hospital. Brain injuries leading to permanent disabilities typically entail extended periods of inpatient rehabilitation, followed by ongoing in-home care that can last a lifetime. Even milder brain injuries may call for prolonged rehabilitation or therapy.
These treatments can be tough and cause physical and emotional pain. Healing from brain injuries is slow and full of obstacles. Patients may hate that they may need treatment for the rest of their lives. Many head injury patients require psychiatric care, medication, and extensive counseling to cope with life after the injury.
To determine the worth of future medical care in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) case, healthcare experts must develop a future care strategy, often called a life care plan. This comprehensive plan outlines the future medical requirements and associated expenses.
When dealing with complex brain injury cases that involve substantial future medical needs, hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
Medical expenses will form a large portion of the worth of any personal injury claim.
Lost income is a component of the money you can claim as damages. You must determine the income you already lost and what you might lose in the future, called loss of earning capacity. Calculating past lost income is usually simple, but figuring out future lost income can be much harder.
Lost income includes any sick days, vacation time, and paid time off to cover time away from work. A letter from the payroll office can prove the value of past lost income.
Even a slight head injury can make working hard for a while. Severe injuries might prevent you from ever working again or force you to do a different job.
You’ll need doctors and job experts to show you can’t work and determine how much money you might lose. These calculations can be tricky. You’ll want a lawyer who knows their stuff to help with these experts’ testimony.
Caring for yourself after a head injury is challenging. Your loved ones may not always be able to help. Hiring outside help to manage your medical care and home life is often necessary.
You may accrue expenses for obtaining help to:
- Clean the house
- Drive you to appointments and errands
- Shop for groceries and household supplies
- Prepare meals
- Manage hygiene needs
- Maneuver around your home
- Dispense medications
When you initially submit your claim, you might not consider the long-term life care costs you’ll need following your head injury. Attorneys have dealt with similar cases and will likely have insights into potential lifetime care expenses.
Types of Compensation
There are different compensation awards in personal injury cases: economic or special damages, noneconomic or general damages, compensatory and punitive damages.
- Economic damages are easy to measure, like medical bills, lost income, and the cost of medical equipment. Medical expenses are usually the most significant part of economic damages.
- Noneconomic damages cover less tangible injuries, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, and disfigurement.
- Compensatory Damages provide reparation to the plaintiff, covering a wide range of losses, including financial and non-financial ones.
- Punitive Damages penalize the defendant and discourage future instances of similar behavior. Punitive damages are only granted in cases of the defendant’s exceptionally egregious and unacceptable conduct. While they aren’t awarded as often as compensatory damages, the payout is usually higher.
Oklahoma limits punitive damages. The specific ceiling for punitive damages varies according to the particulars of the lawsuit.
Is a Settlement and a Verdict the Same Thing?
Accident victims recover compensation through a settlement or a verdict.
A settlement is when the person who was hurt and the person or company they’re suing agree to a specific amount of money outside of court. It can happen long before the trial or just before it starts. Either side can suggest a settlement, and the other can say yes or no or suggest a different amount. Many personal injury cases get resolved this way.
A verdict is a decision made by a third party, the jury, which determines who was at fault for the accident that caused the plaintiff’s brain injury.
What Will an Attorney Do for Me in a Head Injury Case?
An attorney provides valuable assistance in a head injury case, including:
- Legal Advice and Guidance: An attorney can assess the circumstances of your head injury and provide legal advice tailored to your specific case. They can help you understand your rights and options.
- Investigation: Attorneys can conduct a detailed investigation to gather evidence, like medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and expert opinions, that support your claim.
- Establishing Liability: If your head injury resulted from another party’s negligence, the attorney works to establish liability. This may involve proving that someone else’s actions or negligence caused your injury.
- Calculating Damages: Attorneys can help you decide the extent of your damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and long-term care costs. They work to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
- Negotiation: Lawyers negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to reach a settlement that sufficiently compensates you for your injuries. They will use their knowledge of the law and negotiation abilities to achieve the best possible outcome.
- Litigation: Your attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court if you can’t reach a fair settlement through negotiations. They prepare your case, present evidence, and argue on your behalf before a judge and jury.
- Compliance with Legal Deadlines: Attorneys have experience navigating complex legal procedures and meeting all paperwork and deadlines.
- Dealing with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. An attorney can protect your interests when dealing with insurers and ensure you’re not taken advantage of during the claims process.
- Expert Witnesses: In cases involving head injuries, expert witnesses may be necessary to establish the extent and impact of your injuries. Attorneys can find and retain qualified medical experts who testify on your behalf.
- Emotional Support: Dealing with a head injury can be emotionally challenging. Attorneys can provide emotional support and help you understand the legal process, which can alleviate some of the stress associated with your case.
- Accessibility to Resources: Attorneys have access to resources that can strengthen your case, such as medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and investigators.
Every case is unique, and the specific services an attorney provides will depend on the details of your situation. If you’ve suffered a head injury, talk to a qualified attorney with experience in head injury cases to assess the merits of your case and guide you through the legal process.
Insurance companies minimize their liability for injuries and damages caused by their insured whenever possible. They use suspicious defense methods to deny claims, leaving injured people uncertain where to turn for help getting the compensation they deserve.
The Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Aizenman Law Group are here to help you hold the responsible party liable for your head injury. Contact us today for your free consultation.