After suffering a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, in an accident, it’s natural to be overwhelmed about your future. You may be worried about whether you’ll recover from your injuries while managing the stresses of mounting medical bills and lost work. TBIs are often severe and substantially interfere with your way of life. An attorney can help answer the question, How much can I sue for a traumatic brain injury? Read on to learn whether there is an average settlement for a TBI and what factors may impact your settlement.
Is There an Average Settlement for TBI Damages?
The details, circumstances, and costs surrounding TBI cases vary greatly. Therefore, there is no “average” TBI settlement value. Your recoverable TBI damages depend on your particular case and require the help of a personal injury attorney to calculate.
It’s difficult for many victims to hear that a TBI has no average settlement value because most people want a ballpark figure regarding how much they might get. But it varies so widely that averages are meaningless. However, it is your right to recover compensation for a traumatic brain injury from the party that caused your injury. Failing to demand and collect the actual value of your damages and losses leaves you and your family scrambling to figure out how to pay your medical bills and keep a roof over your head at the same time. Instead of looking for a meaningless average, our attorney will determine the value of your case after carefully analyzing your TBI and how it occurred so you get the financial support you need to move forward with your life.
What Factors Impact a TBI Settlement?
Many injured victims feel that the circumstances surrounding their case are straightforward and are eager to obtain a settlement. Before negotiations can begin, your attorney studies the facts of your case and analyzes the most common factors impacting settlements. Let’s look at some of those factors.
Severity of Injury
Generally, the more severe your traumatic brain injury, the larger the settlement. For example, a victim who sustains a mild concussion that heals entirely over a few weeks will get considerably less than a victim with a severe traumatic brain injury that lasts years. Severe TBIs earn larger settlements due to the following:
- A victim usually incurs more significant medical expenses due to specialized medical treatments,
- The victim usually loses more wages due to an inability to work as a result of the brain injury, and
- The victim might lose overall earning capacity if they are unable to continue working.
Your attorney works to get a medical diagnosis from qualified medical professionals to substantiate your claim.
Specific facts about you may also affect how much compensation you receive for a traumatic brain injury. Consider a situation where an 80-year-old man suffers a serious and debilitating TBI in a slip-and-fall accident. While he may receive a favorable settlement for his injuries, he will likely receive considerably less than a thirty-year-old woman with two children suffering the same injury. The woman will likely receive more TBI damages because the injury will have a more prolonged and significant impact on her and her children’s lives.
In certain circumstances, your attorney may demand punitive damages. A judge or jury determines the value of punitive damages in cases where a TBI resulted from the wrongdoer’s grossly negligent behavior. Virginia law does not limit the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded to an injured victim. As a result, if a Virginia court awards punitive damages in a case, this can significantly impact your compensation.
If the wrongdoer’s fault is determined, this typically helps garner larger settlement values. Virginia operates under the theory of contributory negligence. If you suffer a TBI, you must establish the apparent fault of the wrongdoer and not hold any responsibility for your injury. Contributory negligence bars someone from recovering compensation even if they are just 1% responsible for an accident that caused their injury.
Why You Never Settle Too Soon After a TBI
There is no way to predict how a TBI will affect you in the future. However, you should never accept a settlement for your traumatic brain injury without first consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. You may be eager to get the first settlement offer that comes your way to restore your life or sense of normalcy. You may feel burdened by medical expenses and an inability to work. However, accepting a settlement before knowing the full extent of your injuries can hurt you in the long run.
Once a settlement is accepted, it’s final. Even when you require more financial assistance than the settlement covers, you cannot demand more compensation later. Your attorney may advise you not to settle your case until your recovery has peaked. You may see changes in your recovery diagnosis in the first six months of your injury, but you may also continue to see improvement after that time. It’s vital to speak with your attorney and medical professionals about your prognosis so you don’t negotiate for a settlement value that won’t adequately compensate you.
What Can An Attorney Help Me Recover?
In Virginia, injured victims are entitled to receive compensatory damages in the form of special and general damages. Compensatory damages seek to reimburse victims for the losses suffered due to another person’s negligence.
Special damages represent financial losses resulting from your TBI and include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Special damages are easy to prove with tangible evidence like invoices, pay stubs, bills, and other similar documentation.
General damages are more challenging to calculate due to their subjective nature. Common examples of general damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Shortened life expectancy.
Proving these damages is challenging without an attorney, but it should never be overlooked. The effects of these injuries often take longer to emerge and can significantly disrupt a person’s everyday life.
At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, our lawyers get you the compensation you deserve. For more than 47 years, our legal team has fought for justice on behalf of injured Virginians and held insurance companies accountable on their behalf. We work closely with you to ensure you receive the personal attention and services you deserve. We know you’ve been through a tough time already, and we focus on helping you and your family get the financial support you need. At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, our clients matter most to us. You are never just a case number; you become part of our family. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you.