Whenever a multimillion-dollar verdict in favor of a personal injury victim makes regional or national headlines, people tend to assume the victim will be able to afford a large home, extended vacations, and other luxuries of a wealthy lifestyle. But often, these plaintiffs are dealing with permanent disabilities that will cost millions of dollars in medical care and lost income over the course of their lifetime.
People who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), for example, may have to pay for surgeries, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. Some victims require ongoing care and can never return to work again, so you can imagine how a six- or even seven-figure settlement or verdict might be just enough to pay for healthcare and lost earning capacity.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few factors that can affect the lifetime cost of a TBI, but each case is unique. If you or someone you love sustained a brain injury and you intend to file a personal injury claim, you should consult an attorney who has extensive experience handling cases like yours.
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we have a history of success in catastrophic injury claims including those involving TBIs. Our legal team works closely with medical and financial experts who can review the facts of your case and help us calculate a case value that accounts for all past and future damages. Call (562) 206-1939 to schedule a free consultation.
What Factors Affect the Lifetime Cost of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The lifetime cost of a TBI can vary dramatically from one case to the next. Below are just a few factors that may affect the settlement calculations in brain injury claims:
- The Victim’s Age: If two people suffer a disabling brain injury but one person is 50 and the other is 25, the latter individual will likely incur more medical bills and lost income over the course of their lifetime.
- The Cost of Past and Future Healthcare: Not all brain injuries warrant the same kinds of medical treatment. For instance, a patient who suffered a concussion may only need to rest and avoid strenuous activities, but more serious TBIs, such as a penetration wound or anoxic brain injury, might require invasive surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- The Amount of Time the Victim Will Be Sidelined from Work: Some people make a full recovery from brain injuries and are able to return to the same profession; others are never able to work again. Others may only be able to return to employment that pays less than what they earned pre accident.The amount of time the victim is sidelined from work and their pre-injury income will influence the lifetime cost of the injury. About 60 percent of adults who are diagnosed with a brain injury are unemployed two years after diagnosis. In some cases, brain injury claimants can pursue compensation for vocational training so they can enter into a new career that will accommodate the effects of their TBI.
What Is the Average Lifetime Cost of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Because each brain injury is so unique and the cost of care varies so profoundly from patient to patient, there’s really no “average” amount to use when estimating the lifetime cost of a given case. But Northwestern University estimates that the cost of medical care alone for TBI victims ranges from $85,000 to $3 million.
What Other Factors Can Influence the Settlement Calculations?
If you or someone you love sustained a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another person or company, you may be entitled to compensation for any medical bills and lost income associated with the injury. You may also be able to pursue non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Besides past and future healthcare costs, lost income, and lost earning capacity, the following factors could also influence the settlement calculations in a brain injury claim:
- The Cost of Property Damage Sustained in the Incident: Personal injury claimants can seek compensation for repairing or replacing any property that was damaged in their accident. For example, motor-vehicle collisions are a leading cause of TBIs in the United States. If you suffered a brain injury in a crash with a negligent driver, you can include the cost of vehicle repairs in the settlement calculations.
- The Value of Non-Economic Damages: Brain injury victims and their families often suffer tremendously in ways that are not objectively verifiable. As previously mentioned, personal injury claimants can pursue compensation for non-economic damages, which can be quite substantial in brain injury cases.
- Whether the Victim Was Partially Liable for the Injury: If the victim was partially liable for the accident that caused the injury, he or she may be responsible for paying the portion of damages that corresponds to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if your damages total $1 million but you were 20 percent at-fault for causing your own injury, you would be able to recover up to $800,000.
- The Number of Defendants and Their Insurance Coverage: It is unlikely that the person who caused your brain injury will have the finances or assets to pay out-of-pocket for your healthcare bills and other damages. That means your recovery may be limited to the available insurance coverage. Hopefully, the at-fault individual will have sufficient liability coverage to pay for your damages. If multiple parties shared liability for your injury, you can name all of them in your claim. Because of California’s “joint and several liability” laws, each defendant may be held partly or entirely responsible for all the victim’s damages. That means if one defendant lacks the insurance coverage to pay for the portion of damages that corresponds to their percentage of fault, the insurance coverage of another defendant may be used to pay the difference.
- Whether Punitive Damages Are Warranted: If the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression, you may be able to pursue a punitive award. If, for example, you suffered a brain injury in a crash with a driver who was drunk, texting, or fleeing from police, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Seeking counsel from a seasoned brain injury lawyer is especially important in these cases because the lifetime cost can be so substantial. A skilled personal injury attorney can perform a thorough investigation into your case to identify all potentially liable parties. Your lawyer can also work with medical, financial, and vocational specialists to calculate a fair settlement amount. If the insurance company or opposing party refuses to pay a fair settlement, an experienced trial lawyer can represent your interests in court.
Speak with a Long Beach Brain Injury Lawyer Today: Call (562) 206-1939
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help brain injury victims and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. Attorney Michael Waks understands what’s at stake for you and your loved ones, and he will aggressively represent you through every stage of the proceedings.
Michael offers free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe any legal fees unless he wins your case. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (562) 206-1939 or use our Contact Page to send us a message.