Brain injuries are some of the most complex and severe injuries that can result from car accidents and other incidents. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be life-changing and often require long-term care, specialized therapy, and other treatment. Calculating an accurate and fair settlement for these injuries is crucial.
Understandably, some victims might be inclined to use an online brain injury settlement calculator to determine how much their case is worth. While an online TBI settlement calculator might seem convenient, it rarely provides accurate or reliable estimates. Every accident case is unique, meaning each person’s damages vary and aren’t necessarily easy to calculate. Below, GJEL Accident Attorneys explain the factors involved in calculating your potential brain injury settlement.
Understanding the Complexity of Brain Injury Cases
The severity and consequences of brain injuries vary greatly from one case to another. The extent of your injury, age, occupation, and prognosis for recovery are all factors that can significantly impact your case. In addition, a brain injury case may have multiple defendants and complex legal questions that need resolving. This complexity makes it difficult to generalize or accurately predict the value of a settlement using a one-size-fits-all approach like an online calculator.
Providing an average settlement for a traumatic brain injury accident is challenging because every case is unique. There are some quantifiable factors in an accident case, but many are subjective. Online settlement calculators don’t necessarily account for these subjective factors. An experienced California brain injury lawyer, like at GJEL, can analyze your case and help you estimate its value.
Factors Influencing Brain Injury Settlements
Courts, attorneys, and insurance companies examine several factors to calculate the value of a brain injury settlement. Some of these factors include:
- Injury severity,
- Damages, and
- Available insurance coverage.
Each of these factors, specific to the facts of your case, impacts your case value.
The more severe your brain injury, the higher the settlement value of your case. This is because when an injury is severe, you’ll face higher medical bills, more lost wages, and potentially greater emotional and psychological difficulties than if you have less severe injuries. Even two victims with similar brain injuries can have different case values because of the recovery process. If one victim has long-lasting effects, their case value might be higher than the other person who shows no residual effects of a brain injury.
Liability is a significant factor in any personal injury case, not just with brain injuries. First, you must be able to prove that the party you believe is responsible is legally liable. Your ability to prove this will affect your settlement value.
Additionally, California is a pure comparative negligence state. You could still be entitled to compensation if you share responsibility for the accident that caused your injury. However, that compensation will be reduced by your percentage of legal responsibility. For example, if a jury finds you 20% at fault, you will only receive 80% of your calculated damages. If a jury finds you 90% at fault, your maximum compensation would be 10% of your damages.
Comparative negligence can lead to vastly different outcomes for two victims with similar brain injuries. That is why online calculators are not the best resource. You might calculate your case based on the other party being 100% at fault, only to find out that a jury, or perhaps an insurance company, thinks you are primarily responsible.
Damages, or compensation for your injuries, typically consist of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. We describe each below and how they can vary depending on your case.
Economic damages are your financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. The cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care for a brain injury can be astronomical. Should you need ongoing treatment, you can ask for future medical expenses.
Brain injuries can keep you from working temporarily or permanently. You have the right to ask for compensation for your lost wages. If you cannot return to work, you can seek future lost wages.
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate and subjective. For example, one form of non-economic damage is pain and suffering. Calculating pain and suffering is an attempt to calculate the financial equivalent of your physical and emotional suffering from a brain injury.
Another example of a non-economic damage type is the loss of consortium. It is compensation for the brain injury’s impact on your relationships with family, such as loss of affection and companionship. Again, based on your circumstances, a court, attorney, or insurance company will try to attach a dollar amount to this subjective loss.
An insurance company’s valuation of your non-economic damages frequently won’t match your estimate. That’s why you should hire a skilled California brain injury lawyer at GJEL Accident Attorneys. They can calculate the value of your case and fight to ensure that you receive fair compensation from an insurance company.
In some cases, you might be eligible for a third category—punitive damages. Courts generally only award punitive damages when you can prove that the responsible party acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others or maliciously. Punitive damages punish the responsible party rather than compensate you for your injuries.
Available Insurance Coverage
The amount of available insurance coverage also impacts your potential settlement value. Responsible parties typically try to settle for less than their insurance coverage, if there is any. If your damages are $200,000, but their insurance coverage is $100,000, you may have to pursue other options to get your full compensation. Possible alternatives include suing the individual directly, pursuing compensation from other responsible parties, or filing an underinsured motorist claim under your auto insurance.
Why Online Calculators Fall Short
While online calculators might be tempting for a quick estimate of your brain injury settlement, they are typically unreliable and cannot consider subjective factors. These calculators often rely on generic formulas and do not consider the intricacies of your specific situation. They also lack the expertise and experience of a skilled brain injury lawyer who can comprehensively evaluate your case and develop a strategy tailored to your needs.
GJEL Accident Attorneys Can Help Value Your Case
Given the numerous factors involved in determining a fair settlement, working with an experienced California brain injury lawyer is crucial. Don’t rely on a brain injury settlement calculator to steer you toward a settlement value. Instead, an experienced personal injury attorney, like at GJEL Accident Attorneys, can accurately value your case and help you fight for compensation.
At GJEL, we can do the following:
- Gather and preserve evidence,
- Assess and calculate your damages,
- Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies,
- Hire industry experts, and
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
We have years of experience successfully resolving catastrophic personal injury cases on behalf of our clients. Let one of our skilled attorneys help you calculate the value of your case. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
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