What is the Settlement Value of a Baton Rouge Brain Injury Case?
The settlement value of a Baton Rouge brain injury case varies widely. Head injuries may be minor or traumatic. For example, some are easily perceived, such as bumps or open wounds, others are completely invisible to naked eye. Head injuries are often accompanied by damage to the brain, such as memory loss, cognitive impairments, and emotional and behavioral changes. These changes may significantly impair your quality of life after your accident.
If you have sustained a head injury as part of an accident, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or elsewhere, at some point, you will want to consider how much you would be willing to accept to settle your claim. The problem is, if you settle too early, you may not know the full extent of your damages.
Resolving your claim by the settlement is sometimes advantageous. Sometimes, it can be devastating. Read more here. Since a Baton Rouge brain injury personal injury case can be severe, calculating damages for a head injury is dependent on a variety of factors.
Types of Damages in Brain Injury Cases
There are two basic types of damages in head injury cases: special damages and general damages.
Special damages (or economic losses) are damages for which money is a comparable substitute for what was lost. These damages are often called “out-of-pocket” expenses. Brain injury case special damages can include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses – in a wrongful death case
- Property damages
Non-economic losses are those personal injury losses that money only substitutes. These ‘general damages’ include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Shock and mental anguish
- Loss of reputation
- The loss of consortium – A claim made by the family or spouse of the injured person
- Loss of society and companionship
- Emotional distress
Recent Brain Injury Case Verdicts and Settlements
- $14 million settlement – Settled by a woman who suffered a brain injury when the defective tire on her motorcycle failed.
- $7.5 million verdict – Awarded to a woman injured in a car accident. She was comatose for three weeks and required two months of brain injury rehabilitation.
- $3.2 million settlement – Settled by a Virginia truck driver injured in an accident while driving for his employer. He suffered a mild TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
- $800,000 settlement – Settled by a North Carolina woman following a car accident. Her injuries included mild TBI, and she suffered from short-term memory loss, depression, mood changes, fatigue, and partial complex seizures.
- $290,000 settlement – A Virginia man settled a car accident claim which resulted in a mild concussion, among other more minor injuries.
- $100,000 settlement – A California woman was hit while driving through an intersection and suffered a soft-tissue head injury – and a permanent scar – when her head struck the driver-side window.
To calculate your damages for a head injury settlement, you should
- Calculate special damages. This is easy to do for medical expenses and lost wages, but more difficult for future wages or lost earning capacity. It is a good idea to keep detailed records of your injuries and every doctor or physical therapist visit, as well as all medication that you take as a result of the injury.
- Calculate general damages. General damages are often equal to a multiplier, such as 1.5 to 5 times the special damages. This, of course, is dependant upon the severity of the injury. A minor bump on the head or scrape will not garner nearly as much in pain and suffering damages as a concussion or brain injury. It helps to keep a diary where you can document the effect of your injuries on your everyday life. Make notes of any pain you suffer, like headaches or emotional harm, as well as other head/brain injury symptoms and effects like memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, soft-tissue scarring, etc.
- Add special and general damages together. The sum of your special and general damages is the total value of your claim.
- Adjust the value to reflect savings. Next, change the sum of the special and general damages down based upon the expenses you will not incur, as well as the risks that you will avoid, by not going to trial. The extent to which you will adjust the value of your claim will depend on some factors, such as whether or not the other party is clearly at fault.
- Compare to recent jury verdicts. Finally, supplement your damage analysis with awards or settlements from other head injury cases in your jurisdiction. Almost everyone involved in head injury litigation — including both plaintiff and defense counsel, as well as the insurance adjuster or representative– do so, so you should too. To do this, consult databases of past jury verdicts. Usually, a combination of a Westlaw or Lexis search, along with some other book or online resource at your local law library will be sufficient.
Many other factors can affect the value of your head injury settlement.
Other factors to think about include:
- Liability. Cases, where liability is established, will lead to a higher settlement value than cases where liability is in dispute.
- Multiple Tortfeasors. In cases where there are multiple parties at fault, and each is represented by a different insurance company, there may be an issue as to how much each responsible party should pay.
- Characteristics of the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s characteristics can influence the value of the settlement. For example, the plaintiff’s age, occupation, likeability, and prior medical history will probably affect the settlement value.
- Where the case will be tried. Some venues are more conservative than others and have a tendency to award lower damage awards than juries in more populated, urban communities. The venue, therefore, will affect the value of your settlement, since insurance adjusters always keep an eye on what could or might happen if the case goes to trial.
- Egregious conduct by the defendant. Most likely, you will not add punitive damages to your settlement value, but will instead use the potential for punitive damages as leverage to lessen the degree of adjustment to the value of your special and general damages.
- Mitigating Damages. Damages must be mitigated, or reduced, by the plaintiff if doing so is reasonably possible. For example, if you decided not to seek treatment after your accident and, as a result, your medical expenses are now higher because your injuries are more difficult to treat, the insurance company might reduce the value of your settlement to reflect your failure to mitigate.
Contact the InjuredGo.com Law Firm today if we can provide assistance or answer questions regarding your Baton Rouge Brain Injury case.