One of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), with effects that can last a lifetime and completely alter their quality of life. Many traumatic brain injuries can require extensive and life-long care that affects not just the victim, but also their family.
Although no amount of money can make up for the losses and complete alteration of someone’s life, pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit can provide financial support as they adjust to their new quality of life. However, claims that involve traumatic brain injuries are often complicated because of how damaging traumatic brain injuries are to those who suffer them.
One of the many questions that arise after suffering a traumatic brain injury at the hands of someone’s negligence is how much the victim is able to recover in damages. Determining the amount of damages available to someone depends on many factors. The starting place to estimate the value of any injury claim in Arizona is the Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (Civil), 6th, Personal Injury Damages 1, Measure of Damages (this is how a jury is instructed to do so):
These 6 categories are all the possible claims, it is unlikely that all will apply to any one case.
Factors that are considered when determining the value of a traumatic brain injury claim include:
Attorneys thoroughly review their client’s medical records to determine how severe their TBI is, what medical evidence supports the needed proof that the accident caused all the claimed damages and how much care the injury requires. Many TBIs require life-long physical therapy, mobility aids, and general medical care. The more extreme a TBI is and the more it alters the victim’s quality of life, the more damages recovery the victim is eligible to receive. At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we will normally retain an expert to prepare (with your treating physicians) a Life Care Plan for any serious TBI, which estimates all the future care needs and costs for each in an itemized and organized way. This allows better proof of all future TBI medical treatment expense claims (and a better recovery).
Many TBI injuries require lifelong care in the form of medication, appliances (e.g. a wheelchair or handicap access vehicle), physical therapy, care aides, and other medical necessities. The more treatment, aid and lifelong care, the more a victim is likely to receive for their monetary damage claims when a settlement or resolution is reached.
Understanding how the victim’s injury affects their family will require a deep look into the victim’s role and relationships in the family and how the new disability prevents the victim from continuing that role and those relationships. For instance, if the TBI victim is the sole provider of a household, the loss of earnings and other potential compensation is part of the damages analysis that takes into account how that loss of income affects their family. Any major claim for TBI requires an expert analysis of all these damage claims, which involves expert witnesses, testing and a capable, experienced lawyer.
Understanding the full value of a claim also requires looking into the victim’s short term and long term ability to fully function, to provide for themselves and take care of the activities of daily living. For example, can the TBI victim still earn a living, drive a car, walk safely, cook, shop for groceries, and do all the other things as previously done? Depending on the extent of the disability, some individuals may be physically and/or mentally able to work part time, maybe for a lower earning rate, while others may never be able to work again. Loss of future earning capacity is an area of damages that insurers are not anxious to pay due to the problems proving how much money is truly lost (“no one knows the future”). A specialist lawyer helps.
These cases require a lot of knowledge not just on the type of accident that caused the TBI, but also about TBIs themselves and their complex and often long-lasting effects on people’s lives. It’s incredibly beneficial to victims of TBI caused by negligent parties to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner investigation of the accident and your TBI injury can begin. Hospitals in the ER and most PCP’s do not fully evaluate TBI injuries (because expensive testing is required and insurers are not anxious to pay for it before a conclusive TBI diagnosis, which usually requires the same expensive testing), so prompt follow-up medical evaluation by a specialist such as a neurologist is very important.
Our Jensen Phelan injury specialist attorney can help make sure you case has all the investigation, medical treatment, testing and evaluation and documentation/proof needed to succeed with your TBI claim. We will help you meet every deadline and file all the paperwork necessary to pursue your claim. Dealing with a TBI is overwhelming enough without adding in insurance and legal battles. An attorney can provide the legal support you need to feel confident that someone is fighting for you while you focus your time and energy on recovering.
Finding the accurate value of a TBI case requires a lot more work than adding up receipts and often involves diving deep into the lives of the victim and their families. At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we understand the importance of compassion and are here to help you and your family find the justice you deserve.
Schedule a consultation through our website by filling out our contact form or calling us at (928) 778-2660.