How Much Should I Settle a Head Injury For?
Head injuries vary widely in severity and effects. If someone else is at fault for the accident causing the injury, they may be liable for the costs associated with it and the settlement value can be wide-ranging. For a very minor bump without evidence of long-term effects, the settlement value may be only a few hundred dollars to compensate for your doctor’s visit and a short time off of work. For a serious injury that causes lasting disability, a head injury settlement may be in the millions of dollars.
Even though there is no one set answer to the settlement value of a head injury, a Los Angeles traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you determine how much a California personal injury claim may be valued in your situation.
Why settle a head injury case
Most personal injury lawsuits are resolved by settling with the wrongdoer’s insurance company rather than by going to trial. A trial is expensive and time-consuming but settlement can lead to a quicker and more cost-effective resolution. It also takes some of the uncertainty out of the process and usually prevents what could be years of appeals.
To obtain a fair settlement value, you still need to prepare your case as if you were headed to trial. This means you need to line up the evidence of the defendant’s fault, how the accident happened, what kind of head injury you suffered, how the injury will likely affect you in the future, and the economic and non-economic costs it has and will cause. It is important to work with an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to determine a target settlement value and to make sure your case is strongly positioned for negotiations.
Determining economic losses from head injuries
Financial losses from a personal injury make up the base of a settlement value calculation. Understandably, the type and severity of a head injury will be related to the costs you incur. Covered losses include:
- Medical bills – In the case of a mild concussion, this may only be the cost of an initial exam and any follow-up visits that the medical professional recommends. In a more serious case, it can include months or years of medical treatment, including the cost of surgery and rehabilitation. You will need a doctor to estimate what future treatment you will need and how much it will cost because you cannot re-open your case after it is settled even if you require more medical care.
- Other medical costs – If you need medications, medical supplies, at-home nursing care, medical transportation, or have other costs related to treatment, these are recoverable.
- Lost income – If you took time off because you had headaches or other impairments or to visit a doctor, this should be included. Even if you used vacation time, this should be included in your claim because you lost the financial value of that time. If your injury is severe, you may need to work with an expert who can calculate the long-term impact on your career like lost opportunities for promotions due to injury-related disabilities.
- Services – If you can no longer perform certain tasks like household chores and need to hire help, the at-fault party may be liable for the cost.
It is important to fully account for these losses before entering settlement negotiations. Your attorney will make sure you do not overlook any costs that should be included.
Calculation non-economic damages
Though they are more difficult to calculate, non-financial losses can make up a significant part of a head injury settlement. Some of the non-economic losses you can recover in California include:
- Pain and suffering – The physical suffering you experience may not have an obvious monetary calculation but a skilled attorney can determine a likely value based on the total of your economic losses and details about how your injury impacts your life. If the injury is minor, this may be only two to three times the value of the economic damages. If the injury is serious, it may be four or five times the value of the financial losses.
- Disability and disfigurement – If your head injury leaves scarring or other damage to your appearance, or if it interferes with your ability to carry out everyday activities, these are compensable. You may need to work with experts who can estimate the long-term effects, which can range from headaches to cognitive impairment to emotional disturbances.
- Loss of consortium – Your injury may impact your personal relationships. Damages may include the loss of love, affection, emotional support, comfort, sexual relations, and companionship.
Receive personalized advice about your Southern California injury
Knowing what your head injury case is worth is an important step in advocating for full compensation. Do not risk leaving money on the table – choose an experienced attorney with experience litigating head injuries.
At Ellis Injury Law, our Los Angeles accident lawyers have fought insurance companies and big corporations on behalf of traumatic brain injury victims and we are here for you too. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.