Settlements for Traumatic Brain Injury in California | Ellis Law

Settlements for Traumatic Brain Injury in California

The costs of a moderate to severe TBI are often astronomical. The National Institute of Health reports that a recent study of severe head trauma cases found that “52 percent of survivors were moderately to severely disabled at the 1-year mark.” Settlements for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in California must consider the lifelong needs of the accident victim, including lost wages, future lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, medical bills, rehabilitation, and more.  

A traumatic brain injury lawyer in Los Angeles at Ellis Law can determine a fair settlement value for your specific TBI and fight for your right to recover your losses and damages, now and in the future. While most TBI claims are resolved during settlement negotiations, we will take your case to trial if the insurance company fails to agree to a reasonable amount.  

The Most Common Traumatic Brain Injuries  

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a TBI involves a “sudden, external, physical assault” damaging the brain. In adults, they are among the leading causes of death and disability.  

The most common TBIs include the following: 

  • Concussion: A concussion is a mild type of TBI but can have long-term consequences. Side effects include memory loss, headaches, fatigue, and the inability to sleep.  
  • Closed brain injury: The brain is shaken and bruised, with tearing of blood vessels and tissue.  
  • Penetrating brain injury: These injuries occur when an object penetrates the skull and the brain’s protective barrier, such as a gunshot wound.  
  • Intracranial hematoma occurs when a major blood vessel in or around the brain is damaged and begins bleeding. The pooling of blood puts pressure on the brain. 
  • Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when the brain’s long nerve fibers, or axons, are torn or sheared during blunt force trauma. 

John Hopkins Medicine also states that “once brain cells are destroyed or damaged, for the most part, they do not regenerate.” This underscores the need for a skilled lawyer to fight for the rights of accident victims who sustain these life-changing injuries due to the negligence of another party.  

Proving Negligence in Traumatic Brain Injuries 

The burden is on the plaintiff and their legal team to prove negligence, which includes the following four elements: 

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care. For example, in a car accident, the defendant owes a duty of care to drive safely and obey traffic rules and regulations. 
  2. The defendant breached that duty. Using the above example, the defendant breached that duty by driving while under the influence. 
  3. This breach of duty caused an accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.   
  4. You suffered compensable damages as a result, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  

Damage awards are intended to make you whole for those losses and are the basis for compensation. The stronger these elements, the better your ability to be reasonably and fairly compensated. 

Average Settlements in California for TBI 

Each TBI case is unique. The amount the plaintiff may receive in a TBI case depends on the specifics of the case, the extent of the victim’s injuries, and their prognosis. TBI settlements in California may range from the tens of thousands of dollars for concussions to millions of dollars for victims who are permanently impaired and in need of constant care. 

Due to its catastrophic nature, a severe TBI usually merits a more significant settlement amount than other types of personal injuries. The need for lifelong care comes at a steep price. The average settlement for a severe TBI is well above $1 million.  

Average settlements for TBIs that do not involve permanent impairment are lower, approximately $136,000. Again, each settlement is case-specific.  

What Factors Influence Brain Injury Settlements? 

As with any personal injury, the primary factors affecting a brain injury settlement are the severity of the injury and long-term prognosis.  

Other factors impacting TBI settlements include: 

  • The age of the accident victim: A younger person who may require lifelong care due to their TBI is likely to receive a higher settlement than an older person whose care needs are not expected to last as long.  
  • The victim’s medical history: If the victim had a history of concussions or other head trauma, the insurance company may argue that this pre-existing condition exacerbated the severity of the TBI.  
  • The victim’s occupation: Many TBI victims can no longer work or will never work again in their former occupation. The greater the decrease in the victim’s potential earnings due to the TBI, the higher the value of the claim.  
  • Waiting to seek medical treatment: After any head injury, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Some accident victims may not think they were seriously hurt, especially in the case of concussion. Waiting to seek medical treatment can harm your claim, as the insurance company will allege your injury was not serious or resulted from another event.  

One major factor concerning TBI settlements is the amount of insurance carried by the defendant as well as their assets. If their insurance coverage is significant, you may receive a considerable settlement. If they are underinsured, your lawsuit can pursue the defendant’s assets. However, it is difficult to collect a judgment if they have few personal assets.  

California Follows a Pure Comparative Negligence Standard 

California follows a pure comparative negligence standard regarding liability. That means that even if a victim is partly at fault for their accident, they can still collect damages. However, any damages are reduced by their percentage of fault as determined by a judge or jury. 

For instance, if you suffered a severe TBI in a car accident but were driving over the speed limit at the time of the collision, a judge or jury may decide you were 30 percent at fault. A $1 million award is then reduced by that percentage to $700,000. 

Why Ellis Law is Uniquely Qualified in Settlement Negotiations for TBIs 

A skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Ellis Law investigates the case thoroughly and identifies all potentially liable parties. We know how to navigate the complicated claims process and negotiate with insurance companies on our client’s behalf. We devise the best strategy to maximize your compensation based on how your TBI affected your ability to work in your current occupation or hold any job, as well as its effect on your family and personal life.  

It is critical not to accept a quick settlement. The long-term effects of TBIs are often unclear. Brain injuries are complicated and frequently challenging to diagnose in the short term. What sounds like a fair settlement amount when you are still recuperating may prove grossly inadequate if complications arise, which is common with TBIs.  

Keep in mind that settlements are final. Once agreed to, there is no going back for additional funds. Your attorney will determine a fair settlement amount to meet your current and future needs.  

At Ellis Law, our track record in obtaining successful settlements is second to none. We have procured settlements in personal injury cases ranging from $350,000 to over $2 million. 

Contact Ellis Law for a Free Consultation 

If you or someone you know suffered a TBI due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act, you need the services of a compassionate personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles at Ellis Law. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay no attorney’s fees unless you receive compensation.