Traumatic brain injury (TBI) takes a staggering toll on the United States, both in human suffering and economic costs. With over 1.5 million TBIs annually, the financial burden is substantial. Direct medical expenses and long-term consequences like cognitive impairments and disability can lead to significant lifetime earning losses.
Each brain injury case is unique, and it is challenging to quantify California’s average brain injury settlement. However, the amount a person can expect to secure after a traumatic brain injury largely depends on the facts and circumstances that led to the injury, the severity of the brain injury, and the experience of the victim’s personal injury lawyer. Further, the outcome of a brain injury case can depend on whether the parties reached a resolution through settlement versus a trial. If you have suffered a brain injury because of another’s negligence, it is essential that you consult with a lawyer to learn how much your brain injury case is worth.
Settlement vs. Trial After Brain Injury
In California, individuals who have sustained a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct have two primary options for resolving their personal injury claims: going to trial or settling the case out of court. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice often depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Brain Injury
Pursuing a brain injury case in a California court rather than settling can offer advantages. Firstly, it allows for a transparent, public legal process that ensures accountability and justice. Secondly, it provides an opportunity for higher compensation, as a judge and jury may award a more substantial sum than what might be offered in a settlement. Additionally, going to court can be a principled choice for victims seeking validation and closure. While it may involve a longer, more complex process and incur higher legal costs, pursuing a court case in California can lead to a fairer and potentially more substantial resolution for brain injury victims.
On the other hand, opting for a trial in a brain injury case in California has its drawbacks. Firstly, it can be an extended, time-consuming process, often taking years to reach a resolution, causing added stress and uncertainty for the victim. Secondly, there’s no guarantee of a favorable outcome, as trial verdicts can be unpredictable. Thirdly, litigation can be costly, with expenses like attorney fees, court costs, and expert witnesses adding up significantly. Lastly, the emotionally taxing nature of a trial, including reliving the traumatic event and facing a courtroom battle, can take a toll on the victim.
Settling a Brain Injury Case
Deciding to settle a brain injury case instead of going to court in California offers several advantages. Settlements provide a faster resolution, allowing injured parties to receive compensation sooner, which can be crucial for medical bills and recovery. Secondly, there’s a level of certainty as both parties negotiate and agree on terms, eliminating the unpredictability of a jury verdict. Thirdly, settling typically reduces legal expenses, avoiding the costs associated with a trial, such as attorney fees and court-related costs. Lastly, it can alleviate the emotional stress and trauma of a courtroom battle, offering a more controlled and less contentious path to compensation for brain injury victims.
Ultimately, the decision to go to trial or settle a brain injury case in California depends on the specific circumstances and goals of the injured party. It’s essential to consult with experienced personal injury lawyers who can provide guidance and advocate for the best course of action.
Factors that Determine Brain Injury Settlement Amount
Calculating a brain injury settlement in California involves a complex process considering various factors.
Severity of the Injury
The extent of the brain injury plays a significant role. More severe injuries with lasting cognitive impairments, physical disabilities, or emotional trauma tend to result in higher settlements to cover medical expenses and long-term care.
Establishing fault is crucial. If it’s clear that the defendant is entirely responsible for the injury, it can strengthen the victim’s position during negotiations, potentially leading to a larger settlement.
The cost of past and future medical treatment, including surgeries, therapy, and medication, is pivotal. Calculating these expenses accurately is essential for a fair settlement.
Lost Income and Earning Capacity
Brain injuries often result in lost wages, and if the injury affects the victim’s ability to work in the future, this can significantly impact the settlement amount.
Pain and Suffering
Noneconomic damages like pain, suffering, and emotional distress are subjective but essential components of a settlement. Their valuation can vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
The insurance policies of both parties involved can impact the settlement. If the defendant has substantial insurance coverage, it may increase the available funds for a settlement.
The presence of pre-existing medical conditions can complicate settlement negotiations, as it may be challenging to determine the extent to which the brain injury exacerbated existing health issues.
Jury or Bench Trial
The choice between a jury trial or a bench trial (judgment by a judge) can also influence settlement negotiations. The perceived strength of the case may lead parties to settle to avoid the uncertainty of a trial.
Calculating a brain injury settlement in California is a nuanced process that requires careful consideration of all these factors.
Calculating Brain Injury Settlement
In California, attorneys often use a multiplier method to calculate non-economic damages in brain injury settlements. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of enjoyment of life, which are challenging to quantify directly.
In the multiplier method, the economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) are multiplied by a specific number, typically ranging from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury and other relevant factors. The multiplier reflects the degree of pain, suffering, and non-economic impact the victim has experienced due to the brain injury.
For instance, if the economic damages are calculated to be $200,000, and a multiplier of 3 is applied, the non-economic damages for pain and suffering would be $600,000, resulting in a total settlement amount of $800,000.
However, it is important to note that multipliers are not mandatory during settlement negotiations or jury deliberations, and the specific approach to calculating brain injury settlements can vary based on the circumstances of the case, the parties involved, and the court’s guidance. Experienced personal injury lawyers in California take various factors into account when determining an appropriate multiplier, including the severity of the injury, the impact on the plaintiff’s life, and the precedent set by similar cases. Ultimately, the goal is to arrive at a fair and just compensation amount that adequately reflects the victim’s damages.
Do I Need an Attorney for Brain Injury Settlement?
The quality of legal representation matters. Experienced brain injury attorneys can negotiate more effectively and secure better settlements for their clients. The negotiation skills of both parties’ lawyers can impact the final settlement amount. Skilled negotiators may achieve more favorable terms. Further, experienced personal injury attorneys often work closely with medical experts and financial professionals to ensure that the settlement amount adequately compensates the injured party for their losses and future needs.
How Much Is My Brain Injury Case Worth?
If you or a loved one recently suffered a brain injury and are interested in learning more about your rights, reach out to the dedicated California injury lawyers at the Frederick Law Firm, our traumatic brain injury attorneys have over four decades of experience successfully pursuing compensation on behalf of clients who’ve experienced life-changing injuries. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will outline your options, explain the recovery process, and answer any questions you may have. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, give us a call. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.