How Do Damages Work in a Traumatic Brain Injury Case?
After suffering injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the general advice is, “Get a personal injury attorney! You deserve compensation for your injuries!” This is true; but how much compensation might you be entitled to? Where does it come from? Is there a limit on the amount? How is it decided? In today’s blog we’ll talk about traumatic brain injuries, damages, compensation, and how an attorney can help.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
First, a little information about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The Mayo Clinic describes them as follows:
Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that goes through brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.
The CDC reports 64,000 Americans died from TBI-related injuries in 2020, which translates to about 176 deaths per day. They also note that the top four causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls, firearms, car accidents, and assaults.
Older adults are more likely to die from brain injuries in comparison to other age groups, as they are often misdiagnosed due to similar conditions like dementia. In the same vein, children can also experience TBI differently, as even a minor brain injury can have a serious effect on their growing brain and development.
What is a catastrophic injury?
TBIs typically fall into what attorneys, physicians, and insurance companies call “catastrophic injuries.” Under 42 USC § 3796b, the legal definition of a catastrophic injury is an injury with “direct and proximate consequences” that “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”
In other words, it’s an injury so severe that it leaves a victim with life-altering consequences. These are injuries that are usually irreversible, with permanent effects on a person’s functions and abilities.
The amount of support and treatment a patient may need depends on the severity of the injury, and those with serious brain injuries will likely need help for the rest of their lives.
Assessing damages with catastrophic injuries like TBI
The Mayo Clinic notes that emergency care for brain injury patients can include oxygen, stabilization, minimizing any bleeding in the brain, and prevention of further injury. Ongoing care can include various medications, anti-seizure drugs, surgery, rehabilitation, occupational and physical therapy, and psychological support.
Catastrophic injuries like TBI affect not only the victim, but often their entire family. When the TBI patient was the main income earner in the family, the household loses a paycheck. If the main income earner must leave their job to become a caretaker, the household loses more. With medical bills on top of this, victims and their families can run out of money and resources quickly, even with insurance.
The expenses and losses for an injury like this are substantial, and the financial burden may never go away. This is why it is critical that your attorney is able to demand the right amount of compensation for you. If you settle for less, then you are left with the bills, even though your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence.
Fortunately, Ohio has no cap on damages for catastrophic injuries, per §2315.18(B)(3):
(3) There shall not be any limitation on the amount of compensatory damages that represents damages for non-economic loss that is recoverable in a tort action to recover damages for injury or loss to person or property if the non-economic losses of the plaintiff are for either of the following:
(a) Permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system;
(b) Permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.
In other words, when we assess the full extent of your injuries and the true costs of the care you will need, we can demand that full amount for your medical expenses and wage loss, including your loss of potential future earnings.
What about damages for pain and suffering?
Under the law, when you suffer a serious injury (like a TBI) that wasn’t your fault, you are also eligible to sue for general damages (we call them “human damages”) such as:
- Physical pain
- Mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inability to perform ordinary activities
- Physical impairment
Our Columbus attorneys work to ensure you secure the maximum compensation possible for your traumatic brain injury. We understand that, although it can feel impossible to put a value on your own pain and suffering, it is important to do as much as possible to help you live as comfortably as you can. We work with your doctors and other experts to determine your:
- Past and future physical and mental pain and suffering
- Past and future inconvenience
- Past and future emotional stress
- Past and future impairment of the quality of life
- Past and future physical impairment
If you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury, talk to a skilled TBI attorney today. At Soroka & Associates, LLC, we understand how to put together a strong case – but more importantly, we understand how to put together a case tailored for you. We get to know you and your case and we work to secure the compensation you need to live the best life possible. To find out what we can do for you, call us at 614-358-6525 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. When we accept personal injury cases, we handle them on a contingency fee basis. This means that we get paid only if there is a financial recovery.