How Do Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements Work?
After a loved one suffers from injuries to the brain, you are entitled to compensation. However, mild traumatic brain injury settlements can be complex and lengthy. Here's how these settlements work.
The experiencing of a brain injury can be devastating and complex. The consequences of a traumatic brain injury can include loss of motor skills; decline in memory proficiency; and the loss of ability to properly regulate emotion.
Sufferers can lose abilities that they once had, resulting in emotional and mental stress, along with losing their ability to hold down a job or take care of a family.
This can negatively affect not only the victim of the injury, but their loved ones, as well. To make matters even more difficult, the sufferer is often aware of the fact that he or she is no longer able to function in the way that was once considered normal. They are often in mourning, not only over the injury, but about the loss of their established sense of self.
Laws Regarding Injuries of the Brain
In light of the extensive nature of this type of injury, brain injury laws in the United States have been established toward ensuring that the care for a brain injured person is applicable to the situation. Laws such as:
- The directive to remove a person from associated activity
- To provide adequate screenings for the injury
- To provide adequate and ongoing healthcare for the injured are now included in our statutes
- And, due to the personality and function alterations of the injury, law enforcement officers are now directed to receive training about how those with such an injury may be prone to act out of character
The existence of these laws are an indication of the significance of suffering a traumatic brain injury. If you or a loved one are affected by this tragedy, there is often a need to seek compensation from the party which contributed to it.
--- Costs for medical bills; rehabilitation; ongoing care; and loss of wages are the tangible aspects of the loss.
--- The emotional and psychological losses – of self and of place in society – are often even more of a tragedy.
During mild traumatic brain injury settlements, both forms of loss can be addressed.
The Litigation Process
Before receiving any settlements for brain injuries, your task will be to both:
— Prove the existence of the traumatic brain injury
— Prove that the other party is the one at fault.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing such claims usually falls within two years of the event of injury, so timeliness is a factor.
In many cases, having the medical records which indicate that doctors have diagnosed the injury is a crucial component, and you will need to be prepared to show that the other party had a duty of care toward preventing the accident.
The process of convincing the courts to move forward with the claim can take several months. It often involves lawyers, who argue for their clients and hash out the details. Along the way, there is often opportunity to reach an agreement.
If no agreement is reached, the judge will make a final decision to set a date for trial. This trial date may be set out quite far into the future, as the courts don’t tend to see injury litigation as a priority situation.
Once you have proved successful in your claim, and the final orders have been made, you will begin the process of recouping your losses.
Seeking the Compensation
When seeking mild traumatic brain injury settlements, there are two types of damages.
- Special damages cover the tangible, financial, aspects, such as lost wages; medical bills; loss of ability to provide income; property damage; and funeral expenses.
- General damages cover the subjective aspects of the trauma, such as the level of physical pain experienced; loss of companionship; emotional distress and mental anguish; and the loss of societal standing.
In cases where insurance companies are involved, a type of compensation calculator is often used to create an offer. It is not uncommon for these calculations to fail to encompass the fullness of the trauma. One can expect that the initial offers will be on the low end of the scale.
Proving Your Losses
Keeping detailed records of not only the tangible losses surrounding the injury, but also the intangible ones, can assist you in eventually receiving an offer which is more applicable to your situations. Along with keeping copies of all financial records, consider keeping a daily journal. Here, you can describe the emotional and psychological distresses since the injury.
It may come as a shock, so be prepared for the need to defend your own character – or the character of your loved one who is affected by the injury – from the prying eyes of the defense attorney. It is not uncommon for the defending parties to bring up history of behaviors. Or, they may assert that the injured party did not do enough to prevent the damage.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you to identify areas of potential scrutiny, and to prepare for this type of battle in the courts. It also pays to be mindful that, following a judgment, there may be several appeals made by the defense.
The excessive nature of such appeals often result in the victim agreeing to reach mild traumatic brain injury settlements.
Collecting Compensation from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements
Once you have proven successful in your endeavor to receive adequate compensation for the traumatic brain injury, you will begin the process of recouping your losses.
In the case that the offending party has liability insurance, this can involve simply waiting on a check to be issued. Otherwise, the defense will need to prepare a release, in which the details of what was ordered in the trial are outlined. Your attorney then receives this document, and they will review it for accuracy before accepting.
Once the release is finalized with your signature, it is considered irrevocable. Before receiving any mild traumatic brain injury settlements, any debts which are owed to your related accounts will be deducted.
These liens may be from medical facilities or governmental entities. Once all debts have been settled, the process of receiving compensation begins. Often, this involves receiving a direct check, from your attorney, reflecting the remaining balance.
Receiving mild traumatic brain injury settlements can be confusing, but with a proper lawyer, the process can go much smoother and you can receive much more compensation.