Brain injuries can cause a host of physical, emotional, and mental complications and in many cases can be life threatening. Even when victims survive brain trauma, the injury can alter their entire world and sense of self. The financial ramifications of a brain injury, such as reduced earning capacity and soaring medical bills, can be substantial, as well. Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent party can be a viable way to recover much-needed funds after sustaining a brain injury.
While it is understandable to want to settle your brain injury claim as soon as possible so that you can have access to the funds you need, it is very important that you do not rush your settlement. You first need a full evaluation of your condition and a solid understanding of the severity of your injury. Only after you and your doctors have a clear picture of your prognoses and future needs should you consider moving forward with any settlement offers.
Below are five important factors to consider before settling your personal injury claim. If you have yet to speak to an attorney about your case, it is highly recommended that you do so in order to ensure you are not overlooking any damages that you are entitled to.
1) How will your injury affect your ability to work?
Lost earnings are compensable in a personal injury claim. This includes not only wages you have lost while recovering from the acute phase of your brain injury, but also any wages you will lose in the future as a result of the effects of your injury. Any temporary or permanent disabilities – be they mental, emotional, or physical – that impair your ability to work are reimbursable on your claim, too.
Brain injuries can affect patients’ physical functional capacity, impair their cognitive abilities, and can make it difficult for them to functional normally in social settings such as the workplace. Your attorney can enlist in the help of experts to estimate to what degree your future income and earning capacity will be affected by your injury, so that you can be reimbursed appropriately on your claim.
2) Have you factored in your ongoing medical and therapy costs?
The cost of medical care in America is at an all-time high, and brain injury patients generally require consistent, long-term care. Ensure that you have considered all of your future medical care and therapy needs prior to settling your claim. This includes surgeries, visits with your regular doctor and with your neurologist, speech therapy, psychiatric treatments and counseling, physical, and occupational therapy.
According to the Skull Base Institute, one traditional brain surgery can cost up to $150,000. Add to that all the ongoing care and your total medical and therapy expenses could be well over a million dollars. In fact, BrainandSpinalCord.org estimates that a severe injury can cost approximately $3 million.
3) Will you need personal nursing care or other home care?
Depending upon the extent of your brain injuries, you may need a variety of temporary or permanent in-home services. Some of the needs that you may need to factor into your claim include the following.
- Personal nursing care
- Intensive rehabilitation programs
- Transitional nonmedical residential programs that teach basic skills for community living
- Long-term care and supervised residential facility programs that provide care to victims of brain injuries that are unable to live independently
- In home care for daily living needs
- In-home or integrative facility programs that teach self-control and appropriate social behaviors
- Supported living home groups
4) Have you considered the personal and social effects of your brain injury?
A brain injury can completely alter a person’s thoughts, actions, personality, and homeostasis in myriad ways. Social skills, empathy, social appropriateness, and emotional control are all things many people with brain injuries struggle with.
Some of the potential signs and symptoms someone with a brain injury may exhibit include the following.
- Changes in sexual functioning
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- Inability to carry on a normal conversation
- Tendency to be more self-centered
- Outbursts of anger or fits of crying
- Increased irritability and frustration
- Tendency towards self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
- Aggressive behavior
- Extreme mood swings
Because all of these social and emotional factors are a part of the brain injury, you need to bring them up to the insurance company or courts when presenting your case. Your lawyer can explain in better detail how non-monetary damages such as these can factor into your settlement.
5) Do you need to hire someone to assist you with household tasks?
If you are unable to perform common household tasks due to your brain injury, be aware that you can recover the costs of hiring help on your injury claim. If you are unable to drive, cook meals, do chores, complete yard work, care for your children, etc. and you need to hire someone to help you, your settlement should cover those costs.
A brain injury lawyer can help you create a detailed list of damages that itemizes of your current and future expenses. Both tangible and intangible harms will be considered. It is exceedingly important to be as thorough as possible when tallying damages because as soon as you sign a settlement agreement, you cannot ask for more money later should you have additional needs or should your condition worsen.
Montero Law has helped numerous brain injury patients and their families recover full and fair settlements on personal injury claims. We carefully investigate each case and take the time to full understand the nature and breadth of your injury so that you can recover the maximum amount possible for your settlement.
If you have yet to hire a lawyer for your case, call our firm and schedule a free consultation. Contact us today at 954-767-6500 to see how we may be of service to you.