While there is no way we can give you a accurate value on your case without evaluating medical records, here is a good way to get an estimate. Always remember that the value of your case is not as important as treatment. Here are some ways to get an idea of case value. The facts used most to determine value are as follows: (1) extent of injury; (2) age at the time of injury; (3) medical bills; (4) loss of income; and (5) life impact. Each of the five factors will be discussed below.
Extent of the Injury
Injury determines compensation in many cases. What makes is complicated in brain injury lawsuits
, is that you may not notice or be aware of the extent of injury until professional neurological evaluations are conducted. While you may experience some symptoms of a head injury, it is only after a proper examination that we can have a full understanding of injuries. Brain injuries are generally categorized from minor, mild and severe. However regardless of the classification each type of brain injury carries its own impact.
Any claims adjuster, defense counsel, arbitrator or judge or jury will look at the extent of the injury as one of the five factors. Extent of a brain injury can also be determined by the type of accident. For example if it was a minor car accident it will likely be a minor injury. On the other hand if you have a serious impact accident there may be a mild to severe brain injury.
It is also important to keep in mind that extent of injury is only 20% of the pie. So if you have severe brain injury, but the other factors are not present it can impact the value of you or your loved ones case. Always remember that no matter what you feel is the extent of your injury, speak with a neurologist of doctor about it. Many times you will misdiagnose the extent of your injury. And always make sure to not make any statements regarding your current condition to any insurance company. Make sure that you know in full what your injuries are before making any statements.
Age at the Time of Injury
Age is an important factor in any injury. If you are minor and suffer a serious injury the value of that injury will be more than if you were much older. Courts will consider how this injury has impacted the quality of life for that injured party. Generally speaking if the injury took place at a young age then it can be considered a more life impacting injury.
However the counter argument is that since the injury took place at a young age the individual is more likely to heal. While there is some merit in that argument, it is not an accurate statement. Injuries that take place at a younger stage in your life do not always merit a full recovery.
Injuries at any age can be devastating. Regardless of the point in the person’s life a brain injury can have long lasting impacts. However, courts will consider the expected time the injured party will need to live or cope with this injury. These are critical factors in helping understand or evaluate the elements of your potential head injury case.
Medical bills provide a number for which the insurance companies will assess the degree of damage. It is common that the extent of bodily damages to a person would be reflected on his/her medical bills. However, this is not always the case. In certain situations you can suffer significant injuries, which are not reflected on medical bills.
Typically when you file a personal injury claim your attorney will review all medical records. This is often referred to as “special damages” or “specials”. Once your attorney reviews the medical bills/specials it is possible to get a better understanding of case value.
Medical bills should never be considered a barometer of value under any circumstances. In fact this is critical mistake that can seriously undervalue your case. Issues such as future treatment needs will not be reflected in your medical bills. In fact there is no real way to asses in a medical report how much future damages will be. This is something that is considered on a case-by-case basis.
While medical bills can have an impact on case value don’t let them be the judge. Instead communicate with your attorney your medical ailments. Also, make sure to communicate this with you doctors during any visits or appointments. Understanding your treatment plan is one of the key factors in obtaining favorable results for damages.
Loss of Income AKA LOI
Loss of income (LOI) is a very important element of a brain injury claim and here is how it works. You evaluate what your earnings were before the accident and you consider how that will be impacted after the accident. Loss of earnings essentially calculate how much your earning capacity has decreased as a result of this accident.
In order to obtain a accurate figure a vocational expert will be brought in. Vocational experts will consider factors such as age, earning capacity, family earning capacity, social status and more to come up with a valid number. This number will then be presented as part of your demand for damages.
An example would be as follows, a 24 year old is involved in a car accident. As a result he suffers amongst other injuries , a brain injury. A vocational expert will evaluate life expectancy, potential occupational success, ambition, earnings of immediate family and the social status of the injured party. These figures will be assessed and average will be provided. This average will give a low and high figure, which will be evaluated by your attorney. After calculating potential loss of earnings we can move forward with any demand letter or lawsuit.
Life impact is perhaps the single most important element. How has this changed you? How has your life been different as a result of this accident? What are you not able to enjoy any longer? This is the most human element of your claim. It analyzes what you have lost not in terms of dollars, but in terms of quality of life. Some term this as the suffering element of your claim.
To determine this psychological evaluations will be conducted. Additionally it is always advisable to keep a journal. Often times what a jury or judge finds most profound is not the expert testimony, but the story from the injured party. Stories such as how Christmas or Thanksgiving are different. These are all facts which should be recorded in a journal where possible.
As you can see evaluating a brain injury case takes some work. You must know very detailed information before a proper value can be provided. Always remember that healing is the most important part of your claim. Before attorneys, insurance adjusters or any other aspect focus on healing. Remember you have certain time lines to follow so make sure you are educated on these matters with regards to any decision you make.
Free Case Review and Second Opinion on Your Case
The majority of law firms lack the experience in brain injury claims in order to maximize the claims potential value. Our law firm is dedicated to providing the legal representation necessary so that our clients are able to receive the maximum level of recovery for their injuries. If you have any questions regarding the potential value of your brain injury claim or would like to receive a second opinion feel free to contact our law offices. All legal consultations and second opinions are provided by our esteemed attorneys free of charge.
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