Traumatic brain injuries or TBIs are some of the most costly personal injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 2 million brain injuries per year, with about 100,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries so serious they require hospitalization. The total lifetime cost to society of TBIs is around $76 billion. This includes medical costs, lost time at work, and other expenses paid, in some cases, by taxpayers, such as social services. Clearly, TBIs are an expensive problem, but how can a personal injury attorney estimate the cost to an individual in order to negotiate a fair payment of a claim?
There are several things that an attorney will consider when evaluating a TBI claim:
- The type of head injury. There are several classifications of TBIs, most of which are based on the nature or mechanism of the injury. For example, “concussion” refers to any TBI in which the head and brain move rapidly back and forth, causing injury. In some cases, these injuries are further classified, such as a “coup/contrecoup” injury often seen in car accidents. In this case, the brain continues to move forward from momentum then reverses direction, resulting in concussion in two opposite locations. In evaluating a claim, the personal injury attorney will first review medical records to understand the nature of the injury.
- The severity of the injury. Concussions are often referred to as “mild” traumatic brain injuries, although they can be severe. The rating scale for TBIs typically ranges for “mild” through “moderate” to “severe” or “catastrophic,” depending on the damage done to the brain. Sometimes this is not easy to see at first. In some cases, a relatively mild injury may cause serious damage if the brain swells or expands due to inflammation and trauma. In those cases, what starts as a “mild” TBI may quickly progress to “catastrophic.” A personal injury attorney has to consider not only how a brain injury was caused but also how it may progress.
- The losses related to the injury. The most important job a personal injury attorney has is to evaluate the overall and long-term costs associated with a brain injury. If the TBI is undervalued, the victim may not have enough money to pay for long-term care or expenses. For this reason, a personal injury attorney will take into account the cost of medical care, lost income from a job, expenses related to living with the TBI, and even projected lost future earnings and opportunities. It is important to make this calculation correctly to ensure that the victim has sufficient funds to survive for the rest of his or her life.
TBIs are a common form of trauma from accidents, slip and falls, and other situations. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, do not assume that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to negotiate your own settlement. Be sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Barber & Associates. We have been helping Alaska TBI victims for decades and we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.