There are different levels of trauma when it comes to a head injury, from minor to very traumatic. While some head injuries are easy to see, such as a bump or an open wound, there are times when a head injury can be accompanied by concealed damage to the brain. These situations can include concussion, memory loss, cognitive impairments, as well as emotional and behavioral changes that can impair the victim’s standard of living.
If you or a loved one received a head injury as part of an accident and intend to file a personal injury claim, you need to consider how much you would be willing to accept as a settlement. Resolving this claim can become difficult when head injury is involved, as it is hard to calculate damages and is dependent on many various factors.
Concussion Prevention and Risks
From sports to car accidents, there are many ways that a person can sustain a concussion. No matter how the concussion occurs, you should be aware that sometimes there is a lack of obvious symptoms present right after the event. This means that a single hit to the head can lead to a concussion without anyone realizing it at all.
In an athlete, no matter how hard the hit to the head was, it’s always best to be taken out and checked for a concussion before going back into the game. Making sure every athlete has the correct safety gear on is also very important. The athlete's wellbeing should always be the most important aspect of the game at all times.
If you have been in a car accident or work-related accident where you hit your head, you need to have it looked at by a doctor as soon as possible for any symptoms of a concussion or other head trauma. You may not feel like your head hurts or have any symptoms that go along with a concussion, but it’s best to get it looked at for your own health and for any later legal action that may need to be taken. The documentation created from this kind of doctor’s visit will greatly help your case later for a personal injury claim.
Make sure you follow up after the initial check for a concussion, since some of the symptoms may pop up later after the incident occurred. Again, this is best for you and for your potential legal claim.
Types of Damages Due to Head Injury or Concussion
There are several types of legal damages involved in a head injury case.
General Damages (non-economic loss) are losses in which money is only a rough substitute. They can include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Loss of reputation.
- Shock and mental anguish.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of society and companionship.
Special Damages (economic loss) are losses that are easier to determine the money lost and calculate a comparable substitute. They include:
- Lost wages.
- Medical expenses.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Property damages.
How to Calculate Damages for a Claim
To calculate any damages for a head injury settlement, there are a few things you should do:
First, calculate for any special damages. This is a simple thing to do for medical expenses and lost wages, but it’s more difficult to do for future wages or your lost earning capacity. It’s a good idea for you to keep detailed records of your injuries and of every doctor visit along with any medication you take as a result of the injury.
Next, you should calculate your general damages. Most of the time, your general damages will equal 1.5 – 5 times the special damages. This is dependent upon the severity of your injury. It will help to keep a detailed journal documenting the effects of the injury to your everyday life. Make notes of pain you suffer, headaches, or any other head injury symptoms, like memory loss or dizziness.
Add these two losses together. The sum of these damages becomes the total value of your claim. You should adjust the value to reflect savings, and then adjust the sum based upon the expenses that will add up as well as the risk that you avoid by not going to trial.
Factors that Influence Settlement Value
There are several factors that can affect the overall value of your head injury claim:
Liability - A case where liability is clearly established will lead to a higher settlement than cases where there is a liability dispute.
Multiple Tortfeasors - This happens when there are multiple individuals who committed the act that caused the injury, and each person is represented by a different insurance company. There may be an issue with how much each tortfeasor should pay.
Characteristics of Plaintiff - The plaintiff’s own character can influence the value of the settlement. The plaintiff’s age, occupation, likability, or prior medical history can all affect the settlement value.
There are many factors to think about if you or someone in your family has sustained a head injury of any kind. It’s important to make sure you get the medical attention you need, especially if it’s a head injury, as concussion symptoms are hard to see and recognize early. If you want to take the responsible party to court or file a claim for your head injury and any damages, you first need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney and get them all the important information. He or she can then help you set up your claim and make sure you get the settlement you deserve for the head injury that occurred.
If you want more information on personal injury claims in California, check out Dan Higson’s other blogs, such as this one about motorcycle accident claims or this one on wrongful death claims. If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in the state of California, contact the Law Firm of Hathaway, Perrett, Webster, Powers, Chrisman & Gutierrez today!
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