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A brain injury is a catastrophic injury from which victims literally can never fully recover. Unlike most body tissues, the brain can’t regenerate its cells. Once cells are damaged or connections between them are broken, the functions they perform are simply lost unless the brain can learn to perform them in new ways. Victims may have permanent problems with their movement, senses, emotions or cognitive abilities, or even changes in personality. If a person’s or business entity’s negligence caused your accident resulting in a brain injury, our Los Angeles brain injury lawyers can help you with your injury claim.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.4 million Americans sustain some kind of traumatic brain injury every year, with about 235,000 requiring hospitalization and 50,000 more dying. Falls and car accidents are the most common causes of brain injuries, but these injuries can be caused by any blow to the head, including sports injuries and gunshot wounds. Thousands more sustain non-traumatic brain injuries because of disease, stroke or oxygen deprivation, sometimes due to medical malpractice. About 5.3 million people in the United States — two percent of our population — need permanent, daily help with everyday tasks because of a brain injury.
Types of Accidents Most Likely To Cause a Serious Head or Brain Injury
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Falling from three or more feet off the ground
- Falling down five or more stairs
- Falling off a bicycle without a helmet
Typical Symptoms of a Serious Brain Injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Persistent headaches
- Memory problems
- Concentration difficulties
- Multi-tasking challenges
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Vision problems such as double or blurry vision, light sensitivity
- Emotional struggles such as irritability, crying easily, anger outbursts
For those patients and their loved ones, a brain injury changes every aspect about their lives. Victims who lose important physical or mental abilities may need to abandon or radically change future plans, give up some part of their independence, or they may simply be cut off from simple pleasures. In addition to being devastating, this can also be very expensive. Victims may need multiple surgeries, ongoing therapy or even round-the-clock care. Families victimized by a sudden accident or a violent crime may not have the financial resources to provide these things for their loved ones. If you face this burden because of someone else’s careless or illegal behavior, you may need a Los Angeles brain injury attorney as you have the right to hold that person responsible in a court of law.
Why Choose Our Law Firm?
Panish Shea & Boyle has extensive experience with the complicated and lengthy lawsuits that often spring up after a brain injury. Our Los Angeles brain injury lawyers have landed record verdicts in complex, national litigation over medical and scientific issues, including two record verdicts involving defective automotive parts that left clients permanently disabled. Our brain injury successes include recent settlements of $48.5 million and $30 million on behalf of survivors of automobile collisions that resulted in severe traumatic brain injuries. Panish Shea and Boyle has tried numerous jury trials in brain injury cases across the state resulting in several 8-figure verdicts
Panish Shea & Boyle personal injury attorneys have been repeatedly recognized for excellence by other consumer and trial attorneys. Honors to our partners include recognition as Most Influential Attorneys, Best Lawyers in America, and nominations and awards for Trial Lawyer of the Year. All of our partners write and speak regularly to other attorneys and are active in professional organizations. Our brain injury attorneys represent clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, Alameda, Sacramento, and across California.
Brain Injury Verdicts & Settlements
- Freeman v. Doe Realty Company $48,500,000
Settlement on behalf of a young man struck in a crosswalk by a real estate broker.
- Doe v. Truck Staffing Company $30,000,000
Settlement on behalf of a man involved in a collision with a commercial truck.
- Rivas v. JB Hunt $20,000,000
Jury verdict for a woman who suffered catastrophic injuries after her vehicle was struck by a big-rig.
- Nelsen v. Hillyard, Inc., et al. $21,067,093
Largest personal injury verdict in San Bernardino County history at the time.
- Tilton v. Southern California Gas Co. (Sempra Energy) $15,000,000
- Doe v. Express Delivery Com. $9,600,000
Settlement for injuries sustained when a delivery truck’s tow dolly, weighing approximately 1,000 pounds, became detached while traveling on the highway, flew through the air, and landed directly in front of the plaintiffs’ vehicle, causing a violent collision. Injuries included a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, post-concussive syndrome, and an aortic tear.
- Sims v. Mountain Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) $7,000,000
Settlement for severe traumatic brain injury sustained by plaintiff who was struck by a bus while crossing a street in Big Bear and struck her head on the pavement when she fell to the ground.
- Doe v. Cruise Ship $5,600,000
Settlement of $5.6 million for severe traumatic brain injury sustained by a 13-year old boy who fell through an opening when a glass panel became detached from a stairway system on a cruise ship, and landed several decks below.
- Janovici v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) $5,000,000
- Wilbur v. Does $3,500,000
- Pesso v. Meyers $2,600,000
- Davin v. Skyline Limousine Service $1,300,000
- Williams v. S.C.E. $1,200,000
What Compensation Can I Recover for a TBI?
Although no amount of money can ever fully make up for an injury as catastrophic as a traumatic brain injury, a successful settlement or jury verdict from the defendant could help you and your family move forward with greater peace of mind and financial stability. An award from an insurance company could pay for both economic (special) and noneconomic (general) damages. The at-fault party may be financially responsible for all losses related to your TBI, including:
- Medical bills. The amount of money your family has and will foreseeably spend on medical bills, including hospital stays, x-rays, surgeries, intensive or emergency care, treatments, medications, specialists, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and medical devices.
- Disability costs. Any expenses related to permanent brain damage and related cognitive or physical disabilities, including home or vehicle modifications, live-in care, assistive devices, and long-term medical treatments.
- Lost wages. An award for the wages, earnings and employment benefits lost due to the victim’s inability to go back to work during recovery. If the TBI leads to a permanent disability, this could lead to payment for lost capacity to earn.
- Pain and suffering. An award for the general or intangible losses suffered by the TBI victim, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, anger, depression, sexual dysfunction, lost quality of life, lost enjoyment and loss of consortium.
- Out-of-pocket costs. Any out-of-pocket expenses the family or victim incurred due to the TBI. This may include travel costs, property damage repairs from the accident, legal fees and attorney fees.
- Punitive damages. An added amount of compensation that may be available if the defendant caused the brain injury through gross negligence, wanton recklessness or malicious intent to harm.
The types of financial damages that may be available in your brain injury case will depend on the losses suffered and the specifics of the TBI. Your brain injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you create a comprehensive list of you and your family’s past and future losses, as well as provide an accurate evaluation of their worth. That way, you can rest assured you are not missing any opportunities for financial recovery during the insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit process.
Factors That Affect a Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement
It is normal to be curious about the amount you or your family can recover from a defendant during a brain injury case. Your family is likely struggling with enormous medical bills and other debts related to the accident and injury, as well as worry over how to pay for future related expenses. Every brain injury lawsuit is unique. The amount recoverable in your case will depend on its individual features. Many factors could affect the total compensation amount:
- Recovery time
- Necessary medical treatments
- Future medical needs
- Level of impairment
- Stress-related to the brain injury
- Emotional or psychological anguish
- Financial duress due to medical bills and lost wages
- Number of defendants
- Amount of insurance available
- Your comparative negligence
- Whether you mitigated your losses
- The defendant’s actions or conduct in causing the TBI
- Funeral and burial expenses (in a wrongful death case)
- Your age, medical history, health, income and other characteristics
- Where the case is tried
The list of issues that could affect how much your brain injury case is worth is long. The best way to properly prepare your claim and demand the full and fair amount of your losses is by working with an attorney. A TBI attorney in Los Angeles can carefully evaluate your claim to determine its full value. Then, your lawyer can help you negotiate with an insurance company in California for the best possible case outcome.
How the Courts Calculate a TBI Settlement
The courts divide financial damages in an injury claim into two categories: special and general. The calculation methods for each category vary significantly. To determine a fair award in special (economic) damages, the courts will look at hard evidence. This may include medical bills, receipts, invoices, treatment plans, pay stubs, and letters from doctors and employers. The court will add up the existing economic losses, then use experts and accountants to accurately estimate a victim’s future damages with a long-term or permanent brain injury.
Calculating general damages is different. There is no physical proof or hard evidence of general, or noneconomic, losses. These are losses the victim suffers on an intangible level from the accident and injury: physically, mentally and emotionally. A jury will award pain and suffering damages based on evidence such as:
- Medical expert testimony
- Medical records
- Testimony from a psychiatrist
- Photographs of the injuries
- The victim’s injury journal
- Testimony from the victim
- Accounts from friends and family members
- Jury instructions from the judge
When it comes time to calculate a pain and suffering award, a jury can use one of multiple calculation methods or no method at all. This type of award amount is entirely up to the jury’s discretion. A jury will often analyze how significantly a TBI has and will affect the victim to determine a fair noneconomic damage award. If the jury does decide to use an equation, it may choose the Multiplier or Per Diem Method.
Calculation of Pain and Suffering Damages
The Multiplier Method is more common for permanent injuries and disabilities. This method takes the victim’s total amount of economic damages and multiplies it by a number that matches the severity of the victim’s injury. For example, if the victim was awarded $200,000 in economic damages and the jury assigned a multiplier of 4 for a severe brain injury, the victim could receive $800,000 in pain and suffering.
If the TBI did not inflict permanent damage, the jury may choose the Per Diem calculation method instead. With this method, the jury multiplies a daily pain and suffering amount (often equivalent to the victim’s previous daily wage) by the number of days he or she will presumably deal with the effects of the injury. Both methods will require an analysis of related facts and evidence, such as the victim’s medical records and expert testimony.
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most catastrophic injuries possible in accidents such as car crashes and falls. Many TBI victims can never fully get back what they lost due to the injury. Aside from temporary symptoms of a brain injury, a victim could also endure many long-term or permanent effects:
- Financial effects. From emergency care and weeks spent in an ICU to ongoing medical treatments and required equipment to accommodate a disability, the financial effects of a traumatic brain injury can be immense. Estimates of a patient’s lifetime TBI treatment costs place the amount around $85,000 to $3 million.
- Physical effects. An injury to the brain can cause permanent physical disability. A victim may experience the loss of many physical skills and functions, such as eating, talking, walking and fine motor function. Motor deficits, chronic pain, paralysis, seizures, spasms, vision problems, loss of bowel and bladder control, and difficulty carrying objects are common examples of long-term physical effects from a TBI.
- Psychological or cognitive effects. A serious brain injury could affect the victim’s cognitive abilities, leading to changes in personality, mood and behavior, as well as impacts to memory, communication, concentration, attention, processing social constructs and many other cognitive functions. Furthermore, a TBI could result in mental and emotional effects, including depression and anxiety.
Although it is possible for a patient with a traumatic brain injury to make a full recovery, this is not always the case after a major injury. Many victims live with the long-term effects of a TBI for life, even with physical therapy and rehabilitation making moderate improvements. If you or a loved one has a long-term or permanent brain injury, it is even more important to consult with an attorney. A personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can help you demand the financial compensation you will need in the future for a life-changing injury.
How Will a TBI Attorney Help?
A Los Angeles brain injury attorney can connect you to many resources you and your family need during this difficult time. From lawyers with years of on-the-job experience to connections with brain injury experts in the area, the right law firm will have everything you need to build a strong case against the at-fault party or parties.
Hiring a brain injury attorney for your case can come with many benefits. Your lawyer can help you with the challenges of building a strong brain injury claim, including gathering key evidence. Your lawyer can also help you negotiate with an insurance company when there is a lot at stake for your family financially. Your legal team can take steps to prove liability and your damages, all while you focus on more important matters, such as healing.
Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles, California Today
A lawyer can look out for you and protect your best interests while you seek treatments for your TBI. For more information about how an attorney can help you and your family with an insurance claim or injury lawsuit, contact Panish, Shea & Boyle for a free consultation. Call (310) 477-1700 today.