It can be difficult to estimate the true value of your head injury claim. Payouts vary widely by case, and there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind when calculating the damages you are owed.
Here’s what you need to know about seeking damages after a head injury.
Types Of Damages
Specific damages is a term that refers to any exact monetary losses that come about due to an injury. In other words, they’re the damages that you can put a price tag on.
The most common type of specific damages include:
- Lost wages or lower earning potential
- Medical bills
- Costs of burials and funeral services
- Damage to property
General damages cover any loss due to an injury that does not come with an exact monetary loss. That means that you can’t put a fully compensate the damages with a payout.
Common types of general damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional damages
- Impacts on reputation
- Loss of consortium
- Social damages
Most of these damages are broad categories, so it can be difficult to estimate an exact payout. For example, a personal injury can affect a person’s relationships, leading to depression and isolation.
There is no way of consistently calculating what the monetary cost of these hardships is, so compensation can vary widely depending on the case.
Estimating Damages You Are Owed
When calculating the damages you are owed for a head injury, you need to factor in a few different types of costs.
Add Up Specific Damages
In most cases, the bulk of a payout will relate to specific damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and damaged property. As you prepare your claim, you’ll need to add up all of these costs to come up with an estimate for the damages you believe you are owed.
If you can, keep detailed records of all doctor visits, procedures, and other medical expenses related to your injuries. If you are unable to do this yourself, make sure a family member is doing it for you. Lost bills or inaccurate estimates of medical expenses can hurt your case, leading to a smaller payout.
You should also keep track of how much time you are missing at work, and use your previous earnings to estimate the total lost income caused by your injury. If any property was damaged in the accident, make sure to include this as well.
Calculate General Damages
Since general damages do not correspond to an exact dollar figure, it can be difficult to estimate how much they contribute to your claim. With head injuries, the compensation paid for general damages can often be 2-5x that paid for specific damages.
Make sure that you record any emotional or physical suffering related to your injuries. One good way of doing this is keeping a diary as you recover. If you are unable to do this yourself, you should try to have a loved one write down what you are going through.
Be specific when recording symptoms, and list any cognitive issues you are having as a result of the injury, such as memory loss, confusion, or mental fatigue. If you are experiencing any symptoms of mental illness, record these as well.
Combine The Two Types Of Damages
Once you have figured out the specific and general damages of your case, combine them to come up with a rough estimate of total damages. If you don’t know the value of your general damages, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you by comparing your case to previous settlements.
Adjust Your Estimates Based On Savings From Not Going To Trial
When you settle your case, you often get a slightly lower payout than the maximum you could expect from going to trial. The benefits of a settlement is that you get a guaranteed payout, and there is no risk of losing the trial. You also save on legal fees.
You’ll need to take this into account as you estimate total damages. Since settlements award slightly smaller payouts, adjust your estimate accordingly. If you are having trouble with this, speak to a personal injury attorney.
Look At Recent Settlements
The best way of estimating the value of your claim is to compare it to recent cases. This is commonly done by attorneys and judges to calculate a fair payout for an injury, and you can do it as well to get a better sense of the true value of your case.
There are a number of online databases where you can find past cases and the payouts that were awarded. Keep in mind that many settlements are kept private, and the compensation listed in public databases is often from cases that went to court.
Although you can research past cases on your own, the best way to get an accurate estimate is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. In addition to their own first hand experience, they may be able to access records that will be difficult to find. They can also save you a significant amount of time and effort.
Other Factors That Can Influence Your Case
Head injury claims can be quite complicated, with numerous factors affecting the value of your case. Here are some of the most important:
The amount of compensation you can expect to receive will in large part depend on the defendant’s liability. If you can prove that they are fully responsible for you injuries, you will receive a much higher settlement.
If there are multiple parties involved in your head injury, that could mean that you have to handle separate claims against each individually. This can get quite complicated, as you may have to work with multiple insurance companies and file separate paperwork, as well as estimate how much each party needs to pay.
In cases with multiple parties, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney. They can manage the complexities of the case, making everyone involved pays the damages they are responsible for.
Who The Plaintiff Is
Not all plaintiffs will be treated the same when it comes to settlements. Age, occupation, prior injuries, and a criminal record may all play a role in the amount of damages you receive.
Conduct Of The Defendant
In cases where a defendant intentionally caused harm, you may be able to receive punitive damages. This is extra compensation meant to punish the other party for harming you. In settlements, punitive damages are often not awarded directly. Instead, attorneys will use them as leverage to increase the value of the payout.
Actions Take To Mitigate Damages
If you are injured, it’s expected that you will take action to get proper medical treatment. This is called mitigating damages, meaning that you did all that you could to reduce the severity of your injuries.
For example, if you injured your head and then did not go to a doctor, you will likely receive a significantly lower payout. The defendant can claim that much of the damage caused by your injury would have been mitigated if you had visited the doctor.
Speak To A Skilled Montana Brain Injury Attorney
At Glacier Law Firm, we have years of experience representing clients in head injury cases. We know how difficult the period after a head injury can be. That’s why we help you build a strong case and win you the maximum possible compensation.