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Unfortunately, car accidents often lead to traumatic brain injuries. It's not uncommon for a sudden, high-speed impact to cause a motorist's head to collide with a steering wheel, window or dashboard. The resulting symptoms of a brain injury could include memory loss, confusion and personality changes. In many cases, victims must undergo long-term rehabilitation programs at facilities dedicated to brain injury treatment. Due to the expense of health care, a car accident settlement could reach into the millions of dollars.
A jury in California awarded $52.84 million to two brothers who suffered traumatic brain injuries after a head-on collision with a big rig in February 2018, for instance. A woman in Massachusetts left with permanent brain damage after a car accident received an $8 million settlement in November of 2017.
While some personal injury claims garner high settlements, the circumstances of each case determine the financial costs to a victim. Important factors include a person’s ability to work and whether treatments and therapies could offer future relief from symptoms. A contract with an indemnification clause could influence a case as well. Indemnification essentially means a party cannot be held liable for future legal claims. For example, a victim hit by a person driving a rental car probably would not be able to pursue damages from the rental car agency. The rental agreement would likely indemnify the agency from paying for future damages. However, the renter driving the car could be the target of a lawsuit.
The law allows for victims of negligence to pursue damages. Compensatory damages reflect the costs that an injured person has suffered and will suffer as a result of a car crash. These damages, also known as actual damages, are not meant to punish a negligent party. They are intended to reimburse the victim.
A variety of direct expenses attributed to an accident could legally qualify for compensation. While these vary on a case-by-case basis, they could include the following:
Courts at their discretion might approve punitive damages against defendants who showed a clear disregard for safety. These damages are separate from the compensatory form and are intended to serve as punishment.
Medical bills immediately after an accident create substantial financial burdens. The calculation of a car accident settlement might also encompass the expected future costs for care. In-home care and household help could apply as well. The plaintiff's lost income and loss of future income are also important parts of the equation. Other costs that could qualify as damages include pain and suffering, reduction of life quality and the loss of companionship and spousal support.
People faced with a lifetime of brain damage could request payment for their future losses. The burdens of future expenses might arise from continued pain and suffering, mental distress and ongoing medical therapies and care.
To place a dollar figure on these anticipated expenses, victims must generally provide testimony from experts such as doctors and physical therapists. Typically, these witnesses explain the plaintiff's medical limitations and how long they are expected to last. Testimony will generally describe how a disability will limit the possibility of employment.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified brain injury lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local brain injury attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.