Accidents are aggravating — no matter the impact. But more often than not, accidents can be so much more. They can be debilitating and life-changing. Such is the case for people who suffer a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injuries resulting from accidents.
According to the CDC, 61,000 people died as a result of traumatic brain injuries in 2019. That translates to roughly 166 deaths every day.
Brain injuries can be as small as a concussion and can get as serious as a permanent disability, coma, or worse, death. While you can’t put a price on someone’s life, any monetary compensation will go a long way in helping the victim and their family heal from the tragedy.
If you or a loved one have suffered such trauma and been wondering how to go about filing an injury lawsuit, here are a few things that you should consider right off the bat.
1. Impact Assessment
The first thing that you need to do after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is to get the required medical attention immediately. Assessing the impact of the brain injury will help you gauge whether filing an injury lawsuit is the right way to go. We can broadly categorize traumatic brain injuries into three types:
- Mild or Concussion – quick recovery time, minimal permanent effects
- Moderate – requires hospitalization and rehabilitation, might leave permanent impacts
- Severe – tends to get worse over time, may result in death
While you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit regardless of how intense the injury, the compensation sought will be higher for severe cases. Plaintiffs need to consider that the litigation process is long and expensive. Assess if the injury is very minor, and if it is, then pursuing a lawsuit might not be the best idea.
2. Documents and Evidence
When you are putting together a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to have the necessary documents and evidence ready before proceeding to litigation. Stronger the evidence, the better the chances of securing the compensation you are looking for.
Ensure to organize all your medical bills, reports, prescriptions, and correspondence with insurance providers. If there were any eyewitnesses at the accident location, establish contact with them, and provide their details to your lawyer so that their testimonies can be recorded. Any photographs and videos of the incident should also be well-preserved.
Brain injuries can often leave victims confused, or the inability to recollect events around the accident. Even the treatment can be intensive and include medicines that may fog your memory.
For this reason, you should maintain a TBI journal, wherein you record your symptoms, medication, treatment, and any challenges that you face as a result of the injury. It should also include information about pain levels, and any effect that it has on your mental and emotional well-being.
The journey of going from filing a lawsuit to getting the settlement can get pretty rough, but being patient and calm throughout the process is necessary. If the defendant seems to offer a quick settlement too soon which raises red flags in your mind, you are probably right. Often, this indicates that the defendant is aware that you are likely to get a bigger settlement if the case goes to court.
Seek legal representation, and hold any negotiation or settlement talks only in their presence. Take their help in quantifying all your losses — present and future, so that you can ask for a settlement accordingly. For instance, if you have debilitating conditions because of the injury, you might need medicines and treatments for a longer time. The settlement you seek should account for that.
4. Physical and Mental Well-being
If you have incurred a brain injury or trauma, you must never take your physical or mental well-being for granted. Prominent medical research shows that the aftermath of brain injuries can be controlled with the help of medical treatment and medication. But from a legal standpoint, taking diligent care of yourself can work in your favor in a brain injury lawsuit.
This holds true for your mental well-being as well. If the doctor has recommended that you see a therapist, it is important that you follow those instructions and never miss an appointment.
Being prompt for your treatments and doctor appointments is indicative of the fact that you are taking all the steps to recover, and that your injuries are indeed that severe. If your financial conditions are forcing you to abandon treatment, contact an injury lawyer who can connect you to the relevant medical resources.
One of the best ways to form winning arguments for your injury lawsuit is by having the right expertise on your side. Brain injury lawsuits can get quite complicated and establishing accountability and securing compensation can be tricky.
In such cases, it is important to consider all the facts and requirements and then find a lawyer who can best represent your interests. When you are trying to find the right lawyer, you should look at their qualifications and experience, but more importantly, you should consider their expertise in brain injury lawsuits. Ask them to share their credentials, past cases, and their results so that you can be assured that they can handle your case.
The other kind of expertise that you should seek for your lawsuit is in the form of expert testimonies. Find doctors and medical providers who can help attest to your condition in court. Get written statements about the state of your health condition, and the consequences that it would have on your quality of life. Such testimonies can help in establishing your credibility in the lawsuit, and help you attain a higher settlement sooner than later.
Traumatic brain injuries can undoubtedly leave behind a lot of pain and suffering for the victim, in addition to other implications on their finances and quality of life. The financial compensation sought from an injury lawsuit can not always fully compensate for their ordeals, but it can surely kickstart your healing process. It can also provide you and your loved ones the necessary support to get over the accident.
While it is important to find the right legal counsel to support you through the process, it is even more important to assess whether they can handle and win your case for you.