Brain injuries and traumatic head injuries are among the most devastating injuries suffered by accident victims. Unfortunately, this type of injury is also very common. According to the CDC, there were more than 200,000 traumatic brain injury hospitalizations in the United States during the year 2020 and 65,000 deaths.
More specifically, these statistics do not even include the unreported injuries, along with those treated in outpatient clinics, urgent care centers, and primary care offices.
A brain injury can lead to devastating outcomes, not the least of which are the medical costs of treatment and the wages lost during recovery. Working with a Denver brain injury lawyer can help you fully estimate costs and seek the highest value settlement possible from all negligent parties. Find out more about how to fight for your right to seek compensation when you call (720) 730-4325 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk case review.
Colorado Brain Injury Settlements
Typically, brain injury cases are quickly resolved because of their urgent nature. As brain injuries can be extremely serious, insurance companies and defendants generally will avoid the risk of having a jury determine their liability, and will thus make offers to settle the case early. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in fighting for the compensation necessary to move forward and heal from the traumatic experience. When a defendant’s insurer may attempt to make lowball offers, we will always fight back.
However, determining how much compensation a victim is entitled to receive can often be a complicated process in itself. The total amount of a settlement depends on the extent and severity of the injuries in question, as well as the amount of fault that can be attributed to a defendant’s acts or omissions.
Each traumatic brain injury case is different, and every victim suffers their own unique combination of injuries. An experienced brain injury attorney can assist you in navigating the difficulties of a brain injury settlement claim and help you determine what damages you can fight for. Our team at Olson Law Firm has more than ten years of experience in these types of cases, and we’re ready to help you.
Traumatic Brain Injuries in Colorado
Traumatic brain injury is the umbrella term for head injuries resulting from direct trauma. These injuries are caused by car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, and any other incident where a person’s head makes a traumatic impact with an object or surface.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the most common types of traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Mild concussions: Can result in loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes
- Moderate traumatic brain injuries: Associated with unconsciousness for over 30 minutes but less than 24 hours, resulting in confusion for up to a week
- Severe traumatic brain injuries: Results in loss of consciousness for more than one day and usually cause permanent damage to the brain
- Open or penetrating brain injuries: Caused by an object such as a bullet or knife penetrating the skull; often severe
- Complex traumatic brain injuries: Injuries accompanied by brain bruising, brain bleeding, or other changes in the brain’s physical condition
Brain injuries are especially dangerous because the brain does not have the ability to self-heal like other parts of the body. When the brain is injured, the injuries sustained may be permanent and unlikely to improve or reverse. Many traumatic brain injuries cause comas and in these serious cases, the extent of a person’s injuries may not be fully understood until they wake up.
Long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury can include permanent loss of memory, difficulty with motor skills, difficulty speaking, confusion, changes in personality, and other psychological effects. Because these injuries are so uniquely devastating, when traumatic brain injuries are caused by another person’s negligence, victims should seek compensation for their injuries.
Damages in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
In traumatic brain injury lawsuits, the damages available to a victim depend on the extent of the victim’s injuries. Generally speaking, the law allows victims to be fully and fairly compensated for their injuries, should they prove a duty of care, negligent actions, and the extent of the injuries.
Unfortunately, not all damages are easily quantifiable — especially when an injury has long-lasting effects. This is the case in many brain injury settlement cases, so it is crucial to have an experienced professional advocating for you during the process.
Colorado law allows brain injury victims to recover three types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and (in some cases) punitive damages. During negotiations, economic damages are easiest to prove with evidence, such as medical bills and records of the injuries, and can make up a large part of the settlement. Non-economic damages are harder to prove, but an experienced professional like the team at Olson Law Firm can help you.
Economic damages compensate a victim for monetary losses they sustained due to their injuries. Most commonly, these damages include medical bills and associated expenses like lost wages, recovery, and other monetary losses.
In traumatic brain injury cases when a victim has been permanently disabled, loss of future wages is an important factor to consider. In short, if a victim is permanently unable to work, or they can only work at a reduced capacity, the law allows for that victim to recover the money that they would have earned for the remainder of their career, based on their average earnings over a relevant time period. Calculating future wages can be a complicated process that may involve hiring an expert witness. However, these damages are important in ensuring that traumatic brain injury victims are fully compensated.
Non-economic damages compensate a victim for injuries that cannot be easily quantified or those that are non-monetary in nature. The most common types of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship of a loved one.
In a settlement negotiation, non-economic damages should be requested but they may be more difficult to recover. Insurance companies and defendants will be quick to dispute these types of damages as it is difficult to assign a numerical value to them, which can lead to obstacles down the road.
Lastly, in some cases, punitive damages may be available. These damages are only applicable in cases that involve serious wrongdoing, such as reckless conduct or intentional harm. Further, they are only available in a jury trial case. When a jury decides to award punitive damages, the idea is that the additional money can serve as a punishment, and thereby deter similar situations from happening in the future.
In settlement negotiations, punitive damages can be most difficult to recover. In fact, many defendants choose to settle in order to avoid the possibility of additional punitive damages from a trial. Thus, while they should be brought up during a case that goes to trial, there is no guarantee that punitive damages can be achieved from a traumatic brain injury settlement.
Documentation and Proof of Damages
One of the most important aspects of making a successful claim for damages in any type of lawsuit, including traumatic brain injury suits, is documentation and proof. In short, no insurance company and no defendant will pay damages if they cannot be proven — and that principle applies in full force during settlement negotiations.
In a trial, the jury determines whether adequate proof of the injury exists. They also must determine an appropriate dollar amount to compensate the victim based on the damages presented during the trial.
Conversely, at a settlement table, the parties are called to agree amongst themselves whether sufficient proof exists to pay out damages. In cases where a plaintiff has more documentation and more proof, the settlement payouts are usually higher, as fewer facts are able to be disputed. In cases without ample documentation, it is easier for defendants to dispute the values in question, resulting in lesser compensation.
What does this mean for victims of traumatic brain injuries? Keep receipts of every dollar you spend or are billed for because of your injury. Keep records of your symptoms, and request paper copies of medical records. The most important types of documentation include the following:
- Medical bills
- Medical records, including prognosis information
- Employment paperwork, including pink slips
- Disability determination letters
- Receipts from related expenses, such as home health care, equipment, and travel
- Journals and diaries of symptoms and progress
- Wage earning information, including promotion plans if available
In short, keeping and providing records enables your attorney to seek the maximum compensation for your traumatic brain injury. For that reason, you should always keep as many records as possible.
Contact a Denver Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Our experienced Denver traumatic brain injury attorneys understand the devastating nature of these events, and we are driven to obtain compensation for their clients in an amount that fully and fairly compensates them. In some cases, settlements can be obtained quickly, especially when sufficient documentation of the damages exists. At the settlement table, your attorney can build a compelling case as to why you should receive a certain amount of compensation, including evidence and even the input of experts, when necessary.
In other cases, defendants may not be willing to offer a fair amount at the negotiation table. When that occurs, the case may need to proceed to trial. Our attorneys at Olson Law Firm aren’t afraid to take cases to trial, and we’ll always advise our clients openly and honestly about what we believe we can fight to recover from a defendant. We’re not afraid to take on insurance companies and corporate defendants in an effort to seek justice for our clients.
In conclusion, our team at Olson Law Firm is ready to assist you and your family as soon as possible. Call (720) 730-4325 or contact us online today to set up a free, no risk consultation for your prospective traumatic brain injury case, and learn the answers to any questions you have about traumatic brain injury cases like yours.