There is no clear way to calculate the average settlement for a traumatic brain injury because the final settlement figures vary so drastically (and are often kept confidential).
It is true that accident victims who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) because of another party’s negligence are entitled to financial compensation under New York personal injury law.
It is also true that the monetary value for victims is sometimes substantial — and that most TBI claims in New York are ultimately resolved through a private settlement agreement (as opposed to a jury verdict at trial).
So how do the parties go about determining a fair and reasonable settlement amount? How is a TBI settlement calculated? These are important and legitimate questions, and you’re right to ask them.
If you have been injured and are considering taking legal action, you deserve to know what you might stand to recover.
While it’s impossible for us to provide an average settlement for a traumatic brain injury, we have created the following guide to help you understand how TBI damages get calculated in New York and the factors most likely to affect the dollar value.
Damages in a Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement
As New York personal injury attorneys, when we use the term “damages,” we are referring collectively to all of the losses, expenses, hardships, and suffering that the victim has suffered as a result of the brain injury.
Generally speaking, there are two types of compensable damages under New York personal injury law: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Both of these categories matter when negotiating a traumatic brain injury settlement.
Sometimes referred to as “special damages” or “monetary damages,” economic damages are losses that have a clear monetary value.
Examples of economic damages in a TBI case can include:
- Lost wages
- Future loss of income
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Hospital bills
- Additional medical expenses (e.g. MRIs, CT scans, prescription drugs, doctor’s bills)
- Funeral and burial expenses (in the event of a wrongful death)
Sometimes referred to as “general damages” or “psychological damages,” non-economic damages are losses that do not necessarily have a clear monetary value. Victims may recover money as compensation for their non-economic damages, but the money is only a rough estimate of the magnitude of the damage.
Examples of non-economic damages in a TBI case can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
- Embarrassment or public humiliation
- Loss of enjoyment of life / diminished quality of life
- Loss of bodily function or sexual function
- Disability or disfigurement
- Depression, stress, anxiety, fear
- Loss of love, affection, support, or companionship (in the event of a wrongful death)
Any settlement for a traumatic brain injury should fairly reflect the totality of the victim’s economic and non-economic damages. Various formulas are available to assist in the calculation of non-economic damages, which must have a reasonable relation to the total value of the economic damages.
Factors to Consider
Earlier, we explained that it’s difficult to identify an average settlement for a traumatic brain injury, partly because the settlement figures vary so significantly from one case to the next.
In fact, two people can each suffer very similar brain injuries but still walk away with dramatically different settlement amounts. Here are just a few of the myriad factors that may affect settlement figures:
Some brain injures require more extensive periods of hospitalization than others. Hospital stays are very expensive, and you may be billed for a wide range of seemingly routine services there — everything from five-minute chats with the doctor to bloodwork, x-rays, and bags of saline fluid for your IVs. (Note that physicians attending to patients in a hospital will typically bill for their services separately.) More extensive hospital care will tend to increase both the economic and non-economic portions of a TBI settlement.
Any other medical treatments, including rehabilitation or at-home care, can add significantly to a settlement. Medical expenses typically account for the largest portion of a brain injury victim’s economic damages.
Numerous other factors can impact the value of any settlement you might receive. These may include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- How likely you would be to succeed at trial
- The value of your current wages
- How much money you are reasonably expected to make in the future
- How soon after your accident you received medical care
- Your specific diagnosis and prognosis
- How much time your recovery requires
- Whether you are able to make a complete recovery
- The specific impacts of the injury on your daily life
- Whether punitive damages might be available in your situation
- How much money TBI victims in similar situations have been awarded in recent jury trials in New York
- Whether your own negligence contributed in any way to your accident (not necessarily a bar to recovery)
- Whether you have a claim against other defendants for the same injury
- Any applicable insurance coverage limits
The Benefits of a Settlement for a Traumatic Brain Injury
Finally, when determining what might be an acceptable settlement for a traumatic brain injury, it is important to consider what it might cost you to take your claim to trial. Going to court is time-consuming and can be emotionally taxing, and there is always the risk that the outcome won’t be what you expected. For these reasons, settlement is often in your best interest. But different circumstances demand different strategies. It’s important to work closely with an experienced lawyer to understand how worthwhile a settlement might be in your individual situation.
Want to Learn More About the Average Settlement for a Traumatic Brain Injury (and How Much You Might Be Able to Recover)?
Brain injuries are always serious, but the details can look completely different from one person to the next. In personal injury law, the details always matter, and they can make a profound difference in the outcome of any claim.
To learn more about how much money you might be able to recover in a settlement for a traumatic brain injury in New York, we encourage you to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with the Kingston personal injury attorneys at O’Connor and Partners.
A consultation is our chance to learn more about the specifics of your situation and your chance to learn more about the legal options you might have. While we cannot promise or predict a particular outcome, we can help you understand how much money you might be able to claim and how much money people in similar situations have recovered in New York in the past.
Free & Confidential Consultation with Our Kingston Personal Injury Attorneys
O’Connor and Partners is a personal injury law firm based in Kingston, NY and providing legal services across the state, including: Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Ellenville, the Hudson Valley, New York City, and beyond.
We fight hard to maximize compensation for brain injury victims in New York. We are proud to offer confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultations to injured people and their families all throughout the state.
If you choose to hire us after your consultation, we will not charge you a fee unless we get you money first.
If you can’t come to us, we will come to you. Just contact us online or call 845-303-8777 to talk with an experienced Kingston personal injury attorney today.