Damages In Brain Injury Cases
Every brain injury lawsuit is unique, and the damages available to a plaintiff can vary widely depending on the facts of the case and the theory of liability pursued. In general, damages in a personal injury lawsuit will include past, present and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available.
Proving the plaintiff’s past, present and future damages in a serious brain injury case can be very difficult and expensive. Extensive testimony from multiple expert witnesses will generally be required to establish the physical, financial, psychological and emotional harm that was suffered. The multidisciplinary team of experts required to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims may include forensic economists, neurologists, psychologists, physiatrists, surgeons, orthopedists, and various other therapists or rehabilitation specialists.
The damages in a brain injury case can be significant, largely depending on the severity and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and the proof presented in court. Each case will be decided on its own facts and circumstances. Physical injuries are seldom identical, and the mental, emotional, financial and psychological harm caused by a severe brain injury will be different for each individual.
In general, damages are intended to make the victim “whole,” to the extent money can do that at all. Damages available in personal injury or wrongful death case can be broken down into three basic categories: economic damages, noneconomic damages and punitive damages.
Economic damages can be thought of as out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses. Noneconomic damages do not involve out-of-pocket expenses but rather attempt to compensate the plaintiff for things like pain and suffering, humiliation, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium and emotional distress, just to name a few. Punitive damages are basically designed to be a penalty that is intended to discourage fraudulent, malicious or oppressive behavior. Punitive damages are not always available, and they require clear and convincing evidence of the alleged behavior, which is a higher standard than the “preponderance of the evidence” standard normally applied in a civil case.
In a brain injury case, monetary compensation is typically sought for things like medical and attentive care, rehabilitation, physical, occupational or vocational therapy, loss of earnings and earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, impaired enjoyment of life, susceptibility to future harm or injury, shortened life expectancy, loss of consortium, assistive or adaptive devices and transportation, modifications to the home, and many others.
Testimony from a variety of different experts and medical professionals will generally be required to prove these damages. Testimony and evidence may also be required from certain non-experts such as friends and family members. In the severe personal injury cases handled by the Brady Law Group, we also use a well-coordinated team of experts and consultants to help our clients and their family develop a holistic and comprehensive “life plan” that can be used to guide their future care.
The costs associated with investigating and proving causation, liability and damages in a severe brain injury case can be astronomical. Due to the complexity and expense of such cases, only the most experienced and financially stable attorneys should be considered by potential plaintiffs. There is simply too much at stake for both the victim and his or her family.
The Brady Law Group has the expertise required to successfully prosecute severe brain injury cases. If you need help in your case, contact our office and speak with one of our experienced California trial attorneys today.