How Much is My Brain Injury Claim Worth in California?
What Is my Brain Injury Claim Worth in California? As a California brain injury attorney, this is a question that I get a lot. Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most severe types of injuries that people might suffer in accidents in California. If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI because of the negligent or intentional conduct of another person or entity, you may need to retain the services of an experienced Los Angeles, California personal injury lawyer so that you can hold the responsible party liable to pay damages.Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries range in severity from mild concussions to permanent brain damage that affects cognitive functioning. Some of the most common types of brain injuries include the following:
- Concussions (violent shock to the brain usually resulting in unconsciousness)
- Brain contusions (bruises on the brain)
- Coup contrecoup injuries
- Diffuse axonal injuries (lesions on the “white matter” of the brain)
- Second-impact injuries (second concussion suffered shortly after first)
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Penetrating brain injuries (when objects including skull fragments are driven into the brain)
People who suffer moderate to severe brain injuries may require lifelong medical and rehabilitative care to help them to provide for their basic needs.Causes of Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of TBIs in the U.S. is falling. The second leading cause was being struck by objects, and the third leading cause was motor vehicle collisions. Other major causes include self-injury, assaults, and sports injuries.General Factors Affecting Case Value of Head Trauma Claims
The value of cases involving brain trauma will vary. They depend on the actions of the defendant, whether or not the plaintiff shared liability and the extent and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. Since brain trauma may result in injuries that range from mild to severe, an experienced attorney may need to analyze medical documents and consult with medical experts about the expected prognosis and the future expected medical costs and rehabilitative needs. One potential source of evidence is the victim’s life care plan, which is a comprehensive analysis of the expected costs, impairments and the realistic needs of the victim.Average Jury Verdicts
Every brain injury case is different, making it impossible to give one average jury verdict that you might expect. Here are some examples of verdicts in cases involving both mild and traumatic brain injuries in various jurisdictions throughout California:Auto Accidents Resulting in Mild Brain Injuries
In Matthew Jensen v. Jonathan Coburn, San Diego Superior Court – Vista Case No. 37-2011-0054633, the 28-year-old male plaintiff was parked inside of his disabled vehicle southbound on I-5 on the emergency shoulder when the defendant rear-ended him. He suffered a bulging disc and a concussion. He had to get chiropractic care for his bulging disc and an occipital block for his concussion because it caused him chronic headaches. The defendant admitted liability and offered $70,000. At trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $160,000.
In Chastidy Ronan v. Antonios Panagiotopoulos, San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-13-529303, the plaintiff was a 35-year-old woman who was riding her bicycle to commute to her job on Mission Street in San Francisco. The defendant was parked along the side of the street and opened his car door, causing the plaintiff to collide with it. She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury with serious residual effects. The defendant made a §998 offer of $119,000 while the plaintiff made a §998 demand of $450,000. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $463,550. Since the plaintiff was found to be 15 percent at fault, her net verdict was $$394,018.Slip and Falls Resulting in Minor Brain Injuries
In Anthony Zaccaglin, et al v. Starbucks Coffee Company, San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2009-00084460-CU-PO-NC, a chiropractor who was a customer at Starbucks slipped and fell on a floor that had just been mopped. He hit his head and was knocked unconscious, and he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. The defendant offered a settlement of $100,000, which he turned down. At trial, the jury returned a verdict in his favor of $7.5 million.Auto Accidents Resulting in Serious Traumatic Brain Injuries
In Sheaffer v. NuCO2, San Diego Superior Court Case No. 201200058735, the plaintiff was a 27-year-old filmmaker who was stopped as the number three car in a line of five vehicles on I-15 when a Freightliner truck struck the rear vehicle, causing a chain reaction crash. He suffered a permanent traumatic brain injury which the defendant disputed. The jury awarded him $17.4 million at trial.
In M.C. v. Victor Mathews, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC557692, the plaintiff was a 10-year-old girl who was a passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended by the defendant. She suffered skull fractures and a TBI. The jury awarded her $10.7 million.Slip and Falls Resulting in Serious Traumatic Brain Injuries
In Tuttle v. Ukiah Adventist Hospital dba Ukiah Valley Medical Center , Sonoma County Superior Court Case No. SCV248442, the plaintiff was a 51-year-old medical sales representative who slipped and fell down two flights of stairs in the Ukiah Valley Medical Center after slipping on a landing. There was pooled rainwater on the landing which caused his fall. The jury returned a verdict of $2,626,378 in favor of the plaintiff and his wife because he suffered a TBI causing permanent memory impairments.Contact an Experienced California Brain Injury Lawyer to Determine What Your Claim is Worth
Because jury verdicts vary so widely, every brain injury claim must be evaluated independently but, in general, the more severe the injury, symptoms, and cost of current and future medical care, the higher the value of the claim. Many defense lawyers vigorously defend against cases involving TBIs by hiring defense medical experts to contend that the victim is exaggerating their symptoms or “malingering” (pretending to be hurt for longer than they really are). If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI because of the negligence of others, you may benefit by getting help from an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney. A lawyer may work with medical experts in order to build a strong case for liability. This may help you to secure a much higher settlement than you might otherwise be able to recover. Contact our experienced team today to schedule your free consultation so that you can learn more about your case.Sources
- TBI: Get the Facts
- Plaintiff sought policy limit for neck and head injuries. After offer of $70,000, jury awards $160,000. San Diego County
- TBI claimed when bicyclist hits door opened on parked car. San Francisco County
- Slip and fall on tile stairway at medical building leads to claim of TBI. $2.6 million. Sonoma County.
- $7.5 million verdict for chiropractor’s slip and fall in Starbucks. San Diego County.
- $17.4 million to 27-year-old filmmaker after crash; defense claims no objective evidence of brain injury. San Diego County.