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How Much is My Brain Injury Claim Worth in California?

Brain Tomography
Brain Tomography

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.

Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.
I believe I made the best choice with Steven M Sweat, Personal Injury. I was very reluctant to go forward with my personal injury claim. I had a valid claim and I needed a professional attorney to handle it. I felt so much better when I let Steven take my case. His team did everything right and I am very satisfied. Stia P.
I have to say that Steve has been exemplary! I met Steve at a point with my case that I was ready to give up. He took the time and dealt with all of my concerns. Most importantly, he was present and listened to what I was going through. He was able to turn things around, put me and my case on the right track! The results were better that expected! Highly recommend!! Cody A.