Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are highly unpredictable and challenging injuries. Depending on the part of your brain that suffers damage, you can experience various symptoms, effects, and impairments in the days, weeks, months, or years following your injury.
Many people with TBIs also have the right to compensation for their injuries and losses. This happens when someone else’s conduct is the cause of the injury. While compensation can help you cover expenses and face the future with a TBI, it can be difficult to obtain what you deserve.
Often, TBI victims are in for a fight with one or more insurance companies, which is the last thing they should deal with. If you suffered a brain injury, seek help from an experienced Chicago TBI attorney immediately. You do not have to fight insurance companies alone, nor should you ever try.
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Accidents That Lead to Brain Injury Claims
Some brain injuries happen, and no one is to blame. However, many TBIs result from accidents due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct. When you have evidence to prove that someone else should be responsible for your injuries, you can seek compensation for your losses. This is critical to your overall physical, mental, and financial recovery.
Some incidents that commonly result in TBIs include:
- Car accidents - The impact of a crash can cause head trauma or a sharp jolt of the head, which is often enough to cause a TBI.
- Bicycle accidents - Even with a helmet, cyclists can suffer severe head injuries if they fall from their bikes in a collision.
- Motorcycle accidents - Motorcyclists travel much faster than bicyclists, and even the best helmets cannot protect from brain injuries 100 percent of the time.
- Slips, trips, and falls - While a slip and fall might not seem like a serious accident, many people hit their heads and suffer TBIs when they fall.
- Truck accidents - Large commercial trucks cause such extensive damage to smaller cars that victims often suffer head trauma.
- Bus accidents - Bus passengers often have no restraints, so they might fall over if a bus crashes and hit their heads.
- Pedestrian accidents - Pedestrians have the least protection of any traffic accident victims, as they do not even have a helmet like cyclists. Pedestrian traumatic brain injuries are common.
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in one of these accidents and believe someone else was to blame, you likely have the right to compensation. Allow an injury attorney to evaluate what happened and advise of your legal options.
Why is the Insurance Company Involved at All?
Why must you deal with insurance companies if another driver or business is responsible for your injuries? Insurance policies often cover injuries when a policyholder causes them.
This is true with:
- Auto insurance companies covering the injuries a damage an insured driver causes
- Property insurance companies covering injuries resulting from property-related accidents, such as slip and falls
- Commercial insurance covering injuries due to employees who are negligent on the job, such as a commercial truck or bus driver
Many drivers do not have the assets to cover your medical bills and other losses out of their pockets. Similarly, businesses do not want to take your compensation from their bottom lines. This is why parties have insurance; the insurer should step in and cover any accident-related losses.
Never expect insurance companies to provide compensation automatically, however. This is not how the process works. Instead, you need to proactively file a claim and demand payment with the proper insurance companies, and you might file claims with more than one.
Always seek help from an injury attorney when preparing and filing your brain injury claim. They will protect your interests and fight for you throughout the claim process.
How Do You Determine What a TBI is Worth?
To ensure you receive the full compensation you need for a TBI, you must determine the value of your past and future losses. This is more complex than most people imagine, as TBIs can have wide-ranging and costly effects on your life. These effects can be economic and non-economic, and you can seek financial recovery for both types of damages.
Many TBI victims grossly underestimate the value of their losses, and insurance companies are more than happy to pay less than you deserve if you don’t put up a fight. To protect yourself and ensure you never accept less than you need, always have an injury lawyer calculate the value of your claim.
Some losses your attorney will evaluate include:
- Medical expenses - Anyone with head trauma or signs of a TBI should immediately get medical attention. Treatment for a brain injury will depend on its severity and might include emergency treatment, diagnostic imaging tests, hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitative therapy, medications, and more. If your injury persists beyond your claim, you must seek compensation for your expected future medical bills.
- Lost income - Many people with brain injuries must take time off work. Those with long-term TBI symptoms might not return to work for months, years, or ever again. Children with brain injuries might experience extreme setbacks in their education and career goals, which can decrease their lifetime income. Your lawyer can assess past and future lost earnings.
- Pain and suffering - Brain injuries are difficult for many reasons. They can cause serious physical effects, such as headaches, seizures, sleep disorders, and more. They can also take a huge mental toll on victims, especially since they are invisible injuries many misunderstand. Losing cognitive or physical abilities can also affect a victim’s mentality, and the injury itself can result in depression, anxiety, and other types of pain and suffering. Though these are intangible losses, they are certainly compensable.
- Permanent injuries - Some people never fully recover from a TBI and feel the cognitive, physical, and behavioral effects for the rest of their lives. They might never again work at a job they enjoyed, participate in activities they loved, or even care for themselves or remember things on a daily basis. You deserve compensation for the permanent effects of a TBI.
Because many damages from TBIs are intangible or estimated future losses, it can be quite complicated to determine how much you deserve. Leave these calculations to legal professionals who regularly represent victims of serious brain injuries.
However, just because you have accurate calculations does not mean the insurance process will go smoothly. Insurers regularly ignore the losses you claim and take steps to minimize your settlement payment for a TBI.
Insurance Companies Regularly Minimize TBI Compensation
As someone who has suffered a TBI, you should know that insurance companies regularly attempt to minimize the compensation they pay victims. In fact, TBIs often provide an opportunity for insurers to pay out much less than victims deserve because many of the effects of TBIs are invisible.
In many cases, TBI victims do not look injured, so the insurance companies do not believe they will make particularly sympathetic plaintiffs in court. As a result, they often feel more comfortable offering them much less than their cases are actually worth.
Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve after suffering a TBI. The most important of these is to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. In the meantime, you should:
Avoid Speaking With Insurance Adjusters:
Insurance adjusters work to deny claims whenever they can. If they cannot find a legitimate way to deny a claim, they will do everything possible to settle it for as little as possible.
In many cases, their tactics to minimize settlement offers take advantage of victims’ unfamiliarity with the personal injury process. For example, if the adjuster asks you how you are doing, and you reply, “fine, thanks,” they can potentially use your response to argue that you are not injured. In addition, they may even lie to you about your legal rights and wrongfully tell you that the law does not entitle you to compensation for your pain and suffering or future losses. Do not believe this.
Never Accept a First Settlement Offer Without Legal Counsel:
You should never accept a settlement offer without first talking to a lawyer about your case. Insurance companies almost always make initial lowball offers and may never offer you what your case is worth if you do not retain an attorney. Remember, the insurance company is under no obligation to make you a fair offer, and if they do not think you will file a lawsuit, they have little incentive to do so.
A lawyer who regularly handles traumatic brain injury cases can review the facts of your case and determine how much compensation the law entitles you to. As a victim, you should keep in mind that you should recover not only compensation for your current medical expenses and lost income but also losses that occur in the future. Similarly, your non-economic losses, like your pain and suffering or lost quality of life, entitle you to compensation.
Determining the value of a traumatic brain injury claim is extraordinarily complicated. Without the assistance of a lawyer who can determine how much the at-fault party owes you, you may accept a settlement far below the actual value of your claim.
Once you accept a settlement offer, obtaining more compensation for the same injury is extremely difficult - if not impossible. As a result, it is critically important that you work with a lawyer who can get you the compensation the law entitles you after a TBI.
Hire a Brain Injury Attorney Right Away
The best thing you can do to put up a strong fight for your compensation is to have a lawyer on your side as soon as possible following your injury. You can focus on your physical healing, rest, and medical treatment. Your hired attorney can provide the legal representation you need to go up against difficult insurance companies.
Negotiations With the Insurance Company
An experienced brain injury lawyer knows how insurance companies work and what they might do to minimize your compensation. They expect a low offer at first and have the negotiation skills to fight for the higher amount you need to cover your losses.
Your lawyer can present additional evidence when necessary to support the damages you seek. They can also identify when the insurer is mishandling your claim, such as by unreasonably delaying the process or wrongfully denying your claim. They will know how to fight for you - even when the first few settlement offers seem tragically low.
What Happens if the Insurer Does Not Make a Fair Offer?
In some cases, an insurance company will never make a fair offer on a brain injury claim. This situation often calls for personal injury litigation. Your attorney can help you decide whether taking your case to court is the best path forward.
Just because you file a lawsuit does not mean your fight is over. It will continue through the various stages of litigation. Your lawyer can demonstrate that you have a strong case against the insurance company, which will be defending against your lawsuit. In many situations, the insurance company will see the evidence your attorney plans to present in court and might decide to settle. They might offer a favorable amount during pretrial litigation, which can resolve the matter without going to trial.
If the insurance company still does not make a fair offer, you will need to fight for your compensation in front of a judge or jury. Fortunately, the right injury attorney will have the litigation experience and skills to persuasively present your case in court.
Never Wait to Seek Legal Help from a Brain Injury Lawyer
Whether you are fighting directly with the insurance adjuster or in civil litigation, one thing is for certain. You need the right legal team to lead your battle. The insurer has an arsenal of tactics to use against you, so you need the right attorney to give you the upper hand. Consult a top rated personal injury law firm in Chicago about your case today.