Only those who have suffered head injuries and their loved ones understand the difficulties this type of injury can cause.
If you or a loved one have sustained a head injury at the hands of another, you may pursue compensation. But how much is your injury claim worth?
Every case differs, so allow a Bronx personal injury attorney to provide a personalized answer to that question. Many legal professionals regularly represent head injury victims and have the experience and knowledge to assess your needs and legal options.
Understanding Injuries to the Head
A head injury is a broad term, as it can refer to various injuries involving the scalp, skull, and brain.
Brain injuries are the most serious. Damage from a closed brain injury is inside the brain, while a penetrating injury involves an object piercing the brain, like a bullet.
Aways take any head injury seriously. A head injury can trigger other issues in the head and brain, causing further injury. Failing to receive prompt, appropriate medical care can have life-altering effects on a person’s life and health.
Common Types of Head Injuries
Below are some of the more common kinds of head injuries.
Among the many kinds of head injuries, concussions are the most common.
A concussion injures the brain through a jolt or blow to the head or body.
For many victims, concessions can require extensive medical treatment. Even with proper treatment, victims can develop persistent post-concussive symptoms, which can continue for months or years. The debilitating effects of a concussion can affect your personal and professional life in many devastating and costly ways.
Contusions can happen on their own, but they often accompany concussions.
Simply put, a contusion is a bruise on the brain. A bruise forms from bleeding within an area. Some contusions require surgical intervention, especially if they turn into hematomas.
A hematoma is essentially a bad bruise—a collection of blood outside of the blood vessel in a particular area.
A hematoma can happen in several areas of the body, including the head. Hematomas on the scalp usually appear as bumps on the head. This external damage doesn’t affect the brain.
Other hematomas, called intracranial hematomas, affect the brain.
These hematomas include:
- Epidural hematomas: These hematomas occur underneath the skull but above the tough cover that surrounds the brain, called the dura.
- Subdural hematomas: These blood clots form underneath the skull and the dura but remain outside the brain.
- Intracerebral hematomas: These hematomas form within the brain.
Hematomas sometimes don’t develop for quite some time after head trauma. Once discovered, hematomas require proper treatment to prevent severe complications and permanent damage.
A hemorrhage refers to uncontrolled bleeding. Like hematomas, hemorrhages can happen in different areas around and within the brain. For example, a subarachnoid hemorrhage happens in the space around the brain, while an intracerebral hemorrhage happens inside the brain.
Brain hemorrhages are not usually the most severe head injuries, but they can quickly turn serious if not treated right away.
The skull has several bones that fit together to protect the brain. Like any other bone in your body, you can fracture part of your skull.
Four major kinds of fractures involve the skull:
- Linear skull fractures: The most common kind of skull fracture involves a break in the bone but no movement of the bone because of the fracture
- Diastatic skull fractures: These skull fractures occur along the suture lines, the areas between the bones that come together as children grow.
- Depressed skull fractures: As the name infers, this fracture results in a depression created in the skull, which often requires surgery to correct.
- Basilar skull fractures: These fractures are typically the most serious, resulting in a break at the base of the skull.
Skull fractures can heal, but depending on the severity of the injury, they can result in further health complications and long-term injury.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
Diffuse Axonal Injuries are some of the more serious brain injuries.
This injury results when the brain twists or shakes in the skull. As this happens, the connecting fibers in the brain, called axons, tear. When axons tear, messages sent by the neurons cannot get through, causing loss of function.
The result of such an injury depends on the seriousness and location of the tears. Nearly undetectable tears can badly damage the brain, making direct diagnosis challenging.
Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury
Another severe brain injury is the Coup-Contrecoup injury, which translates to “blow-counterblow.”
This injury actually involves two types of injuries in one. First is the coup injury, which happens exactly at the point of contact, and second is the contrecoup injury, which happens on the opposite side of where the contact occurred.
Usually, coup-contrecoup injuries result from the head hitting a stationary object, like a wall or the ground. These injuries damage various parts of the brain, causing permanent complications.
Potential Long-Term Complications of Head Injuries
Unfortunately, head and brain injuries often result in long-term effects on a person’s health and lifestyle.
Some of the many ways a head injury can permanently affect a victim’s life include, but are not limited to:
- Problems with balance
- Sensory changes, including vision and hearing
- Difficulty speaking
- Anxiety and depression
The worst brain injuries can leave a victim in a coma or permanent vegetative state.
Because of the many severe complications with head injuries, receive medical care as soon as possible.
The more complicated a person’s head injury, the more treatment they may require, which quickly becomes costly. This is one primary motivator for seeking compensation from the party responsible for causing the injury.
Pursuing Compensation for a Head Injury
If you or a loved one suffered a head injury, you may seek compensation.
First, you need to know whether you have a valid claim.
Not every person who sustains a head injury may recover monetary recovery. The key is figuring out the cause of the injury and who you can hold responsible.
Generally, if another party causes your head injury, you can file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation.
The road to financial recovery depends on the details of your accident. However, you want a lawyer to calculate the value of your claim to ensure you receive full and fair compensation.
Determining How Much Your Head Injury Claim is Worth
There is no average settlement for head injury cases. Because every case is so unique, so is the value of every claim.
First, you want to hire a lawyer who understands the types of damages personal injury victims often pursue for their injuries and related losses. Personal injury lawyers pursue head injury cases, helping injured victims seek justice and monetary recovery.
Second, you must consider the factors that most affect the value of your case. These details can weigh heavily on the damages you pursue for your injuries.
Damages for Head Injury Cases
Damages serve to compensate injured victims for their harm and related losses. In personal injury law, damages put you in the same position you should have been had your accident and injuries not happened.
Compensatory damages are either economic or non-economic.
Economic damages can include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
In special cases, victims of head injuries can also recover punitive damages. These damages apply to a defendant’s intentional or malicious actions. Courts believe that assessing these damages punishes defendants and deters future actors from repeating the same actions.
The damages you can pursue depend entirely on your case's details. Once you know the types of damages you can seek, your attorney must assign a value to these damages.
Factors Affecting the Value of Your Head Injury Case
While it’s difficult to assign a monetary value to a serious injury like a head injury, it’s a necessary step to recover fair compensation for your losses.
Several factors help with accurately calculating your damages, including:
- The type of brain injury you sustained and the severity
- The extent of the medical treatment you required
- Whether you will need medical future care
- The total amount of your medical bills
- Whether you missed time at work because of your injury
- Whether you can return to work, and if so, to what capacity
- The type of physical and mental effects you must contend with, if any, because of your injury
- How the injury has affected you emotionally
- Any other factors that could have an impact
You must examine every way your head injury has affected your life. The monetary value of your case considers all the ways your injuries affect your finances, health, and lifestyle.
Get Help from a Personal Injury Attorney
When filing an insurance claim, you can expect the insurance company to undervalue your head injury. Insurers have methods of minimizing your brain injury-related losses to offer much less than you deserve.
You need a legal advocate who understands the severity and value of your head or brain injury. The right injury attorney knows how to identify all your past and future losses, including your pain and suffering. They will demand and fight for the amount you truly deserve from insurance companies.
If you or a loved one sustained a head injury, do not hesitate to put your case in the hands of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.