Traumatic brain injury settlements in California can vary widely. In some cases, insurance companies are willing to pay what a victim deserves – but in others, a formal lawsuit becomes necessary. Here’s what you need to know about TBI settlements in our state.
Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements in California
If you settle a brain injury case with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you won’t have to file a formal lawsuit – but if the insurance company isn’t willing to give you the compensation you deserve, you may have no other choice. Before you get to that point, you need to understand what a traumatic brain injury settlement is. California law allows you to negotiate with an insurance company (which people usually do with a TBI lawyer’s help) or to file a formal lawsuit.
Related: Catastrophic injury lawsuits
What is a Settlement?
A settlement occurs when you agree to take the amount of money an insurance company or other entity is offering you. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, you’d call an attorney. Your attorney would negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company based on a dollar figure that’s fair to you. In many cases, the insurance company will come back to your attorney and say, “We think that’s too high. How about this much compensation instead?” Negotiations can go back and forth until both sides – you and the insurance company – find a common middle ground.
The majority of TBI cases actually do settle out of court. Through the negotiation process, your attorney will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve – compensation that can include money for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Medical equipment
- Domestic services
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Increased living expenses
- Pain and suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of opportunity
All of these things can affect your future, so your lawyer will ask the insurance company to compensate you fairly. Unfortunately, though, insurance companies sometimes refuse to budge. If that happens, your attorney may suggest that you file a formal lawsuit in court so a judge can determine what’s fair in your case.
Formal Lawsuits for TBI
If you can’t reach a traumatic brain injury settlement, California law allows you to file a formal lawsuit. If you choose to do so, your lawyer will get your case before a judge. Both sides – yours and the at-fault party’s – can bring in witnesses and share evidence. The judge and jury in your case will reach a decision on how much, if any, the at-fault party must pay you. You can win two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. While there’s no difference in how you receive your money, the two types of damages have different purposes (but you can use them however you see fit). Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for your losses, whether you’ve paid hefty medical bills or you’ve lost your job. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault party, and courts can award them when the at-fault party did something so egregious that it’s necessary to “make an example” out of them. These types of damages are a form of punishment.
How Much Do People Get in Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements in California?
TBI settlements vary greatly. The amount you’re willing to settle for is most likely different than what someone else is willing to settle for, which means there’s no average figure. Your attorney will fight for what you deserve, though, based on facts – like how much your medical bills are and how much money you’ve lost due to missing work. Your lawyer will also account for your future medical costs and future lost wages, as well as a wide range of other factors, when he’s fighting to get you what you deserve.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements in California?
If you’ve suffered a TBI because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, we may be able to help you. Call 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us what happened. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office – and if you’re entitled to compensation, we can help you get what you deserve.