Calculating the correct settlement value of a head injury case can be a difficult thing to do.
Head injuries can be minor or traumatic, they may be easily noticeable as open wounds or bumps, or they may be completely inconspicuous. Head injuries may result in brain damage, memory loss, and cognitive problems, along with behavioral and emotional changes that may seriously affect a person’s quality of life. Individuals who suffer from a head injury in an accident may receive a settlement from the party liable for the injury. Agreeing to a voluntary settlement may be the best way to resolve the issue as it allows both parties to save the time and costs of going through a trial. However, it might not be easy to calculate the claim’s value, especially in the case of a serious head injury, since many different factors will come into play.
Types of Damages
There are two types of damages in head injury lawsuits – special damages and general damages.
Special damages, or economic losses, are damages paid to compensate for the losses. It is also called an “out-of-pocket” loss rule. These damages include the following:
- lost wages
- lost capacity to earn
- healthcare expenses
- funeral and burial costs in wrongful death cases
- property damage
General damages are losses where money can only be a rough substitute for the losses. These damages include:
- physical suffering
- shame and disgrace
- mental distress
- loss of consortium – claim of the spouse or family of the injured party
- emotional pain
Calculation of Damages
The following is used to calculate head injury settlements:
1. Calculate special damages first. While it is not difficult to calculate lost wages and healthcare expenses, it is difficult to calculate the loss of the capacity to earn or future wages. It is essential to record all injuries and medical consultations made along with the medication taken for the injury.
2. Calculate general damages. General damages are normally 1.5 to 5 times the value of special damages. Minor bumps will not cause the same amount of pain as suffered from a brain injury or concussion. Record all the pain experienced, including other complications that resulted from the head injury. These complications may include scarring, memory loss, fatigue, and dizziness.
3. Combine special damages and general damages. The total of special damages and general damages is the total value of the claim.
4. Make the necessary adjustments to include savings. Adjust the total value of the settlement to account for the money you may save and the risks you may avoid by not going through a trial.
5. Make a comparison with recent jury verdicts. The calculation of the damages should be compared with settlements or awards given by a jury in recent head injury lawsuits.
Calculating the right settlement value of your head injury case can be a difficult thing to do; consult with an experienced Missouri personal injury lawyer to help you with the claims process and ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation for all your losses. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.