The brain is such a vital, sensitive part of the human body that even the slightest damage to it can have tremendous consequences. It’s truly tragic when these injuries result in lifelong damage and lasting aftereffects. Although it cannot restore what was lost, a Woodland Hills brain injury lawyer can recover compensation to help manage the repercussions.
The costs that these injuries place on the individuals who suffer these injuries and their families can be devastating. Legally, these costs are meant to be compensated by whoever caused them, whether in a car accident, a slip and fall incident, or some other form of injury. Usually, though, this responsibility is actually the burden of their insurance company, which was contracted for these kinds of situations.
A Woodland Hills brain injury lawyer can be essential to obtaining the compensation that you’re owed. When you work with a firm like Freeman & Freeman, LLP, we can help you pursue restitution through strong evidence and persuasive arguments.
Whether negotiating a possible settlement or making a case in court, we stand firm to defend our clients’ rights to get the compensation that they legally deserve.
While there are a few brain injuries that could end up being minor, many of them are very serious, and several can do permanent damage. The brain is a sensitive organ, and any forceful contact can cause an issue.
That’s why a common source of brain injuries is blunt force trauma. Even if it is something simple, like a slip and fall, an impact to the head could cause significant harm to the brain. Some of the more common brain injuries include:
To prove liability in a brain injury claim, the plaintiff’s lawyer will need to demonstrate that the defendant did something negligent that caused the injury. This typically means that the negligence first led to an accident and that the injury resulted from that accident.
To prove this, your lawyer must first perform a thorough investigation of the incident. They can then use the evidence that they have discovered, any eyewitness testimony that could help, and expert witnesses, if necessary, to clarify the situation for the court. In the process, your lawyer will need to prove the three components of negligence.
The first element of negligence is a duty to care. This means showing that the defendant had a duty to consider that their actions could place others in danger and to take reasonable precautions to prevent that. For instance, if you’re driving a vehicle, you have a duty to follow traffic laws and not drive in a reckless manner.
Another example may be that a theme park has a duty to ensure functional rides and machinery. What this duty involves will differ from one situation to the next, so your lawyer needs to show that there was a particular duty in the circumstances that led to the brain injury.
Someone can only be held liable if they failed to live up to the duty that was required of them at that time. That’s why the second factor your lawyer must prove is that a breach of duty occurred. This often meets first establishing what the defendant did in the scenario in question, as this may sometimes be a point of dispute.
Once the defendant’s actions have been established, it must then be demonstrated how those actions didn’t align with what they should have done.
In more specialized situations, where the average person might not have as much of an understanding regarding what should be expected, it can be helpful to use an expert witness.
This is someone who is likely a peer of the defendant or involved in similar activities. They can describe what the standard expectation would be in the situation and how what was done fell short.
The last qualification that needs to be shown is how the brain injury was a direct result of the defendant’s breach. It’s this connection that makes them liable for what occurred. Often, this begins by showing how the breach led to an accident.
This connection is important because there are often breaches that may not have anything to do with an accident. For instance, the headlight on your car is out, and you end up being rear-ended on a sunny Saturday because someone’s brakes failed.
You aren’t liable for the accident, even though the faulty headlight may technically be a breach of your duty to care. Instead, it’s the manufacturer or installer of the brakes on the other car who is likely liable.
The restitution in a brain injury claim must cover those costs that are a direct result of the brain injury. This means that your lawyer must be able to prove that direct link, usually through documentation like bills and doctor’s notes. These costs are compensated through damages, which come in three forms:
Those damages which cover the clear financial costs of a brain injury are economic damages. While property damages may be included, if there was a car accident or other property damage involved in the injury, the majority of the costs here are medical or wage-related. All medical bills, such as doctors’ visits, medication, tests, surgeries, and other costs, are included.
Additionally, if the injuries led to missed work, the lost wages from that are covered as well. Future costs will also be addressed if there is a need for ongoing care, as is often the case with brain injuries. If the injury is severe enough that the injured will not be able to return to work in the same capacity, that is also covered.
There are many non-financial costs associated with a brain injury as well. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and other psychological and emotional costs are often experienced. These are also given a value and compensated. While the money can’t necessarily address these issues directly, it may be able to ease burdens in other aspects of life and leave more room to better manage them.
Punitive damages are not reflective of the injuries that were suffered. Rather, they are a reflection of the behavior of the defendant. These damages are not awarded in most cases. They are designed to be a punishment for egregious behavior. Unless there was something particularly malicious or otherwise reckless about the defendant’s behavior, then punitive damages are not likely to be awarded.
When understanding the potential damage award in a brain injury claim, it’s important to recognize that California operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This allows the defendant to argue that the plaintiff’s negligence was a contributing factor in the injuries that they suffered.
They are given the burden of proof to show the components of negligence regarding the plaintiff. If they are successful, then both parties will be given a percentage that reflects their share of fault for the injuries that were suffered.
In many states, when a plaintiff bears 50% or more of the fault, they can’t collect any damages. However, because California uses pure comparative negligence, this means that they can collect some portion of damages, no matter the share of fault that they bear. The damages, though, that any plaintiff can collect will always be reduced proportionately to their share of fault. For example, on a $1 million award, a plaintiff who was determined to have 20% of the fault will be awarded $800,000.
Brain injuries often have very serious consequences. In some instances, there may be a recovery. However, in many situations, there is a lifelong impact that must be managed. These injuries are often costly as well. The medical bills can be expensive, and the emotional costs are also tremendously hard on both the injured and their families.
The cost of these injuries should be compensated by whoever is responsible for the injury. In most cases, though, this will likely mean that an insurance company will be responsible for paying the compensation.
It’s important to realize that insurance companies make their money from the policies that they get people to pay for, not the claims that they pay out. When it’s time to pay compensation for a brain injury, they often aren’t eager to do so and may attempt to lowball you.
That is why personal injury civil claims exist. They allow you the opportunity to seek the compensation that you are owed and to hold them accountable. To give yourself the strongest chance you can of collecting what you’re seeking, it’s helpful to work with a Woodland Hills brain injury lawyer.
At Freeman & Freeman, LLP, we fight for the compensation that our clients deserve, whether through negotiations or in court. Contact us today to discuss your situation.