How Much is a Traumatic Brain Injury Worth?
Important Legal Disclaimer: These dollar values are from past results and do not guarantee or suggest that your matter will have a similar outcome. The facts and circumstances which led to your injury are likely to be different, and an attorney can provide specific guidance only after engaging in a fact-intensive analysis. Furthermore, the worth of your personal injury case will ultimately be decided by a jury.
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a brain injury caused by physical force. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 27,300 severe or fatal cases were reported in Oklahoma from 2004 to 2009. That means an average of about 4,550 Oklahomans sustain a traumatic brain injury every year. Sadly, many of these people become victims of wrongful death, while those who survive often suffer from debilitating mental and physical impairments which change every aspect of their daily lives.
Many cases of TBI are caused by preventable human error. The CDC ranks car accidents, slip and fall accidents, assaults, and object strikes among the leading causes of TBI nationwide, while gunshot wounds are a common cause in Oklahoma. If your loved one’s TBI was the result of another person’s careless or negligent actions, your family may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, financial losses, and pain and suffering.
This simple legal guide will go over the types of compensation an Oklahoma TBI victim can be awarded, explain the difference between a verdict and a settlement, and provide some examples of dollar awards for traumatic brain injuries in personal injury lawsuits. If you have any questions about a loved one’s head injury, the experienced TBI attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook encourage you to call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 for a free and private legal consultation.
What’s the Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict?
There are two ways an injury victim can recover compensation: through a settlement, or through a verdict.
A settlement is an out-of-court agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant — or, to be more specific, almost always the insurance company for the defendant. Both sides agree to a certain dollar amount as compensation before a trial takes place. The settlement may occur well in advance of the scheduled trial date, or within days of time the trial is supposed to take place. Either the defendant or the plaintiff may initiate a settlement offer, at which point the other party has the option to deny the settlement, accept the settlement as-is, or propose a counter-offer with a different figure. A large percentage of personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement.
A verdict is not a mutual agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant. It is an outside decision made by a third party, the jury, which must determine whether the plaintiff or the defendant was primarily at fault for the accident which caused the plaintiff’s brain injury.
Are There Different Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
When a plaintiff wins a personal injury lawsuit, he or she is awarded damages, or compensation. However, there are several different kinds of compensation which may be awarded, depending on the circumstances of the case. Compensation is divided into four broad categories:
Economic Damages – This refers to calculable, quantifiable damages, such as medical bills and lost income. The victim can also be compensated for projected future losses of income and medical bills if his or her injury is disabling.
Non-Economic Damages – This refers to damages which cannot be objectively measured, such as emotional distress, the pain and suffering experienced by the victim, and loss of companionship in cases where the victim was married.
Compensatory Damages – This is compensation meant solely to compensate the plaintiff. Compensatory damages can encompass both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Punitive Damages – This is compensation meant to punish the defendant and deter others from repeating the same conduct in the future. Therefore, punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant’s conduct was extremely egregious and unacceptable. Punitive damages are not awarded as often as compensatory damages, but tend to be higher in value.
Like many states, Oklahoma imposes damages caps on the maximum punitive damages an injury victim may recover. However, the figure at which punitive damages are capped depends on the circumstances of the lawsuit, with the different possibilities outlined below:
- If the defendant was “guilty of reckless disregard for the rights of others,” punitive damages are capped at $100,000.
- If the defendant “acted intentionally and with malice,” punitive damages are capped at $500,000.
- If the defendant “acted intentionally and with malice and engaged in conduct life-threatening to humans,” punitive damages can be awarded in any amount.
These caps are provided by state law under O.S. § 23-9.1.
Dollar Awards for Plaintiffs in TBI Lawsuits
With the above disclaimer in mind, we’ve compiled some nationwide TBI verdicts and settlements to help give plaintiffs and their loved ones a better idea of the sorts of figures these types of lawsuits may result in.
- $21.5 million verdict awarded to an Illinois man who struck his head on the sliding glass door of a cruise ship.
- $17.88 million verdict awarded to an Oklahoma man who fell from a golf cart.
- $17 million verdict awarded to a California cyclist who was hit by a car.
- $14.25 million settlement awarded to a Pennsylvania woman whose car was struck in a truck accident.
- $12.2 million verdict awarded to a California pedestrian who was hit by a car.
- $9.6 million settlement awarded to a California resident who sustained a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a dolly which detached from a delivery truck.
- $7.5 million verdict awarded to a Virginia woman who was injured in a car accident in 1996.
- $7.3 million verdict awarded to an Illinois child who suffered a brain injury in a bus accident.
- $5.6 million settlement awarded to a California child who fell from a defective cruise ship stairwell.
- $3.3 million verdict awarded to a Louisiana pedestrian who was hit by a car.
- $3 million settlement awarded to a Virginia man who was injured in a racetrack crash at Langley Speedway.
- $1.8 million settlement awarded to an Oklahoma victim of medical malpractice.
- $1.125 million settlement awarded to a Tennessee man who was hit by a truck that ran a red light.
- $610,000 verdict awarded to a Pennsylvania woman who was in a collision with another vehicle.
- $600,000 settlement awarded to an Illinois passenger who suffered a moderate TBI after the driver fell asleep and crashed the vehicle.
- $575,000 settlement awarded to a Kansas driver who was struck by a driver distracted by their cell phone.
Contact A Reliable Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney
If one of your loved ones suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automotive accident, slip and fall accident, or because of medical malpractice, your family could be entitled to significant compensation. To start discussing your case in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the personal injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 today.