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Average Settlement For a Traumatic Brain Injury in Georgia

May 31, 2024 - Traumatic Brain Injuries

The average settlement for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Georgia can range drastically from $700,000 to $10 million.

As you would expect, whether the injury is catastrophic or mild plays a big part due to the different levels of medical care and emotional toll they exert on the victim.

Average settlement for traumatic brain injuries by type

Below, we explore the distinctions in settlements for catastrophic brain injuries and mild traumatic brain injuries so you can see how they might apply to you or your loved one.

Catastrophic brain injuries

The average catastrophic brain injury settlement amount is around $1.5 million to $10 million. These injuries are life-altering, leading to severe cognitive impairment, permanent disability, or even death. The high compensation reflects the need for extensive long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support.

Victims of catastrophic brain injuries often require round-the-clock care and assistive devices, which significantly increase the financial burden. Additionally, these settlements account for the loss of earning potential and the profound emotional and psychological impact on both the accident victim and their family.

Achieving fair compensation in such cases provides the necessary resources for victims to adapt to the profound changes in their lives and ensures that they receive the care and support they need moving forward.

Mild traumatic brain injury settlements

Settlements for a mild traumatic brain injury lawsuit range from $700,000 to $1.2 million.

Although these injuries are less severe compared to catastrophic brain injuries, they can still have significant effects on an individual’s quality of life.

Mild traumatic brain injuries, often referred to as concussions, can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, memory problems, and mood swings, which may persist for weeks or even months.

The compensation for mild TBI primarily covers medical expenses, including diagnostics, treatments, and follow-up care. It also accounts for lost wages if the injury has led to time off work and can cover any therapy or counseling required to address emotional and psychological impacts.

While the financial settlement may not be as substantial as that for more severe injuries, it remains vital in aiding the victim’s recovery and alleviating the economic strain associated with their injuries.

Hiring a competent Marietta personal injury lawyer is vital for understanding your rights, building a robust case, and negotiating effectively with insurance companies.

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Factors that influence TBI settlement amounts in Georgia

Several factors influence the average settlement for a traumatic brain injury in Georgia:

Severity

The medical complexity of the injury primarily determines how severe it is. Medical professionals typically categorize TBIs into mild, moderate, and severe based on the Glasgow Coma Scale and other diagnostic tools.

Severe TBIs often result in significant neurological damage, requiring extensive medical interventions, long-term rehabilitation, and permanent caregiving. Consequently, the settlements for severe TBIs are substantially higher to cover the lifelong costs associated with medical care, loss of income, and the overall impact on the victim’s quality of life.

In contrast, moderate TBIs present a mixed prognosis but still necessitate significant medical treatment and rehabilitation. Victims may experience prolonged symptoms, including cognitive impairment, motor skill difficulties, and emotional instability, all of which can hinder their ability to work and maintain a normal life.

Mild TBIs, though considered less debilitating, can still have profound effects on a person’s life. While these settlements may not reach the high levels seen in more severe cases, they remain essential for recovery and rehabilitation.

Liability

Establishing who is at fault is important as it directly impacts the compensation awarded to the victim.

Evidence such as eyewitness testimonies, accident reports, and expert analyses can significantly bolster the victim’s position in a TBI case. For instance, in cases of car accidents, obtaining detailed police reports, traffic camera footage, and accident reconstruction expert opinions can establish a clear picture of what transpired.

Demonstrating that the defendant’s negligence or recklessness directly caused the injury is a key component in achieving a higher settlement. Additionally, expert witnesses in medical fields may provide crucial insights into the extent of the injury and its long-term impacts, further solidifying the liability aspect.

Insurance policies and coverage levels can also influence the settlement process. In some cases, the defendant’s insurance company may attempt to minimize the payout or dispute liability altogether. Having a skilled injury attorney to navigate these negotiations and, if necessary, take the case to trial can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Comparative negligence

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that plays a significant role in traumatic brain injury settlements in Georgia. Under this concept, the fault for an accident in Georgia and resulting injuries is divided among all parties involved based on their degree of responsibility.

In Georgia, the modified comparative negligence rule is applied, meaning that a victim can recover damages only if they are found to be less than 50% at fault for the incident. If the victim’s level of fault is 50% or more, they are barred from receiving any compensation.

This principle ensures a fair distribution of liability, taking into account the actions of both the plaintiff and the defendant.

For instance, if a victim is found to be 20% at fault for a car accident that caused their TBI, their total compensation will be reduced by that percentage. If the total damages amount to $1 million, the victim would ultimately receive $800,000 after the reduction.

This proportional reduction shows the importance of minimizing any contributory fault in a TBI case to maximize the settlement. It also highlights the need for comprehensive evidence and skilled legal representation to argue effectively against any claims of partial fault attributed to the victim.

Establishing the degrees of fault in TBI cases involves meticulous investigation and legal expertise. Defense attorneys may attempt to attribute a higher percentage of fault to the victim to reduce the compensation payout.

This makes it imperative that the plaintiff’s legal team counter these strategies with compelling evidence, such as detailed accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies.

Insurance coverage

The role of insurance coverage in traumatic brain injury settlements cannot be overstated. Insurance policies, whether they pertain to motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries, or other incidents leading to TBIs, significantly influence the financial recovery process.

Most defendants rely on their insurance providers to handle the compensation claims, and the policy limits often set a ceiling for potential settlements.

In many cases, the defendant’s insurance company will attempt to minimize the payout by disputing the severity of the injury or the liability. They may employ various tactics such as requesting extensive documentation, delaying the claims process, or negotiating lower settlement offers.

To combat these strategies, having a well-prepared and knowledgeable brain injury lawyer is essential. A good personal injury attorney can negotiate assertively on the victim’s behalf, ensuring that the insurance company recognizes the full extent of the injury and its long-term implications.

This legal support is pivotal in securing a settlement that accurately reflects the victim’s medical costs, lost wages, pain, and suffering.

Moreover, underinsurance and uninsured motorist coverage can provide additional avenues for compensation if the at-fault party’s insurance is insufficient or non-existent.

Victims should explore all possible insurance sources to maximize their recovery, especially in severe TBI cases where medical and rehabilitative expenses can be exorbitant.

Consulting with a Johns Creek personal injury lawyer who understands the nuances of various insurance policies can make a substantial difference in identifying and accessing these additional resources.

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Location

In Georgia, for instance, the specifics of premises liability, workers’ compensation laws, and traffic regulations can all impact how a TBI case is handled.

When a TBI occurs on private property, premises liability laws come into play. Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for visitors, and failure to do so can result in significant liability.

The injured party must demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that led to the injury. Evidence such as maintenance records, surveillance footage, and witness statements can be pivotal in establishing negligence.

In the context of workplace TBIs, workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide financial relief to injured employees regardless of fault. However, these cases can become complex if the injury is due to the negligence of a third party or if there is a dispute about the severity of the injury.

Going through workers’ compensation claims requires a thorough understanding of Georgia’s specific regulations, including the timelines for reporting injuries and the types of benefits available.

An experienced attorney can help ensure that all procedural requirements are met and can advocate for the maximum benefits available, including long-term disability payments if the injury has lasting effects.

 

What damages can be recovered for TBIs in Georgia?

In Georgia, victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can seek compensation for various types of damages, broadly categorized into economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are intended to cover the quantifiable financial losses resulting from the injury. These include:

  • Medical expenses, encompassing both immediate and future anticipated medical costs, such as hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, and long-term care.
  • Lost wages for the time they are unable to work during their recovery, as well as loss of earning capacity if the injury results in a permanent disability that affects their ability to work in the future.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, address the more subjective and intangible impacts of a TBI on the victim’s life. These damages cover pain and suffering, which encapsulates the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury.

Victims can also seek compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life if the TBI significantly impairs their ability to engage in activities that they previously enjoyed.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded in Georgia if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are compensatory in nature, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

To secure punitive damages, the plaintiff’s legal team must present compelling evidence that the defendant’s actions went beyond mere negligence.

This often requires a thorough investigation and a robust presentation of the facts. Successfully claiming punitive damages can significantly enhance the total compensation amount, providing a measure of justice for the victim and emphasizing the seriousness of the misconduct.

 

Should you accept the settlement offer?

Resist the temptation to accept a quick settlement offer without fully assessing the long-term implications.

Initially, you need to think about the future medical needs arising from the injury. TBI often entails long-term treatment, including ongoing therapy, potential future surgeries, and continuous medical monitoring.

Estimating these future medical expenses accurately is essential in ensuring that the settlement covers all foreseeable costs; something that insurance companies don’t tend to do very well.

Another important factor is the impact of the injury on your quality of life. A TBI can have profound effects on your ability to engage in activities you previously enjoyed, maintain employment, and experience emotional well-being.

Given the complexity of these evaluations, consulting with an experienced Johns Creek personal injury lawyer is highly advisable.

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General information on traumatic brain injuries

What is a TBI?

A traumatic brain injury is a disruption in normal brain function caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a penetrating head injury. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe injuries leading to long-term complications or death.

In many cases, victims of TBIs may not immediately recognize the severity of their injury. Symptoms may present themselves days or even weeks after the initial impact, making it crucial to seek medical attention if any head trauma is sustained. Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes for TBI victims.

Types of TBIs

Concussions

Concussions are the most common type of TBI and are often caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and upper body. They are considered mild TBIs, but repeated concussions can lead to cumulative brain damage and long-term complications.

Symptoms of concussions may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Temporary loss of consciousness

Contusions

A contusion is a bruise on the brain tissue itself, typically resulting from a direct impact to the head. This localized injury involves bleeding within the brain, which can lead to swelling and increased pressure within the skull.

Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the contusion and may include cognitive impairment, memory problems, and motor control issues.

Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI)

Diffuse axonal injury occurs when the brain moves rapidly within the skull, causing shearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers (axons). This type of injury is often the result of violent shaking, such as in car accidents or severe falls.

DAIs can lead to widespread brain damage, and the severity can range from mild to severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Persistent vegetative state, or a coma, depending on the extent of the injury.

Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating TBIs occur when an object, such as a bullet or shrapnel, pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. These injuries are typically focal, involving damage confined to the area directly impacted by the object.

Symptoms vary widely based on the location and extent of the injury but can include focal neurological deficits, seizures, and increased risk of infections like meningitis due to the open wound.

Coup-contrecoup injuries

Coup-contrecoup injuries are a dual-impact phenomenon where the initial blow (coup) causes the brain to collide with the skull at the point of impact, and the rebound (contrecoup) causes injury to the opposite side of the brain.

These injuries often result in contusions on both sides of the brain and can cause extensive brain damage. Symptoms depend on the areas of the brain affected but may include cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments.

 

Causes of a TBI

Falls

Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, especially among older adults and young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls account for nearly 48% of all TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.

In Georgia, the elderly population is particularly at risk, with falls being a major cause of TBIs resulting in hospitalization. Preventative measures such as installing grab bars, improving lighting, and ensuring clear walkways can help reduce the risk of falls in homes and public areas.

Vehicle Accidents

Traffic-related incidents, including car, motorcycle, and bicycle crashes, are another significant cause of TBIs. These accidents often result in severe TBIs due to the high-impact forces involved.

In Georgia, in 2020, motor vehicle accidents “were the second leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits.” 

You can check out our dedicated guide on the average car accident settlement in Georgia for more information on how these types of accidents impact TBI victims and their potential compensation.

In addition to the causes discussed above, the following are also contributors:

  • Sports injuries
  • Violence
  • Work-related accidents

Additional reading: average settlement if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Georgia

Why hiring a lawyer is important for your TBI settlement in Georgia

The far-reaching implications of TBIs—physically, cognitively, emotionally, and financially—necessitate expert legal guidance to ensure adequate compensation.

We strongly encourage TBI victims and their loved ones to seek specialized legal advice to secure the best possible outcome. Michael Gumprecht and his team are renowned for their expertise in personal injury cases, particularly TBIs.

Contact The Gumprecht Law Firm today to discuss your specific situation and explore your legal options. Your path to justice and adequate compensation starts here!