In our last post, we began writing about a case in which a young woman suffered brain damage in a 2008 car accident and subsequently sought damages for her life-changing injury. In her case, there was a damages award of over $1.5 million.
On the compensatory side of damages, her award included a total of $825,000 for loss of future capacity and $376,000 for future medical costs. Non-economic damages included $300,000 for pain and suffering as well as 23,000 for special damages. The judge in the case declined to acknowledge, however, that she had lost her capacity to work altogether, and refused to allow for damages based on her inability to form interdependent relationships because of the personality changes she underwent as a result of the brain damage.
The types of damages awarded in brain injury cases vary, but can include lost wages and earning capacity, and medical expenses. Additional damages may be available as well, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, as well as loss of society, companionship and reputation. In wrongful death cases, funeral and burial expenses may be added. Whether or not damages are awarded for things like personality changes in brain injury cases is a tricky issue, and it is best to speak with an experienced attorney.
Also, because every case is different, it isn’t possible to give a general range of damages for brain injury plaintiffs. It depends not only on the strength of the evidence for liability, but also whether there are multiple defendants, as well as the specific qualities of the plaintiff and whether there are accusations of failure to mitigate damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be available, such as certain drunk-driving cases.
Needless to say, putting together a strong damages case for brain injuries is critical in order to ensure that the accident victim is adequately compensated.