Suffering a traumatic brain injury can be a life-altering event. The consequences can encompass physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities as well as significant financial burdens. In New York, accident victims who sustain a TBI due to someone else’s fault are usually entitled to monetary compensation.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) comes from a heavy blow to the head, which may or may not involve penetration of the skull. It can result from car accidents, slips and falls, contact sports or any other actions that lead to a head impact. A TBI can reveal itself through bruising, bleeding, swelling, skin tearing and cracking of the skull. However, victims may suffer a range of other symptoms like headaches, dizziness and sensory problems long after the accident. These can indicate more serious damage to the brain that requires thorough medical tests to reveal.
A TBI can leave a victim impaired for a long period of time and sometimes for life. The damages recoverable for a TBI vary significantly with the type and severity of the injury and other factors relating to the victim’s circumstances. Damages fall into these general categories:
- Economic damages — These are out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the victim. They include past and future medical expenses, such as those for emergency care, follow-up visits, therapy and medications. They also include present and future lost wages and employment benefits resulting from the victim’s inability to work. Expenses related to hiring someone to perform tasks that the victim is unable to do may also be recoverable.
- Non-economic damages — These are compensation for intangible losses resulting from a TBI, including physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and disfigurement. Non-economic damages are more difficult to measure and often require expert testimony to establish. However, they often make up the larger percentage of a damages award or settlement.
- Punitive damages — These damages may be awarded in exceptional cases where it is demonstrated that the defendant’s conduct was extremely reckless or egregious. Punitive damages calculations do not follow a fixed formula. They are granted in the jury’s discretion.
New York’s no-fault insurance law may impose limitations on the recovery of damages for a TBI resulting from a car accident. The TBI must meet the law’s definition of a “serious injury” in order for the victim to pursue a lawsuit. Moderate to severe TBIs that cause significant impairment or permanent loss of bodily function typically qualify as serious injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s actions, a lawyer experienced in TBI lawsuits can explain your eligibility for damages recovery and can assist you throughout the claim and litigation process.
Goldberg, Sager & Associates in Brooklyn represents accident victims suffering TBI and other serious injuries throughout New York City. Contact us online or call 718-514-9516 for a free initial consultation.