After suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) you will likely deal with extensive medical bills, but time in a hospital or long-term rehabilitation aren’t the only disruptions you should expect. Physical pain and emotional trauma from your accident can have serious ramifications for the remainder of your life.
How Pain and Suffering Affect Compensation
When you suffer a brain injury caused by negligence, some of the effects are easy to quantify. It’s not hard to put a specific price tag on wages you missed while recovering from the accident, for instance. Even lost future earning potential can be estimated based on your current income and the likelihood of receiving promotions down the line. Likewise, it isn’t particularly difficult to add up all the costs of your doctor visits, surgeries, and medications since the time of the accident.
Emotional damage and physical pain aren’t as simple to calculate, even though they can interfere with every aspect of daily life. The reckless driver or negligent business that is responsible for your injury owes you damages for how that suffering negatively impacts you just as much as for medical costs or loss of employment. Physical issues included in compensation calculations after a TBI may include:
- Back and neck pain
- Chronic headaches
- Herniated discs
- Nerve damage
- Vision problems
These types of physical challenges involve more than just dealing with pain, which is why having an attorney to help you put a value on your injury is so important. Losing the ability to chase your child around the park, pick up your grandkid, or play an instrument you used to love all have just as much of an impact as a disability that interferes with your employment. These effects from the injury may also involve emotional suffering such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Cognitive problems with a wide range of potential debilitating effects
- Difficulty regulating emotions, leading to frequent outbursts or inappropriate behavior in social situations
- Embarrassment due to disfiguring injuries
- Overall diminished quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the accident
Documenting Pain and Suffering in Virginia TBI Cases
Because there is no hard and fast rule for placing a dollar amount on non-economic damages, the amount of compensation you receive will be heavily influenced by how effectively you document your pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you put together:
- Evidence of disabilities caused by the accident
- Expert witnesses who can explain how the pain from the injury obstructs your daily life
- Lists of medications you take due to the injury
- Medical records and notes from doctors who have seen you since the accident
- Proof of ongoing therapy or physical rehabilitation sessions
- A journal chronicling your daily pain levels and inability to complete specific tasks
- Testimony from people who have witnessed the effects the accident has had on your daily life
Your legal advocate can use that evidence for negotiating with insurance, or present it to a jury if the case needs to go to trial. Having a skilled lawyer on your side is important during this step because insurance providers exist to generate profit. If they frequently pay out large settlements, they are less profitable. An adjuster will likely provide an initial offer that is much less than you actually deserve.
There’s another critical way an attorney helps protect your legal rights that many TBI victims may not have considered. Your lawyer can offer crucial advice on how to avoid common practices by insurance companies used to outright deny or substantially reduce the compensation you are paid. Social media posts in particular, such as pictures or videos of family gatherings, can be taken out of context to claim pain and emotional suffering aren’t actually affecting you to a serious degree.