How Long Does It Take for A Traumatic Brain Injury Case to Get Resolved?
It’s difficult to say how long it takes for a TBI case to get resolved because there are different kinds of resolutions. These cases typically take a lot longer to resolve than other cases because you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you reach a point of maximum medical improvement. The acute phase can take 18 to 24 months to resolve. Until you get a decision from your neurologist, you really don’t know what you can expect in the future.
I currently have a case in which my client suffered a labyrinthine concussion. He had a loss of consciousness, a slurred manner of speech, and some cognitive impairment. It has been over 18 months since the injury, and he is just now beginning to have some seizures. Sometimes you won’t see the seizures until after the acute phase has resolved itself because that’s when the brain starts trying to work around the effects of the injury and ends up causing seizures or other long-term effects. So, you have to be patient. If you try to rush the case, you might end up missing issues that could be very important in establishing the amount of damages that someone has had.
Do Most Of These Cases Go To Trial Or Do They Mostly Settle?
Once you establish third-party liability, then it becomes the question of whether or not the individual has had a traumatic brain injury. In the case of traumatic brain injury cases, once you establish that the traumatic brain injury has occurred, most cases will settle. Most cases settle because the damages are usually significant and often exceed the amount of available insurance. Once you establish both the liability of a third-party and that your client indeed suffered a traumatic brain injury, the insurance company will usually make an offer (what we call tender offer) of all of the available policy limits. One caveat is that cases with very high damages and very high insurance limits typically won’t settle until the suit is filed.
What Are The Biggest Challenges That Your Clients Face In a TBI case?
The biggest challenge that individuals face with traumatic brain injury is that they usually lose some degree of function or ability, whether it’s physical or cognitive in nature. They’re usually quite aware that those functions have changed, and that they may not get as good of an outcome as they desire. So, the biggest challenges are recognizing that they may not recover 100%. For the most severe cases, this could mean needing living assistance due to the loss of physical function and the resultant inability to complete ordinary tasks.
How Are Future Medical Costs- Including Costs For Rehabilitation-Determined In a TBI Case?
The answer to this question is two-fold. First, I will address what damages can be recovered. You can basically recover damages for all of the future costs that you may have, including improvements for your house or vehicles, and future treatment in the event that you need to be committed to a nursing home or a rehabilitation center. It’s similar to any personal injury claim; you can recover any of your past or present medical expenses, and your pain and suffering. But in traumatic brain injury cases, what really becomes a big factor is what exactly your future medical and living arrangements may look like. They can become very substantial, very quickly.
The second part of the answer deals with how you go about determining that. It’s a really interesting question, and attorneys really can’t answer it themselves. Instead, we hire a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP) who will calculate the rehabilitation and future medical needs of someone with a traumatic brain injury. CLCPs are usually specialized medical providers who create something called a life care plan, which breaks down exactly what a person will need and for how long they will need it. The CLCP that I use even counts the number of Ibuprofen that a person will need to take. In Maryland, once the future cost has been determined by a CLCP, it has to be discounted by an economist to a net present value. In Pennsylvania, however, they do not discount it; the number that is stated by the life care planner becomes the number that goes to the jury.
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