How Long Does a Brain Injury Claim Take?
On average, it can take a brain injury claim anywhere from a few months to around two years to settle, but this time frame can be longer or shorter depending on the severity of the injuries involved and whether the case goes to trial.
However, many factors can affect these claims and your ability to settle for the financial damages you need. Learn more from our team of Phoenix traumatic brain injury lawyers.
What Exactly Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is typically defined as a brain dysfunction that occurs when an outside force causes a jolt or violent blow to the head or when an object goes through the brain’s tissues. Unfortunately, when the brain suffers this type of trauma, it can lead to bleeding, bruising, torn tissues, and other physical brain injuries that can result in long-term problems and, in some situations, even death.
Common Accidents Resulting in Brain Injuries
Many accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries:
- Auto accidents
- Slip and falls
- Falls from significant heights
- Violent acts including assault, domestic violence, abuse, and gunshots
- Explosive blasts
- Sporting injuries
Yet, if you suffered a brain injury due to another person’s wrongful actions in an accident not indicated above, do not let this deter you from reaching out to an experienced brain injury attorney. Your lawyers can review your accident, determine your legal options, and help you fight for the desired outcome.
Different Traumatic Brain Injuries
When it comes to a traumatic brain injury, the severity of this injury will often depend on the type of accident involved and the kind of brain injury the individual suffered.
For instance, these different brain injuries:
- Penetrating injuries: When an object forces its way into the brain, it can cause brain tissue to stretch or rupture.
- Contusions: These injuries result from a direct impact to the head that leads to brain bleeding.
- A diffuse axonal: These injuries occur when the brain rapidly shifts and causes nerve tissues to tear. These injuries can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, or death.
- Concussion: These injuries are often a result of violent shaking or a direct blow to the head, which can lead to the blood vessels in the brain stretching.
- Coup-contrecoup: These injuries usually result from an impact that causes the brain to slam into the opposing side of the skull, resulting in brain damage.
The type of brain injury you suffered can directly affect the compensation you receive and how long it will take for your claim to resolve.
Determining Whether You Have a Valid Legal Claim Following a Brain Injury Accident
Before you can figure out how long your brain injury claim will take, you first need to determine whether you have a viable case.
However, determining this can be challenging as there are often numerous elements that can affect your ability to pursue legal action, including:
- What was the extent of your brain injury after the accident?
- Is there insurance money available after the accident?
- Are there other financial remedies that you can pursue?
- Do you have time to file a lawsuit following your brain injury accident?
Thankfully, when you work with an experienced brain injury accident attorney, you will not have to take on these complicated legal proceedings independently. Instead, your lawyers can determine if you have a valid legal claim, determine your legal options, and help you fight for the financial damages you deserve.
Taking Legal Action After a Brain Injury Accident
In general, if you suffered a brain injury following an accident, there are two ways you can obtain financial recovery, either through a settlement or a trial verdict. Yet, while settling these cases is often the more common course of action, heading to trial may be a possibility, especially if your attorney wants to ensure you secure the maximum financial damages you deserve.
Yet, settling a brain injury claim can take some time due to the life-threatening nature of these injuries and certain other factors.
- The number of parties responsible for the accident
- You will need the treatments now and in the future
- The credibility of the evidence presented and the complexity of your case
- Whether the insurance company is willing to work with you during the negotiation process
- Your patience
- The caseload in the jurisdiction
- The amount of damages you are seeking
For these reasons, it is often in your best interest to reach out to an experienced brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyers can help you understand the factors that affect your settlement, go over the settlement timeline, and help you understand your legal options if the settlement offer does not cover all your expenses.
The Financial Damages You Can Pursue for a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you cannot reach a settlement and the accident allows you to file a lawsuit, you may pursue other compensation that insurance policies may limit. In general, this compensation breaks into:
These damages usually refer to the actual losses that result, including:
- Fees stemming from medical treatments related to the injuries that resulted, including doctor visits, hospitalization, assistive medical treatments, surgeries, and prescription medications
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Rehabilitative therapy
- At-home replacement services
- Other expenses resulting from the accident
These damages refer to payment for the rather personal losses that result from the accident. However, because these losses are subjective, they are also hard to quantify.
These losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Physical disfigurement or scarring
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Inconvenience resulting from the injuries you suffered
However, when you take your case to trial, you have to understand that the amount of time it will take to resolve your injury claim will be significantly longer. That is why before you decide to do anything, it may be best to speak with an experienced brain injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. These lawyers can review your case and determine the best legal option for you and your circumstances.
The Legal Process Involved with a Brain Injury Claim
If you suffered a brain injury in an accident and have decided to pursue legal action, there are certain stages you will have to go through. Depending on whether you settle your case, which can happen at any time during this process, or you go ahead with filing a lawsuit, the time it can take for your case to complete can be anywhere from a few weeks to years.
Obtain Medical Treatment
It can take days to weeks for symptoms of a traumatic brain injury to appear. Yet, the condition can become deadly if you do not seek prompt medical attention. That is why you should get examined by a health care professional shortly after your accident.
These doctors can not only help you get the treatment you need, but they can also prepare a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and provide you with a timeline of how long it may take for your brain to heal. This is critical because the insurance company will look for anything to deny your case. By not getting this evaluation, they may assume your brain injury is not that severe or unrelated to the accident.
Consult With an Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
Next, discuss your case with an experienced traumatic brain injury accident lawyer. They can guide you through this legal process, figure out if you need further medical treatments to prove your injuries, find evidence to increase the value of your claim, and speed up how long it may take to resolve it.
Your Attorney Starts Investigating
Once you retain an attorney, they can start building the most detailed legal case for you by investigating your accident and gathering and reviewing:
- Police and medical reports to determine fault and the extent of your injuries
- Bills to figure out the total amount of losses you endured
- Statements from witnesses, video footage, and photos of the accident
This whole process can take time. However, your lawyer will likely not proceed to the next steps until it is apparent your brain injury has reached maximum medical improvement. This improvement means you have finished all your treatments, and the doctors believe you have recovered as much as possible. This maximum medical improvement can also give your attorney a better idea of how much compensation you may need to cover your medical bills and ongoing treatment plans.
As a result, if you rush this step, it can lead to substantially less money and leave you on the hook for costly bills, treatments, and other expenses.
Your Attorney Makes a Demand
Following the investigation process, your attorney will demand the other side or the insurance company settle the issue. If the sides can resolve the matter outside the courtroom, your case will finish much faster.
During this step, your attorney will likely have to prepare a letter setting forth your claims by using all of the information they collected. They can also give you a better idea of the total estimate of your case’s value.
If settlement negotiations go south, your attorney will probably file a lawsuit. However, how fast your case will go to trial will depend on several factors, including your medical condition and the state’s statute of limitations.
Yet, while the circumstances of every brain injury case are unique, in general, it takes anywhere from one to two years for a personal injury case to settle or head to trial after a lawsuit is filed.
The Discovery Phase
During the discovery phase, which often lasts around six months to a year, each party investigates the other side’s claims and defenses and issues depositions, document requests, and answers to specific questions.
More Settlement Talks and Mediation
Towards the end of the discovery phase, your attorney may try again with settlement talks. However, you may head to trial if you cannot settle and mediation does not resolve the issues.
The Trial and Verdict
A trial can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the details involved. In some cases, these trial dates can also move back through no fault of either of the parties.
However, once a court reaches a verdict, either side can appeal, resulting in a lower settlement or a new trial. Consequently, while the appeals process is essential to the legal system, it can often delay the completion of a brain injury claim for years.
Protect Yourself and Your Rights With an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
Due to the factors involved in a brain injury claim, there is no way to know how long your case will take to resolve. However, working with an experienced brain injury attorney can help speed up this process and go after the maximum financial damages you deserve.
That is why do not wait to get legal help. Instead, contact a lawyer today for your free case consultation and learn how a personal injury attorney at Hutzler Law can help you.