Updated August 3, 2021
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Settlements & Strategy
In this article, you will learn:
♦ Data on traumatic brain injuries and how that data helps your car accident claim
♦ What a TBI is, from an injury analysis point of view
♦ The different categories and types of brain injuries
♦ Signs and Symptoms that you might have a concussion or brain injury
♦ Settlement examples for traumatic brain injury accident insurance claims
If you want to learn about who we are at the Injury Advocates Group, you can visit our about us page.
Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about traumatic brain injury accident claims and the potential value and pitfalls of your head or brain injury case.
Table of Contents
Settlement & Damages Information
13 – About the Author
TBI Data & How it Helps Your Claim
Highlights of the Danger
According to the CDC, Car accidents contribute around 14% of the aggregate traumatic brain injury cases in the US, and are the leading cause of TBI related deaths among children and young adults.
One person in the US sustains a brain injury every 23 seconds, and tragically, around 50,000 of these will die annually following a TBI.
Research goes on to suggest that no fewer than 50% of all traumatic head and brain injuries are the direct result of car, bicycle or pedestrian/vehicle incidents. While a number of safety measures have helped reduce the number of deaths and injuries – such as safety belts, car seats and airbags – car accident statistics remain worryingly high.
Car accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries requiring hospitalization, especially for adolescents and adults between the ages of 15 and 44.
For more detailed data and statistics related to car accidents and injuries, visit the CDC’s traumatic brain injury page.
Known Dangers = Foreseeable Dangers
From a medical lens, having the right information about the frequency and cause of TBI’s can help experts develop prevention strategies, make decisions in terms of research and education strategies, and acquire more knowledge as to how best to help those who have been impacted by a TBI.
From a legal lens, knowing the dangers of TBIs is important because when a danger is known, it is foreseeable. That is a magic word for proving your case – that the injury you suffered was foreseeable.
The right data helps your lawyer prove up your case and maximize your compensation. This is especially important if you continue to suffer permanent symptoms related to the after effects of a TBI, which may continue indefinitely if it is a severe TBI.
Signs & Symptoms of a Post-Accident
Traumatic Brain Injury
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
If you have any of these symptoms following a vehicle accident, you should call a healthcare professional immediately and receive appropriate medical care, because you might have a serious brain injury:
♦ Loss of consciousness; this can be for as little as a few seconds, or up to a few minutes
♦ Feeling dazed, confused or disoriented
♦ Headache, fatigue and/or drowsiness
♦ Nausea or vomiting
♦ Changes to sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much or too little
♦ Dizziness or loss of balance
♦ Changes to sensory perception, such as blurred vision or ringing in the ears
♦ Mood changes or mood swings
The Mayo Clinic provides a more exhaustive list of the signs and symptoms of a mild TBI.
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
If you are suffering moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, some of the signs and might include:
♦ Loss of consciousness for minutes or up to an hour
♦ Persistent headache
♦ Repeated nausea or vomiting
♦ Convulsions or seizures
♦ Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
♦ Loss of coordination
♦ Slurred speech
Again, if you have these symptoms following a vehicle accident, call a doctor or consider going to the emergency room immediately.
You should seek this immediate medical assistance before contacting any car insurance company, and should certainly speak with an attorney before calling any car insurance company, as this can affect your concussion injury claims as well as how much compensation you get for your concussion.
You can read more about moderate to severe TBI’s on the Mayo Clinic’s traumatic brain injury page.
TBIs for Which
You Can Recover Compensation
Traumatic brain injuries for which the majority of compensation claims are sought following an accident can be sorted into two categories based on their severity and either of these can have impacts on things like your concussion car accident settlement, post-concussion syndrome settlement value and how much compensation you get for your concussion. One is a mild TBI, and the other is a severe TBI.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are two types of TBIs. The first is:
A penetrating TBI
This is sometimes referred to as an open TBI. It occurs when an object enters the brain tissue and damages a part of the brain. The second is:
A non-penetrating TBI
This is sometimes referred to as a blunt TBI. It occurs when an external force is strong enough to move the brain within the skull. This type of TBI commonly occurs during a car accident.
Whether your injury is categorized as a mild or severe TBI or a penetrating or non-penetrating TBI, you can pursue a claim if a negligent driver caused you to suffer that injury.
How much a head injury claim is worth and what you can recover is discussed below, in the next section.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
What is a TBI
A TBI is when your brain bleeds, bruises or slits due to violent or forceful movement of your head or body, such as that which might be experienced during a car accident.
Depending on the severity, it can be temporary or permanent, and can cause long-term complications and even death.
The severity of a TBI may range from mild to severe. While the majority of TBI’s that occur each year as a result of car accidents are commonly referred to as mild concussions, they can have far more devastating results.
TBI with No Head Impact
What makes TBI’s that occur as a result of a car accident complicated is that they can happen even if you do not experienced a direct head impact.
The force that’s often involved in a car accident can cause your brain to move inside your skull without the head having impacted anything, yet resulting in a TBI.
Having a qualified and appropriate medical professional carry out a medical check-up post-accident is absolutely essential, especially if you wish to pursue a claim or consider legal action against the driver who injured you.
A concussion doesn’t always involve a loss of consciousness, and can change an individual’s mental status and disrupt the normal functioning of the brain.
Seek help from a professional attorney if you wish to further investigate where you have a recoverable concussion claim, or if your head hit the steering wheel after an accident. Speaking to an attorney sooner than later can help you with your post-concussion syndrome settlement as well as your concussion settlement value.
An Invisible Danger
It is entirely possible that a TBI can be overlooked following a serious car accident. This makes seeking professional medical care immediately of utmost importance, and can help you be aware of symptoms that might indicate your injury is more serious than it appears.
If you wait to get better without getting treatment, the insurance company can argue you failed to minimize your damages, and you may be entitled to less compensation. Do not let that happen! Call a doctor, and speak to your lawyer immediately after your accident.
Settlements & Verdicts
Head & Brain Injuries
Tractor-trailer accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a middle aged women suffers brain damage and loses a leg in this tractor trailer accident.
Truck accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a young child was struck as a pedestrian in a crosswalk, suffering a combination of chest, arm, and head injuries, including a brain injury with cognitive deficits.
Car accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a middle aged woman was injured while a passenger in a vehicle after it was rear ended.
Tractor-trailer accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a truck jackknifed on the highway across several lanes and trapped the victim in his car, causing numerous broken bones, including a scull fracture, and related brain jury with permanent disability.
Tractor-trailer accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where truck crossed into the victim’s lane, causing a serious crash, hospitalizing the victim for weeks, and resulting in a serious brain injury.
Truck accident settlement settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) for two victims, one of whom was pregnant, caused by the trucker’s negligence.
Pickup-truck accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a teenage boy suffered injuries as a passenger in a vehicle that rolled over.
Pickup-truck accident settlement with traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a young girl was the passenger in a vehicle that rolled over due to the driver’s negligence.
TBI Case Values Have Increased
Jurors’ View TBI’s with Less Skepticism
In 2002, Dr. Bennet Omalu made a discovery that altered the medical and sports world, and the settlement value of your head injury case. If you don’t recognize that name, you might recognize the famous actor Will Smith, who played the role of Dr. Omalu in the movie “Concussion.” That movie changed the public perception, and general acceptance, of this otherwise invisible injury.
Why does that history matter to you? Because the “public” includes your potential jurors. When public views change on an issue, that means potential jurors’ views change. If that’s a more accepting view or change of an issue in your case, that equates to higher settlements and verdicts for you. That is the case with concussions, brain injuries, and their different varieties such as TBIs and mTBIs.
The Invisible Injury is Not as Invisible Anymore
Juries have a tendency to give less money for injuries that they cannot see. Brain injuries are one of those invisible injuries which face this problem.
Over the last 20 years, that has changed thanks to technology from the 90’s that has gained in popularity, diffuse tensor imaging. Thanks to this technology, we can show jurors brain imaging which supports the existence of a brain injury. DTI findings are not absolute evidence of a TBI, but it is leaps and bounds from asking the jury to take your word for it that you are injured.
All of this has lead to these injuries being less subjective, more provable, and more valuable in settlements and verdicts.
TBI Losses that Are Recoverable
Causally Related Injuries Are Recoverable
A traumatic brain injury can have a variety of physical and psychological effects upon you. While some signs or symptoms may manifest themselves directly following a car accident, others may appear days or weeks afterwards.
All of these are possible recoverable losses – including pain and suffering – so long as a medical expert causally connects your symptoms to the brain injury which can help determine your car accident concussion settlement amount.
Potentially Recoverable Losses
In the image above, brain scans long after a head trauma show indications of a brain injury, demonstrating the potential permanent nature of these injuries.
Thus, we know that a TBI can leave you with permanent damage, and have a direct impact upon many aspects of you life. This includes personal and business relationships, work and your productivity, and your overall quality of life.
While a TBI may result in a physical impairment, perhaps some of the more troubling and impactful consequences involve cognition, emotional functioning and behavior.
This could impact everything you do from getting groceries, remembering how to navigate home while driving, or when to pick up your kids from school. All of these negative results of TBI injuries have recoverable damages through a traumatic brain injury settlement.
Mild to significant memory loss which may or may not be long-term, loss of balance and visual depth perception along with behavioral and mood changes, are all potential symptoms of a TBI which are recoverable damages.
Head or brain injuries in different people may produce a different combination of symptoms. For this reason, you must work closely with your lawyer so that she or he can document how your brain injury is impacting you specifically because it can directly impact your concussion settlement from a car accident.
To get the best post-concussion syndrome settlement value, your lawyers will need to prepare an adequate demand letter and, if necessary, litigation discovery to share your injuries with the adjuster, defense attorney, judge, and jury.
Appropriate Medical Care is Recoverable
Whatever the type of head injury, it’s vital to seek medical help immediately. This will help ascertain its nature and extent and will also later affect your mild brain injury settlements.
There are a variety of treatments provided in hospitals with rehabilitative departments and outpatient therapy to help individuals address brain injury consequences.
All of these medical bills and future anticipated medical costs are recoverable. Automobile accident concussion settlement amounts will be tied closely to your attorney’s ability to help you with your medical care plans.
Because of this, for future care, you will need an experienced lawyer to work with a qualified expert to create necessary future medical care plans that will pass evidentiary muster. The question of how much a head injury claim is worth is tied closely to this.
For further reading on this subtopic, he NIH provides helpful resources for brain injury victims that addresses medical care related issues.
Warning Regarding Early Settlements
In some cases, it may be weeks and even months following the accident that you become aware of the full extent of you injuries. This may have lead you to believe you did not have a case for compensation. By the time you do, it may be too late, or your claim value has depreciated for a number of reasons.
In the worst situations, you may accept a settlement before your TBI symptoms fully manifest themselves. The image above highlights this concern, by establishing the likely permanent nature of head injuries.
This is why it is important to speak with a lawyer who vets your case for a brain injury before you consider accepting a settlement.
Factors that Influence
Traumatic Brain Injury Settlements & Payouts
There are many factors that can have a direct impact on the success and value of your injury claim. Average compensation for head injuries is affected by many of these factors. The below is not an exhaustive list, but does discuss some of these factors.
Where the underlying fault for the car accident is clear, the value of the settlement will be higher. Should there be a dispute surrounding who is at fault, then the defendant may not be forthcoming with a fair settlement offer.
In cases where multiple individuals may be liable for a car accident, and each party has different representation, issues may arise as to how much each defendant should pay. When defendants bicker amongst each other about who pays what, the injured claimant is often forced to push the claim into litigation to compel meaningful offers.
Characteristics of the Claimant
Some variables that may affect the value of a traumatic brain injury settlement are the claimant and defendant’s ages, lines of work, likeability and the claimant’s prior medical history. If you have particularly compelling stories as to how your brain injury has changed your life, those could help increase your concussion settlement value, too.
The Courthouse Steps
Insurance adjusters closely monitor what might happen in their cases. If it becomes clear you are not settling unless a meaningful offer is made, it may force the insurance company to put more money on the table to increase your concussion car accident settlement amount. This will vary amongst insurance companies and adjusters.
This is not a tactic you should use to play chicken with, because it can cost you substantial money. In the 90 days before trial, your lawyer will spend considerable sums of money preparing the case for trial. Those expenses get reimbursed from your recovery.
In other words, if you decide to play chicken and in the process your lawyer spends $15,000 on trial preparation, but the offer does not increase enough to offset those new expenses, you could have lost money with that game of chicken, and net less for your concussion injuries. You should talk about this with your attorney well before trial to discuss what you really want to accomplish, and how your attorney can get you there.
Egregious conduct by the defendant
The potential for punitive damages may be used as leverage during the settlement negotiation process. If the Defendant was drinking and driving, for example, and that caused the accident, you may have additional leverage to increase the value of your mild TBI settlement.
This factor works against you, not for you, and can negatively impact your mild traumatic brain injury settlement.
You have an obligation to take reasonable medical and other steps to protect yourself from becoming more hurt and suffering more losses, even if what sparked those losses is another driver’s negligence.
If you fail in that obligation, the insurance company will reduce the value of your head injury claim worth and final settlement.
What should you do to “mitigate your damages” in a brain injury case? There are too many possibilities to list. Determining that is very fact specific, and you need to have a one-on-one with a lawyer to chart a course that will protect you from this insurance argument.
Types of Concussion Injuries
There are three general levels or types of concussion injuries. The first of these is considered a grade 1 concussion injury which has mild symptoms that last a short period of time and generally have no loss of consciousness.
A grade 2 concussion injury will have symptoms that last longer than 15-20 minutes and also have no loss of consciousness.
Lastly, there is a grade 3 which is most severe and can lead to loss of consciousness for any period of time.
Concussion Injuries and Settlements
The type of concussion injury you have will impact concussion settlement from a car accident as well as the average compensation for head injury. How much compensation you get for your concussion and the final head injury lawsuit settlement will be related to the type of concussion injury you have.
This is why it is important to get medical attention right away if you have had an accident because you will not know on your own which grade of concussion injury you have. You will not want to roll the dice with your brain injury lawsuit or your final mild brain injury settlement by trying to save a few bucks by not going to the doctor.
Traumatic Brain Injury Q&A
Will my traumatic brain injury be permanent?
There are many different types and grades of brain injuries. Some can be permanent. It depends on your specific injuries, which proper diagnostics and follow-up exams will help you prove.
What counts as traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury that causes trauma or damage to your brain. This is measured by a combination of objective and subjective diagnostics.
What is the average amount people get for their concussion injury settlements?
This number varies greatly from person to person but can generally average anywhere from $20,000-$80,000. This number may seem low, but that is because most vehicle accident head injuries are not serious and result from minor car accidents.
How long will it take to recover from my traumatic brain injury?
This can depend on your specific injuries, your age, and a number of other factors about your health, but average times can be around 2 years for serious traumatic brain injuries.
Is there a chance someone can die from their traumatic brain injury?
Yes, sadly these kinds of injuries can be life-threatening and can cause people to have a debilitated life and also die from these injuries.
What is a common cause of traumatic brain injuries?
Serious trauma can cause there to be a traumatic brain injury and car accidents are one of the most common forms of impact that can cause this level of damage.
Will I still be able to drive after my TBI?
Yes, with the right amount of therapy and rehabilitation, over time, there can be no problem in driving again. You should, however, not drive until cleared by a doctor as you may go from being a victim of a car accident to a defendant if you cause one due to driving while suffering symptoms from a head injury.
Will a TBI impact my daily life?
Yes, depending on the level of severity in your injury, a TBI can in fact impact all aspects of your daily life, or just some of them. These daily life activities are referred to in your medical records as “ADLs”, and head injuries have known negative impacts on ADLs.
Do TBIs get worse over time?
Some TBI injuries can get worse over time and cause additional health problems to develop in an individual. These injuries and symptoms can become worse if intervention therapies are not utilized to manage them.
Can a TBI cause psychological problems?
Yes, a TBI can cause many problems to develop months and even years after the initial trauma, including psychological problems. This can include both nervous system problems as well as psychiatric problems.
How to Get More Money For a
Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
Some Claims Need Lawyers, and Others Do Not
Concussions, brain injuries, and mild traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries. However, they remain largely invisible. A photo will show the bump on your head, but not the connective disruptions in your brain. These cases can be worth millions, but require extensive and focused development to see their full settlement potential.
This is why suffering a mild or serious head or brain injury as the result of a car accident is a prime example of an accident for which you should seek professional, legal representation from an attorney so that your mild brain injury settlements can go in your favor.
If you have been diagnosed by a medical professional as having a concussion or possible head injury, you deserve fair compensation. A lawyer will fight to ensure the other driver who caused the accident accepts responsibility for your medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering which can be included in your mild traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome settlement.
This would include reimbursement for any costly MRIs, CT scans, or other diagnostic procedures that you’ve undergone to help identify your brain injury.
You Have Choices, But You Do Not Have Time
In the minutes, hours and days following a car accident, especially if a head or brain injury has been incurred, knowing what steps to take towards making an injury claim, may not always be clear. Some individuals may not even realize that legal action is an option or that these steps will impact your head or brain injury lawsuit settlements.
If you sustained a head or brain injury, it is important that your injury be properly documented, supported by medical evidence from a practicing medical professionals, and backed up with medical literature to highlight the gravity of your injuries.
All of this takes time, and much of it is time sensitive. Act fast, and take steps to protect your claim.
How a Lawyer Can Help with your Concussion, TBI or mTBI Claim
As with most vehicle accident injuries, the cost to your personal, financial and physical well being may be great. With an attorney’s help, compensation may be awarded that can help with the financial burden that therapy, medical visits and a loss of income can place on you and your family, not to mention the emotional costs associated with the pain suffered.
Los Angeles Brain & Head Injury Lawyers
Talking to an Injury Advocates Group attorney will benefit you because the call is a no-strings attached, no obligation, free phone call.
We have helped many clients recover money to begin rebuilding their lives following a car accident in which a head or brain injury was sustained. With our medical and legal knowledge and aggressive pursuit of justice for you, you can focus on your life and let us focus on the legal fight.
IAG is Here for You. Let us help you win.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
Maxwell, William. (2013). Damage to Myelin and Oligodendrocytes: A Role in Chronic Outcomes Following Traumatic Brain Injury?. Brain Science. 2013. 1374-1394. 10.3390/brainsci3031374.
Georges A, Booker JG. Traumatic Brain Injury. [Updated 2020 Nov 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
Dewan MC, Rattani A, Gupta S, Baticulon RE, Hung YC, Punchak M, Agrawal A, Adeleye AO, Shrime MG, Rubiano AM, Rosenfeld JV, Park KB. Estimating the global incidence of traumatic brain injury. J Neurosurg. 2018 Apr 1:1-18.
Alexander, M. P. (1995). Mild traumatic brain injury: Pathophysiology, natural history, and clinical management. Neurology, 45(7), 1253–1260.
Iverson, Grant L Outcome from mild traumatic brain injury, Current Opinion in Psychiatry: May 2005 – Volume 18 – Issue 3 – p 301-317.
Jacob L Stubbs, Allen E Thornton, Jessica M Sevick, Noah D Silverberg, Alasdair M Barr, William G Honer, William J Panenka. Traumatic brain injury in homeless and marginally housed individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health, 2019.
Dean, P. J. A., & Sterr, A. (2013). Long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury on cognitive performance. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 7, 30.
Perel, P., Roberts, I., Bouamra, O., Woodford, M., Mooney, J., & Lecky, F. (2009). Intracranial bleeding in patients with traumatic brain injury: a prognostic study. BMC emergency medicine, 9(1), 1-8.
Lingsma, H. F., Roozenbeek, B., Li, B., Lu, J., Weir, J., Butcher, I., … & Steyerberg, E. W. (2011). Large between-center differences in outcome after moderate and severe traumatic brain injury in the international mission on prognosis and clinical trial design in traumatic brain injury (IMPACT) study. Neurosurgery, 68(3), 601-608.
Langlois, J. A., Rutland-Brown, W., & Wald, M. M. (2006). The epidemiology and impact of traumatic brain injury: a brief overview. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation, 21(5), 375-378.
Brain Injury Alliance – Brain Injury Facts & Statistics
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Justin Bina, Esquire. Mr. Bina received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 283573. He has been practicing law for 9 years. Mr. Bina is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), the California Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Bina has helped his clients recover millions of dollars in car accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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