Car Accident Concussion Settlement FAQs
Concussions, traumatic brain injuries caused by a blow to the head or violent shaking that causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull, are among the most common injuries that can occur in a car accident. They can also be the source of some very serious health issues, including memory loss, confusion, nausea and vomiting, balance problems, and depression, among others. In addition to dealing with the injury, those involved in a car accident who suffer a concussion will likely need to deal with an insurer and get involved in settlement discussions. The following article covers some of the considerations for those involved in car accident concussion settlement negotiations.
What Kinds of Damages Are Available?
Settling a car accident concussion claim involves a lot of debate about the amount of damages to be paid. Damages are typically divided into two general categories, 'special damages' refer to clearly monetary damages, like doctor's bills, while 'general damages' refer to damages that are more difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering.
Special damages relate to the economic losses directly attributable to the accident. These are impacts arising from the accident that have a price tag attached. These may include:
- property damage;
- medical expenses; and
- lost wages and earning capacity.
General damages relate to non-economic losses directly attributable to the accident. A person's reduction in quality of life can be very difficult to quantify. As a result, general damages tend to be much more unpredictable than special damages. Jurisdictions may limit the amount of special damages overall, or limit them by associating a cap with the total amount of special damages. Negotiation regarding the amount of general damages is frequently where the most disagreement takes place, precisely because it is difficult to set an objective figure for injuries of this sort. General damages may include:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of companionship/consortium; and
- psychological and emotional distress.
Punitive damages are damages intended to punish a responsible party whose conduct was malicious, outrageous, or grossly negligent. Punitive damages are the most difficult damages to claim, particularly when seeking a settlement. They are also more rarely awarded and may be barred in some states, or limited to specific circumstances.
What Factors Might Affect a Settlement Offer?
Apart from the amount of the damages, there are other considerations that can impact the amount of a settlement offer. Factors such as the responsibility for the accident can affect the settlement negotiations significantly. Elements that may impact the amount of a settlement offer include:
- Liability for the Accident -- Depending on the law in the accident's jurisdiction the amount of a settlement may be reduced according to your degree of responsibility.
- Mitigation -- Plaintiffs are under the obligation to minimize their damages and the failure to do so may reduce the amount of settlements offered.
- Plaintiff's Circumstances -- The employment, age, medical history, work conditions, and other factors may increase or decrease the amount a plaintiff can claim.
- Defendant's Circumstances -- The degree of a defendant's culpability including any aggravating factors, such as their intoxication at the time of the accident, may impact the amount of settlement offered.
Car Accident Concussion Settlement FAQs: Additional Information
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