If the client has had a brain injury, you are going to seek compensation for all the medical bills related to that injury. For example, when one has to go to the hospital for the injury and continued hospitalization and rehabilitation therapy, we will seek reimbursement for all those bills. In addition to reimbursement for those bills, we will also look at the individual’s pain and suffering, and reimbursement for the physical or emotional pain of having a brain injury or brain damage.
There also could be a loss of enjoyment of life. Maybe the person’s personality has changed, and he or she is angry all the time, or they can’t participate in activities they once did. For instance, if one of their hobbies is playing chess or some kind of card game like Bridge and the traumatic brain injury results in cognitive issues so they can no longer play those games, then they have suffered loss of enjoyment of one of their activities. They are going to seek money to compensate for their inability to participate in that activity that they once enjoyed.
We could also seek future damages if they can no longer work because of the injury. There could be lost wages plus past and potentially future damages, future wage loss or incapacity. With the future loss of earnings, we might get an economist to discuss their present value and how to make up for all the lost wages in the future. This means asking for a lump sum but it’s going to be discounted to present value dollars and the economist or expert can testify to that amount.
Q: Are there any damages for close relatives who have lost companionship?
The spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium, which can result in damages for that loss of company and comfort. For example, if the individual’s personality changes from once being pleasant to be around to anger and now they are no longer pleasant to be around, then they can get damages for that loss.
You can establish this type of loss through the spouse’s testimony. They could testify as to how the person was before the injury, and the relationship before the injury, to demonstrate how they got along and what they used to be like. The spouse would testify how they are after the accident and how they no longer provide comfort or care.