Are damage awards difficult to estimate for brain injuries?

Readers may not have realized that there is an agency in Alabama that helps coordinate services for victims of a traumatic brain injury. Called the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the agency works with both public and private partners to provide employment assistance, pre-vocational resources, and a variety of information and referral services.

The agency’s website also offers an overview of TBI and how it can change a person’s life. Notably, the information includes a caveat that the severity of a TBI injury can vary greatly, from mild injuries to severe conditions with extended symptoms. In fact, the onset of TBI symptoms may also vary, with some long-term symptoms manifesting perhaps weeks or even months after the date when the head trauma occurred.

The diversity of brain injury severity and symptoms is one of the frustrating aspects of a TBI injury. Our law firm focuses on personal injury law, and we know that it can be challenging to properly request a damages award from a negligent party when TBI symptoms may still be changing or uncertain. Whether the cause of the TBI injury was a motor vehicle accident, a slip-and-fall caused by hazardous premises, or a work injury, the symptoms can vary.

In general, there are three broad categories of symptoms or consequences: physical, thinking and emotional/social. Symptoms in each category may require long-term care needs, in addition to interfering with an individual’s ability to earn wages. For example, physical consequences stemming from a TBI injury may include impaired motor coordination, mobility, speech, seizures, hearing or vision loss, pain or other sensory impairments. Thinking consequences may affect an individual’s ability to complete tasks, fully concentrate, and make sound judgments, problem-solve, or perform other cognitive functions. Emotional/social consequences can be equally devastating to a person’s work or social functioning, perhaps including inappropriate behavior, anxiety, or an inability to respond to social clues.

Source: Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, “Traumatic Brain Injury Program,” copyright 2012, ADRS

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