Often, accident victims who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in New York are entitled to recover compensation from those whose recklessness or intentional wrongdoing caused the injury. Compensation generally includes economic damages like medical costs and lost wages and non-economic losses like pain and suffering. However, in special cases, it can also include punitive damages.
An experienced New York personal injury attorney is invaluable when it comes to fighting for full compensation for your TBI. When you hire the right lawyer, they will be able to provide an honest assessment of damages and help you understand whether your case is eligible for punitive damages.
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Types of compensation available for a brain injury
If you suffer a serious TBI, you are generally entitled to receive compensation for both economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses often include:
- Past and future medical bills, including emergency and urgent care, ambulance charges, follow-up visits, physical therapy, medical devices, and prescription costs
- Lost wages, such as income you lost and the value of lost time off and other benefits
- Reduced earning capacitydue to inability to work at full capacity or from lost career advancement opportunities
- Other expensesincluding the cost of paying someone to perform tasks that you cannot perform due to the TBI
Proving past economic damages is relatively straightforward because the losses have already occurred. However, moderate and severe brain injuries may cause long-term and even permanent injuries. Fully accounting for these is crucial in a brain injury case. You may have physical, cognitive, or emotional impairments that can for many years. Your lawyer may arrange for expert witnesses to calculate your future losses and present that as part of your damages.
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Non-economic damages can include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Loss of enjoymentof the things you liked to do before the accident
- Loss of reputation if the accident harmed you socially
- Disfigurement if you also suffered permanent physical injuries like scarring
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate but usually include pain and suffering. Insurance adjusters and defense counsel will usually undervalue your losses, but your lawyer will advocate for full compensation.
In exceptional cases, you may be eligible for punitive damages. These are only available if your case goes to trial and is awarded by a jury. To win punitive damages, you must be able to show that the defendant’s conduct was egregious. There is no formula to calculate punitive damages.
When is compensation for a TBI limited in New York?
There are specific situations where you may not be able to recover full damages due to New York’s no-fault insurance laws. If your TBI occurred due to a car accident, it must meet the insurance law’s definition of a serious injury. If it does not, you will be limited to recovering economic damages from your insurance carrier and not eligible to file a lawsuit against the other driver for non-economic damages. As a trade-off, you will not need to prove that the other driver was at fault to receive these limited benefits.
Not every TBI meets the threshold for a “serious injury.” Minor concussions, for example, are traumatic brain injuries, but with proper care, they may resolve quickly and without long-term impairment. However, moderate and serious TBIs often qualify as “serious” under the statute, either because they result in more than $50,000 in economic loss or because they cause permanent loss of a body function or significant impairment that restricts daily activities.
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Schedule a free consultation with a Manhattan personal injury lawyer
The compensation available in a TBI case is fact-specific, so it pays to have an experienced New York City brain injury lawyer by your side. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, we are committed to protecting the rights of our clients. When you call us, you can count on skilled and aggressive representation that takes your situation into account.
Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We never collect a legal fee unless we win, so there is no risk to you.