You’ve suffered from a catastrophic brain injury. Who can you turn to for help?
Turn to Tony Merchant, one of Tuscon’s shrewdest, most experienced attorneys. Mr. Merchant has a long track record. He’s helped his clients recover millions of dollars after life-altering brain injuries.
He’s compassionate and easy to work with, and understands the struggles that you’re going through as you seek to adjust to the impact the injury has had on your life and cognitive processes. He gives each client personal care and attention, and does everything he can to ensure that you get the justice you deserve.
Brain injury cases require the help of expert personal injury attornies familiar with the challenges inherent to them in part because brain injuries themselves are so complex. They’re challenging to diagnose. Predicting the long-term effects and your needs for long-term care is equally challenging. Even a CT scan or an MRI doesn’t always accurately pinpoint the severity of the injury.
“In the very early stages of a head injury, it is impossible to predict the long road ahead. Obvious physical injuries (ones that we can see) are an unreliable predictor of the future. For example, some people have “minor” medical problems and are discharged from a hospital within hours of the car accident. In the long run, however, they may never be the same. On the other hand, I’ve had people who were in a lengthy coma and had multiple physical injuries. These people not only got out of the coma, but are doing extremely well.” –The Traumatic Brain Injury Guide
Insurance companies will use this against brain injury patients. An injury whose full effects take time to show, which is invisible to the average onlooker, which can’t always be accurately captured on imaging devices? These injuries are ripe for an adjuster or a defendant’s lawyer to say: “The plaintiff is exaggerating this injury. The plaintiff is faking the pain to get more money.”
Arizona is an extremely conservative state, and defendant lawyers know that juries often eat up this narrative. It takes an extremely skilled attorney to turn that story around, to truly provide evidence that will be taken seriously enough in a settlement conference to get a sufficient amount of money to see to a TBI patient’s needs in the future, or to drive the point home when the matter goes all the way to litigation.
In many cases, individuals suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) will suffer from a loss of cognitive function. They may not even remember their accident. They may now have to navigate a long-term disability that keeps them from working, which means their personal injury settlement must include compensation for the wages they would have earned had the accident never happened.
Brain injury patients also typically need a great deal of long-term care. Furthermore, they may suffer from changes in mood or personality which can be difficult for them to adjust to. Many TBI patients will require psychiatric care to address the long-term emotional pain of having to adjust to such a major injury. They may suffer from seizures, or have difficulty finding the right words. Many suffer from long-term chronic fatigue.
Attornies who are inexperienced may even make mistakes while interviewing TBI patients.
If you’re suffering from any or all of these effects, we understand. We are patient and are willing to work in the way that makes you the most comfortable. We’re also experienced at working around the case-based challenges that tend to come with TBIs.
TBIs are some of the most expensive personal injury cases. Imagine the medical bills for a person who spends just one week in a coma.
The higher the medical bills, the harder the defendant’s insurance company is going to fight to avoid paying them. They are going to work hard to prove that the accident was mostly your fault. Even if they can’t prove you were 100% at-fault for your accident the nature of Arizona’s comparative negligence laws is such that even a single percentage point can cost you thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars.
For example, you have a 1 million dollar award. You are willing to accept you are 10% at fault for the accident, and so your award would be reduced to $900,000 normally. Yet the defendant’s insurance company steps in and pushes that percentage of fault up to 11%. Now you’re only taking home $890,000. Every percentage point shaves off $10,000 more.
Imagine what happens when you’re looking at a $5 million dollar award, or a $10 million dollar award.
If they can’t convince a jury you are more responsible for the accident than you were then they’ll move on to trying to downplay the severity of your injuries. They will take full advantage of the fact that it’s difficult to diagnose or predict the nature of brain injuries, or even to see them. They will claim you are exaggerating your pain or faking some of the toughest effects of your injuries.
This can be very hard to live with and deal with, but it’s easier when you have a very good attorney working hard to rabidly defend your interests.
These cases are thus more likely to go to litigation. They are more likely to stall at the negotiation phase. So you also want to be sure you have an experienced litigator on your side, someone who is prepared to take the case as far as it needs to go.
At the Law Offices of Tony Merchant, we handle every kind of personal injury case that might result in a TBI. This includes construction accidents, slips and falls, car accidents and truck accidents, public transportation accidents, and more.
If your TBI has been caused by someone else’s negligence then you have a case. It doesn’t matter how you got injured, so long as someone had a duty to help secure your safety that they failed to pursue.
There are many ways in which a qualified attorney can impact your case. One way is by making sure we accurately reconstruct the facts of the case. We do this through evidence gathering, through depositions, and by consulting with the appropriate expert witnesses.
Some, like accident reconstructionists, can help demonstrate that you were not at-fault for your injuries.
Others, like medical experts, can help demonstrate that you are 100% serious about the impacts of your injuries, that you are not faking anything and that you truly deserve the compensation you are asking for.
Meanwhile, your attorney must present a story that both the defendants and a jury can accept and work with. In addition, your attorney must be sure to identify all the responsible parties for the accident as there may be multiple individuals who can be held accountable.
From there, it’s a matter of being prepared to walk into a courtroom at any time while simultaneously exercising shrewd negotiation skills to get you the best deal possible at the settlement conference. 92% of traumatic brain injury cases do settle, but that doesn’t mean all 92% of those plaintiffs walked away with deals that were capable of giving them the money they needed to move forward through the new normal.
Another thing your attorney will be doing for you is handling the insurance companies on your behalf, if you involve your lawyer early enough in the process. In fact, this can be vital. If you’re trying to deal with the insurance company while you’re struggling to recover from a TBI you may be that much much more vulnerable to the types of dirty tricks that these people are likely to play just to avoid paying you what they owe you.
These dirty tricks can include tricking you into saying things you shouldn’t, asking you to sign documents you should not sign, making endless requests for paperwork, or attempting to “stall you out” until the statute of limitations runs out on your case.
Involving an attorney early means they can file the claim on your behalf, dealing both with your insurance company and with the defendant’s insurance company. Personal injury lawyers have these conversations every day and do not make the kinds of mistakes that accident victims are prone to making when they are already stressed out, in pain, and full of fear for the future.
It’s impossible to tell you an exact amount without knowing the specifics of your case. It’s only possible to speak in general terms about what your brain injury settlement should include.
There are three types of damages you may receive from this type of case. The first type are your economic damages.
These are the sum total of all of your medical bills and lost wages. These also cover damages to your car. If you are unable to work in the future and need long-term care, then the projected amounts that you will need will also factor into your economic damages.
This means some of your economic damages are very straightforward. If you have a $3 million dollar medical bill from past care then you have $3 million, at least, in economic damages. Others are less straightforward. Your attorney can press for $3 million more in future care bills based on medical projections, but some of this is guesswork. Thus, some of your economic damages are still up for negotiation, especially in a traumatic brain injury case where predicting future care needs is so very difficult.
Then there are your non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering. In Arizona, you are given a multiplier based on the extent of your injuries and the extent to which they impact your life. You can expect this number to be hotly contested as downshifting or upgrading that number by one makes a huge difference in the size of the check the defendant is going to be asked to write.
This is where you might see the defendant trying to downplay your injuries, or throwing around accusations that you’re exaggerating the extent to which you’re being impacted by them.
Multipliers run from 1 to 5. Your economic damages are then multiplied by this figure to come up with your pain and suffering award. If you have $600,000 in economic damages and you receive a multiplier of 3 then you’re looking at $1.8 million in pain and suffering damages. Easy to see why this multiplier is so hotly contested, and easy to see why you need an outstanding negotiator on your side.
The third type of damages are rarer. These are punitive damages. These are damages that are levied when someone engages in negligence above and beyond what any reasonable person would engage in. These may also be levied when someone breaks a serious law, like texting while driving or drinking while driving.
In Arizona these are very rare, but we do pursue them when they are appropriate to your case.
What’s the average? For a mild-to-moderate TBI you may be looking at a settlement of $100,000, a moderate-to-severe TBI might be around $900,000 to $1.5 million, and an extremely severe TBI case might be worth upwards of $3 million or more. It truly depends on both the facts of your case and how well your case is handled.
Tony Merchant has over 30 years of experience in the field of personal injury law, and has helped hundreds of TBI patients just like you. Call (480) 581-8801 to get started today.