Being involved in an auto accident with a drunken driver can result in numerous injuries, but none change your life more than a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can permanently alter your life, and even force you to become dependent on others for everyday care. Worse, a TBI may limit your ability to work, interact with loved ones, and sometimes, these injuries can be fatal.
If you were the victim of a drunk-driving accident, and you suffered a TBI as a result, you know that the road ahead is a long one. However, one thing that should not be on your radar is how you will pay for your medical care, lost wages, and more. Instead, you should speak with an attorney in the area that knows how devastating a TBI can be, and one that will aggressively fight to get you and your family the compensation you deserve following these accidents.
While you wait for your free consultation with an attorney, consider the following as you look for answers about your rights, how you will cope, and what you do next.
Drunk Driving Accidents Are Far Too Common
Impaired driving, or drunk driving, kills thousands each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, estimated that 30 people die every day in the United States from a crash involving a drunk driver, and that doesn’t even account for the thousands left injured each year.
It is illegal to drink and drive in any state, and when someone causes a serious accident as the result of their drunk driving, not only do they face criminal charges, but they are likely to face civil consequences through a personal injury lawsuit.
As the victim of a drunk-driving accident, you cannot rely on the courts to provide you with compensation through the criminal case. Instead, the criminal case is there to punish the defendant, but not seek compensation for your losses. They may require that the defendant pay some form of retribution, but this will by no means be the compensation you need to cover the financially exhaustive costs associated with TBI recovery.
Why TBI Recoveries Are Long and Costly
A TBI, even a minor one, can take a few weeks to months to recover. The more severe the TBI, the longer it will take. Some people never fully recover from their TBIs because they are left with permanent deficits.
You will have extensive medical costs at the start of your injury, from the emergency room visit to medical scans (such as an MRI, PET Scan, or CT Scan) to determine the extent of your injury, to specialists’ fees. When you have a TBI, you may need to see a therapist, rehabilitation therapist, a neurosurgeon (when surgery is necessary), or neurologist. These specialists could see you weekly and be in your life for months or years, depending on how serious the injury is.
You will have a lot of unknowns when it comes to medical care, and that means you need someone who can sit down with your team of medical professionals, determine your best outcome, the amount of treatment you will need in the future, and how that could impact you financially. Your attorney will work to ensure you receive compensation for not only the medical expenses you have encountered already (and possibly paid out of pocket), but include those futures ones that could quickly exhaust even the best medical insurance plan.
Including Lost Wages
Often, when someone has a TBI, they may need a few weeks off of work to recover. If there is a more severe injury that has brought about deficits, that person may be unable to return to work, work the same job, or get the same amount of work, etc. That all leads to a decline in annual income, which can be detrimental to any household. You should not have to shoulder that financial loss yourself. Instead, an attorney would work to not only get compensation for the lost hours immediately after the accident, but any changes in wages, promotions lost, benefits lost, and future wages that will never be earned get covered, so that you do not have to worry about where your income will be coming from a few years from now.
Compensation for the Long-Term Results of a TBI
Even mild TBIs can have long-term results. A person could suffer from mood changes, leading to long-term bouts of depression or anxiety. In other cases, a more severe TBI could forever change a person’s personality, intelligence, and even their ability to care for themselves. All of these long-term physical, emotional, and mental impacts are considered when calculating compensation in these cases. After all, it is not fair that you and your loved ones must deal with the aftermath when you did not cause the accident.
How Do You Get Compensation from a Drunk-Driving Accident?
Most likely, you have a criminal case pending, and while you will testify in that case and wait for the results, you do not have to wait for that case to finish before you can speak to an attorney and start the process of seeking compensation. After all, your costs are piling up now – and they will not wait for the months or years it takes to resolve a criminal case.
When you speak to an attorney, they begin negotiations with the insurance company right away. They will look to see how much the driver’s policy covers and if they have assets that can also be used to cover your compensation. Their goal is to make sure all of the expenses, including those far out in the future, are covered.
To explore your options and get started, you need to speak with a team of advocates who know what you are going through and who knows how complicated a TBI settlement can be. Contact the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC, now to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. You can also reach out to us online with your questions about our legal services.