If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury in a South Carolina accident, the stakes are extremely high to get a settlement to best provide for the needs of the victim and compensation for what they’ve been through. In any serious South Carolina accident case, a host of factors must be considered to figure out a settlement amount. For all the cases, the evidence must be gathered, analyzed, and presented in the right way to protect your rights. 

Brain injury cases present a critical challenge because victims often have extreme needs for a settlement to provide future brain injury medical care and some financial security to make up for lost income in the past and future. 

Just like a brain injury victim needs a medical team, they also need a legal team to protect the only chance to do the legal case right. In the legal world, there are no second chances. 

Don’t risk a lifetime of regret. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now Form to get your questions answered in a FREE, NO PRESSURE strategy session with a Spartanburg, South Carolina personal injury attorney.  

Here are the key factors we evaluate to reach a South Carolina brain injury accident settlement.  If you suffered a brain injury at work, South Carolina workers’ comp brain injury cases are evaluated differently.

Our Seven Point Assessment of a South Carolina Brain Injury Accident Settlement

1. Prove Legal Fault, Called “Liability” 

You don’t get a settlement without liability. We investigate the cause of the accident based on listening to you and tracking down witnesses. If it’s a car or motorcycle accident, we get the entire police investigation file. For certain accidents, especially slip or trip and falls and tractor-trailer accidents, we send letters to the at-fault business like the trucking company, telling them not to destroy critical evidence.

This evaluation also includes whether you might be eligible for punitive damages

Sometimes we’ve got to have a hard, honest conversation with the victim about them making a mistake that helped cause the accident. It doesn’t necessarily prevent a settlement, but it’s part of our job to fully assess the case, including South Carolina’s comparative negligence defense, which can reduce your settlement. 

2. Find All Possible Insurance to Pay a Settlement 

Almost all settlements come from insurance companies because most people in businesses can’t afford to pay a South Carolina brain injury settlement. At-fault parties use liability insurance. In car or motorcycle accidents, you may have extra coverage on your own policy called underinsurance or UIM. See how UIM can impact a brain injury case in this real-life example, even if it doesn’t guarantee the same result in your case. When victims try to use UIM, they are often shocked to discover their own insurance turns against them, defending the at-fault driver. 

To make things even more complicated, if your case isn’t a car or motorcycle accident, insurance companies often refuse to reveal how much coverage they have. You’ve got to file a lawsuit to find out through the discovery process. Even then, you’ve got to know how to ask the right way to find out all policies.

What if there’s not enough insurance for a South Carolina brain injury settlement? Medical bills and health insurance subrogation repayment can pose a huge threat to taking all your settlement. That’s when you need a skilled negotiator to get a settlement for all possible coverage, then get medical providers or health insurance to reduce their bills to create a settlement that can put some money in your pocket. 

Let us handle the complexities of your case to give you peace of mind. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841.

3. Get All the Medical Bills and Records

Don’t risk overlooking big medical bills that can increase your settlement. Records need to be analyzed to be translated into understandable terms as meaningful evidence of damage to your brain and your life. While important, past medical bills often pale in comparison to a critical cost that’s hard to prove—future medical care

4. Prove the Cost of Future Medical Treatment in a South Carolina Brain Injury Accident Case

This is an involved process. It usually requires: 

  • Meeting with doctors to confirm future treatment needs. 
  • Finding the cost of that treatment. Here’s a shocker: doctors don’t know. You’ve got to work with the billing office or an expert to figure that out.
  • Creating the future treatment plan so it can be admitted into evidence. 
  • Calculating the cost of future care at present value, so that amount can get into evidence at trial. It reduces the amount, but it’s the law. Present value takes into account that having money now is worth less than getting it later, since it can be invested. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as they say.
  • Because it’s vital and complicated, compiling this may require experts. You may need a life care planner to develop the treatment plan and its cost. For the present value calculation, you need an economist. 

5. Prove Past and Future Lost Income 

Proving past lost income is relatively easy, especially if you get a statement from work attesting to how much money you lost.

Proving future lost income is tough. Brain injury victims often can’t return to a prior job due to their disability. Some can’t work at all. Just proving disability may require evidence from the doctor and an expert’s report called a vocational evaluation. The vocational evaluation may also be needed to prove how much money a disabled brain injury victim can expect to make in the future.

It gets more complicated if the victim had a job with benefits like health insurance and retirement. You need an economist to crunch those numbers to evaluate that loss.

The final amount must be calculated at present value, just like future treatment above. That’s a job for the economist.

6. Prove Human Loss 

Most lawyers call this “pain and suffering,” but not us. Pain and suffering is only part of the loss you sustain as a human from an accident. In brain injury cases, human loss can be enormous. To prove it, we get stories from the victim, the family, and friends to display the dramatic change the injury forced on you.

7. If the Victim Is Married, We Prove the Damage to the Marriage From the Brain Injury

South Carolina brain injury victims’ spouses can get a settlement for this, called “loss of consortium.” Like human loss, marital damage can be enormous. To prove it, we do the same as human loss and compare your marriage before the injury to the new reality your spouse’s brain injury created.

Next Steps to Get a South Carolina Brain Injury Settlement

Once we have all the evidence, we will give you a written settlement evaluation. We map out a strategy to get a solid settlement, and we go for it. 

A critical piece of our strategy is the demand letter sent to opposing counsel or the insurance company adjuster. If we’ve already filed a lawsuit, we will likely end up in mediation. That’s a legal process using a lawyer not involved in the case who tries to get the parties to settle. We send a detailed letter to the mediator, much like the demand to justify a substantial settlement.  We also send it to the insurance company so they can evaluate it and give you the best shot at settling your case at mediation. 

PRO TIP: There is usually not an "out-of-court settlement" for South Carolina severe traumatic brain injury cases. Once we agree to settle, it’ll likely require a judge’s approval, which requires legal proceedings, including a hearing where we present the evidence to convince the judge to approve the settlement.

This Is Too Much—Get Legal Help

If you’re suffering a brain injury or caring for a brain injury victim in a South Carolina accident case, life’s already overwhelming. The insurance company won’t help. Instead, it will capitalize on your ignorance and wanting the case over and done with to cheat you out of the money you desperately need. Don’t let that happen to you or anyone you love. Focus on your recovery and adjusting to your new normal. Handover the hard, dirty legal work to a Spartanburg, South Carolina, personal injury attorney by calling toll-free at 888-230-1841.

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Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a criminal defense attorney.