You can file a traumatic brain injury (TBI) claim without an attorney, but that does not mean it is in your best interest to do so.
The lawyer representing the at-fault party or the insurance company ultimately wants to get the case dismissed or settle for the lowest offer possible. Without the counsel of an attorney, it is easy to become intimidated or believe that a low settlement offer is the best you will get. A dedicated lawyer can negotiate on your behalf or fight for your rights in court to pursue damages to the fullest extent of your injuries.
Should I File a Traumatic Brain Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?
While you can file a traumatic brain injury claim without an attorney, it is not a good idea to take this route. TBIs can impact your life for weeks, months, or even years to come and may require lengthy and extensive treatment to recover.
A lawyer can calculate the long term impact on your life as well as the pain and suffering you have or will have to endure. You may not even be fully aware of all you are entitled to, as a result of your accident.
Impact of TBI on the Victim’s Life
TBIs range in seriousness and can impact you from weeks, months, or even years. Severe TBIs can even result in permanent damage and new, lifelong challenges. They can impact every area of the victim’s life, from work to personal relationships. Here are a few of the most common areas people are impacted by TBIs:
In most cases, people can return to independent living within six to 12 months after an injury. In severe cases, according to the Mayo Clinic, TBIs can create problems with balance, reducing coordination, and creating weakness where there was none before.
People with moderate to severe TBIs may have trouble focusing and remembering new events or information. They may think or speak slowly, and they may have difficulty solving problems. Changes in routine may be challenging, and they may struggle with noise or chaos. In severe cases, patients have speech or language problems.
Emotional or Behavioral Problems
Emotional or behavioral challenges are common for patients with TBIs. These changes in personality are often painful for both the patient and family members to experience and can cause additional challenges in the home. Some of the more common behaviors include:
- Acting more dependent
- Behaving inappropriately
- Has mood swings
- Is lethargic
- Behaves inappropriately
- Lacks self-awareness
Knowing the Value of Your Claim
One of the main reasons why you should strongly consider retaining a lawyer for a TBI claim is because you might not know the full value of your claim.
The more serious your injuries are, the more damages you could potentially recover. Some of the specific damages that patients with these types of injuries recover include:
- Medical bills, including ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ examinations, medication, rehabilitation and therapy, and medical equipment
- Expenses related to long or short-term care
- Lost wages, past, and future
- Punitive damages if the at-fault party’s behavior was particularly egregious
- Pain and suffering
Calculating the Cost of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is not always easy to calculate, as this non-economic loss is subjective. Through evidence gathered by a legal team– such as photographs, doctor’s notes, family documentation–a lawyer can make the case that a victim’s life is significantly altered as a result of an accident and that he or she has experienced substantial pain and suffering.
A personal injury attorney would not hesitate to pursue damages related to a victim’s pain and suffering. Without an attorney, however, you may not even know what dollar amount to attach to this aspect of your case and thus might be less likely to pursue damages related to your pain and suffering or be more likely to back down from pushback given by the at-fault party’s attorney.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Your Traumatic Brain Injury Claim
A legal team can take the burden off your shoulders to fight for your right to pursue damages. Some of the specific ways they can help include:
- Investigating and gathering evidence supporting your claim
- Establishing liability in the accident
- Negotiating on your behalf to the fullest extent of your injuries
- Fighting for your fights in court, if an agreeable settlement cannot be reached
In short, while you can file a traumatic brain injury claim without an attorney, a dedicated lawyer can save you time and potentially help you recover more damages in your case. Do not let Indiana’s statute of limitations (IC 34-11-2) impact your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. at (317) 636-7777 for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer.