The Pitfall of Settling Too Soon
In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, it is a person’s first instinct to seek out a path to both recovery and financial stability. However, because certain serious symptoms and ill effects of an injury can take time to manifest themselves, there is a danger in settling a claim for compensation too soon.
In cases of a traumatic brain injury incurred at a young age, it is especially critical to the long-term welfare of the injured person and their family that medical and legal experts take their time to establish the full extent of the damage, including accounting for costs likely to arise in the future. It is also difficult to tell how after-effects of an injury will play out, whether in school, at work or in the home.
The negligent party’s insurance company may try to entice the injured party into accepting a lump sum, which, although impressive and seemingly fair, will not account for the true toll of loss.
A popular and more secure form of payment, especially for children, says the Ontario Brain Injury Association, is the structured settlement. These tax free payments, which come in a steady stream, provide a more predictable and easier to manage source of support than a one-time payout. A personal injury lawyer will work with the injured person and their family, or the parents in the case of a pediatric injury, to obtain a structured settlement where possible.
Early medical and rehabilitative support can dramatically improve an injured person’s recovery. A personal injury lawyer should work to ensure that their client has access to the best possible care right away; however, that doesn’t mean the claim should be settled hastily. Early progress in cognitive, physical and psychiatric recovery should be monitored carefully over an appropriate timeline; promising signs in the initial phase shouldn’t be misconstrued as evidence of a full or even a lasting recovery.
Since it is neither helpful nor wise to compare cases too closely in terms of recovery prospects, medical, psychiatric and legal experts need sufficient time after a traumatic brain injury to properly assess the damage. A personal injury lawyer will provide initial support where possible, but also prevent a premature and potentially unfair settlement.