Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Lawsuits: 10 Example Verdicts
As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, I am well aware of the devastating impact that a traumatic brain injury caused by any accident. Traumatic brain injuries can vary tremendously in their severity, from mild concussions that resolve quickly, to totally devastating, completely disabling, and fundamentally life-altering tragic injuries. The most devastating traumatic brain injuries often leave the victim completely dependent on care-givers for the rest of their lives. And even moderate traumatic brain injuries can negatively alter many important aspects of the victim’s life.
To speak with a traumatic brain injury lawyer, please call or text our Orlando accident & injury lawyer hotline, at (407) 803-2139.
Our goal, when it is clear that another person or company caused the TBI, is to recover the most money possible for our clients. We use many techniques, starting from making sure we hire the right experts early in the case, then advising our client regarding how they can maximize the case value, by their actions (usually making sure they stick with treatment and collect the evidence that we will need to prove their case).
Additionally, whenever we are evaluating any traumatic brain injury case, we review past verdict outcomes for similar cases, from across the state. Evidence regarding how past cases were decided by juries can be very persuasive in causing defendants to write much larger settlement checks, and avoid the need for a risky trial, where jurors may or may not agree with conflicting experts and opinions. Far too often, many Florida accident & injury lawyers fail to do the research needed to justify the amounts they are seeking to settle traumatic brain injury cases, and get lower case values as a result.
Today I wanted to share ten examples from my research regarding past verdicts in traumatic brain injury cases. However, there were almost 1000 current reported cases, ranging in value from zero, to many millions, for traumatic brain injury lawsuits. So we really do need to know the severity of your TBI, along with the facts surrounding the accident, and many other factors, to determine the highest value for your case. Still, I have shared a few comments after each example, to help you understand some issues that might affect your traumatic brain injury case value.
Additionally, factors other than the severity of the traumatic brain injury definitely can affect case value. For example, if the defendant has very low insurance and no collectible assets, the value will be much lower, even with severe brain injuries. But we search high and low for any evidence to increase the case value, in traumatic brain injury cases. We also make sure our clients are receiving the medical care that they need to BEST prove the extent of their injuries.
The best way to maximize your case value is to call us EARLY in the process, preferably immediately after the accident happened. The sooner we get involved, the more likely we can help.
But here are a few traumatic brain injury case examples, to help you understand the potential value of these tragic cases.
Traumatic brain injury caused by auto accident involving car & motorcycle.
Result: $481,500 VERDICT
Summary of the Case:
The plaintiff claimed that he was riding his motorcycle through an Orlando, Florida, intersection with the right- of-way, when the defendant negligently entered through a stop sign and caused a collision. The collision occurred as the plaintiff was riding his motorcycle eastbound with the right-of-way (no stop sign). The defendant was driving northbound and drove through (or pulled out from) a stop sign where her car collided with the plaintiff’s motorcycle.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with a closed head injury and traumatic brain injury as a result of the motorcycle accident. He claimed ongoing cognitive deficits. The defendant’s psychologist opined the plaintiff suffered no functional neuropsychological impairment as a result of the accident.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $481,500 in damages comprised of $136,500 in past and future medical expenses and $345,000 in past and future pain and suffering.
Orlando accident lawyer comments: Ongoing cognitive deficits caused by traumatic brain injury can vary tremendously. If they are severe and there is good medical evidence that they were caused by the accident (such as doctors notes and expert opinions), then the value can be several hundred thousand to several million. However, if the injury is mild, or if the experts don’t agree on the diagnosis, or if there are disputes regarding who caused the accident, then the values can be lower.
Severe brain injury caused by car colliding with semi-truck, due to texting and driving.
Result: $4,300,000 BENCH VERDICT
City: Altamonte Springs
This case involved a Florida woman who was permanently injured in a vehicle struck while the driver was texting.
Cacilia C., 26 years-old, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her then boyfriend, Joseph Edward O., both residents of Bunnell, Florida. At the intersection, the defendant ran a stop sign while texting, and drove into the path of a tractor trailer. The plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for three weeks. She is now permanently and totally disabled.
The plaintiff filed suit in Orange County Circuit Court, accusing the defendant of negligence through his texting while driving, resulting in the collision. The plaintiff sought compensatory and non-compensatory damages for her long-term disability.
The matter was resolved by a bench verdict for $4,300,000 in damages.
Orlando TBI lawyer comments: The real question in this case is whether the defendant (the driver of the car, who was texting and driving) had sufficient insurance to cover the damages. Most likely, if he was an individual driver, he didn’t. It’s unfortunate that there was no evidence that the semi-truck driver was to blame, because semi-truck accidents often involve auto insurance policies ranging from one to a few million.
High speed rear-end collision caused by stolen vehicle, involving uninsured motorist claim, which caused: (1) traumatic brain injury, (2) myofascial pain syndrome, (3) lumbar disc herniation, and (4) aggravation of preexisting degenerative arthritis.
Result: $400,000 RECOVERY
The plaintiff brought this action against her uninsured motorist carrier after her car was struck in the rear behind by an unidentified motorist in a stolen vehicle. The defendant disputed the extent and nature of the injuries claimed by the plaintiff as a result of the collision.
The plaintiff was a 71-year-old female at the time of the collision on September 1, 2017. The plaintiff was driving northbound on NE 25th Avenue in Ocala. The defendant was traveling westbound on NE 3rd Street. The plaintiff contended that the defendant disregarded a red light at a speed of approximately 100 mph, entered the intersection and struck the back of her vehicle.
The impact caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to spin out of control. The plaintiff claimed a brain injury with post-traumatic headaches, cervical and lumbar myofascial pain syndrome, a lumbar disc herniation and aggravation of right knee and right ankle degenerative arthritis as a result of the collision.
The case was settled for $400,000 prior to trial.
Orlando personal injury lawyer comments: Because the summary only mentions headaches, this was likely a mild brain injury. So the other injuries were probably a big part of this $400,000 settlement. This is one reason that accident victims should seek recovery for ALL of their symptoms QUICKLY after any accident.
Motor vehicle collision that caused a traumatic brain injury, against uninsured motorist insurance policy carrier.
VERDICT: $61,636.95 for Plaintiffs ($23,081.95 – past medical expenses; $7,000 – future medical expenses; $555 – past lost earnings; $0 – future lost earnings; $15,000 – past pain and suffering; $15,000 – future pain and suffering).
Summary: Plaintiff Anne Koon was involved in a motor vehicle collision with Mikel Patrick. Patrick had a $10,000 policy of insurance with Progressive American Insurance Company. Plaintiff accepted Patrick’s policy limits in settlement and sought additional compensation through her $300,000 underinsured motorist policy with defendant Government Employees Insurance Company (Geico). Defendant disputed the injuries claimed by plaintiff, including that she had suffered traumatic brain injury in the collision.
Florida auto accident lawyer comments: this is a relatively low value for a traumatic brain injury lawsuit, which suggests that either the plaintiff’s symptoms were mild, or the jury did not believe the diagnosis (which can happen when there are conflicting experts who have different opinions about whether the victim actually suffered a TBI). The best way to maximize the value of a TBI case, assuming the symptoms make the diagnosis clear, is to hire the best TBI experts, which is what we do.
High speed rear-end accident caused by tractor-trailer, led to traumatic brain injury.
Summary: Gendron suffered a comminuted femur fracture, requiring insertion of a rod and screws. Gendron’s leg was shortened as a result. He also claimed to suffer a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident, with ringing of the ears, dizziness and headaches. Gendron’s neurology expert confirmed that he had sustained a traumatic brain injury. Gendron incurred medical expenses of approximately $105,000. His physicians claimed that he would need future medical care. Gendron’s orthopedic surgeon testified that he would require an additional future surgery to remove a screw in his femur that was irritating his hip area. Gendron claimed that he lost his aircraft repair business as a result of his injuries and that he lost out on significant business opportunities associated with start-up businesses that he had formed prior to the accident.
The plaintiff Paul Gendron, a 48-year-old aircraft mechanic and aircraft repair shop business owner, was rear-ended by Lascelles Anderson. Anderson was operating a tractor trailer owned by his employer, Central Broward Construction Inc., at the time of the accident.
Gendron sued Anderson for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and sued Central Broward Construction for vicarious liability. Anderson and Central Broward Construction admitted liability for the accident, but the defendants disputed Gendron’s injury claims. The case went to trial on damages only. Gendron’s accounting expert was called to substantiate his business loss claims. Gendron’s counsel asked for over $2.5 million in his closing argument. The defendants’ neurology expert opined that Gendron did not sustain a traumatic brain injury in the subject accident. The defense also called a neuroradiology expert who testified that Gendron’s diagnostic films did not show any evidence of a traumatic brain injury.
Orlando auto accident lawyer comment: This case was a disappointingly low verdict, particularly considering the fracture needing rod and screws (which involves a surgical procedure and a lot of pain). Most likely, the jury did not believe that the plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury. The symptoms were relatively mild for a brain injury, and the experts disagreed. The jury most likely believed the defendant’s experts instead. This is why we hire only the best traumatic brain injury experts in the nation, whenever we have a serious brain injury case.
Also, notice that the defendant was ONLY fighting about the value of the damages. We often explain to clients that it doesn’t matter if the insurance company or defendant admits fault. They will still fight tooth-and-nail over the VALUE of the case. We utilize many techniques from the beginning of every case to maximize value for each of our clients, if their injuries truly are severe (if their injuries aren’t really that bad, then the value of the case will not be as high because we can’t create a false injury or symptoms to present to the jury).
Motor vehicle negligence – Rear end collision – Mother and four children involved in auto accident in Marion County, Florida – Traumatic brain injury – Multiple fractures – Organ damage – Blunt force trauma.
Result: $51,000,000 VERDICT
In this action, a family of six sued over a 2013 car crash. The matter was resolved with a jury verdict.
In December 2013, Yolanda A. and her four children were at a red light. The defendant, Nathan P., slammed into the plaintiff’s vehicle with such force that it stood upright on its front bumper and slid into the vehicle in front of it.
The plaintiffs suffered injuries including traumatic brain injuries, multiple fractures, organ damage and blunt force trauma. One of the children was rendered paraplegic.
The plaintiffs filed suit in the Orange County Circuit Court against the defendant Nathan P. The plaintiffs sought damages for motor vehicle negligence, including $500,592.72 in medical bills.
The jury returned a finding for the plaintiff and awarded $51,813,591 in damages, including $11.7 million, $2 million, and $1 million for each of the children, and $7.5 million for the mother.
Orlando accident attorney comments: This was a tragic case involving a few key facts that led to such a high verdict: (1) very clear fault on the part of the defendant, since he rear-ended the plaintitffs’ vehicle (as opposed to an intersection collision, where fault might have been disputed); (2) very hard impact caused by extreme negligence, faster driving, and paying no attention to the roadway (we know this because only a high rate of speed would cause a vehicle to flip vertical on it’s front bumper, then ram the car in front); (3) very, very severe injuries, including paraplegia, paralysis, organ damage, multiple fractures, and severe brain damage, with multiple severely injured victims.
One thing that isn’t clear from these published results is whether the defendant had an insurance policy that would cover these amounts. Unfortunately, they probably did not. There are cases where we can get very high verdicts paid by insurance companies, because the insurance company failed to settle for the full policy amount when they should have (called bad faith). But those cases are rare. Often the highest payments come from accidents involving commercial vehicles with commercial insurance policies, which are often valued between 1 & 5 million.
Negligence/Motor Vehicle Collision/Scooter Struck by Suburban/Traumatic Brain Injuries.
VERDICT: $6,000,000 for Plaintiff ($600,000 – past medical expenses; $4,400,000 – future medical expenses; $500,000 – past pain and suffering; $500,000 – future pain and suffering).
Summary: Defendant Christina Araj was operating a Chevrolet Suburban when she struck the rear of a motorcycle/scooter being operated by Kenneth Jones. Jones struck his head on the windshield of the Suburban and allegedly suffered traumatic brain injuries requiring eight surgeries and leaving him permanently incapacitated and in need of constant nursing care. Jones had a suspended driver’s license at the time, and he did not have a motorcycle endorsement on the suspended license.
Plaintiff Jessica Jennifer Renfroe, as Guardian and Next Friend of her father Kenneth Jones, filed a complaint against defendants on Aug. 21, 2012. Defendants claimed that Jones was negligent for failing to have the proper license to operate the scooter on the roads, for failing to wear proper eye and head gear, and for operating the scooter on a roadway where the speed limit was 45-55 mph when the scooter was only capable of traveling at a rate of 30-35 mph.
The jury found that Christina Araj was 75% at fault for the collision. The verdict amount was prior to reduction for Jones’ 25% comparative negligence.
Orlando car accident lawyer comments: This case proves that even if you have some bad facts (namely, the plaintiff wasn’t properly licensed, and wasn’t wearing headgear), you can still recover a high amount with evidence that the defendant was at fault, and caused serious injuries. When the plaintiff has some blame, as in this case, the judge instructs the jury that they can assign some percentage of fault to the plaintiff. That’s called “comparative negligence,” and that’s what happened here. The plaintiff was found 25% negligence. So the judge would have reduced the verdict by that amount.
It’s also not clear whether there was insurance money to pay this claim. Very often, there isn’t. So the first and biggest case in any serious injury case is what insurance policy coverage the defendant might have. If there is a higher value policy, then medical treatment and experts are used to prove the extent of the injuries. The plaintiff’s very serious injuries were clear in this case, with eight surgeries, and permanent incapacitation requiring constant nursing care. The verdict was so high because the injuries were so serious.
Product Liability/Negligent Manufacture of Fishing Boat/Detachment of Windshield Resulting in Facial and Head Injuries.
VERDICT: $1,130,000 for Plaintiff ($50,000 – past medical expenses; $180,000 – future medical expenses; $70,000 – past pain and suffering; $830,000 – future pain and suffering).
NATURE OF INJURY: Facial lacerations; nose fracture; deviated septum; mild traumatic brain injury with accompanying sleep and emotional disorders, migraines, and temporary loss of smell; post- concussive syndrome causing agitation, depression, loss of motivation, and cognitive deficits; pain and suffering.
46-year-old plaintiff Jonathan Turner purchased a 32-foot center console fishing boat manufactured by defendant Donzi Marine, LLC. A month later, plaintiff was boating with two of his friends on Florida’s inter-coastal waterway and traveling at a speed of about 64 miles per hour when the boat’s 32-pound glass and aluminum windshield became dislodged from the center console without warning and struck plaintiff in the face. He became immediately aware that he had sustained facial injuries, including lacerations and a broken nose, but allegedly later became aware that he had suffered a concussion and a mild traumatic brain injury causing disturbances in mood, memory, cognitive abilities, and sleep patterns.
Plaintiff filed a product liability action claiming that defendant had negligently installed the windshield by affixing insufficient screws into fiberglass without backing plates, bolts, or marine adhesive. Defendant admitted liability for the facial injuries but disputed causation of a traumatic brain injury. Defendant initially contested liability but, after four years of litigation, conceded liability. However, defendant argued that other factors caused the sleep disorders, headaches, mood problems, and other alleged deficits, including weight gain and low testosterone. Defendant also argued for reduction of plaintiff’s damages for his decision to wait two years for the nasal surgery and rejection of pain management.
The verdict amount was prior to reduction for the jury’s finding that plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages in the amount of $405,000, which resulted in a net verdict of $750,000.
Orlando personal injury attorney comments: Can you believe the defendant tried to argue that they weren’t responsible for these injuries? That should show you just how hard these companies will fight to avoid paying any money. Additionally, once the defendant accepted liability (which means they accepted that they caused the accident), they still fought HARD over the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries. We see this often with particularly mild traumatic brain injury cases. Whenever the symptoms resemble ordinary problems (like disturbed mood and sleep), proving a TBI is challenging. The best approach when the TBI diagnosis is clear is to hire the best TBI expert, which is a physician with outstanding credentials, experienced with explaining the impact of a TBI to the jury. This is the approach that has helped us prove mild, moderate, and severe TBI cases.
Negligent security at tavern – Man sues bar after fight leaves him with head injury – Permanent traumatic brain injury.
Result: $18,000,000 VERDICT
In this tavern negligent security action, the male plaintiff, in his early 30s, sued the defendant tavern after he suffered a traumatic brain injury while trying to break up a bar fight. The matter was resolved with a jury verdict.
The evidence revealed that the plaintiff, Joshua M., a regular at this bar in Orlando, Florida, stepped in to stop a bar fight around closing time. The plaintiff maintained that he suffered a traumatic brain injury after he was struck by another patron and fell, striking his head on the cement. The plaintiff was in a coma for two months. He now walks with a cane and suffers from difficulty communicating. The defendant made a general denial of liability.
The plaintiff contended that the defendant bar was negligent in failing to provide adequate security and failing to train their personnel in how to properly deal with unruly patrons. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s negligence in this regard was a direct cause of his injuries.
The plaintiff filed suit in Circuit Court of Orange County, Florida against the bar. The plaintiff’s negligent security claim sought compensatory damages for lost earnings and medical expenses, as well as other damages.
The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded $18 million in damages.
Orlando personal injury lawyer comments: This verdict was so high because the injuries were so serious, and easy to prove because the plaintiff was in a coma for two months, after which he had difficulty walking and communicating. This is the type of severe TBI where the extent of the injuries is easy to prove. Negligent security requires proof that there had been prior similar crimes on the premises, so there must have been good evidence on that issue, as well.
Motor vehicle negligence – Three-vehicle, rear end collision – Mild traumatic brain injury – Shoulder subluxation with surgery – Ligament damage to neck.
Result: $505,775 VERDICT
This action arose from a rear end collision caused by the negligence of the defendant driver, driving a cargo van owned by the defendant corporation. The plaintiff was granted summary judgment on the issues of liability and comparative negligence and the case was tried on damages and causation only.
The collision occurred in Orlando, Florida. The plaintiff’s vehicle was stopped for a traffic light in the left lane of Apopka-Vineland Road when it was struck from behind and pushed into the car in front of it.
The plaintiff testified that she braced for impact using her left arm and her head struck the steering wheel. The plaintiff testified she was dazed and confused and felt pain in her head, neck and shoulders after the collision. The plaintiff, a college student at the time, sought treatment at the University of Central Florida Healthcare Center. She was subsequently diagnosed with ligament damage to her cervical spine and a left shoulder subluxation and impingement for which shoulder surgery was performed. In addition, the plaintiff claimed that the collision caused a mild traumatic brain injury characterized by vertigo, decreased memory, slowed mental functioning, headaches and dizziness.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s symptoms of brain injury were subjective and were not supported by objective evidence. The defense maintained that the plaintiff’s concussion- like symptoms would have resolved within nine months of the accident. The defendant stressed that the plaintiff returned to college after the accident and received better grades than she did before the accident, negating her claim of cognitive impairment. The defense also contended that a routine X-ray of the plaintiff’s cervical spine was performed after the accident and was normal and that the plaintiff’s neck and shoulder complaints were not caused by the collision.
The jury awarded the plaintiff $505,775 in damages.
Orlando car accident lawyer comments: The fault of this accident was clear, since the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff. The plaintiff was also young. These were very serious injuries for a young person, including the shoulder surgery, and moderate TBI. Clearly the experts supported the plaintiff’s claims of having a TBI.
Most Important Issues in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
The ten examples above involved some of the highest verdicts in Florida history for traumatic brain injury cases. We did NOT include many lower value verdicts, which often involve much less serious TBI cases. TBI cases increase in value, substantially, when the cause of the accident is clear, and the plaintiff’s injuries are severe, and experts agree that the plaintiff experienced a TBI.
Sometimes symptoms can seem like TBI, but actually be something milder, like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD cases also have value, just not as high. So proving a serious TBI case always involves hiring the best TBI experts to evaluate the plaintiff, and testify when needed to a jury.
If the TBI diagnosis is either mild, or unclear, then the value will be lower. Values higher than 1 million usually involve lifetime, debilitating TBI cases, where there really isn’t any way for the defendant to dispute the diagnosis.
In short, more severe TBI cases, where the plaintiff has had obviously life-altering injuries, lead to the highest recoveries. Mild to moderate TBI symptoms, such as headaches, mood and sleep disturbances, and even mild cognitive disturbances, are much more difficult to prove. But utilizing the best experts and treatments is the best way to maximize the value of TBI cases.
What If You Already Have Another Florida Accident Lawyer?
We have accepted many cases where clients were unhappy with their current lawyer. However, usually we cannot accept the case if your lawyer withdrew from the case, or your lawyer has already received an offer in the case, because your lawyer will have a lien for his or her fees. That being said, if your lawyer has not withdrawn, but you are unhappy with his or her services, then we would be glad to discuss whether we might be able to help.
Why Hire Us To Handle Your Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit?
Ms. Willis has worked at some of the largest insurance defense firms in the country, often on multi-million dollar cases. She was also formerly a law professor, and graduated second in her law school class. She works with a small team of very experienced lawyers who have recovered many millions of dollars for their clients, won countless industry awards, and always have a low volume / high service approach to each and every case. We are the antidote to big personal injury firms. We will tell you what is needed to maximize your case value.Share