Individuals who suffer concussions in accidents or incidents where they aren’t to blame may seek compensation from the parties responsible for what happened.
Whether through a legal proceeding or an insurance claim, those with concussions have the opportunity to pursue financial recovery for the physical, emotional, and financial challenges they face. However, they often face an uphill battle as insurance companies often downplay the significance of concussion injuries.
A skilled Brain injury lawyer who experiences in concussion is well-prepared to manage this type of claim, ensuring that the victim secures the maximum available compensation.
Seeking Medical Evaluation for a Concussion
Anyone who experiences a concussion or thinks they might have one should promptly seek medical evaluation from their physician or a hospital. During the assessment, a doctor will take a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical examination.
They will inquire about the circumstances surrounding the injury, any symptoms the patient has encountered post-injury, and any prior head injuries or medical conditions that may impact the diagnosis or treatment.
During the physical examination, the doctor will evaluate the person’s vital signs, balance, coordination, strength, reflexes, and sensation. Additionally, a neurological examination should gauge the patient’s cognitive function, memory, and speech.
While imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs may be employed to rule out more severe brain injuries, such as bleeding or swelling in the brain, they are not always deemed necessary or recommended since they may not always reveal evidence of a concussion.
In addition to the initial assessment, doctors may utilize various concussion assessment tools to track the patient’s progress and ascertain when it is safe for them to resume regular activities.
These tools may include both physical and cognitive tests, including balance assessments, reaction time evaluations, and memory assessments. However, this is typically not performed in an acute care setting.
Concussion symptoms may take several days or even weeks to manifest. Expert medical testimony in concussion cases unequivocally emphasizes this point. Therefore, patients must remain vigilant in monitoring their symptoms and seek medical attention if they encounter any new or worsening indicators.
Potential Warning Signs
While a concussion isn’t initially diagnosed as a severe or life-threatening injury, complications can often arise, potentially leading to a hematoma. A hematoma involves the accumulation or pooling of blood outside the brain within the head.
Hematomas may develop after a concussion when blood vessels sustain rupture. The pooled blood can exert internal pressure on the brain, resulting in significant injury.
Signs that may suggest a hematoma or other serious complications stemming from a concussion include:
- Noticeable prominence of one pupil over the other
- Difficulty staying awake (or struggling to awaken)
- A persistent headache that appears to intensify or become more severe over time
- Tremors or involuntary convulsions accompanied by persistent nausea and vomiting
While motor vehicle accidents are one of the most prevalent causes of concussions, several other situations and accidents can result in a concussion as well.
- Intentional assaults
- Slip and fall accidents
- Sports and recreation injuries and accidents
Concussions Resulting from Car Accidents
Concussions can manifest in car accidents due to the sudden and forceful impact experienced during the collision. When a vehicle is involved in a crash, the abrupt change in speed and direction can induce swift movement of the vehicle occupants’ heads.
This rapid motion may lead to the brain colliding with the interior of the skull, resulting in a concussion.
Car accidents may cause concussions through:
- Whiplash: In instances where a vehicle is struck from behind or experiences a sudden stop, the heads of the occupants can be jerked back and forth, causing the brain to collide with the interior of the skull. This abrupt acceleration and deceleration can lead to a concussion.
- Direct impact: If a person’s head comes into direct contact with hard surfaces like the steering wheel, dashboard, side window, or other parts of the car during an accident, the force of the impact can trigger a concussion. Cases involving evidence of blunt force trauma often result in higher settlement amounts for concussions.
- Rotational forces: In scenarios where a vehicle is involved in a rollover or side-impact collision, the rotational forces experienced can cause the brain to twist within the skull, potentially resulting in a concussion. In incidents with a substantial amount of force, these injuries tend to be more prevalent.
Managing and Recovering From a Concussion
When it comes to concussions, there isn’t a direct way to treat them. Unlike injuries such as broken bones, where doctors can intervene physically, they can’t access the brain’s internal damage in the same manner.
Instead, medical attention for concussions primarily revolves around managing and preventing further harm. Although most individuals with concussions eventually make a full recovery, the rate of recovery can vary based on factors like age and any prior history of brain injuries.
The primary approach to managing and recovering from a concussion is brain rest. Offer the brain the opportunity to heal and recuperate, and this often requires both mental and physical rest.
Typically, brain rest means taking time off from work or school and refraining from engaging in demanding mental or physical activities for several days.
During recovery, avoid any additional impacts or blows to the head. Sustaining a second concussion before the initial one has fully healed can lead to dangerous brain swelling. This severe complication may result in lasting brain damage, especially in younger individuals, and in some cases, even prove fatal.
Duration of Concussions
The duration of post-concussion symptoms following a car accident can vary significantly among our clients. While some may recover within days or weeks, others may have permanent brain injuries and effects.
The length of time these symptoms persist largely depends on the severity of the injury, the intensity of the impact, the overall health of the client, and the effectiveness of treatment.
Concussions constitute traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which involve a wide spectrum of symptoms and recovery timelines. In contrast to other personal injury cases, predicting the trajectory of a concussion’s progression is often uncertain.
In many instances, concussion symptoms tend to dissipate within a few days to several weeks. Nevertheless, certain individuals may endure lingering symptoms for an extended period, a condition termed post-concussion syndrome.
Several factors can influence the duration of recovery:
- The severity of the injury: More severe concussions often require lengthier recovery periods compared to less severe cases.
- Age: Children and older adults may necessitate more time for recovery.
- Medical history: Clients with a history of concussions or other brain injuries commonly undergo prolonged recovery and may experience more complications.
- Treatment and rehabilitation: Timely and appropriate interventions involving physical and cognitive rest can expedite the recovery process.
How Can You Establish That You Have Sustained a Concussion?
In contrast to other types of injuries, like bone fractures, there isn’t a definitive test readily available to confirm whether an individual has experienced a concussion.
Biomarkers indicating some level of traumatic brain injury or recovery from it aren’t immediately accessible. However, there are indicators and red flags for a concussion.
The initial step is consulting a doctor, preferably a neurologist. A physician can conduct a physical examination, neurological assessment, and diagnostic procedures such as a CT scan or MRI to assess the severity of your head injury and establish whether a concussion has occurred.
In most cases, doctors diagnose concussions based on initial symptoms, a physical assessment, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
If you did not receive a formal diagnosis right away, your concussion attorney can rely on medical experts to build a retrospective case demonstrating that, in hindsight, you did indeed suffer a concussion.
Establishing Liability for a Concussion
To substantiate liability for post-concussion syndrome, you must demonstrate that the other party or parties were negligent, ultimately leading to your accident and subsequent condition. You have to establish all of the following elements to prove negligence:
Duty of Care and Breach
The at-fault party had a duty of care to prevent harm to others and breached that duty.
For instance, drivers should always adhere to all traffic laws when operating a vehicle. If they violate these rules, they have failed in their duty of care towards fellow drivers and pedestrians. If a driver causes an accident due to driving under the influence, they have breached their duty of care.
The negligent actions of the at-fault party directly led to your concussion. It’s imperative to establish that their failure to uphold their duty of care set off a series of events culminating in your condition.
You must outline how the actions of the responsible party resulted in the accident, subsequently leading to your condition.
Your injury resulted in both economic and non-economic losses. You must illustrate that you incurred expenses such as medical bills, lost income, diminished earning potential, and intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a decline in your overall quality of life.
You must establish that these losses would not have occurred had it not been for the accident.
Compensation for Concussion Injuries
If your concussion injury claim or lawsuit proves successful, you may be eligible for three distinct types of compensation related to post-concussion syndrome:
Economic damages cover objectively measurable financial losses incurred and expected due to the concussion, including:
- Medical expenses: Costs for surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and mental health counseling
- Lost income: In cases where your concussion hinders your ability to work, you may require sick leave or leave your job altogether, depending on the severity of your condition.
- Lost earning capacity: While concussion symptoms typically resolve within a few months, some individuals may develop post-concussion syndrome following an accident. In such cases, symptoms may persist, potentially affecting future earning potential. Determining the amount of future earnings lost due to injuries considers factors like age, occupation, work history, the extent of disability, and projected future earning capacity.
Non-economic damages compensate for subjective losses experienced and anticipated due to a concussion or post-concussion syndrome.
This category covers:
- Pain and suffering: Individuals dealing with concussions often endure significant physical pain, including debilitating migraines. Additionally, they may sustain other injuries resulting from the accident, such as fractures and burns.
- Emotional distress: Accidents leading to concussions and the aftermath can be profoundly traumatic, potentially resulting in conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, phobias, impaired cognitive function, and various other emotional and mental challenges.
- Diminished quality of life: If post-concussion syndrome and accompanying injuries lead to a reduced enjoyment of life or prevent engagement in previously cherished activities, non-economic damages serve to compensate for these losses.
Punitive damages go beyond economic and non-economic damages and penalize the defendant. Punitive damages apply for grossly negligent, wanton, willful, or extremely reckless conduct.
Do You Have a Concussion Injury Claim?
Suppose you were recently diagnosed with a concussion or post-concussion syndrome after being involved in a car accident, a slip and fall, or the victim of an assault. In that case, you likely have a concussion injury claim.
If another person or party causes your injuries and complications, speak to a reliable concussion attorney about your rights and potential compensation.
You might deserve compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Reach out to an experienced concussion attorney today to get your claim started.
Keep in mind that Denver personal injury attorneys typically operate on a contingency fee basis. As such, they don’t require upfront payments or bill personal injury clients based on hourly rates.
Instead, they receive a percentage of any compensation they successfully secure on your behalf as their fee. You only pay fees if they achieve results for you.