A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that frequently occurs during a car crash. The concussion settlement value depends on a number of factors. Concussions vary from mild to severe, impacting the cost of treatment and how long it takes to get well. If another driver is at fault for your concussion, you have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. The seriousness of your concussion and the types of damages you claim will determine how much compensation you get from your claim.
Types of damages your personal injury attorney can help you get are:
- Compensation for Loss of Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Emotional Trauma
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results from a blow or severe shaking of the head. You can get a concussion in either way during a car accident. The impact of a crash causes the body to rock forwards and back, often causing the brain to shift in the skull. This can cause the tissue that holds the brain in place to tear loose. Bruising and bleeding can also occur. You can also get a concussion when your head strikes a solid surface, like the dashboard or steering wheel.
Symptoms of a Concussion
You might not have any symptoms at all immediately after the accident. If you do, they might include persistent headaches, feeling confused, and memory problems. Other concussion symptoms include nausea, dizziness, seeing stars, ringing in the ears, and blurred vision. Some concussions lead to mood changes, sleep problems, and even seizures.
Many people think you lose consciousness when you get a concussion. In reality, you might not even appear injured until several hours or days after the accident. Concussions are graded according to loss of consciousness and the loss of memory.
Grade I: Grade I is a mild concussion. With a Grade I concussion, you won’t lose consciousness or have amnesia at all, or for less than thirty minutes.
Grade I: Grade II is a moderate concussion. If you have a Grade II concussion, you will be unconscious for less than five minutes and/or experience amnesia for a period of 30 minutes to 24 hours.
Grade III: Grade III is a severe concussion. This is the most serious grade of concussion. If you have a Grade III concussion, you will lose consciousness for more than five minutes and/or have amnesia for over 24 hours.
What to Do If You Have a Head Injury
Injuries caused by the force of an impact are difficult to recognize when no symptoms are present. If there is a wound to the outside of the head, you should always get it treated even if there are no apparent symptoms. The doctors in the emergency room know what to look for based on how the injury occurred.
The same is true if you have symptoms with the absence of an obvious wound. If you or anyone in the accident experience any of the symptoms of concussion listed above, get it checked out immediately. When you get medical treatment, make sure the providers list everything they do in your medical record. If you end up filing a personal injury claim, the court will consider your medical records to determine a fair concussion settlement value.
Don’t Forget the Kids
We put kids in car seats and restrain them to keep them safe during a crash. You might not even consider the possibility that your child has a concussion. But the same motion that causes concussions in adults can impact children in the same way. The big difference is that they can’t describe what they’re feeling as easily as adults.
Children’s heads are larger in comparison to their bodies than those of adults. This makes them even more vulnerable to concussions. If a child has no outward signs of a head wound, watch them closely for the first 24 hours after the accident. Don’t give them any medications, such as aspirin, during that time because they could potentially cause bleeding. If they complain of a headache, nausea, or other concussion symptoms, take them to a doctor for an examination.
Symptoms can be difficult to catch. They sometimes last only seconds at a time. They may present as irritability or sleep disturbances that aren’t easily distinguishable from their normal behavior. If in doubt, it’s better to have them examined than to risk their having a concussion that goes untreated.
Before determining treatment, the doctor might provide a range of neurological tests. They will check your reflexes, balance, hearing, and vision. Since concussion often impacts memory and concentration, they may perform tests to evaluate these cognitive skills. MRI or CT scans provide images for those with severe symptoms to indicate swelling or bleeding inside the skull.
The next step is often observation. You might stay in the hospital overnight so that the staff can awaken you regularly to make sure you are okay. For most people with a concussion, rest is the best medicine. It gives the brain time to recover. During the period of treatment, you will need to avoid activities that increase your symptoms. You may be unable to return to normal activities, including those that you do at your job, for weeks or months.
Post-Concussion Syndrome occurs after a concussion and lasts for a period of time after the concussion occurred. The condition can last anywhere from weeks to months. It doesn’t occur in everyone who gets a concussion and it’s often more severe in those with previous head trauma. It often produces more severe symptoms in people who have headaches after their concussion, along with symptoms of amnesia, fogginess, or fatigue. People who have a history of headaches are also at a greater risk of developing PCS.
Symptoms of PCS include:
- Sleep problems
- Depression, Irritability, or Anxiety
- Memory Problems
- Inability to Concentrate or Reason
If you have Post-Concussion Syndrome, your symptoms can have a profound effect on your everyday life. You might not be able to return to work for weeks or months after your accident. Since these symptoms are often vague or associated with other conditions, diagnosis is often difficult. There is no single test used to test for PCS. In addition to imaging techniques, such as MRI and CT, doctors usually provide a physical exam. Often, it’s more about ruling out other causes than diagnosing PCS.
There is no specific treatment for PCS. You and your doctor will discuss your symptoms and determine the best treatment for you. Without a good personal injury attorney, proving PCS can be challenging.
When Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If another driver caused the accident that resulted in your concussion, it is a personal injury. You have the right to pursue compensation for all of your damages. There are two ways that you can do this; by filing a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The latter is usually considered the last resort unless the policy isn’t adequate to cover your damages.
The Personal Injury Claim
Your case begins when you schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney. They are familiar with the different types of personal injuries and how the courts usually assign a value. They will look at the evidence in your case and determine the concussion settlement value. This will include your medical records, the accident report, and any witnesses in your case. Your damages also include the loss of your vehicle and any other personal property in it at the time of the accident.
If the at-fault driver has automobile insurance, the first step is to file a claim with their insurance company. This claim tells them that you suffered damages in this amount due to their client’s negligence. The insurance company will open an investigation to determine if your claim is valid. You will write a letter of demand and the insurance company will decide to approve or deny your claim. If they don’t agree with you on the concussion settlement value you and your lawyer provided, they may negotiate a settlement. If you don’t think their offer is fair, then you may file a personal injury lawsuit.
Another reason for filing a personal injury lawsuit is that the concussion settlement value exceeds the benefits on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Every policy is different and has limits that the insurance company will not exceed. For example, if your damages come to $1 million, an insurance policy that pays $100,000 in liability limits isn’t enough to compensate you.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Even if the value of the policy is adequate to pay your damages, the insurance company can still deny your claim. Although they will give you a reason for the denial, the real reason is often that they just don’t want to pay. Personal injury attorneys know the common tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying. They can challenge the seriousness of your injury, claim you were at fault for the accident, or that your injury didn’t happen during the accident at all.
The time to protect your lawsuit is before you ever file it. From the time the insurance company begins investigating your insurance claim, you will be under close scrutiny. You need to be cautious about everything you say and do. Don’t talk with the at-fault driver or the insurance company about the accident or your claim. Hire an attorney to represent you throughout every phase of the process.
Insurance companies often try to offer you a settlement that is far less than the actual value of your claim. That’s why you should let your attorney calculate the concussion settlement value of your claim. If it is necessary to negotiate or the case proceeds to personal injury court, you can still count on getting a fair settlement. Accepting a low offer isn’t a mistake you can afford to make. You won’t get a second chance to get it right.
Getting a Personal Injury Attorney
Determining the concussion settlement value for your injury is just one thing your personal injury lawyer knows how to do for you. You are probably experiencing the first concussion of your life. Your personal injury lawyer handles cases like yours all the time.
Personal injury law is a challenging field. The difficulty in diagnosing and proving the impact of a concussion makes it even more difficult to prove. Your attorney knows where you need to prove your case and get the best possible outcome for you.
No two clients or cases are identical. Sometimes the simplest details can have an impact on your case. The right personal injury attorney will work with you to understand every aspect of your case. Although you need to move quickly after your accident, you do need to spend some time finding a good attorney.
There are many types of personal injury. Look for an attorney who has handled many cases similar to yours. If your concussion resulted from a car crash, you need an attorney who understands the law related to TBI and auto accidents. Before you schedule an appointment, do some research online. Do they have the appropriate practice areas for your needs? Do they have a good success record? What do their previous clients have to say about them?
Once you have found a firm that you feel confident in, call to set up an initial consultation. This is your chance to find out if they are a good fit. It’s also your chance to get a professional evaluation of your case and a realistic concussion settlement value.
If you suffered a concussion in a crash that was another driver’s fault, contact Krasney Law. We are a full-service personal injury law firm in San Bernardino, CA. Our firm is dedicated to fighting for victims of all kinds of personal injuries, including brain injury and auto accident injuries. We proudly serve the entire state of California. You can count on our skills and experience to develop the best strategy for your case.