Car Accidents and Concussions
In recent years, the medical community has discovered more about the dangers of concussions. Car collisions often cause concussions, both minor and severe. Drivers are driving faster, more aggressively and with greater distractions these days, increasing the probability of a violent collision exponentially. A severe force of impact is going to create more chance for a concussion.
Keep in mind that a concussion does not necessarily involve a direct impact to the head. Often, a concussion will occur because of an acceleration/deceleration type injury. This is what commonly happens when the neck is whipped backward and then forward in a car accident. Sadly, many accident victims do not realize that they have experienced a head injury, which puts your health at risk. If you are in a car accident, you need to be examined by a physician to rule out a concussion.
Causes of Concussion
While most concussions are caused by a direct blow to the head, some are the result of your head being snapped back and forth. Your brain then hits the inside of your skull, which causes injury to the soft tissue. A traumatic brain injury can harm your blood vessels and/or nerves and cause bleeding and swelling inside your brain. In others, the jolt causes short term issues that can still impact your quality of life.
A motor vehicle collision may drive your head forward or backward into a hard surface, causing a brain injury. Back seat passengers may be more vulnerable to these injuries since they may not be fully protected by airbags. Sadly, anyone in an accident may experience some degree of head trauma.
Symptoms of Concussion
Although concussion are oftentimes accompanied by visible cuts or bruises on the head, but these visible signs do not necessarily mean you have a concussion, but the lack of visible signs does not mean that you do not. In fact, concussions can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms might not appear immediately. It can take hours, days and sometimes even weeks after sustaining a concussion for you to begin to notice the symptoms of it. Additionally, some symptoms might only last for a few seconds while others may linger indefinitely.
People who have had a concussion might experience problems with their vision, they might feel dizzy and they may even fall into unconsciousness because their brains are confused and not functioning properly. This is part of why it is so important for people involved in motor vehicle accidents to seek medical attention immediately. Medical professionals can perform neurological tests on patients to help them determine whether patients have sustained any injuries in their heads directly following an accident.
Some of the most common symptoms of a concussion include the following:
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Sensitivity to light and sound
In more serious cases, symptoms may include:
- Persistent dizziness
- Vision problems
- Cognitive difficulties
To properly diagnose a concussion, a doctor will usually order a CT scan or MRI. It’s important to get treatment for a concussion as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of long-term issues.
Seeking Damages for Concussion Related Injuries
If you have sustained a head injury as part of an accident, at some point you will want to consider how much you would be willing to accept to settle your claim with the at-fault party. Resolving your claim by way of a voluntary settlement may be more efficient and beneficial to you (and the defendant) because it saves both parties the time and cost of litigation. Since the injury can be severe, calculating damages for a head injury settlement can be difficult and is dependent on a variety of factors, which we’ll examine here.
Types of Damages
There are two basic types of damages in head injury cases: special damages and general damages.
Special damages (or economic losses) are damages for which money is a comparable substitute for what was lost. This is also known as the “out-of-pocket” loss rule. Special damages can include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses – in a wrongful death case
- Property damages
General damages (or non-economic losses) are losses for which money is only a rough substitute. General damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Humiliation and embarrassment
- Shock and mental anguish
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium – A claim made by the family or spouse of the injured person
- Loss of society and companionship
- Emotional distress
Making a Pain and Suffering Claim
As part of your accident claim, you should be able to demand compensation for pain and suffering. You prove pain and suffering from your own testimony and from your doctor’s testimony. You need your doctor’s testimony to document that you in fact have suffered a concussion (and maybe post-concussion syndrome), that the concussion resulted from the accident, and that the symptoms that you have testified to come from the head injury, among other things.
But the jury will want to hear from you as to exactly what your symptoms and complaints are, how long they have lasted, how disabling they are, and how generally they have affected your life. You will have to be able to explain all this to the jury at trial, and so you will want to work carefully with your lawyer to prepare your pain and suffering testimony.
Legal Consultation After Car Crash Head Injuries
If you sustained a concussion after a motor vehicle accident that was due to negligence or wrongdoing on the other party’s fault, you may be entitled to money for your hospital bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your case and gather the appropriate evidence to support your claim in court.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury and have questions about seeking legal action, call us now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.