You’ve been in a car accident and suffered a concussion. Depending on the severity, this can leave a trail of unexpected expenses in its wake. This is to say nothing of navigating personal property damage and time likely spent away from work.
To recover damages for personal pain and suffering, medical expenses, and the like, you will need a personal injury attorney to assess the potential behind your case. Start the conversation off right by learning what concussions are, how the world of personal injury law treats them, and what your legal options are if you have sustained this injury as a result of a crash.
What is a Concussion?
If your collision is severe enough, there is a high likelihood that your airbags will deploy. While these are meant to save you from hitting the steering wheel, the force of impact can cause injuries in its own right.
Many head injuries begin in exactly this way.
Unfortunately, in the moments following a car accident, the body is flooded with adrenaline. This blunts the pain response in our bodies, thus resulting in a delayed onset of concussion symptoms— even ones that are more severe.
To begin, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain is jostled around inside the cranium, potentially causing bruising and other forms of damage. This injury is the result of the head being jolted in place or struck very hard, something that is an unfortunate commonality when in a car crash.
Concussion symptoms vary in severity, as does the injury itself, and can include any or all of the following:
- Persistent pain or headache
- Poor reaction times
- Poor mental clarity
- Amnesia of the event
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision problems
- Poor balance
These symptoms may go away within a matter of hours, or, persist for weeks or months after the accident. When symptoms are chronic, it results in a condition called post-concussion syndrome.
Again, because these symptoms may not show up right away, it is integral for your health, safety, and later credibility, to allow yourself to be examined by paramedics on the scene. Not only will this help ensure that you are receiving appropriate medical treatment, but it serves as evidence to your injury when you decide to move forward with your lawsuit.
What Are My Damages?
“Damages” is a legal term to represent injuries which for which you seek to recover monetary compensation. In car accident cases, this money will come from the other driver’s insurance company, thus requiring you to negotiate settlement with an insurance adjuster.
To collect damages relating to your concussion, a medical professional must determine that the cause of your injury was your accident and not some other misfortune. Concussion settlements, even for mild concussions, rely on this requirement to be met in order to have a chance and having a valid claim.
Once you have affirmed the source of your injuries, you can proceed to claim the following damages as they apply:
These are your concrete expenses including ambulance rides, hospital stays, teatments, surgeries, and medications. While it is common for many people to believe artificially inflating medical costs will lead to a larger settlement, this is not the case. In fact, you have a responsibility to keep costs as low as possible, just as you would if you were planning to pay for the expenses yourself. When plaintiff’s artificially inflate their medical bills, the damages they are eventually awarded often don’t cover these additional costs. This results in you losing money in the long run.
As the name suggests, this claim is applicable if the treatment or side effects of your injury caused you to miss work unexpectedly.
Pain and Suffering
This claim can be broken down into mental and physical subtypes– the latter of which being far easier to quantify and receive compensation. This is because in the case of mental pain and suffering, it is difficult to measure the severity of the injury to assess how much of an impact it had on your overall quality of life.
Loss of Consortium
This particular damage claim is one that cannot be claimed by the injured individual, but by those in their life that have been adversely affected. For instance, this damage claim would be brought by the spouse of an individual whose brain injury caused incapacitation, thus resulting in loss of companionship.
How Much Will I Get?
Calculating your damages and the damages you are eventually awarded by the insurance adjuster are sometimes two different numbers. This is because your damages are limited by several factors, including the type of insurance you are trying to collect from and the particular multipliers to which the adjuster must adhere.
When looking at car accidents, concussion settlements specifically tend to only settle in an average range of $16,000 and $50,000. While these numbers may seem big at first glance, that amount is eventually reduced once you have repaid medical bills, car damage, and attorney’s fees.
Additionally, if a commercially insured vehicle is liable for your injury, your recovery can often be higher. This is due to the higher liability limit on commercial policies when compared to individual policies.
A Word of Warning
It is important to remember that One of the most harmful statements you can make about your personal injury claim is often uttered within moments of leaving a crash: “I’m fine.” These words can and will be used in your claim by the insurance companies to claim that you did not suffer an injury in the first place. This, in combination with refusing medical attention, is a combination that results in lackluster damages claims with difficult negotiations.
Contacting an Attorney
Filing a lawsuit in personal injury is all about helping you negotiate the right settlement to compensate you for your hardships and cover unexpected expenses. Having a personal injury lawyer that you trust makes a challenging process that much easier.
With over 25 years of litigation experience, the BBerry Law Office can help you with your personal injury claim from initial assessment all the way through litigation and trial. Call our law firm at (520) 347-8484 to schedule a consultation and explore your options for a fair outcome.