Compensation for concussion can be tricky to obtain without the services of a personal injuries lawyer. The effects of concussion can be serious, though most insurance companies do not want you to think so.
Concussion, otherwise known as mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
These types of injuries to the brain are not something which should be taken lightly, as they can heavily impact a person’s life. Concussion can be caused by a plethora of traumatic incidents. A new study contracted by the CDC has shown that, in recent years, among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI in the United States. They were the leading cause of TBI in children and young adults aged 5-24. Motor vehicle crashes giving rise to TBI were also the leading cause of hospitalizations for adolescents and persons aged 15-44. This shows that a large proportion of these injuries come from car accidents, which falls into the area of personal injury.
TBI or milder forms of it, such as concussion, usually occurs in car accidents when the driver or passenger suffers a whiplash-like blow to the cranial area either by hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or the back of a seat in front of them. These blows are usually very powerful and abrupt, as automobile accidents, in most cases, consist of a single forceful transfer of energy when two cars collide. Resulting head injuries can be very serious and have the potential to affect every aspect of a person’s life by causing damage to brain cells.
This damage to brain cells and chemical changes lead to serious nervous system damage and cause moderate to severe impairment of memory, learning, coordination and balance, speech, hearing or vision, and emotional feeling. The long-term effects of such a brain injury, depending on the severity of the concussion, can affect all aspects of people’s lives, including relationships with family and friends, as well as their ability to work or be employed, do household chores, drive, and/or do other normal daily activities. It has a special effect on children, as they are more prone to develop more serious conditions over time.
You experience any of the folowing symptoms of concussion, seek medical help and the services of a personal injuries lawyer immediately. Symptoms of concussions include:
- Headache or “pressure” in head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
- Bothered by light or noise.
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
- Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
- Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.
- Concussion is diagnosed by medical professionals by using neuro-psychological tests, which test reflexes and the five senses, as well as cognitive tests to test memory or concentration.
For severe brain injury, imaging tests such as CT scans, which use a series of X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your skull and brain, or MRIs, which use powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of your brain, are used to create images of the brain to assess its condition. (However, it should be noted these imaging tests are made to diagnose severe traumatic brain injury, and do not have the ability to locate/diagnose milder injuries such as concussion).
Documenting concussion is a very important step in achieving maximum compensation for concussion. It builds the basis of your argument by proving that you have, in fact, been affected by an accident and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.
Recent National Football League (NFL) concussion cases prove this is an important step in maximizing the amount of compensation you receive.
On April 22, 2015, a federal judge gave final approval to a class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players to provide up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma. In this case there were several categories of compensation, all based on a doctor’s diagnosis, with maximum payments ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million.
For instance, an ex-player who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease could receive up to $4 million. This means that a doctor’s diagnosis could make a difference of as much as $3.5 million, proving how important it is to get concussion properly documented as soon as possible.
Sometimes, however, proving that a person has concussion could be difficult, as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also known as concussion, is usually only detected by neuro-psychological and cognitive tests. Concussion is often undetectable by X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans which can only detect more serious and prominent brain injuries. However, this does not detract from the fact that concussion is still very serious and can augment its effects on the body over time.
A concussion case often requires multiple independent experts because the effects of concussion can often be documented only through neuro-psychological/cognitive exams. This means that if you are seeking compensation for your injuries, it is a very good idea to get the approval of more than one doctor to verify that you do, indeed, have concussion. This solidifies your chances of getting properly compensated. In addition to the medical experts, the claimant/plaintiff can also use family, colleagues, and friends as witnesses to the claimant’s suffering and difficulties in day-to-day life.