When accident victims suffer a forceful blow or penetration to the head, they may experience a concussion injury. In general, a concussion is a brain bruise that may lead to memory loss and other serious complications some of which may be permanent and affect the accident victim for the rest of their life.
If you suffered a concussion injury in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you should first seek prompt medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. Symptoms of concussions do not always appear right away, and these injuries can become far worse the longer you wait to see a doctor.
In addition to seeking the prompt treatment you need, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and ascertain the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim on your behalf and work to recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If the insurance company does not compensate you appropriately for your concussion or other personal injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court on your behalf and litigate your case to an efficient resolution. Your lawyer’s ultimate goal is to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you for your concussion injury and its aftermath.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a brain bruise that usually happens when an accident victim incurs a significant blow to the head. The impact may result from a considerable amount of force that a person or object applies to the victim’s head or from a thing that actually penetrates the victim’s head. In either instance, this force may cause the accident victim’s brain to move around inside their skull and strike the front, back, or sides of the head.
This movement can also disrupt the neurons and axons, which serve as the brain’s internal hardware system, limiting or preventing the brain’s ability to communicate with other parts of the accident victim’s body.
Some concussion injuries are more severe than others, and concussions may result in both short-term and long-term symptoms for accident victims, depending upon the type of accident that occurs and the amount of force involved.
Some short-term symptoms of a concussion injury include relatively minor headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. An accident victim may also experience short-term memory loss due to their concussion injury. These injuries may subside within a few days or weeks especially if the accident victim obtains prompt medical treatment immediately following their accident.
However, more severe concussions can lead to long-term and sometimes permanent symptoms. These symptoms may include ongoing migraines that last for several days, long-term memory losses, permanent cognitive impairment, and an inability to care for oneself.
In the worst accident cases, a victim who suffers a concussion injury may wind up in a permanent vegetative state or coma and rely upon life support to stay alive. Alternatively, an accident victim may need to rely upon around-the-clock caregivers at a nursing home or assisted living facility to provide for their daily needs.
If you or someone you love suffered a concussion injury in an accident that resulted from negligence, you have legal options available. A knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury lawyer in your area can explain what those options are and help you pursue a claim or lawsuit for monetary damages. Your lawyer can also help you make informed decisions throughout your case that will increase your chances of recovering the favorable monetary damages you need.
What Types of Accidents Lead to Concussions?
A concussion injury can result from many different types of accidents and occurrences.
Some of the most common events that lead to concussions include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including accidents that involve cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, or pedestrians, where one or more drivers act in a negligent manner such as by violating road rules, operating their vehicles while under the illegal influence of drugs or alcohol, or engaging in distracted driving, where drivers fail to pay sufficient attention to the road
- Premises accidents, including slip and falls, where a premises owner fails to reasonably care for their property and warn about or repair hazardous conditions and defects on their premises within a reasonable period of time
These accidents usually occur when others act unreasonably under the circumstances and deviate from the prevailing standard of care.
If you suffered a concussion injury in an accident that was not your fault, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review the accident circumstances with you and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. Your lawyer can undertake the necessary legal actions promptly and safeguard your right to recover the monetary compensation you need and deserve.
How do I Prove a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit?
To recover monetary compensation for a concussion injury in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proving both fault and damages.
If the accident victim cannot verify the legal elements of their claim, they cannot recover the monetary compensation they need. However, the at-fault party in the case does not need to prove anything or even take the witness stand and testify at a jury trial. Instead, the sole legal burden rests entirely with the accident victim.
To satisfy the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, an injured accident victim must establish that their accident resulted from someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. They must also demonstrate, through medical documentation or testimony, that they suffered a concussion injury and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.
Satisfying the legal elements of proof in a concussion injury case is sometimes an uphill battle. This is because insurance companies will often try to point to pre-existing injuries or accidents to explain away an accident victim’s concussion injury. The insurance company may also request to see the accident victim’s prior medical records to determine if they saw a neurologist or suffered from headaches or migraines at any point before their accident.
Insurance companies will try to downplay an accident victim’s concussion injuries and medical treatment. After all, insurance companies are big businesses that only may money when they collect and keep premium payments from their insureds. They do not make money when they have to pay out large settlements, jury verdicts, and binding arbitration awards as part of a serious personal injury claim or lawsuit. Therefore, they will do anything and everything possible to deny liability in a personal injury case or at least limit their monetary payout to the accident victim.
To prove that your concussion directly resulted from your accident, you will likely need to have a medical provider on board your case. Your lawyer can retain a medical doctor who can testify on the witness stand or at a discovery deposition that your concussion injury directly resulted from your accident.
The medical provider may also be willing to state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your concussion injury is permanent in nature and unlikely to get better over time.
To establish permanency, the medical doctor must show that your concussion is likely to affect you for the rest of your life, either in terms of the ongoing pain symptoms you experience or your overall incapacity.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your case can help you retain the necessary experts to prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then represent you aggressively during settlement negotiations or at a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding to advocate for your legal interests and work to maximize your monetary recovery.
Filing a Claim With the At-fault Party’s Insurer
The claims-filing process in a concussion injury case begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand package, usually with the at-fault party’s insurer. The claim documents usually include copies of the accident victim’s related medical treatment records, lost wage documentation from an employer, photographs of the incident scene, and an impact statement that the accident victim prepares if they can do so after their accident.
Once the insurance company adjuster handling the claim reviews all of these documents, they will decide whether to accept fault for the accident. If they accept fault, settlement negotiations may begin.
In concussion injury cases, initial settlement offers by insurance company adjusters are usually far below the actual fair value. This is because adjusters want to settle personal injury claims for as little money as possible and as quickly as possible. After all, this is in the insurance company’s best interest. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the adjuster and pursue the maximum compensation available by highlighting the strengths of your personal injury claim while downplaying any weaknesses.
Litigating a Concussion Injury Claim
If the insurance company adjuster refuses to increase their settlement offer significantly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and begin the litigation process in the court system.
During litigation, the parties can still resolve their personal injury case. However, the court will become involved and set deadlines for various case milestones, including discovery, a settlement conference, and a jury trial. Your lawyer will represent you at all legal proceedings throughout your case and help you make the best presentation possible.
Recovering Monetary Damages for a Concussion Injury
The monetary damages that a concussion injury victim may recover depend upon various factors, including the specific concussion injury they suffered, the medical treatment they underwent, the pain and suffering they endured, whether they had to miss time from work, and whether they likely require long-term care, such as at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
First, if the accident victim had to miss work time due to the severity of their concussion injury, they may be eligible for lost wage compensation. Furthermore, if they had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their incapacity, they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Concussion injury sufferers can also pursue monetary damages for their inconvenience, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, permanent disability, long-term care costs, memory deficiencies, and mental distress.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can determine which of these damages you can potentially recover in your concussion injury claim. Your lawyer can then assist you throughout the claims-filing and litigation processes to maximize your monetary compensation award.
Call an Experienced Concussion Injury Lawyer Today
If you suffered a concussion injury in an accident that someone else caused, it’s important that you speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer in your area right away.
Accident victims only have two years from their accident date in which to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for a concussion. If an accident victim files their lawsuit even one day late, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages for their concussion injury.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can start advocating for you right away by filing a prompt claim on your behalf or a lawsuit in the court system. Throughout the entire process, your lawyer will make you aware of your legal rights and help you make informed decisions in your case, helping you recover the maximum compensation available.