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Understanding Concussion After A Car Accident

An attorney can help you navigate your concussion claim

A car accident can leave victims with a wide range of injuries. Many of these injuries are obvious, such as broken bones, cuts and bruises, and damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. But there are some types of injuries that aren’t so obvious. One of these is concussion.

Concussion is a common injury in car accidents. But it’s also widely misunderstood. Many people mistakenly think that it’s not a serious injury and will simply get better on its own in time. It’s important to understand the impact a concussion can have on your health and well-being and what steps to take if you think you or a loved one has suffered a concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a sudden jolt or blow to the head, which can occur during a car accident. It is sometimes called a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), but it can have serious and long-term consequences if not treated properly.

During the impact of a collision, the head of a person inside may collide with the interior of the vehicle or be struck by objects within the car, such as the steering wheel, dashboard, or airbag. This impact can result in the brain moving rapidly within the skull, causing injury and affecting normal brain function.

Common symptoms of a concussion following a car accident include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light or noise. Some people may also experience memory problems, difficulty concentrating, irritability, or changes in sleep patterns. However, symptoms of a concussion may not always be immediately apparent and can develop hours or even days after the accident.

That’s why getting medical attention as soon as possible is important if you are involved in a car accident, even if you think you are fine.

How is a concussion diagnosed?

There is no single diagnostic test for concussion, so diagnosis relies on a comprehensive evaluation. Following a car accident, a healthcare provider may use multiple approaches to determine whether you suffered a concussion.

You may be asked about the circumstances of the injury and how it occurred – for example, whether you hit your head during the crash. You may be asked whether you lost consciousness.

The healthcare provider will perform a thorough physical examination. This may include neurological assessments to evaluate cognitive function, balance, coordination, reflexes, and sensory function.

You will be asked to describe any symptoms you are experiencing, such as headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or changes in mood or behavior.

In some cases, imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to rule out more severe brain injuries, such as bleeding.

How is a concussion treated?

Treatment may vary based on the severity of symptoms and other factors. But in general, common approaches to treating concussion include:

  • Physical rest – This is crucial in the early stages of concussion recovery to allow the brain to heal. A healthcare provider may advise avoiding strenuous activities and getting plenty of sleep.
  • Cognitive rest – Activities that require concentration and mental exertion, such as reading, studying, or using electronic devices, may be limited early on to help prevent symptoms from getting worse.
  • Symptom management – Medications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms associated with concussion, such as headaches, nausea, or dizziness.
  • Gradual return to activities – As symptoms improve, a healthcare provider may suggest gradually reintroducing light physical and cognitive activities, such as walking, gentle stretching, or simple tasks.
  • Monitoring – A healthcare provider will closely monitor your symptoms and progress throughout the recovery process and adjust treatment as needed.

Can I recover compensation if I suffered a concussion in a car accident?

If a negligent driver caused the accident that left you with a concussion, you have the right to seek financial compensation for the damages you suffered. For example, a driver may have been speeding or driving aggressively. In some cases, a driver was texting or distracted in some other way. Or a driver may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

However, negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong and may refuse to accept any responsibility for what happened. You may even be blamed for the accident. Under Louisiana’s comparative negligence system, any compensation you receive may be reduced if you are found partially at fault.

Insurance companies can also get in the way of recovering the compensation you deserve. They may dispute the seriousness of your concussion. There are also other tactics they may use to limit your compensation.

Insurance companies and concussion claims

Insurance companies often employ various tactics to minimize payouts or deny compensation when handling concussion claims. These tactics can include:

  • Downplaying the severity: Insurance adjusters may attempt to downplay the severity of a concussion, arguing that it is a minor injury and does not warrant significant compensation. They may ignore the long-term effects and symptoms associated with concussions, such as cognitive impairments or chronic headaches.
  • Questioning the cause: Insurance companies may question the cause of the concussion, especially in car accident cases where liability is disputed. They may argue that the concussion was not directly caused by the accident or that the injured party had a pre-existing condition that contributed to the injury.
  • Delaying or denying claims: Insurance companies may delay the processing of concussion claims or outright deny them, hoping that the claimant will give up or accept a low settlement offer out of frustration. They may request additional documentation or medical records, dragging out the claims process.
  • Offering low settlements: When making settlement offers for concussion claims, insurance companies may offer significantly lower amounts than what the claimant deserves. They may take advantage of the claimant's financial situation or lack of legal representation to pressure them into accepting less than they are entitled to.

When faced with aggressive insurance company tactics, having an experienced concussion attorney can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of a case. A lawyer can advocate on behalf of the injured party, negotiate with the insurance company, and pursue maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the concussion.

What is the value of my concussion claim?

This can vary widely depending on many factors, including the severity of the concussion, the impact on your life and livelihood, and the strength of your case. But in general, you can seek financial compensation for damages that include:

  • Medical expenses – This includes all current and any future medical expenses related to your concussion and other injuries from the car accident. Medical expenses can include the cost of emergency room care, medication, rehabilitation, and doctor’s visits.
  • Lost wages – If a concussion or other injuries you suffered prevented you from working or resulted in a loss of income, you can seek compensation for missed work time.
  • Pain and suffering – You may be able to recover compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the car accident and your injuries.

How can a concussion lawyer help?

If you suffered a concussion or another type of head or brain injury from a car accident in New Orleans, an experienced car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process for recovering compensation. Your lawyer can:

  • Conduct a thorough investigation into your accident, gathering evidence such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and any available surveillance footage.
  • Determine the total amount of damages you suffered in the accident and assess the value of your concussion claim.
  • Handle all communication with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your behalf.
  • Negotiate a fair settlement that provides you with fair compensation.
  • File a lawsuit and represent you in court, if needed.

How long do I have to file a claim for compensation?

In Louisiana, the statute of limitations for taking legal action is one year from the date of your accident. But waiting too long can affect your claim. Strong cases are built on evidence, which can get lost over time. Witnesses can also forget details about your accident. That’s why it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible following your crash.

At The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC, we know how a concussion from a car accident can impact your life. Attorney John S. Williams is an aggressive advocate for people who have been hurt through no fault of their own. He has the knowledge and experience needed to handle your injury claim from start to finish.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, "Understanding Concussion After A Car Accident."

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