By Logan Quirk
Brain injuries are frightening because of how unpredictable they are. If you fear that you’ve suffered a brain injury following a collision on the road, pursuing a fair car accident concussion settlement is a must.
You can never be certain how your condition will be over the coming days, months, or even years because brain injuries have such wide-ranging effects. Some may present symptoms right away and then disappear after a while. Other injuries may produce symptoms that stay with you for the rest of your life.
Dealing with brain injuries is an extremely challenging task. You will need all the help you can get to make the ordeal easier.
In this article, we’ll lay out the kind of compensation you should seek if you were involved in a car accident that led to you developing a concussion. We’ll also discuss concussions themselves and how you should handle them.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s go deeper into the topic of concussions.
What Is a Concussion?
There are different kinds of brain injuries you may sustain following your involvement in a car accident.
Blood vessels tasked with delivering nutrients to your brain may be damaged by the impact of the collision and rupture as a result. They could then bleed out and lead to an injury known as intracranial hemorrhaging.
The axons responsible for transmitting signals inside your brain may also be damaged by the powerful force of a collision, leading to a diffuse axonal injury.
Then, you have the brain injury known as a concussion.
Concussions are usually caused by a forceful blow to the head. If someone punches you in the head or hits you with something, you could sustain a concussion. Your head smacking off the dashboard as another vehicle rear ends your car could also explain your concussion diagnosis.
It’s important to note that you don’t need to be hit directly in the head to get a concussion. Even the forceful movement of your upper body can lead to your brain shaking in an unhealthy manner.
Why Concussions Are Hard to Detect
A concussion is unlike injuries such as broken bones or soft tissue damage in the sense that it presents itself in different ways.
For example, you and another passenger may be in the car when another vehicle hits you. Both of you were seated up front and felt the impact of the collision. You may have stayed awake throughout the whole chain of events while the person beside you may have been knocked unconscious.
Does that mean that you avoided a concussion while your companion did not? That’s hard to say because although you stayed awake, it doesn’t necessarily mean you avoided injury.
It’s possible the severity of the injuries you and your companion sustained differ, but that cannot be said with any degree of certainty at the scene of the accident.
Here’s another reason why concussions are so hard to detect: The symptoms they cause don’t always present immediately.
If you feel like you have a cold, you’ll likely experience some of the symptoms the day before it starts to take over your body. Concussions don’t always work that way.
Your symptoms could show up right away, or they could take a few days to emerge. By that point, you may suspect that the symptoms you’re experiencing have nothing to do with a concussion and are related to fatigue instead.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
The symptoms of concussions can also be additional reasons why it’s difficult to tell if you have one. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of a concussion include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and blurry vision. Those are symptoms that can also be indicators that you had a long day at work.
Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and hearing a ringing sound are more distinct and will likely tip you off better to the severity of your condition. However, there’s no guarantee that those symptoms will accompany your brain injury.
What may help is to place yourself around others in the hours right after your involvement in a car accident. Some of the symptoms you may present include looking dazed and exhibiting slurred speech. From your perspective, those symptoms may not be obvious right away, but someone near you may be able to tell that something’s wrong.
Some symptoms necessitate an immediate visit to the emergency room. Repeated vomiting, seizures, and pupils that appear larger than normal are indicators that something is seriously wrong. Go to the doctor right away to seek treatment for your condition.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Concussion?
The hope is that your condition will return to normal following extensive treatment and rehabilitation, but that is not assured. One of the main reasons why you should do everything in your power to secure a fair car accident concussion settlement is because the effects of your brain injury could linger for months and years.
Listed below are some of the more common complications caused by concussions.
Lingering Headaches and Dizziness
Even they diagnose you with a concussion and receive treatment for it, some of your symptoms may hang around for a while. Headaches and dizziness, in particular, are symptoms you may not shake right away.
The dizziness and headaches that are closely associated with concussions only last for a few weeks or around three months at most. Unfortunately, some individuals diagnosed with a concussion must deal with those symptoms way longer.
If you’re still experiencing headaches and bouts of dizziness from time to time, even though it’s been a long time since the accident, you must account for that. You likely have post-concussion syndrome, and the compensation you seek must cover that diagnosis.
Another terrifying aspect of concussions is that we don’t know enough about them at this point. Researchers are hard at work trying to figure out how multiple injuries affect the brain, but the definitive findings aren’t available at this time.
If you ever find yourself in the position of seeking a settlement, remember to check the latest research first. Doing so may help you determine how hurt you were in the car accident, and you can claim better compensation.
How You Can Ensure That You Receive Compensation Following the Car Accident
Ideally, the person who caused the car accident will accept fault for what happened right away and take responsibility. That does not always happen, however. The instinct for self-preservation often kicks in, and some individuals will attempt to escape their liability.
You can prevent that from happening by following simple steps at the scene of the accident.
Check on Yourself and Everyone Else in Your Vehicle
Before doing anything else, you should check on your current condition following the accident. See if you have injuries in any way before moving around. Moving when you’re hurt can lead to your condition worsening.
Once you’ve deemed yourself to be okay, check on your companions in the car if you have any. Ask how they are doing and see if they are hurt.
Call the First Responders
Dial 911 on your phone as soon as you get your bearings and ask for their help. They will provide emergency medical assistance for the people at the scene.
The Balance also reminds all motorists that getting a legal accident report in order is important regardless of how minor or severe the collision was. You can secure that by contacting the police.
In addition to helping you get a report in order, the police can also clear out the accident site and redirect traffic. It will be easier to handle the next steps when you don’t need to worry about oncoming vehicles.
Take Note of All Essential Bits of Information
Unless you have been badly hurt and need a trip to the emergency room right away, you should stick around at the accident site. This is the time for you to gather the information you will need if you decide to pursue a case in court.
Take down as much information as you can about what happened. Note any visible injuries you have, the damage to your vehicle, and gather witness accounts as well. You must also note the time and location of the accident along with information about the cars involved.
Remember to take photos too.
Together with the police, obtain personal information from the other driver by asking for a name, address, and contact information. You should also take this opportunity to obtain their insurance information.
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for the names and the badge numbers of the police officers who responded. Should you decide to pursue a case in court, the information they provide will prove crucial.
How Is Compensation Calculated?
The monetary awards given to plaintiffs in civil cases are known as damages, and there are two kinds of them.
Calculating Compensatory Damages
First off, you have what is known as compensatory damages. These are the damages given to plaintiffs to help cover their medical expenses, property damage, and other kinds of loss.
Medical and repair bills are regarded as actual compensatory damages, while compensation handed out to cover matters such as mental anguish or inconvenience are known as general compensatory damages.
Calculating the actual compensatory damages is relatively simple. Once you go to the doctor and receive a concussion diagnosis, you will likely get a treatment plan. You can refer to that treatment plan as you calculate how much to ask for in a settlement.
Account for future medical expenses as well when you’re coming up with an amount to ask for in a settlement. As we detailed earlier, the effects of a concussion may linger, and the damages paid out to you must reflect that.
The courts will play a huge role when it comes to determining how much general compensatory damages you are entitled to.
According to Investopedia, they may use either a multiplier method that accounts for the actual damages and the severity of your injury or a per diem method that considers the length of time you’re suffering from the effects of your injury. Some courts will also combine the two methods to come up with a specific amount of general compensatory damages.
Calculating Punitive Damages
Punitive damages to further compensate the plaintiff, punish the defendant, and serve as examples for other potential offenders may also be in your final settlement.
The Supreme Court and the states have offered guidelines that you can use to calculate the appropriate punitive damages to award in any given case.
To come up with the right amount, you must consider the reprehensibility of the actions performed by the defendant. The defendant being overly negligent or acting with malicious intent can lead to the punitive damages growing larger.
They base the punitive damages in part on how large the compensatory damages will be. Most of the time, the punitive damages are no greater than four times the amount of the compensatory damages.
You and your lawyer should also reference any state laws that place a cap on punitive damages to see if they apply in your case.
How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Concussion Stemming from a Car Accident?
On the low end, the financial compensation you may receive as part of your concussion settlement is around $20,000 to $30,000. That’s assuming your injuries are relatively minor, and you’re not suffering any adverse effects from the concussion long-term.
Compensation for plaintiffs who are suffering from the more serious effects of a concussion can easily surpass $100,000. Consult with a doctor and a lawyer after your accident to ensure that you get the proper amount of compensation.
Trying to secure fair compensation when you’re dealing with a concussion is next to impossible. Still, you cannot afford to wait too long and risk the defendant not being held liable. Seek the assistance of professional counsel as soon as possible and get the compensation you deserve.
Work with us at the Quirk Law Group if you require the services of an experienced and highly skilled lawyer. Call, send an email, or drop by our offices today so that we can get started on your case.