Concussions are a common injury in car accidents. Car accidents account for about 20 percent of all hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) like concussions. If you were in an accident, it is statistically likely that you suffered from a concussion, even if the injury has not caused you significant symptoms.
Concussions can also be expensive to treat, especially if they’re severe. The Concussion Place, a group of doctors and professionals specializing in concussion injuries and treatment, estimates that the cost of treating mild brain injuries and the associated economic losses (such as time the injured person must take away from work) add up to $12 billion every year. This does not account for the much higher costs often associated with severe TBIs.
If you received a concussion in a car accident, you may wonder what actions you can take to get a settlement and what you might get in compensation. This article will tell you all you need to know about concussions, their effects, how you can make them a claim, and what you may earn from a settlement.
What Is a Concussion?
According to the CDC, “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or 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.”
When the brain moves like this, it can damage the brain in two ways:
- By causing chemical reactions that change the way the brain functions; or
- By stretching and/or damaging brain cells.
Concussions are a pretty common injury, often caused by impact sports such as football in addition to car accidents and other vehicle collisions. While they are usually not life-threatening, they can result in serious consequences for those who suffer them.
In some cases, concussions cause unconsciousness.
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Fatigue and/or drowsiness
- Amnesia (often forgetting the event that caused the concussion)
Concussions can lead to serious damage. According to recent CDC data, an average of 155 people died from a concussion every day in the United States. Car crashes are the second most common cause of concussions in adults.
Complications of Concussions
In some cases, concussions can lead to complications.
The most common complications include:
- Post-concussion syndrome, in which you may experience symptoms for weeks or months after the first concussion.
- Post-traumatic headaches, which can occur for months.
- Post-traumatic vertigo, which can leave you feeling dizzy for months after the accident.
- Permanent brain injuries.
If your concussion was very severe, it might have led to swelling or bleeding in the brain. Severe brain injuries are often life-threatening and need immediate treatment to reduce the risk of permanent damage or death.
Average Settlements for Concussion-Causing Car Accidents
Settlement amounts tend to vary pretty widely based on certain contributing factors such as who caused the accident, how severe the concussion was, and what long-lasting effects it may have on you. In Texas, for example, motor vehicle drivers are required to carry at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. If a driver with minimum coverage caused your accident, you may have difficulty recovering any additional compensation beyond the driver’s insurance policy limit.
The severity of the concussion is one of the most important factors in determining how much you can recover in compensation. If you suffer swelling or bleeding in your brain, a persistent loss of memory, or damage to your mobility or cognitive ability due to a concussion, you can generally seek more compensation.
You may claim:
- Medical expenses;
- Loss of income;
- Loss of earning capacity (if you can’t continue working in your field and/or struggle to find another job); and
- Pain and suffering (sometimes including emotional and relational distress).
In Texas, three of the top brain injury settlements for injuries caused by car accidents in recent years were for $23 million, $4 million, and $400,000. As you can see, amounts can vary significantly, but the chances for a high settlement are substantial in serious cases. They’re also necessary, because brain injuries cost a lot of money to treat.
What to Do After a Car Accident Involving a Concussion
If you were in a car accident and had a concussion, take these steps as soon as possible, both to protect your health and to heighten your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
- Immediately after the accident, call an ambulance. Protecting your health and the health of others involved is always the highest priority.
- Call the police, so they can write up an official report and help sort out what happened.
- Get witness statements and contact information.
- Take photos, if you can, of damage to persons, vehicles, etc.
- Get treatment to make sure your concussion doesn’t cause more damage than it already has.
- Contact a car accident lawyer to discuss possible claims and how much compensation you may recover.
Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer after an accident. Car accident attorneys are devoted to providing justice for their clients and most don’t charge until after you’ve won your case and received compensation. Attorneys know how to handle insurance companies and deal with confusing laws that you might not understand on your own.
If you have suffered a concussion or other serious injury after a car accident and need help figuring out your next steps, get in touch with a car accident attorney in your area today to get the answers you need.