Anytime you suffer a head injury that causes you to lose consciousness for a few seconds or several minutes, go to a hospital—you may have sustained a concussion. Other signs include feeling dazed, confused, or disoriented while conscious after head trauma.
One concussion also makes victims more vulnerable to future concussions and repeated trauma that can lead to degenerative disease. Side effects of concussions include balance problems, painful headaches, dizziness, personality changes, cognitive struggles, and more. Emotional issues, anxiety, and depression are also prevalent.
While concussions have a “mild” classification, they are not mild injuries, since they can have such life-altering results. Some concussion victims have symptoms and effects that persist for months or years.
If you suffer head trauma, you need to seek medical attention and relay all of your symptoms to get a proper diagnosis. If someone else caused your head injury, contact a traumatic brain injury attorney to help file a concussion injury claim as soon as possible.
What are traumatic brain injuries?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results from an external factor like a blow to the head. In comparison, an acquired brain injury results from internal factors like lack of oxygen.
A concussion falls under the TBI category and usually receives a mild TBI diagnosis. There is no mild TBI, but medical professionals use varying designations to describe the initial injury, not the long-term effects. Do not ignore a mild classification because what it means is you must keep an eye on your symptoms and look for complications or lingering effects.
The most common causes of a concussion are:
- A sudden jolt or shake of the head
- Being struck by an object
Some patients will fully recover and return to normal functions, while others will experience ongoing symptoms that require lifelong treatment. TBIs affect a person’s memory, reasoning, communication, emotions, and sensations.
Secondary impact syndrome
A secondary injury can cause you severe harm. This condition is common after a car accident and involves a second concussion that results from a second head trauma. For example, if you do not realize you have a concussion from a crash, and then you get hit again playing sports, a second impact can occur.
SIS can cause the effects of the first concussion to become worse. Victims can suffer seizures and other complications, so you always want to get a first concussion diagnosed and follow doctor’s orders. Avoid any strenuous activity after an accident that can lead to a head injury, like sports, exercise, and more.
Available treatment options
Treatment for a concussion might involve the following and more:
- CT, MRI, and X-ray scans
- Assistive devices
Additionally, these injuries require a team of medical professionals to treat them, like neurologists, surgeons, psychologists, primary care physicians, and physical therapists. Treatment should begin immediately, as the sooner you begin rehab, the better your chances of recovery when possible. After the initial impact, you should receive treatment in an emergency room and may move to a specialized clinic.
The severity of a TBI and the victim’s age will impact the treatment plan and costs. Permanent disability is possible, and serious complications might even lead to death. Some victims cannot care for themselves after a concussion, and their families must become caregivers. Sometimes families cannot care for TBI sufferers and will instead need to place them in assisted living facilities.
Recovery is long
All brain injuries will take time to recover. Even if your injuries heals with time, a few months to a year is a long time to undergo care and be unsure of your future. Some people might expect to recover from symptoms with time, but the symptoms persist due to post-concussion syndrome.
Even if symptoms improve or disappear after a year, there is still the chance you will suffer other complications that can extend your recovery. A concussion means you will need to stay cautious for the rest of your life so that symptoms do not creep back up or worsen.
Sports concussion claims
Athletes can suffer significant trauma when they are playing sports. The prospect of an injury is always present, whether it be hockey, soccer, baseball, football, or basketball. Sports organizations should pay for the damage these injuries cause, and many organizations have bargaining agreements and unions that will help athletes recover payment for their injuries. However, these programs do not make the claims process more manageable, so you need a concussion injury attorney to help you.
A blow to the head is severe, and while athletes believe it is part of the job, it is unacceptable and leads to lifelong illness and impairment. The injuries do not show up immediately, and it can take years after the athlete stops playing before they realize there’s anything wrong. College athletes are also at high risk for concussions and can suffer debilitating injuries before their life begins.
After multiple concussions or micro-trauma, athletes might experience:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Memory loss
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Post-concussion syndrome
These and other neurological conditions result from repetitive head trauma that athletes experience as part of their careers. Your career should not affect you for the rest of your life. As an athlete, you are playing for fun and money, not to suffer. Concussions are not minor; you must seek medical assistance and legal recourse.
Workers’ compensation and concussions
The sports arena is not the only occupation that can lead to a concussion or closed head injury. Concussions at work might happen when there are mechanical malfunctions, lack of safety equipment, slip and falls, falls from heights, or falling objects, among other situations.
Employees who drive for their employer can also suffer head trauma if there is a vehicle accident. Construction workers are at risk daily because they operate heavy machinery and construction sites are full of dangers and people. One mistake can be costly. Warehouses and other work environments with many moving parts can have concussion risks, including falls or getting hit by falling objects.
Workers’ compensation should cover all of your concussion-related medical expenses and provide some wage replacement if your injury happened while working. Workers with a concussion can file a workers’ comp claim to seek important benefits for medical treatment, disability, and more from their employer. You might also receive temporary total disability or permanent partial disability benefits if you are out of work for a longer time.
The caveat is the injury that must occur during the scope and course of employment. While you might believe that is evident, the insurance company might argue that your injury did not happen within the scope of your employment to avoid providing benefits. Many people with concussions struggle to receive the benefits they deserve, and an injury attorney can help with this process.
Who is liable for your concussion and related losses?
Many parties can be responsible for brain injuries, and identifying the proper parties is critical to receiving full compensation for your losses. You need a concussion injury lawyer to look at the entire situation and find who is responsible for covering the costs of your injury.
Negligent car or truck drivers can be responsible for causing a traumatic brain injury like a concussion. As mentioned above, workers’ compensation can also be responsible for coverage if you were driving for work.
All business owners are responsible for keeping the area safe and free of hazards that can cause injury. If a guest suffers an injury from a hazardous condition, the property owner must pay for your losses. Concussions are common in slip and falls or falls from high places, which can lead to property owner liability.
A manufacturing corporation can be liable if a product has a design or manufacturing defect. The injury must result from the intended use of the product, and such injuries might stem from a design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn of the risks of using the product.
If you seek medical treatment and the professional acts in a negligent manner aggravating or causing additional harm, that is medical malpractice, and they must be held liable. Lack of oxygen or internal bleeding left untreated during a medical procedure contributes to brain damage.
Employers of negligent parties
If someone is working when they cause your accident and injury, their employer can often be vicariously liable for the negligence of the employee.
You might hold several parties legally responsible for a brain injury, and you should name all of them in your concussion injury claim. Determining liability can require complex investigations, so always discuss your options with a brain injury lawyer immediately.
Proving your brain injury claim
Concussion injury claims are similar to other personal injury claims because you must prove the negligence of another party. Negligence requires you to prove a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Depending on how the injury occurred, your personal injury lawyer will need to show the other entity owed you a duty of care and their careless actions breached that duty and caused you harm. For a successful concussion claim, there must be a direct correlation between the accident and the injury.
You might also need to reach maximum medical improvement to calculate your losses and future prognosis. While you might not be back to your pre-accident state, MMI refers to the most improvement you will make from your condition and therefore becomes your new normal.
Concussion victims should keep a journal detailing their daily activities to prove the substantial change in their lifestyle. If the brain injury doesn’t allow the person to document these activities properly, a family or close friend can help with the documentation process. This helps to prove intangible losses stemming from your injury.
You need a lawyer for concussion injury claims
Many insurance companies do not take concussions seriously in personal injury claims, primarily because they have a mild TBI rating. Any head trauma is severe, and complications can affect your life in many ways. Do not let negligent parties and others trick you into thinking your injury is minor.
You can recover compensation through your concussion injury claim, but you must work with a local injury lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome. Having the proper legal protections will help you if your condition worsens and you need lifelong care.