What Are Concussion Injury Claims?

February 13, 2024 | Jarrett Blakeley
What Are Concussion Injury Claims?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results from bumping your head or receiving a jolt or blow. The trauma results when the force causes your brain to shake inside the skull. Because a concussion can be debilitating and trigger serious long-term health concerns, understanding the mechanisms and impact of this brain injury is vital in injury claims.

Some effects of a concussion are short-term, leading to problems with focusing, mood, sleep, and balance. However, the symptoms may also become more pronounced over time, which can lead to complications.

In some cases, a concussion may cause you to lose consciousness. The most common cause of a concussion is a fall. If you or a loved one suffers from a concussion, seek guidance from a brain injury lawyer today for rightful compensation.

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Physical Symptoms Following a Concussion

Symptoms of a concussion may be subtle or may not emerge right away. They may last several days or weeks or even longer. After suffering a TBI, your head may ache, or you may feel confused or experience short-term amnesia. Amnesia usually involves forgetting the accident that led up to the concussion.

Soccer player with a concussion visiting a doctor for medical assistance

Physical symptoms of a concussion may include:

Some people may see stars or feel like they’re in a fog.

If you’ve had a concussion, witnesses might report that they observed you were slurring your words, that you looked dazed, or that you may have been asking the same question repeatedly.

Delayed Symptoms

When symptoms are delayed, they may involve:

  • Problems with remembering or concentration
  • Irritability or a change in personality
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling depressed or emotional
  • Changes in smell or taste

Persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is the persistence of some of the above-listed symptoms beyond the normal recovery period, becoming chronic (ongoing) dysfunctions.

The Seriousness of the Long-Term Dangers of Concussions

People view concussions as short-term injuries. However, research now shows the injury may initiate neurodegenerative processes causing significant lifelong impairments equivalent to moderate traumatic brain injuries.

Moreover, repeat concussions can have a cumulative effect. The risk of neurologic damage rises after just one concussion.

When Do You Need Emergency Care? 

If you have suffered a head injury, you need to seek medical care ASAP if you experience any of the symptoms below. Keeping up to date on your prognosis is important, especially if you submit a claim for damages.

You likely need emergency care if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Repeated nausea and vomiting
  • Losing consciousness for at least 30 seconds
  • A worsening headache
  • Blood or fluid drinking from the ears or nose
  • Visual changes or changes in the pupils (for example, larger-sized pupils or pupils of different sizes)
  • Ear ringing that does not stop
  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Disorientation or confusion, especially if you have trouble recognizing places or people
  • Slurred speech or other notable changes when speaking
  • Changes in mental functioning
  • Problems with physical coordination, such as clumsiness or stumbling
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Intermittent dizziness or dizziness that will not go away

Mechanisms of Injury

When a concussion happens, the brain basically gets concussed from a sudden movement, causing it to twist or bounce around inside the skull, leading to chemical changes in the brain - sometimes damaging and stretching the brain cells.

After an acute injury* or TBI, concussed brains enter a state of metabolic crisis. Cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism are reduced, making the brain vulnerable to a second injury and delayed damage. Post-concussion brains work overtime, which also exhausts the body’s resources. 

To make the distinction, an acute injury is sudden in nature and happens after a person falls and receives a blow to the head or twists a joint. By comparison, chronic injuries usually develop gradually, typically from overuse from one area of the body.

Claim Strategies for Concussions

Too often, insurers initially downplay concussion severity due to the lack of a visible structural injury on scans. However, diffuse axonal damage  (DAI) is very real and disabling. Medical specialists state that DAI, which involves the tearing of the brain’s long connecting axons (nerve fibers), can happen when the brain shifts and rotates inside the skull during an accident.

Changes that take place in the brain from this damage are frequently microscopic. This may cause a doctor to miss these changes on a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

As a result, concussion claims demand zealous advocacy and education to achieve fair compensation - or a settlement amount that reflects the truly devastating effects of the injury. That’s why retaining the skills of a highly experienced attorney is highly advised.

Possible Future Complications

A concussion can trigger secondary neurodegenerative processes that leave victims vulnerable to serious lifelong medical complications. Once more, understanding these possible developments is imperative when creating and submitting injury claims.

Post-Concussion Syndrome  

Again, persistent post-concussion syndrome (PCS) severely impacts quality of life. Lingering symptoms like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, and concentration problems can deeply impair daily function and careers for months or years.

Second Impact Syndrome

A repeat concussion--or second impact syndrome--before full recovery from an initial concussion--is extremely dangerous. Another concussion can deplete energy reserves and cause the loss of auto-regulatory abilities.

For example, a minor secondary impact can trigger massive swelling, which prevents blood vessels from supplying oxygen to the brain. Without immediate treatment, the condition often proves to be fatal.

Early Onset Neurodegenerative Disease 

New research links concussions to an elevated risk of dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders - typically associated with aging. The risk increases with respect to the number of concussions a victim sustains earlier in life. Victims may face progressive cognitive, psychiatric, movement, and speech disorders - which may also prematurely require lifelong care.

Vision Disorders 

Concussions frequently damage the ocular motor nerves - impacting accommodation, convergence, photosensitivity, and ocular balance, which can lead to lifelong visual struggles. Disorders may take the form of blurriness, eyestrain, difficulty reading, and issues with depth perception. As a result, a victim may require ongoing vision therapy and care.

Seizure Disorders

Single concussions increase post-traumatic seizure risk two to five-fold. Repeat incidents sharply elevate that vulnerability to around 17 percent. Seizures require daily medication and restrictions. Additionally, anti-seizure drugs have challenging side effects that impact a patient as well. 

Early post-traumatic seizures occur shortly after a concussion, while late post-traumatic seizures take place after a week of the injury. When multiple seizures occur, the victim may develop epilepsy.

While single concussions may resolve symptomatically, the cellular damage, chemical changes, and neural vulnerability persist latently. Victims battle cumulative complications from seemingly minor initial blows that, in the aftermath, affect their quality of life.

Needless to say, retaining experienced legal counsel protects your rights to receive fair damages accounting for serious future care needs.

Reviewing Your Request for Damages for a Concussion Claim: How Your Attorney Will Support Your Case

Your concussion accident lawyer will help you in several ways when negotiating or filing a concussion claim on your behalf.

Explaining the Factors Surrounding the Claim 

Suffering a concussion in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence results in more than just immediate health effects from a traumatic brain injury. The long-term impacts on your life need to be accounted for in your injury claim to achieve full and fair compensation. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand what to ask so you can strengthen your demand.

Assessing The Long-Term Effects of Your Concussion  

A concussion may initially seem like a short-term injury after an accident. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the lasting symptoms you may face for months or even years down the road. Medical issues may include:

  • Headaches and dizziness that disrupt work and enjoyment of life 
  • Difficulty with concentration, memory, and organizational skills
  • Fatigue requiring extensive rest 
  • Mood problems like irritability or depressive feelings
  • Sleep disturbance that further worsens other issues

Additionally, you face higher susceptibility to subsequent concussions and lengthy recovery if another head injury occurs. These long-term health impacts amount to real financial and emotional damages.

Gathering the Evidence

When working with an attorney, key evidence is gathered through medical examinations, expert testimony, health records, and more. This data supports your damages in the form of:

  • Medical bills from initial emergency treatment, hospitalization, imaging scans, prescriptions, and ongoing concussion therapy
  • Lost past and future income due to missing work during recovery periods  
  • Impaired future earning capacity if lingering effects hinder your career advancement  
  • Costs of prescription medications, medical equipment, and modified transportation needs
  • In-home healthcare assistance during periods of disability
  • Documented suffering and loss of enjoyment of life 

Robust documentation paints the full picture, so insurers must offer complete compensation. Without legal guidance, victims tend to underestimate their rightful claim value significantly.

Maximizing Pain and Suffering Damages

In addition to quantifiable economic damages, concussion symptoms translate into immense physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress. However, insurers resist adequately compensating pain and suffering, which cannot be assigned a fixed dollar value.

Proving these real intangible losses requires vivid descriptions of how concussion after-effects have ruined your quality of life. A lawyer helps demonstrate the merit of higher pain and suffering payout up to policy limits. This compensates for lingering headaches, anxiety, loss of life activities, relationship strain, and other concussion-induced burdens.

Without attorney representation, insurance adjusters commonly take advantage of claimants by making quick, undervalued settlement offers. They pressure victims to accept insufficient compensation before fully grasping their legal rights.

A personal injury lawyer levels the playing field through learned negotiation tactics, targeting maximum claim value. This includes skillfully conveying legal arguments on liability and demonstrating readiness to take the case to court if warranted. Insurers grow more reasonable when attorneys signal a refusal to settle for pennies compared to the real damages inflicted. On their clients

Realizing the Best Outcome for Your Concussion Injury Claim

In accident cases with clear liability, your attorney will demonstrate all the factors that led to your concussion. Without this representation, taking care of a claim on your own is difficult.

Every concussion accident victim deserves caring counsel to obtain their maximum lawful recovery. Don’t minimally settle without fully understanding your legal rights inside and out.

As noted, a concussion can lead to significant short-term and long-term complications - complications that may require additional financial compensation through an injury claim. Some potential concussion complications and related damages include:

Post-concussion syndrome - Lingering symptoms like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and mental fog can hang on for months. Medical treatment and medications are valid damages. Lost income, if unable to work and reduced future earnings, may also be claimed if there is permanent impairment.

Early-onset dementia or Alzheimer's disease - Moderate and severe brain injuries are linked to higher rates of memory-loss conditions later in life. Therefore, you can include projected costs of lifetime care for dementia brought on prematurely in a claim settlement.

Risk of subsequent concussions - Having one concussion predisposes you to further head injuries with increasingly prolonged recovery. This susceptibility can justify policy limit settlement demands.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) - Repeat concussive/subconcussive head impacts may lead to this degenerative brain disease. Medical monitoring, in-home care costs, and other CTE complications can be demonstrated in the claim demand.

Epilepsy - Post-traumatic seizures arise in approximately 5 percent of patients after a concussion. Anti-seizure medications, medical treatment costs, and changes to restore independent living can be a part of the claim.

Movement disorders - Impaired coordination, loss of balance, and trouble walking may necessitate outpatient therapy costs. Home/vehicle modifications for accessibility can also be necessary.

Documenting the increased likelihood and costs associated with potential long-term or permanent concussion complications strengthens a legal case for maximizing damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help assemble evidence and formulate a persuasive demand rationale.

How a Concussion Accident Attorney Works

Concussion injury lawyer with client in a nice office

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) like a concussion in an accident caused by negligence entitles you to damages covering all related losses. An experienced personal injury attorney takes proactive measures to secure you a complete compensation entitlement. This type of claim is frequently submitted. The CDC reported 214,000 TBI hospitalizations in 2020, so personal injury attorneys who take on these claims are plenty busy.

Needless to say, it’s important, if you’ve suffered a concussion, to understand how your lawyer works and what to expect.

  1. Accident Investigations

The first step an attorney takes is ordering a detailed investigation of how the accident occurred, gathering police reports, accounts from witnesses, photographic evidence from the scene, and video footage if available. Proving clear liability provides leverage for maximum claim value.

  1. Injury Documentation

Your medical records quantify the extent of the initial injury and post-concussion symptoms. Ongoing specialist examinations further gauge recovery progress. Medical evidence is critical for validating injury severity and for determining how it has specifically impacted your health, function, and quality of life.

  1. Damage Calculations 

Your attorney will account for all quantifiable economic and non-economic losses directly tied to the concussion injury. This includes adding up current and future medical expenses, lost income from missing work, reduced income if there is long-term impairment, plus assigning a monetary amount to physical/mental suffering

  1. Demand Package Support

Your lawyer will send a comprehensive demand package to the insurance carrier. The document will discuss culpability for the collision, provide medical evidence of the injury sustained, outline your losses and suffering, and request a specific settlement amount covering the listed damages. Significant demand packages spur larger counteroffers.

  1. Maximum Payout Negotiations  

Your attorney leverages their negotiation skills to push settlements higher, conveying that going to court will garner you an even greater damage award. Insurers facing aggressive representation often cave to policy limits to avoid further legal action. This goes well beyond what victims obtain without counsel.

  1. Aggressive Pursuit of Your Settlement

If warranted, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit to aggressively pursue compensation for you through the civil court system. Legal professionals understand what evidence sways judges and juries during a trial. Case law precedent also supports concussion claimants - producing court awards and settlements exceeding insurance offers. 

Contact a Concussion Accident Lawyer Now

An experienced injury law firm leaves no stone unturned when investigating accidents and quantifying client damages. Retaining strong legal counsel is the surest way for victims to receive full redress for all tangible and intangible losses. With so much at stake with respect to your health and finances, a lawyer levels the playing field so you can get what you need. Contact a personal injury lawyer now about your injury claim.

Jarrett Blakeley

Firm founder Jarrett Blakeley fights to get maximum compensation for all of Blakeley Law Firm’s clients. He has been practicing law since 2006 and takes great pride in representing the rights of injured individuals against the insurance companies and the law firms that represent them. He has successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered tens of millions of dollars on their behalf. Mr. Blakeley strives to give all of his clients personal attention and maximum effort and seeks to instill a firm culture that prioritizes customer service and compassion for the injured over all else. Fighting for the injured is Jarrett Blakeley’s greatest passion and he looks forward to fighting for the injured for the rest of his career.

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