Not every personal injury sustained in a car crash is immediately visible. Some problems, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), do not become visible for several hours or even days. One of the most common types of TBIs is a concussion. Whether mild or severe, a concussion can require medical attention and therapy, and can contribute to suffering well beyond the moment of impact.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion occurs when your brain hits your skull with ample force, causing your brain to move and jolt violently. For instance, a sudden blow to the head can cause a concussion, such as when a passenger’s head hits the front seat or the window to the side. However, the force of your car stopping suddenly and your head whipping forward and back can cause a concussion as well.
Depending on where a person suffered a concussion, he or she will have different symptoms and reactions. The person may also have lost consciousness for a period of time following the brain bruising. However, many people walk away from car accidents not realizing they have a concussion until their symptoms pop up later.
Common Signs of Concussion
First, medical responders and emergency room technicians who evaluate victims of motor vehicle accidents are trained to look not just for physical signs of injury, but to diagnosis TBIs including concussion. Some concussion symptoms that a car crash driver or passenger might have are as follows:
- Memory loss: Many people who have experienced a concussion cannot remember certain things. Even if they remember the car accident, they might not remember much that happened before or after. They may even forget large chunks of their past. Memory loss is a devastating, terrifying symptom because occasionally memories do not return. Some individuals discover they have trouble retaining new memories, which can affect school and job performance.
- Headaches: It makes sense that a sign of concussion is headache. Headaches related to a concussion run the gamut. Some people experience mild headaches for a few days post-accident. Others may complain of consistent migraines for weeks, months, or for the rest of their lives.
- Light sensitivity: Some victims who have been diagnosed with a concussion can no longer enjoy being in rooms with bright light, or enjoy a day outside in the sunlight. If they happen to be employed in a well-lit workplace, being sensitive to light could end up costing them their jobs.
- Mood changes: As with all head injuries, personality changes post-concussion can occur. Again, this can be a devastating symptom of a concussion for both the victim and his or her loved ones. Going from being positive and upbeat to having a negative outlook or suffering from depressive episodes can radically change someone’s life. It can even lead to the loss of personal relationships or career opportunities.
- Sleeping problems: It can be tough for those who have a concussion to get to sleep and stay asleep, or try to wake up. Insomnia and oversleeping are frequently reported among car accident concussion victims, and both sleeping issues can lead to further personal and professional difficulties.
Of course, just as every person is unique, every car a accident victim’s concussion will present itself in different ways.
How Concussions Are Diagnosed
In order to confidently diagnose a concussion, medical professionals must put car crash victims through a variety of tests. Some of the tests can become quite costly, such as CT scans. Still, they are needed to document evidence of a concussion.
People who have been injured in a car accident and who require testing for a concussion may incur tremendous expenses. Even those with health insurance may have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket just to learn they have a concussion.
After diagnosing a concussion, the medical professional will help the patient develop a treatment plan. Usually, plans involve avoiding situations that may cause further brain damage, such as playing certain sports. This can be yet another blow to the victim, especially if he or she is cautioned not to engage in a beloved or perhaps lucrative activity.
Some concussion symptoms do go away on their own, but there is no set time frame for this to happen. In other cases, a person might feel the after-effects of a concussion for years or decades post-crash.
Why Insurance Carriers May Balk at Covering Concussion-Related Injuries and Damages
After a car accident, the drivers and passengers will have to submit their information to the insurance provider of the at-fault party. In an ideal world, the information would be used to construct a fair settlement to ensure that the victims are compensated for their damages. However, in many cases, insurance providers will refuse to cover more than a few medical bills for concussion treatment.
Why does this occur? Basically, insurance companies are in the business of paying as little as they can. Adjusters do not want to give away too much money, so they lowball or make very modest settlement offers. In many situations, victims accept the offers without realizing that they could fight for higher compensation. That’s why hiring an accident attorney as soon as possible after a highway collision is so essential. Lawyers who are accustomed to helping car accident concussion victims are in a better position to work with insurance providers to obtain higher settlement offers.
Although no law firm can guarantee more money from insurance carriers representing at-fault drivers, having the representation of a personal injury attorney can take stress off of victims.
How to Prove a Post-Car Accident Concussion
Victims will always be asked to provide evidence that they have suffered a concussion after a car accident. Therefore, anyone who has been in a car crash and suffered a TBI should follow some simple rules.
First, all documents related to the car crash should be identified and retained. This includes healthcare reports, evaluations, and invoices. The more third-party, objective information, the better. All of it might not be useful in a court case, but having more is always better than having less.
Next, have the victim or victim’s family keep a personal journal of concussion symptoms. For instance, the father of a teenager who was diagnosed with a post-crash concussion should keep a log of all the times his daughter had to miss school, complained of severe headaches, suffered memory loss, etc. The school may provide evidence in the form of bad report cards, confirmation of negative attitude, or a lack of participation.
Having these items written down and stored in a binder can help you back up claims if your personal injury case does not settle and winds up in litigation.
Work With Car Accident Attorneys in Arizona to Recover Concussion-Related Damages
If you were in a car collision in Arizona and have been diagnosed with a concussion, do not delay in getting medical attention or legal help. Contact the law firm of Petersen Johnson at 602-396-4635 to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case. All initial consultations are free and confidential. Why risk having to pay for medical expenses, rehab expenses, trauma, and pain and suffering? You deserve to receive a fair settlement for your experiences.