After Suffering a Concussion, You May Need a Doctor AND a Lawyer
September 16th is National Concussion Awareness DayⓇ, a day on which the risks, signs, and treatment of concussions are highlighted to promote awareness of these injuries.
Concussions can happen to anyone – young or old, laborer or professional, Eagles or Cowboys fan. Although many of us associate concussions with athletes and sports-related injuries, anything involving a blow to the head or even just violent shaking of the head and neck can cause a concussion. In fact, the most common cause of a concussion is a fall.
While the majority of concussions cause temporary symptoms, some suffer long-term and even permanent effects with significant physical, emotional, and financial harm.
It is always important to see a medical professional promptly if you may have suffered a concussion. And if your concussion is caused by the fault of another, a lawyer can step in to help you recover for your injuries and damages.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury usually caused by a bump or blow to the head or violent shaking of the head or upper body. The concussion occurs because the movement causes the brain tissue, which is surrounded by protective fluid, to bump against the inside of your skull.
How do I know if I have a concussion?
You may not immediately know that you have a concussion after a fall or blow to the head. Some symptoms can be mild or do not appear immediately. In other cases, such as when you are knocked out, it is obvious that you should be monitored for concussion. The CDC provides a helpful summary of the symptoms of a concussion, divided into the four helpful categories which include thinking or remembering problems, physical difficulties, emotional or mood changes, and sleep disturbances:
In some cases, these symptoms may not appear until days, weeks, or even months after the injury, but they should never be ignored.
What should I do if I think I have a concussion?
All concussions require evaluation by a medical professional. If you have any of the above symptoms of a concussion or think for any other reason that you may have a concussion, you should contact your doctor or go to the emergency room promptly. Concussions that may at first appear minor can escalate quickly into serious conditions such as a blood clot or bleeding on the brain, which can be fatal.
Some people are at even higher risk of injury from a concussion, including older adults, people who have had a previous recent concussion, or anyone who is taking blood thinners (such as aspirin.) Anyone in these high-risk groups should see their healthcare provider immediately after a blow to the head, and should be especially vigilant for concussion symptoms.
What types of long-term problems might I have from a concussion?
The vast majority of concussions are temporary and resolve within a few days or weeks, however, some people suffer long-term problems such as headaches, dizziness, and cognitive or mental difficulties that last for weeks or months after an injury. When these symptoms last more than 3 months after the injury, they are called persistent post-concussive symptoms.
Severe or repetitive brain injuries are more likely to lead to long-term post-concussive symptoms, including:
- Memory problems
- Personality changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Taste and smell dysfunction
- Increased risk of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has gained a lot of attention in recent years following its discovery in a disproportionate number of deceased professional football players.
It is a progressive brain disease that is thought to be caused by repeated head trauma, and can lead to harmful symptoms and increased risks in the patient.
If you are having ongoing symptoms following a concussion, you should not ignore them. Consult with your healthcare team immediately.
Why would I need a lawyer after a concussion?
hen you suffer a concussion, another person or insurance provider may be liable for some or all of your medical bills and other losses, which an experienced lawyer can help you recover.
If you suffer a concussion in a car accident, in a fall, at work, or on someone else’s property, or because of the fault of someone else, you may be entitled to a recovery. Your losses may be covered by auto insurance, workers’ compensation, homeowners’ insurance, or other liability insurance. An attorney can advise you on your rights and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
If your concussion is a result of the fault or negligence of another person, you may also be entitled to bring a legal claim against that person for your losses. A care provider who does not appropriately supervise a patient, an inattentive driver who causes a car crash, or a store owner who does not clean up unsafe spills, are all potentially responsible for the injuries they cause, including concussions. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury such as this, and are considering a lawsuit, it is always advisable to get the advice of a reputable personal injury attorney. Many unrepresented victims accept lowball settlement offers or receive undervalued compensation awards because they do not fully understand their rights and the value of their claims.
What kinds of compensation are recoverable after suffering a concussion?
After suffering a concussion, you may be able to make a claim for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including pharmacy bills, ambulance fees, and physical and occupational therapy bills
- Lost wages and benefits
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering, including physical discomfort and emotional trauma
An attorney will help you to calculate the expenses that you have already incurred, estimate your future medical expenses and lost wages, and advocate for a full and fair amount for your pain and suffering. Valuing future losses and pain and suffering can be difficult, and often requires consultation with experts in the economic, medical, nursing, and vocational fields. An attorney who has experience handling personal injury claims, and who understands how to ensure that your case is properly valued, is necessary to seek compensation for your harm and provide financial security in the future.
If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion and think you may be entitled to compensation, Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo can help. We offer a free consultation to review your case and help you decide how you want to move forward. Contact us today online or by calling (610) 625-2100.