Post-Concussion Syndrome Personal Injury Claims
Some car accident victims in California suffer from concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Even when a TBI is considered minor, some people who suffer concussions from motor vehicle collisions develop a condition called post-concussion syndrome (PCS). In this condition, people continue suffering concussion symptoms beyond the normal period of recovery. People who suffer from PCS can face impacts on their personal lives and careers since the symptoms can be debilitating. If you have developed PCS following a car crash that was caused by someone else, you might be entitled to pursue compensation through a claim against the at-fault driver. Here is some information you should know about post-concussion syndrome.Understanding Post-Concussion Syndrome
Post-concussion syndrome is a condition in which the symptoms of a concussion continue after the expected recovery period. Concussions occur when the brain strikes the bones of the skull, which can happen because of the physical forces released in a car accident or because of trauma to the head. When the brain collides with the skull, it can cause a brain injury. This type of injury is typically detected with a computerized tomography (CT) scan.Symptoms of a Concussion
Concussions can range in severity and can result in many different symptoms. The following symptoms are common among people who have suffered concussions:
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of smell
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sensitivity to light
- Vision problems, including blurred or double vision
With a mild concussion, the symptoms typically last around two weeks. Most people fully recover from a concussion within a month when they receive proper medical treatment.
If the symptoms of a concussion last longer than a month, the victim might have developed post-concussion syndrome. The symptoms of PCS include any symptoms of a concussion and will not necessarily be the symptoms the person initially suffered. The types of persistent symptoms that are most common in PCS include those involved with cognitive problems, including taking more time to think, memory problems, and fatigue.The Impact of PCS on Quality of Life
People who suffer from PCS might also experience a reduction in their quality of life. Because of the symptoms associated with PCS, the condition can impact the quality of the victim's personal relationships and their ability to perform their jobs.
PCS can affect your career because of the cognitive symptoms associated with the condition. YOu might have a reduced ability to concentrate and remain on task, and the behavioral symptoms and personality changes might also interfere with your interpersonal relationships at work. These types of impacts can threaten your productivity and your career.
Many people who have PCS also suffer problems in their personal lives. The symptoms might cause you to feel isolated from your friends and family members, and personality changes might also cause them to distance themselves from you. These problems can also lead to depression and anxiety, which can make the problems worse.How Do Concussions Happen in Car Accidents?
Concussions are relatively common car accident injuries and can happen in one of the following ways:
- Striking your head on an object inside of the car, including a window, dashboard, headrest, steering wheel, or airbag
- Being struck in the head by debris thrown about inside of the vehicle
- Having your body and head violently thrown about because of the force of the collision so that your brain sloshes around inside of your skull
Since it is possible to suffer a concussion even when you do not strike your head on an object and do not suffer a traumatic blow, many people who suffer concussions in car crashes do not immediately realize they have been injured. They might suffer symptoms without understanding the cause and might wait to see a doctor to obtain a diagnosis and treatment. This can make the symptoms worsen and also make it more difficult to prove the injury occurred in the car crash.Compensation in a Car Accident Resulting in Concussion and PCS
If you suffered a concussion and developed PCS because of a car accident that was caused by someone else, you are entitled to pursue compensation by filing a car accident claim against the at-fault motorist. In that situation, the other driver should be responsible for paying for the losses that resulted from your crash. The at-fault driver's car insurance company will ultimately be responsible for paying your claim. You can file a claim with the insurance company. If the company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney can file a formal civil complaint to initiate a lawsuit on your behalf.
The value of a brain injury claim will depend on multiple factors, including the severity of your injuries, the type of conduct the other driver engaged in, your likelihood of fulling recovering, and others. There isn't a set amount that an attorney can quote for the value of a claim involving a concussion and PCS. Instead, your lawyer will need to review the evidence and investigate what happened to calculate your claim's value.
Some of the types of damages that might be available for your economic and non-economic losses include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage losses
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma/mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Other losses
Your attorney will value your case and give you a range of values within which you might expect a fair settlement offer to fall. The amount of a settlement will depend on your losses, and these can vary based on the facts and circumstances of your case. Both attorneys and insurance companies calculate claims values using different formulas. Since insurance companies are in business to make profits, they typically try to minimize their losses by extending unreasonably low settlement offers to car accident victims.
You might be contacted soon after your crash by an insurance adjuster. The adjuster might make an initial offer to you. However, you should keep in mind that most early settlement offers are lowball offers that will not adequately cover all of your losses. If you receive an early settlement offer, you should not accept it without talking to an experienced injury lawyer.
In many cases, this early offer will be extended to you before you have had a chance to retain a lawyer. Insurance companies understand that accident victims face financial pressures because of their medical expenses and wage losses. By making a lowball offer, insurance companies hope that the victims will accept it so that they won't be able to pursue additional compensation through a lawsuit. If you accept the offer, you will waive your right to pursue additional compensation and release the driver and their insurance company from further liability. If you receive an early offer, contact an attorney before you agree to sign anything.
An attorney can investigate your case and value your claim so that you can understand what a reasonable settlement offer should look like. They can negotiate with the insurance company for you to secure a fair offer. If the insurance company refuses to settle fairly, your attorney can file a formal lawsuit and fight for your rights through the court process.Talk to a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered a concussion in a car crash and have now developed post-concussion syndrome, you should talk to an attorney at the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC. We have helped many car accident victims recover fair compensation for their losses and understand the tactics that insurance companies frequently use to try to minimize claim payments. Call us today for a free consultation at 866.966.5240.