The more we learn about head injuries, the more we understand that there’s no such thing as a minor head injury. Because the brain is the most complex organ in the human body, even minor trauma to the brain can have far-reaching—and long-lasting—complications.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often associated with athletes and soldiers, but any bump, blow, or jolt to the head can cause a concussion, a type of mild TBI. Concussions are frequently seen in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and other personal injury cases. Doctors are better than ever at diagnosing post-concussion symptoms, and this is affecting how claims involving head injuries are valuated.
About TBI and Concussions
TBI is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, TBI injuries cost $76 billion in direct and indirect medical expenses each year. Nearly three million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and deaths occur in the U.S. annually. Falls and motor vehicle crashes are among the top causes of TBI hospitalizations.
Concussions are the most common form of TBI, accounting for around three out of four brain injuries. A concussion occurs when a hit to the head or body causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Although considered a “mild” TBI, concussions are still serious. They can cause physical, emotional, and cognitive problems, as well as sleep disturbance. Many concussion victims report not feeling like themselves for days, weeks, or months after the injury. During the recovery period, victims may have difficulty with everyday tasks, such as working, driving, and meeting family obligations.
Long-Term Concussion Effects
Medical science has vastly improved our understanding of concussions. We now know that a single concussion can cause lasting brain damage. A single concussion is also linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
While most people recover fairly quickly from a concussion, approximately 10 to 20 percent develop structural brain problems that result in lingering symptoms known as post-concussion syndrome. In some cases, these symptoms last a year or longer. They can cause problems with the ability to pay attention, concentrate, plan and organize, and solve problems. Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Memory and concentration problems
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Ringing in the ears
Post-Concussion Syndrome and Personal Injury Cases
If somebody else is responsible for the accident that caused your concussion, you may be able to make a claim for the injury. The value of a personal injury claim is based on economic losses, such as medical bills and missed work, in addition to non-economic losses like pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Both types of losses can result from head injuries and may be more substantial if post-concussion symptoms are present.
However, the challenge can be proving that your lingering concussion symptoms are actually the result of a concussion. For example, the insurance company might argue that symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and anxiety—which have a number of potential causes—are not due to your concussion.
This is where the quality of your medical care and doctor testimony make a big difference. Advances in medical technology allow doctors to look at the brain and identify biologic underpinnings of post-concussion syndrome, including decrease in regional brain volume and brain signal activity.
Get Help From a Southeast Ohio Brain Injury Lawyer
Your choice in attorney also matters. An experienced personal injury attorney will work side by side with your doctor to create a claim that stands up to scrutiny and results in maximum compensation.
As part of our services, Graham & Graham works with highly qualified medical experts. We also handle all insurance company communications on your behalf, conduct our own accident investigation, and help you take charge of your health care.
For help with a TBI injury claim, schedule a free case review. We handle injury claims on a contingency-fee basis, so there is no cost unless we recover money for you.