Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the most frequently seen injuries stemming from car accidents. Among TBI types, concussions happen more often than any other type of TBI, making concussions a major concern among crash victims. In fact, many personal injury claims related to car accidents involve concussion-related settlement amounts. After all, concussions can have serious, long-lasting effects.
Why Are Concussions Dangerous?
A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted, which is a common occurrence during a vehicle collision.
Imagine that a car is moving at 60 miles per hour. Suddenly, it hits another object. Whether that object is moving or at rest, everything in the first car continues moving forward at the same speed, not stopping until it hits something that is already stopped. If one of the objects in the first car is a person, that person’s brain will slam against their skull. As a result, the person may wind up with a concussion.
Concussions are some of the milder and less intense forms of TBIs. However, that does not mean concussions are not serious. Quite the contrary, concussions can be so severe that someone who sustains a concussion may lose their ability to work, lose connections with their loved ones, and can even lose their core personality in some cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 2.5 million people in the United States visit emergency medical centers for TBIs each year. These emergency room treatments includes concussion treatments. For individuals between ages 15 and 44 years old, motor vehicle accidents are the most likely cause of a TBI. However, children and adults outside of this age groups are still at risk of a TBI if they experience a car accident.
Although concussions may be labeled as “mild,” they can cause long-lasting effects. Many accident victims who suffer from TBIs and concussions require expensive medical treatment, including physical therapy and psychotherapy. Depending on any other injuries sustained during the car accident, victims may also need surgery, pharmaceuticals, occupational therapy, and other interventions.
What a Concussion Looks Like
Ironically, not everyone who experiences a concussion after a car accident knows it right away. Concussions are considered a “hidden” issue because the skin does not have to be broken or damaged. A victim may look perfectly normal, and even feel normal for a few days post-crash. However, if he or she has a concussion, some common signs and symptoms are likely to become evident sooner rather than later.
Some of the most frequently reported indicators of a potential post-trauma concussion include:
- Dilated pupils that do not respond to light.
- Pupils that are not the same size in both eyes.
- Memory problems or lapses, including temporary amnesia.
- Dizzy feeling or feelings of vertigo.
- Nausea, vomiting, or change in appetite.
- Exhaustion despite getting enough sleep.
- Severe headache or head pressure.
- Difficulty speaking clearly or even sounding intoxicated.
- Inability to maintain a normal conversation.
- Changes in personality and behaviors.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Inability to concentrate, even at work.
- Inability to complete everyday tasks, such as tying shoes.
- Pervasive depression and negative attitude.
- Difficulty walking or running.
Although the onset of a concussion can be slow, some signs may be evident immediately after the car accident. Always seek medical attention immediately after a car crash, even if you do not feel like you sustained any injuries. The sooner a TBI is diagnosed, the sooner you can get the help you need, which may help reduce the effects of a concussion. Even if emergency medical responders do not come to the site of the crash, you should still visit a doctor. Even if you incur bills upfront, it is better to receive a diagnosis and treatment immediately than to allow a concussion to go untreated for days, weeks, or months.
How a Settlement Can Help After a Car Accident
After establishing that you have suffered a concussion as a result of a car collision, you will want to discuss an injury settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. A settlement amount will help you recover general and special damages that you are owed.
Although you do not need representation from a personal injury attorney to discuss a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you may wish to consult an injury lawyer in Arizona to ease the process. After all, you may wish to pursue a personal injury case against the driver, which is much easier if you have a knowledgeable law firm on your side.
The process of car accident settlements can be confusing. The last thing most car accident victims want to navigate is piles of legal paperwork. Typically, it is easier to work with a professional legal representative.
Understanding General Versus Special Damages
At the beginning of your case, your personal injury law firm will help you determine how to calculate a reasonable settlement request for special and general damages.
Special damages are usually easier to calculate than general damages because they are objective. Special damages include medical expenses, property damages, and lost wages. Future lost wages may also fall into this category.
General damages are more difficult to calculate because they are subjective in nature. For instance, pain and suffering is a type of general damage. Obviously, no one can put a price tag on your quality of life. However, a knowledgeable accident attorney can look at past settlements from cases similar to yours and figure out a justifiable figure.
Other Considerations in Concussion-Related Car Accident Settlements
Beyond damages and experiences already covered, concussion victims from car accidents need to remember that punitive damages may come to light during a personal injury case. However, punitive damages can be difficult to obtain. You and your attorney should discuss any punitive damages to decide if seeking them as part of your settlement makes sense.
What Can You Expect From a Concussion Car Accident Settlement
Every car accident is unique, and so is every victim’s experience. The way your concussion affects your daily life, and maybe even your future, is as individualized as your fingerprint. This means that your attorney will need to factor in many considerations when recommending how much of a settlement amount you should accept.
Be aware though that television often portrays car accident settlements as being million-dollar cases and most are not. Your goal should be to recover what you are owed. It is better to have realistic expectations from the beginning, which will help you throughout the process.
Talk with your personal injury lawyer about your settlement questions and concerns when you meet for your initial consultation. That way, you can begin with a more thorough understanding of how your attorney has helped clients in similar situations. The more you know, the better you will feel proceeding with your case.
Documentation to Help Your Car Accident Settlement Case
In order to give your car accident case the attention it deserves, your lawyer will need as much information as you can provide. You can move your case along faster if you provide your attorney with copies of all medical bills you have incurred as a result of the car accident. Don’t forget that your medical bills may also include bills for emergency medical responders’ transportation, over-the-counter pain medications, x-rays, blood work, injections, physical therapy visits, and psychotherapy appointments.
You should also collect copies of your most recent pay stubs, or request copies from your employer, to illustrate any lost wages. This type of documentation provides concrete evidence and makes it easier for you to prove that your concussion has required out-of-pocket expenses. Even if your health insurance carrier covers a portion or all of your concussion-related medical costs, retain any invoices, billing, or insurance claims to use as part of your case.
Your lawyer may request other documentation as you continue to work toward a resolution and settlement. Each piece of evidence should help indicate to the other side that your settlement request is based in real numbers.
How Concussion Car Accident Settlement Fees Work
Every law firm in Arizona sets its own personal injury case fees. This is something many potential clients do not realize. Therefore, it is up to you as a consumer to investigate which personal injury attorney is best-suited for your needs.
At Peterson Johnson, we collect 25 percent of any collected settlement amount you receive from your concussion car accident settlement. For instance, if your collected settlement is $10,000, we receive $2,500 and you receive $7,500.
Our firm’s collected percentage is 8.3 percentage points less than the 33.3 percent typically charged by Phoenix-based law firms. We are happy to discuss this further with you when you visit to discuss your case.
Contact a Lawyer in Arizona About Your Concussion Car Accident Settlement
Were you in an accident that left you with a concussion? Was someone in your family in a car crash, only to later discover that they suffered from a TBI concussion? Even if you are not sure that you want to move forward with a personal injury case, you owe it to yourself and your family to seek advice. Contact Peterson Johnson in Arizona at 602-285-6100 in Phoenix or Avondale to arrange an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys. You can also request a free initial consultation through our online contact form.