Doctors describe a concussion as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). The word “mild” refers to the fact that concussions rarely cause death. But the symptoms of a concussion injury often do not feel mild to accident victims.
Concussions can cause long-lasting effects called post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The symptoms of PCS can include pain, cognitive impairments, and behavioral changes.
In this guide, we’ll provide information about concussion injuries and how you can recover compensation for their effects.
How Do Concussion Injuries Happen?
The brain rests inside the skull. Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain and cushions it from the inside of the skull.
When your head impacts an object or an object impacts your head, your brain shifts in the CSF. For a minor impact, this shifting does not produce any lasting damage. But stronger impacts can cause the pressure of the CSF to damage brain cells.
This concussion injury causes widespread but non-fatal damage. Some brain cells and small blood vessels may rupture, causing minor bruising and swelling of the brain.
Concussions cause minor damage when compared to the damage from a contusion. A contusion happens when the brain impacts the inside of the skull.
Concussions can result from almost any type of accident that causes an impact between the head and an object, including:
In a car accident, your head can strike the steering wheel, headrest, airbag, dashboard, side window, or windshield. It can even swing violently without hitting anything. These motions can cause the brain to shift inside the skull, leading to a concussion.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents happen when your feet lose traction on a slick surface. When you slip, your feet tend to slide forward, and you tend to fall backward. As you fall, you risk hitting your head on an object or the ground.
Many types of workplace accidents can cause a concussion. A fall from a height can impact the head.
Likewise, explosions can cause concussions through a pressure wave. Anyone within the blast radius of an explosion will experience a rapid change in pressure. This pressure compresses the CSF and bruises the brain.
Doctors find this injury in service members and workers in demolition, mining, and other jobs that use explosives. Concussions can also happen in accidental explosions.
Falling and flying objects can also cause a concussion injury. Warehouse workers, construction workers, and machine operators work in environments in which objects can fall or get ejected from power tools or other kinds of machinery.
Any time an object strikes the head, the impact can cause a concussion.
Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can suffer a concussion after an impact with a car. The accident victim’s head can hit the vehicle during the initial impact, then strike the pavement in a secondary impact. Both these violent collisions can produce a concussion.
The risk of a concussion is a primary reason for helmet laws for cyclists and motorcycle riders. Bike riders wearing a helmet during a bicycle accident reduce their risk of a TBI by 52%. Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of head injury by 67% by wearing a helmet during a motorcycle accident.
How Are Concussion Injuries Rated?
Doctors might rate your concussion as severe, moderate, or mild. Doctors agree that loss of consciousness justifies a “severe” concussion rating.
Doctors use many rating scales to determine the severity of a concussion without loss of consciousness.
Some factors used to rate concussions include:
- Eye opening
- Verbal response
- Motor response
Using the Glasgow coma scale, the first responder or doctor scores each response and adds them together. The total score gives the severity of the concussion injury.
What Are the Effects of a Concussion Injury?
A concussion produces widespread effects, including cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Most symptoms will clear up within a few days or weeks after the head trauma.
Common symptoms of a concussion include:
- Blurry vision
- Drowsiness or sluggishness
- Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Sleep disorders
- Mood changes
- Behavioral changes
When symptoms last more than two months, doctors will diagnose the patient with PCS. Doctors usually cannot identify a specific cause for PCS.
But some risk factors include:
- Severe concussion injury
- Prior head injury
- Depression or anxiety from the accident
- Age, with older patients at higher risk
PCS could last for months or years. Patients with PCS characterized by behavioral and cognitive symptoms might experience significant disruptions to their income from missed work or a need to change or quit their jobs.
How Are Concussion Injuries Treated?
In severe cases, doctors may need to treat bleeding or swelling in your brain with surgery or medication. But doctors treat most concussions with supportive care. After a concussion, doctors might prescribe pain medication and rest.
Your doctor will also restrict your activities. A second concussion before the first concussion has healed can cause severe brain damage or even death. As a result, you might need to stay home from work if your job exposes you to head injuries.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Concussion Injury?
Your damages after an accident compensate you for your economic and non-economic losses. You could claim substantial compensation after a concussion injury.
Concussions may require extensive care in a hospital. They may also require physical and mental therapy during recovery. You can include the costs you incur for this treatment with your damages.
Doctors might recommend that you miss work to reduce the risk of further injury. Your damages will also include your lost income. If you need to take light duty or change jobs due to your injury, your damages can include your diminished earning capacity.
If you suffer from long-term effects from a concussion, you can also claim pain and suffering damages. These damages are designed to compensate you for your diminished quality of life after an injury.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers To Discuss Your Case
Ready to discuss your concussion injury and the compensation you may seek for it? Contact Roman & Gaynor for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. As a firm with extensive experience in concussion injuries, we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.