What Can You Do After You Hit Your Head in a Car Accident?
Some car crashes happen with such a degree of force that they cause severe head injuries. Permanent head injuries may lead to lasting migraines, pain, and other symptoms.
If you hit your head in a recent car accident, first seek medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility near you. Follow all the emergency room doctor's recommendations and complete your treatment regimen.
If you suffered a head injury in a car accident that someone else caused, retain skilled legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer
in your area can file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit that seeks the monetary damages you deserve for your head injury.
Potential monetary compensation in your case may include damages for your medical expenses, lost earnings, inconvenience, and pain and suffering. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your total monetary recovery in the case and ensure that you become whole again as much as possible after your accident.
How Can Car Accidents Frequently Cause Serious Head Injuries?
Car accidents come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of the most common include rear-end accidents
, head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, overturn accidents, and T-bone or broadside accidents. All these accidents may lead to serious and debilitating head injuries.
In many cases, the force of a collision is so severe that it causes a driver’s or passenger's body to move around violently inside their vehicle. In some situations, the accident victim's head might strike something in the car, such as the steering wheel, passenger console, window, door frame, or headrest. As a result, the driver or passenger may suffer a severe head injury in the crash.
Some of the most common head injuries that car accident victims suffer include:
- Concussions. A concussion occurs when the force of a collision causes a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. This can lead to severe bruising or even internal bleeding. Moreover, concussions can lead to both short-term and long-term symptoms. Potential short-term symptoms of a concussion include frequent headaches, dizziness, nausea, and temporary memory loss. However, long-term symptoms of a concussion may consist of permanent memory loss, ongoing headaches, or post-concussive migraine syndrome.
- Frequent migraines. Migraines are severe headaches that can last for hours or even days on end. In any situation, these painful headaches cause an accident victim to become extremely sensitive to light and sound. They can also occur as a result of a concussion.
- Comas. A coma is one of the most common head injuries a car crash victim may suffer. When an accident victim suffers a coma, they may lose consciousness for a significant time. It can last for days, weeks, or the rest of the person’s life. In the latter situation, the accident victim may wind up on life support in a permanent vegetative state.
If you or a person you care about suffered any of these head injuries in a recent car crash, seek help from a qualified medical professional right away. Your medical provider can outline a treatment regimen for you and help you recover from your head injury as much as possible. Meanwhile, a trusted car accident attorney can gather the necessary documents to prove every legal element of your car accident claim or lawsuit.
Why Must You Seek Medical Treatment After Hitting Your Head in a Car Accident?
One of the most important things you can do after a head injury in a car accident is seek ongoing medical treatment. You should seek initial medical treatment with a primary care doctor or a hospital emergency room. Depending on the extent of your head injury and recommendations from the emergency room doctor, you may need to consult a neurologist or another expert who can provide ongoing treatment for your head injuries.
Seeking ongoing treatment is especially important in a head injury case because it helps ensure that your injuries do not worsen. Moreover, seeking frequent and ongoing medical treatment helps show insurance company adjusters that your injuries are severe and warrant significant monetary compensation.
Since head injuries are sometimes difficult to prove as part of a car accident claim or lawsuit, seeking ongoing medical treatment from a qualified medical professional can only help to bolster your case.
How Can a Lawyer File a Personal Injury Claim With the At-fault Party’s Insurance Company
In addition to seeking ongoing medical treatment following a car accident head injury, your attorney can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
When your attorney takes this action on your behalf, we call it filing a third-party claim. However, if you suffered your head injury in an accident where the other driver fled the accident scene, or they did not have motor vehicle insurance coverage, you may need to file a first-party uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company.
Similarly, if the at-fault driver did not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for the full extent of your head injury, you can file an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company after first exhausting the at-fault driver's insurance coverage limits.
When your attorney files an insurance claim on your behalf, they will submit a settlement demand package to the handling adjuster.
This demand package may include various documents supporting your claim, including police reports and other investigation documents, statements from eyewitnesses to the accident, photographs of the accident scene and/or property damage, medical treatment records that describe all the medical treatment you underwent following your accident (including treatment for your head injury), and related medical bills.
After the insurance company receives these documents, they will determine whether they will accept fault for the car crash. Your attorney may begin settlement negotiations with the handling adjuster if they do.
Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters are often skeptical about head injuries since they are not visible to the same extent as bone fractures and open lacerations on the skin.
In some instances, an adjuster may go so far as to claim that your head injury resulted from some pre-existing medical condition unrelated to your accident. However, a car accident attorney in your area can combat that allegation by pointing to the medical records and medical testimony from qualified healthcare providers in your case.
Even when the necessary medical documentation is present, insurance company adjusters frequently try to lowball initial settlement offers
in head injury cases. In short, they are hoping that the accident victim is in a hurry to resolve their case and that they will settle it for as little monetary compensation as possible.
A skilled car accident attorney can aggressively advocate with insurance company representatives, however, and help you pursue the highest amount of monetary compensation available.
A medical expert can also testify in your case and state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your head injury directly resulted from the subject accident. They can also unequivocally state that you suffered a permanent head injury in your car accident.
What Elements of Proof in a Head Injury Case Stem From a Car Accident?
In any head injury case that stems from a car crash, the accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof to recover various monetary damages. First, the accident victim must show that their car crash occurred because another driver was negligent in some way.
Driver negligence can take many forms, usually involving intoxicated driving, distracted driving, or traffic law violations. Someone drives while distracted if they fail to watch the road attentively, such as by programming a radio or GPS navigation system or using a cellular device to send or receive text messages while driving.
At other times, car crashes happen when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A driver is legally under the influence if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. Alcohol impairment can significantly limit a driver's ability to drive carefully and safely. For example, it might limit their concentration, cause them to experience dizziness or blurred vision, and delay their reflexes. Consequently, an intoxicated driver may not see or appreciate an oncoming vehicle and may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
At other times, drivers are negligent when they fail to follow standard road rules
, such as by speeding, tailgating other drivers, operating their vehicles recklessly, failing to use turn signals when making a turn or switching travel lanes, or failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians when it is appropriate to do so, such as at a traffic intersection.
In addition to demonstrating that another driver deviated from their established legal duty of care, an accident victim must show that as a direct result of this negligence, both the accident and their injuries occurred.
A skilled car accident attorney can help you prove the legal elements of your car crash case so you can recover various monetary damages for your head injury.
Can I Recover Monetary Damages for Car Accident Head Injuries?
Head injury victims often experience a significant amount of pain, suffering, and mental distress. They may also need to undergo complicated medical procedures, including surgeries, to make a full recovery from their injury. All of this medical treatment can cost significant money and take a considerable toll on the accident victim's overall quality of life and well-being.
Fortunately, car crash victims
who suffer head injuries as a result of another driver's negligence are eligible for various types of monetary compensation. The types of monetary damages a head injury victim recovers will depend upon the severity of their car accident, the severity of their injury, the extent of their medical treatment, the cost of their medical treatment, and other accident-specific factors.
Monetary damages may include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income capacity
- Lost income from being unable to work due to their head injury
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Long-term care costs (including the costs of around-the-clock care at a local nursing home or assisted living facility)
- Lost quality of life
A skilled car accident attorney can determine your eligibility for recovering these various types of damages and can give you a ballpark figure as to the overall value of your personal injury case.
can then advocate for your legal interests every step of the way, especially during settlement negotiations and litigation proceedings, such as at a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
Always remember that insurance companies will underestimate your losses from a head injury. Never accept their valuation of your claim, and never accept a settlement offer without legal guidance. You want the advice of an attorney to ensure you receive everything you deserve.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Near You Right Away
If you sustained one or more head injuries in a recent car accident, time is of the essence. Therefore, you should contact a skilled attorney right away who can help you handle the legal aspects of your case. The right car accident lawyer can help you file a claim for monetary compensation and, if necessary, file a lawsuit for financial recovery.
Regarding head injuries, the stakes are simply too high to take any chances. Head injuries can have implications that can affect the victim for the rest of their lives. There may be ways a head injury can affect an accident victim that they never foresee. This is why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If your case does not settle at some point along the way, your personal injury attorney in St. Louis
can represent you at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding and work to maximize the total damage as you recover from your head injury and other medical complications you might have suffered in your accident.
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