Why Do I Need a Lawyer if I Just Suffered a Concussion?
The short answer is that there is no such thing as just a concussion.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It has the potential to cause severe and long-lasting disruption in your life. It could damage your physical and mental health, cost you your job, interfere with schooling, drain your bank account, and leave you struggling with debilitating impairments.
If someone else’s wrongful actions triggered the accident or incident that left you concussed, you might have the right to demand financial compensation from them and their insurers. By hiring a traumatic brain injury lawyer immediately after suffering any concussion, you can give yourself a better chance of securing that money and paying for the care and rehabilitation you need.
A Concussion Is a Potentially Significant Traumatic Brain Injury
You’re not alone if you think of a concussion as a minor injury. For numerous reasons, generations of Americans learned to think of concussions as no big deal. Concussions happen in everyday situations like playing contact sports, tripping on a loose floorboard, or getting in a low-speed fender-bender. Everyone, it seems, has seen stars after knocking their head during a fall or getting their “bell rung” on the playing field, and most believe it did little or no damage.
Maybe so. But then again, maybe not.
You see, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Specifically, doctors refer to it as a “mild traumatic brain injury” (mTBI). But don’t be fooled by the “minor” designation. All that means is that the injury caused minimal symptoms, such as a brief loss of consciousness or dizziness, when it occurred.
Over the long term, a concussion can have severe repercussions.
We listed them above, but here are some specific concussion signs and symptoms that can last weeks, months, or even years in some individuals.
- Persistent fatigue;
- Sleep disruptions;
- Loss of balance or motor coordination;
- Feeling sluggish, groggy, or unable to concentrate (a.k.a. “brain fog”);
- Memory loss or inability to form new memories;
- Headaches or feeling pressure in the head;
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound;
- Blurred or disrupted vision;
- Mood, behavior, or personality changes.
Any of these concussion effects can take a heavy toll on your life if they’re sufficiently severe or long-lasting. Frequently, individuals who experience persistent post-concussive symptoms (also known as a post-concussion syndrome) need to take leave from their jobs, withdraw from school, and stop participating in normal daily activities. Some even require assistance with everyday tasks—from getting dressed to grocery shopping—that involve motor coordination, sustained concentration, or executive decision-making.
That’s not all. A first concussion increases the likelihood of suffering a successive, more-severe one, a complication known as second impact syndrome. And evidence continues to mount that suffering repeated concussions can lead to developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an incurable degenerative brain disease, later in life.
Concussions, in other words, are no joke. They’re not a rite-of-passage or something to shake off. Never assume you’ll heal easily from a concussion. And always consider the possibility (even the likelihood) that you might need immediate and sustained medical treatment to address the symptoms a concussion can cause.
You May Have Rights to Receive Compensation for Your Concussion
No one has the right to cause you to suffer a concussion intentionally. Nor is it ok for someone’s careless decisions or actions to result in you sustaining one. A concussion caused by someone else’s unreasonably dangerous conduct qualifies as a personal injury for which you may have the right to receive compensation.
Who may owe you compensation?
Concussions can occur in any situation where an individual takes a blow or severe jolt to their head or body.
Common sources of concussions include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Collisions with fixed objects or structures;
- Being struck by a falling or flying object;
- High-impact sports;
Someone may owe you compensation for a concussion if their careless, reckless, or intentional actions caused the event that left you injured.
So, for example, parties who might have to pay you themselves or through their liability insurance might include:
- A speeding or distracted driver who caused your crash;
- The owner of a property who failed to fix or warn you about loose flooring that made you trip and fall;
- A construction contractor who failed to secure equipment that fell onto you from a rooftop;
- A sports coach or league organizer who failed to enforce safety rules or concussion protocols in practice or competition or a player who targets you for a violent hit; or
- The perpetrator of a violent crime.
The most reliable way to find out who might have engaged in unreasonably dangerous conduct that led directly to your concussion is to speak with an experienced brain injury attorney today.
What compensation can you recover?
Do not have to shoulder the burden, inconvenience, and expense of your concussion alone. The law entitles you to demand that someone else pay for the harm you suffered because of their wrongful actions.
The amount and type of compensation you might receive can vary.
But generally, as the victim of someone else’s dangerous decisions or actions, you have the right to receive payment for:
- Your medical expenses in treating your concussion and any secondary health complications, including hospitalization, follow-up care, therapy (physical, emotional, and occupational), and medication;
- The non-medical costs your concussion forces you to incur, such as hiring someone to assist you with daily activities;
- Any wages you miss out on earning because your concussion forces you to take time off from work;
- The value of paid time off you use while missing work because of your concussion;
- Future income your concussion will likely prevent you from earning, such as if your symptoms persist and prevent you from working in your chosen profession;
- The physical discomfort, emotional challenges, inconvenience, loss of independence, and reduction in your quality of life.
If the at-fault party engaged in extreme or outrageous behavior that led to your concussion, the law in your state might entitle you to seek punitive damages from a judge or jury. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoer and deter the behaviors that caused your injury.
Here’s Why You Should Contact A Lawyer Immediately
Compensation for your concussion does not happen automatically. You have to demand it, and even then, the party who owes it to you and their insurer may resist paying all or any amount. It’s not necessarily fair or right for them to do so, but it happens often.
A Lawyer Can Take the Necessary Steps to Get You Paid
To secure the money you need to compensate you for your concussion-related expenses, inconvenience, and suffering, you would be wise to hire an experienced brain injury attorney to represent you.
An attorney can:
- Investigate the circumstances of your concussion;
- Identify the party or parties who have liability for the harm you suffered;
- Answer your questions and advise you about important decisions you may need to make;
- Connect you with medical professionals
- Send formal and informal demands to the parties who owe you damages;
- Appear in court on your behalf and present evidence in a trial if necessary;
- Negotiate with defense lawyers and insurance companies on your behalf to secure a settlement of your claim;
- Collect the money owed to you through a settlement or judgment.
A Lawyer Can Take Quick Action to Protect Your Rights, at No Cost to You
Do not wait to call an attorney for help after suffering a concussion. Because many people view concussions as inconsequential, the parties at fault may not take the steps necessary to secure or preserve evidence of what happened to you or put their insurers on notice of your potential claim. A lawyer may need to take prompt action to alert insurers to your claim and ensure your rights stay protected.
Contacting an experienced brain injury lawyer is free, confidential, and carries no risk. Virtually all reputable brain injury lawyers offer free consultations to people in your position. In a meeting with a knowledgeable legal professional, you can learn about your potential rights to compensation and get your immediate questions about your case answered. Even if you decide not to hire that lawyer, you never have to pay a dime for an initial consultation.
Not Contacting a Lawyer Risks Costly Consequences
Conversely, you run potentially extreme risks by not contacting a lawyer immediately. To secure the compensation you need for a concussion, you may need to meet tight deadlines for putting insurers, at-fault parties, or others on notice of your claim. You could lose your right to pay altogether if you miss a deadline.
Waiting on your claim also puts you at risk of facing crushing expenses and financial strain due to your concussion, making it potentially more difficult for an attorney to prove your case. In many cases, the older a claim gets, the lower its potential value. To ensure you put yourself in the most favorable position possible for obtaining full payment, contact a lawyer as soon as you can do so.
Steps You Might Take to Protect Your Rights
This post aims to impress on you, the reader, the potential seriousness of your concussion and the immediate need to seek legal help after suffering one. But we would be remiss not to mention the following additional steps you can and often should take to protect your rights, independent of speaking with a lawyer.
Seek Medical Treatment
At the risk of being repetitive, seeking medical care for your concussion is crucial. Always see a doctor after sustaining any violent blow or jolt to your head or body, no matter how you feel. One tricky aspect of brain injuries is that they impair your ability to assess your own condition. But a trained medical professional can perform a quick concussion protocol to determine whether you suffered an injury and, if so, begin treating you immediately. Prompt medical attention can often blunt the severity of concussion symptoms.
Your legal rights may also depend on you seeking care for your concussion. The records generated by your medical visit can be crucial evidence in proving when and how you sustained your injury. They can also deflect any argument by defense lawyers and insurance companies that you might have made your condition worse by not seeking the necessary care.
Beware of Insurance Representatives Who Want to Talk to You
Insurance companies have slowly begun to accept the potential severity of concussions. But that doesn’t mean they enjoy paying for them. It’s possible the at-fault party’s insurer and perhaps even your own insurance company may seek to generate evidence to prove that your brain injury isn’t all that serious and that you don’t deserve compensation.
So, if a representative from an insurance company especially someone else’s tries to contact you, exercise caution. If possible, refer the representative to your attorney (who you have hopefully already contacted). Do not agree on-the-spot to give a recorded interview, and avoid answering questions about your diagnosis, symptoms, or treatment until you have been able to consult with your lawyer.
Likewise, never agree to any settlement offer an insurance representative makes to you directly. The offers insurers make directly to injured accident victims like you almost always fall short of the amount you deserve. Instead, let your attorney handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. In most cases, the attorney can secure far more than what the insurer initially put on the table.
Contact a Concussion and Brain Injury Lawyer Today
There’s nothing “minor” about suffering a concussion. You’ve sustained a traumatic brain injury that carries potentially severe consequences for your health, livelihood, and future.
If someone else could and reasonably should have taken steps to prevent your concussion or the accident that triggered it, you may have the right to receive significant financial compensation. To learn more, contact an experienced brain injury attorney and schedule your free initial consultation to begin the recovery process.
I represent individuals in Missouri and Illinois in all types of personal injury cases. In my short time here I have obtained a judgment for $2.5 million and settled a large class action lawsuit for a confidential amount.
I love the city of St. Louis and support it and give back whenever I can. Recently I was appointed by Mayor Francis Slay to serve on the Advisory Board for the Gateway Mall.
I am married to my lovely wife Lauren and we have two beautiful daughters, Mia and Bridget.