Lakewood Attorneys for Concussions from Car Accidents
It used to be thought that a bump on the head was “just a concussion.” Now we know that concussions are serious injuries. New protocols in football have shown us that being hit in the head hard enough to cause brief unconsciousness is not a minor injury, and too many such blows to the head can cause lasting damage.
If you have suffered a concussion in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, it may be grounds for a personal injury claim. The Lakewood car accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs want to assist you in having your head injury evaluated and get you compensation for any harm you may have suffered. Call us at (253) 588-6696 right away so that we can evaluate your accident and begin working on your case.
What Is a Concussion?
According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. It is caused by the brain moving backward and forward in the skull following a blow to the outside of the head. In layperson’s terms, the brain may “slosh” back and forth, bumping into the interior of your head. This causes chemical changes to the brain, and sometimes damage to the brain cells themselves.
In a mild concussion, you may not lose consciousness at all. You may only feel dazed or unclear about events just before or after the event. A moderate concussion results in no loss of consciousness, but it may take as long as fifteen minutes before you feel better. You may feel sick or dizzy and need help standing or sitting.
A severe concussion will result in unconsciousness, even if only for a few seconds. You may become sick and forget where you are for several seconds. It may take you some time to answer basic questions, such as your name and address. Severe concussions may indicate more serious issues, such as neck or back injuries or nerve damage.
Symptoms of a concussion may not show up for some time after the initial blow to the head. Children are especially prone to this delayed response. This is the reason for the old instruction not to let someone sleep after a concussion. Sleeping after a blow to the head is not dangerous, but you need to be able to assess their condition for several hours after they are hurt.
Warning Signs of Serious Concussion
After any blow to the head, in a car accident, or any other accident, you should be treated by a medical professional. Unfortunately, concussions have no physical signs that can be seen in an ER, even with CT or MRI scans. A doctor may give you or a family member a list of things to watch for in the hours and days following an accident. Some of these things include:
- Confusion or forgetfulness. Children and teenagers may experience a delayed reaction to a head injury. If they cannot recall how they got hurt an hour after an accident, this can be a danger sign.
- Dizziness, clumsiness, or balance problems. Being dizzy right after a car accident is not surprising. Feeling dizzy an hour later is not a good sign. If you hit your head during the accident, you may have received a concussion and not realized it.
- Sleepiness or lethargy. Suddenly feeling drowsy or tired after an accident can be a sign that something is not right. In combination with any of the other symptoms, it can mean you have a concussion.
- Nausea and vomiting. If you experience nausea or vomiting after a head injury, do not wait. Seek medical care immediately.
Once doctors realized that concussions were not just a “bump on the head,” they also realized that recovery took more than a day or two, and the damage could be permanent. Post-concussion syndrome, or PCS, can last for months, even years, and range from mild to debilitating. PCS symptoms include the same symptoms as that of a concussion, plus emotional changes, insomnia, anxiety or depression, and chronic headaches.
PCS can be part of a personal injury claim, particularly if the effects are serious enough to cause changes in your lifestyle. If you have had a serious concussion leading to PCS, you should contact an attorney right away to help establish your case. PCS may be considered a non-economic injury (pain and suffering), but that may depend upon the nature and extent of your injury.
What Should I Do?
If you are in a car accident, you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor cannot immediately tell if you have had a concussion, but they can ask questions that will let them assess whether you have had a head injury. When doctors or paramedics ask silly questions like if you know your name or who the President of the United States is, that is their quick way of determining your mental status.
You should ask someone to keep an eye on you for the next several hours or days following an accident. You will not be able to accurately tell what you are doing if you have had a concussion, so you should have someone there who can let you know if you’re not acting quite right or seem to be talking more slowly than usual.
If you think you have had a head injury, you should seek legal advice. The insurance companies have not yet caught up with the medical profession and are not anxious to pay for concussions that are not backed up with solid medical treatment.
How We Can Help
Even if your accident was some time ago, you should still call the Lakewood car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs. In Washington, you have three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit, and that time may be extended if you did not discover the injury immediately. For instance, if you did not realize you received a concussion, but have been suffering from serious headaches since the accident, that could be grounds for a lawsuit.
Contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs at (253) 588-6696 if you believe you suffered a concussion due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault. We can review your case and advise you about your options. Call now for your free and confidential consultation.