A car accident is one of the most common ways Americans can suffer a concussion, which is a form of traumatic brain injury that can leave people with lasting cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments. Concussions can vary in severity and the effects they have on different victims. With this variation also come variations in the amount an insurance company will be willing to settle for.
Concussions can cost the insurance companies enormous sums of money due to all the potential lingering effects on the victim. However, if a negligent driver caused your injuries, you have a legal right to compensation for any losses you suffered. You need the right car accident attorney fighting for your rights to ensure you get it.
Concussions have a misinformed reputation as merely being “mild” brain injuries. In fact, these injuries to the brain can be quite severe and can be more common than the public commonly believes. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when brain tissue sustains damage from a violent blow or to a victim’s head or body, which can often happen in a car accident.
The brain essentially floats inside the skull, surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. In a violent trauma, the brain can twist on its axis, deform, and collide with the skull’s interior. This can tear or bruise brain tissue and sever blood vessels and nerves. The bruising and bleeding can also lead to inflammation, putting pressure on brain tissue, and can cause further damage.
In assessing a traumatic brain injury, doctors rate the severity of the injury according to several objective factors, such as how long the victim lost consciousness, the duration of acute symptoms such as loss of memory, and the scope of damage visible in diagnostic imaging like CT scans and MRIs. They deem those injuries with the least severe characteristics to be concussions or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
Still, that does not mean that there is anything necessarily mild or minor about symptoms for the victim of a concussion. Victims will often suffer from an assortment of persistent, debilitating symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, light and sound sensitivity, confusion, and irritability. These symptoms can last months or more and interrupt virtually every aspect of a victim’s life. Victims will often need to take time off of work or school. They may need ongoing medical treatment, therapy and frequently see their lives, relationships, and finances suffer.
This is why it is important to recognize your legal right to recover compensation for all the injuries and harm, including a concussion, suffered in a car accident against the negligent party or parties. Those legally liable parties can include other drivers, businesses whose vehicles were in an accident, automotive manufacturers, and government agencies and contractors, to name just a few.
Every lawsuit has unique features, but in general, the lawsuit may seek recovery of damages from the legally liable parties and their insurance companies for:
The key to a larger recovery in a legal action for a concussion sustained in a car accident is to explore all the aspects of the victim’s life that the accident negatively impacted. The more problems these symptoms present to the victim’s everyday life and ability to work, the larger the potential settlement. The size of your settlement with an insurance company should be proportional to just how severe the concussion itself is.
A settlement is an agreement between the car accident concussion victim and the party with legal liability for the victim’s injuries and losses. In a typical car accident settlement agreement, the victim will agree to release the party and their insurer from further liability in exchange for paying the victim an agreed amount of money in a lump sum or over time.
Several factors influence the size of a settlement and can make it vary from a few thousand dollars to a million-dollar settlement. The first major factor is the strength of the victim’s case against the negligent driver. The stronger the legal case, the more likely the insurance company will concede to settle for a higher amount to avoid the potential larger financial drain of being taken to court. The second is the aforementioned factor of how severe the concussion symptoms are and the level of impairment the victim experiences in everyday life.
Your settlement will depend on these factors and will likely reflect the costs of your medical expenses along with lost wages and impairments of your functionality and capacity to live your life as you had before sustaining the injury.
A: As long as you have an attorney negotiating the settlement, it will likely be preferable to filing a lawsuit in court because you will get your compensation immediately and not have to risk the process of a legal trial nor go through the arduous process of litigation.
A: Then your lawyer will have no choice but to file a lawsuit if the insurance company is unreasonably unwilling to come to the table for settlement negotiations.
A: They have an incentive to because court settlements from an adjudicated lawsuit often far surpass what they have to pay out in a settlement agreement, though there is also risk for an accident victim.
A: No, once you accept a settlement offer, you agree to indemnify the negligent party and cannot file a lawsuit against them as it would be considered double recovery, which is not allowed in tort law.
Always speak with a skilled car accident lawyer about your car accident, the resulting concussion, and your rights.