Concussion Car Accident Settlement Amounts

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 are common injuries in car accidents and can cost insurance companies enormous sums of money due to all the potential lingering effects on the victim. The average settlement offered by an insurance company will generally be much lower than the true cost of the victim’s damages and may include the insurance company’s claim expenses, which further lower the amount you can expect from their settlement offer. 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.

What Is a Concussion?

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 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 and more serious brain injury if left untreated.

The Severity of Traumatic Brain Injury

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. More serious injuries may lead to coma and reduced cognitive states which may require more intensive treatment.

These symptoms can last months or more and interrupt virtually every aspect of a victim’s life. Victims of head injuries will often need to take time off of work or school. They may need ongoing medical treatment, and therapy and frequently see their lives, relationships, and finances suffer.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

In some cases, a traumatic brain injury can lead to persistent symptoms similar to those experienced after the initial head injury. A diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome is typically given when these effects endure beyond the anticipated healing period. Sufferers of post-concussion syndrome may struggle with debilitating side effects for months or even years.

You Could Recover Losses

Personal injury claims generally rest on establishing liability or fault to those responsible for your injuries. 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.

How much compensation you can receive will depend on the severity of your concussion injuries as well as the other losses you sustained due to the accident. Your settlement amount may come from your own insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer can help determine all possible avenues for compensation and ensure that every aspect of your personal injury case is examined.

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:

  • Medical costs related to the treatment of the victim’s car accident concussion, including emergency care, hospitalizations, long-term therapy, doctor visits, medication, and medical equipment.
  • Nonmedical expenses the car accident concussion victim incurred as a result of the concussion, such as the cost of hiring someone to help out around the house or with transportation while the victim recovers.
  • Lost income, both past, and future, that the victim did not or will not earn because of the concussion, such as when the victim has to miss work or reduce work hours because of concussion symptoms.
  • Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life and relationships caused by the concussion symptoms.
  • In some cases, punitive damages punish the party at fault for extremely reckless or dangerous conduct.

The key to a larger recovery in 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 in 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. However, even a mild traumatic brain injury can result in large medical bills and lost income. An experienced car accident attorney can help assess the scope of your damages and ensure that you get what you deserve from your settlement amount.

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. Car accident attorneys specialize in making sure that these negotiations result in the best possible outcome for accident victims.

How Much Can I Recover?

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 team of skilled car accident lawyers can help you fight for maximum compensation for your losses so that you have the best possible options to recover.

Concussion and Car Accident Settlement FAQs

Q: How do I prove post-concussion syndrome?

Diagnosing traumatic brain injuries may involve a CT scan, MRI, or an assessment based on the victim’s concussion symptoms. Your personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim for compensation by acquiring medical records and other information from your healthcare provider. If your injuries were due to an auto accident, your attorney may also investigate the circumstances of the incident to strengthen your personal injury case.

Q: How long do I have to file personal injury claims?

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim varies by state and the type of accident involved. We recommend that you speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a serious injury to determine what your legal options are and begin the process of filing a claim.

Q: Is it easier to accept a settlement from an insurance company or take them to court?

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 or go through the arduous process of litigation.

Q: What if an insurance company refuses to offer a sufficient settlement?

A: Then your lawyer will have no choice but to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company is unreasonably unwilling to come to the table for settlement negotiations.

Q: Why do insurance companies try to keep the legal claim out of going to court?

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.

Q: Can I sue the other driver for punitive damages after accepting a settlement offer?

A: No, once you accept a settlement offer, you agree to indemnify the negligent party or at-fault driver 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.

December 1, 2022
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