Concussion injuries can happen in any type of accident. You do not necessarily need to suffer head trauma to experience a concussion. Even the jostling of your brain during a car accident can cause a concussion.
Concussions rarely cause death. But their symptoms, which include headaches and confusion, can linger for months or even years. These symptoms can stop you from working and participating in the activities you enjoy.
Here is a short guide to concussions and the compensation you can recover for their effects.
How Do Concussions Happen?
The skull protects the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sits between the inside of the skull and the brain to form a protective cushion.
In a minor accident, such as bumping your head on a shelf, the brain might barely move through the CSF. You might have a bump on your head, but you will not likely have any brain damage.
Accidents involving greater speeds and more energy will cause a pressure wave in the CSF. This pressure wave will save your brain from a potentially deadly contusion by preventing your brain from hitting the inside of the skull. But the pressure wave can injure the brain. This pressure-induced brain injury is known as a concussion.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
Concussions produce widespread but minor brain damage. The brain damage produced by a concussion rarely causes death. As a result, doctors classify concussions as a minor form of brain damage. But concussions can produce severe cognitive, sensory, and physical symptoms.
The pressure wave damages brain cells, causing them to die. The pressure on the brain can also cause blood vessels to rupture and bleed. The body reacts to this damage by producing inflammation in the brain.
Symptoms associated with a concussion, include:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
These symptoms usually last a few weeks.
If symptoms of a concussion last longer than two months, doctors may diagnose the patient with post-concussion syndrome. Doctors cannot cure post-concussion syndrome. Instead, they usually prescribe physical therapy and mental health counseling to reduce its symptoms.
In severe cases, the long-term effects of a concussion can include:
- Behavior changes
- Mood swings
- Sleep disorders
- Difficulty concentrating
These ongoing symptoms can leave you unable to work. They might also force you to change careers to accommodate your symptoms.
Rating the Severity of a Concussion
Doctors use the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate the severity of a concussion. If you watch sports, you have probably seen the Glasgow Coma Scale in action.
This scale rates concussions as severe, moderate, or mild. A severe concussion renders the patient unconscious, even if only momentarily. A severe concussion might also leave the patient unable to respond to verbal commands or answer questions coherently.
Patients with moderate concussions can open their eyes in response to stimuli. They can answer questions, although their answers might seem confused. They can also control the movement of their body in response to pain.
When patients have a mild concussion, they spontaneously open their eyes. Doctors receive coherent answers to questions. Patients have no difficulty moving their bodies on command.
What are the Risk Factors for a Concussion Injury?
Almost any accident can cause a concussion. But some accidents have a higher risk of a concussion injury, including:
Even low-speed car accidents involve a lot of energy. A collision between a car moving thirty miles per hour and a stationary obstacle will subject your brain to 20 to 30 Gs of acceleration. The pressure produced in the CSF to slow your brain down from 25 or 30 miles per hour can easily cause a concussion.
Worse yet, head trauma can increase the likelihood of getting a concussion. Your head could strike the doorpost, side window, steering wheel, airbag, dashboard, or headrest with enough force to bruise your head, fracture your skull, and damage your brain.
Maryland has a universal motorcycle helmet law. But motorcycle helmets do not eliminate the risk of a head injury. 85% of helmeted motorcyclists avoid serious head injuries, but 15% of helmeted riders still suffer concussions, contusions, and other brain injuries in motorcycle accidents.
Bicycle accidents can produce concussions in two ways. First, the rider might hit their head on the vehicle during the collision. Second, the rider’s head will impact the pavement after the accident.
Like bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents can produce injuries during a collision with a car and afterward when the head strikes the ground. But unlike bicyclists, pedestrians do not wear helmets. As a result, pedestrian accidents have a high risk of concussions.
Slip and fall accidents can result in concussions. When you slip, your feet usually slide forward and cause you to fall backward. Unable to catch yourself, you will land on your back. As you fall, you might hit your head on a wall, railing, table, or another stationary object. When you come to a stop, your head could impact the ground.
Falls from a height can also produce a concussion. Whether they occur in your home or the workplace, falling off a ladder, roof, scaffolding, or from another elevated location can result in a concussion.
How Do I Recover Compensation for a Concussion Injury?
You can recover compensation after an accident caused by negligence. To prove negligence, you must prove that a person or business failed to exercise reasonable care and, as a result, you suffered an injury. For example, in a slip and fall case, you must show that the owner or occupier of the premises failed to take reasonable steps to protect you from a slipping hazard.
If you can prove negligence, you can recover your economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages will include your medical expenses and lost wages. If you suffered a concussion, your damages could be substantial due to the effects of a concussion and its impact on your ability to work.
Your non-economic damages include your physical pain and mental suffering. Again, a concussion can produce substantial losses due to the pain, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment caused by the injury.
Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Want to learn more about the damages you might recover for your concussion injury? Contact William G. Kolodner, P.A. for a free consultation with a Baltimore personal injury lawyer. We’ll listen to the facts of your case and help you to determine your best steps to move forward. Don’t suffer from your injury alone. Reach out today to for help.