Doctors usually describe concussions as mild traumatic brain injuries. But this description comes from the fact that concussions rarely cause death.
Many concussion victims would not describe their symptoms as mild. Instead, they would detail the blinding headaches, memory problems, and sleep disorders that many victims experience for months after a concussion. These symptoms might require ongoing medical care, physical and mental therapy, and medication to manage.
Here is some information about concussion injuries and the compensation you may be able to obtain for their effects.
How Concussions Happen
Your brain sits inside your skull, where it is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The fluid cushions your brain against damage from minor bumps.
But sometimes, an accident causes your brain to slosh violently inside the CSF. The CSF slows your brain’s motion, but the pressure wave created in the CSF can damage the brain.
Damage may include minor bruising, ruptured blood vessels, swelling, and inflammation. This damage rarely causes death, but it can cause long-term symptoms.
A concussion can result from head trauma. It can also result from a whipping or snapping motion of your head.
For example, you could bump your head in a slip and fall accident or suffer whiplash in a car accident. In either case, the brain sloshes in the CSF. The resulting pressure wave can rupture brain cells, tear small blood vessels, and bruise brain tissue.
A concussion can also result from the pressure wave created by an explosion. The blast wave pressurizes the CSF, squeezing the brain.
Doctors usually find these injuries in service members who have been injured in combat. But they can also happen in workplace accidents involving mining, demolition, construction, and other industries that use explosives.
Risk Factors for a Concussion
Any accident that causes the brain to move violently in the CSF can result in a concussion. But some accidents have an increased risk of concussion injuries.
Some of the accidents at risk of causing a concussion include:
Car accidents pose two concussion risks. First, you could hit your head during the impact. Depending on the speed and direction of the impact, your head could strike the side window, dashboard, steering wheel, or airbag. This impact could cause your brain to move in the CSF violently enough to cause a concussion.
Second, even if you do not hit your head, the whipping motion of your head and neck during the collision can cause a concussion. As your head snaps back and forth, the CSF pushes the brain. This pushing can cause minor bruising and inflammation that’s characteristic of a concussion.
Falls constitute the most common reason for an emergency room visit. Falls can happen anywhere, including third-party premises like stores, office buildings, and amusement parks. Falls include slips and falls or falls from a height.
A concussion could result from striking your head during a fall. For example, your head could hit a handrail, a door frame, or the floor as you slip upon entering a store.
A concussion could also result from a fall, even if you do not hit your head. The impact of the fall could cause your head to slosh inside the CSF, leading to a concussion.
In addition to falls, workplaces create many risks for concussions. Objects can fall onto your head from shelves, ladders, or scaffolds. Forklifts, trucks, and other vehicles can hit your head or knock you down.
Machinery can malfunction, propelling machine parts or working materials toward your head. Workers could even get caught in the blast wave from an accidental or intentional explosion.
Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
Texas has no bicycle helmet law. Texas’s motorcycle helmet law requires riders under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. But riders 21 or older can ride without a helmet if they have health insurance or have completed a motorcycle safety course.
When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the vehicle can transfer a lot of energy into the pedestrian’s unprotected body. In addition to internal injuries, broken bones, and lacerations, pedestrian accidents can result in head trauma and concussions.
Effects of Concussion Injuries
Concussions cause a range of symptoms, some of which might seem to be unconnected to a brain injury.
Some common symptoms of concussions include:
- Blurry vision or seeing stars
- Amnesia surrounding the accident
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of balance
These symptoms usually clear up in a few weeks to a few months.
When concussion symptoms last more than a few months, doctors might diagnose you with post-concussion syndrome.
Doctors do not know why some people develop post-concussion syndrome. Possible causes include permanent brain damage from the concussion and emotional trauma from the accident.
Post-concussion syndrome might include the same symptoms as a concussion. It might also include life-changing symptoms like:
- Cognitive difficulties
- Personality changes
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disorders
Doctors cannot cure post-concussion syndrome. Instead, they often prescribe medication, physical therapy, and mental counseling to help manage or alleviate the symptoms.
Compensation for Concussion Injuries
When a concussion occurs as a result of negligent or intentional actions of a person or business, you can seek compensation for the effects of the injury. You might receive substantial compensation for a concussion, particularly if you experience post-concussion syndrome or it interferes with your ability to work.
Damages in an injury claim usually include your medical expenses and lost income. If you need to change jobs or quit work as a result of your concussion, your lost income also includes your diminished earning capacity.
You can even seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Concussions can cause debilitating headaches. They can also lead to long-term mental suffering and diminish your physical and mental abilities.
An injury lawyer can help you to explore the effects of these types of losses and help you claim non-economic damages. They can help to hold any liable parties responsible for their negligence or intentional actions that contributed to your injury.
To discuss the compensation you might seek for your concussion injury, contact Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation today. We’ll examine the facts of your case and help you to determine your best legal steps forward.