If you suffer a brain injury due to an accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your damages, even if your injury is mild.
Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe, with mild brain injuries often being overlooked. However, even mild brain injuries can leave a person with devastating results and lasting effects, as well as a pile of medical debt.
In 2014 there were 2.87 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. Out of that 2.87 million, 56,800 of these injuries resulted in death. That means that there were still just over 2.8 million traumatic brain injuries that didn’t result in death in 2014. The leading causes of non-fatal traumatic brain injuries are falls (at 35%) and motor vehicle-related injuries (at 17%).
While not all severe brain injuries cause death, they still leave patients with lasting conditions and permanent brain damage. But what about those that sustain mild brain injuries like concussions? How do mild brain injuries affect one’s life as well as one’s personal injury claim?
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head is struck or penetrated with great force. In many cases, this means that the head has come into contact with another object, such as a windshield or door in a car accident, or the ground or a counter in a slip and fall.
Traumatic brain injuries can greatly affect one’s life. Even minor brain damage can lead to confusion, difficulty remembering things correctly, and persistent headaches. While these symptoms may seem mild, they can still be lifelong, causing the victim a great deal of suffering.
Mild traumatic brain injuries are often downplayed by insurance companies as they often don’t appear as serious as more visible injuries do. Especially with mild traumatic brain injuries, insurance companies will downplay the situation and try to convince the judge and jury that it’s nothing more than a common concussion.
While concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury, concussions can cause lasting effects on one’s life as well. An experienced and aggressive brain injury attorney will be able to effectively advocate your injury claim to the insurance adjuster, judge, and jury while countering bias related to mild traumatic brain injuries.
Mild TBIs may not show symptoms until days after the accident. This can also cause trouble with the insurance adjuster, as they may try to make it seem like the injury couldn’t have been that serious if it took days for the victim to receive medical care. For this reason, it’s important to seek medical care after any type of accident, even if you don’t recognize distinct symptoms right away. Some injuries—such as brain injuries—may be masked by adrenaline caused by the accident.
Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Symptoms associated with a mild traumatic brain injury can be broken down into three categories: physical symptoms, sensory symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. These are symptoms that one would experience in the first 24-48 hours after their injury.
Physical symptoms include:
- brief loss of consciousness for a few seconds or a few minutes
- speech issues
- difficulty sleeping
- sleeping too much
Sensory symptoms include:
- sensitivity to light and sound (leading to confusion and headaches)
- blurred vision
- ringing ears
- changes in smelling ability
- a bad taste in the mouth
Cognitive symptoms include:
- problems concentrating
- problems remembering
- mood swings
- overall mood changes
Mild traumatic brain injuries also cause delayed symptoms or symptoms that stick around for a long time—even permanently. Some of the above symptoms may last for ten days or more, such as headaches, concentration problems, light sensitivity, and more.
Receiving Compensation for a Mild TBI
When you experience a TBI (regardless of how mild), you’ll accumulate medical debt, lose wages from missing work, and experience pain and suffering alongside your injury. For mild traumatic brain injuries, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages will cover your medical bills, such as trips to the emergency room, ambulance rides, doctor’s visits, and more. If you have a mild traumatic brain injury that didn’t require an ambulance ride or a trip to the emergency room, your medical debt likely won’t be that high. Those who lose consciousness at the scene of the accident will often incur debt from ambulance rides and emergency room/hospital visits. However, even a trip to the hospital to have your head examined for damage can be expensive. You can also claim any wages that you lost while you were out of work. In some cases, victims of mild brain injuries may be out of work for a few weeks. As it can be hard to concentrate, working may be impossible.
The amount that you receive in non-economic damages depends on how much your brain injury affects your life. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium, and permanent disability. Most commonly people who suffer from mild TBIs experience pain and suffering from chronic headaches or other long time symptoms. The stress of having to file a lawsuit, being out of work, and having to deal with your injury in general, are also reasons you can receive pain and suffering compensation.
How to Prove Your TBI
Proving a mild traumatic brain injury can be difficult, as insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to downplay your injury. However, a talented attorney will be able to show the insurance adjuster documentation from your doctor that proves that your injury is real and has caused you to incur damages. A medical professional may be deposed to explain how your injury has affected your life.
Contact a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been impacted by a traumatic brain injury, contact the personal injury attorneys at Sand Law. We have years of experience working on Minnesota TBI cases, and we have the tools to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. For more information, please contact us online using our chat box option or at 651-291-7263.