Concussion is a serious injury which is often underplayed and in some circumstances fatally ignored. This type of injury can be the result of a physical attack, a fall from height or perhaps a road traffic accident. Therefore, there are a wide variety of scenarios which can lead to concussion injury claims. In years gone by many people failed to make the connection between a specific incident and bouts of concussion although thankfully medical examinations can now establish this link fairly easily. There is also the problem that concussion can sometimes take hours to emerge and if left untreated can be fatal.
Symptoms Of Concussion Injury
If you experience any type of head injury, no matter how mild it may seem, it is vital that you undertake a medical examination as soon as possible. In some ways it is the large variation in symptoms relating to concussion which causes confusion and uncertainty. Someone suffering from concussion may experience some but not necessarily all of the following symptoms:
- Dizzy spells
- Loss of consciousness
- Increased anxiety
- Increased fatigue
- Increased irritation by bright lights
- Increased irritation by loud noises
- Feeling sick and vomiting
- Changes in vision such as the emergence of spots or stars
The above list demonstrates that many symptoms of concussion can and are often misinterpreted as irrelevant. Many people fail to realise that head injuries and potential brain damage are not always associated with heavy blows to the head. Therefore, it is extremely important that medical advice is sought as soon as possible.
If you decide to go ahead with a concussion injury claims a personal injury solicitor will be able to arrange a local specialist medical examination to confirm the extent of your injuries. As we mentioned above, medical examinations today can create a direct link with an accident and specific injuries, thereby backing up potential concussion injury compensation claims. In some circumstances additional actions such as MRI and CT scans may be required to confirm the extent of any injuries and changes over time.
Long-Term Consequences Of Concussion
In many cases concussion will be quite obvious after receiving an injury but in some circumstances it will take more time to show. We have seen instances where concussion can lead to a buildup of pressure in the brain which can induce a bleed and potentially serious consequences. There have also been instances where concussion can make it more difficult to immediately diagnose a fracture to the skull which can again lead to potentially fatal problems in the future.
Concussion Involving Medical Negligence
If a claimant failed to seek medical assistance after incurring a head injury then it can be difficult to claim for medical negligence further down the line. While the medical profession obviously have a duty of care to their patients, patients also have a duty of care to themselves. In instances where concussion was misdiagnosed, or missed completely, this can result in a compensation claim for injuries which should and could have been avoided. The acid test is whether or not the longer term injuries could have been avoided if concussion had been diagnosed at an earlier stage.
We’ve also seen instances where concussion injuries, which have been known to cause scar tissue in the brain, can develop into other conditions such as epilepsy. This is potentially life changing and debilitating condition for sufferers and can result in significant compensation claims.
Psychological Consequences Of Concussion
The extremely delicate nature of the head/brain area is still in many ways a mystery to the medical world. However, we do know that instances of concussion can lead to conditions such as shellshock and an array of other psychological challenges. Even a relatively light blow to the head can lead to increased instances of anxiety, depression and a complete personality change in some people. Where negligence can be proven for the initial accident, which led to the concussion, it may be possible to claim for not only concussion-related injuries but also compensation for psychological injuries.
Evidence In Concussion Injury Claims
While many people will simply dismiss a “relatively small” head trauma as nothing, you should always seek medical assistance whatever the nature of a head injury. Medical professionals are trained to recognise potentially fatal issues such as concussion and even where it is not obvious at the time they will still err on the side of caution with their advice and guidance. This also ensures that information about the accident/incident is detailed on the injured party’s medical records which can prove to be very useful evidence in a concussion injury claim. It is imperative that you take the advice of medical professionals and if there are any potential complications or you “feel unwell” you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Whether you received your concussion injury as a consequence of a physical assault, a fall from height, or perhaps you were hit by an object or it was some form of medical negligence, you need as much evidence as possible to prove liability. So, when safe to do so you should gather as much photographic evidence as possible, witness statements and, if your concussion injury occurred in the workplace, request a copy of your employer’s accident book. In some circumstances a review of your employer’s accident book will show a pattern of concussion-related injuries which can potentially flag underlying problems.
It is then vitally important to put together a timeline of the events which were directly related to your bout of concussion. At this point you should approach a personal injury solicitor with details about your accident, injuries and evidence. They should very quickly be able to inform you whether you have a strong claim and if they believe there is a decent chance of you receiving compensation they shall likely take your claim on by way of a No Win No Fee arrangement. This essentially means that the solicitors legal expenses are effectively guaranteed by their company with no liability on the claimant – even if their concussion injury claim is unsuccessful. Please contact us if you would like to know how our No Win No Fee agreement works.
Additional Supporting Evidence
Many law firms will arrange an additional third-party medical examination to clarify the extent of any injuries and their long-term impact on the individual. It is worth noting that in theory you have a three-year window of opportunity, from the date of diagnosis, to lodge a claim for concussion injuries. The fact that details surrounding the incident may become more blurred over time, potentially weakening a solid concussion injury claim, and the injuries incurred may improve naturally, suggest that it is better to make a claim sooner rather than later.
Once all of the information and evidence relating to your concussion injury claim has been collated, medical evidence produced, then your dossier of evidence should be lodged with the courts and the defendant informed of the situation. Where it is quite obvious there has been negligence on behalf of a third party (or more than one party) leading to the concussion injury, they will likely look to settle out of court. This reduces the defendant’s potential legal costs going forward and can bring to a close a very difficult and challenging period for all parties.
Compensation For A Concussion Injury
In some circumstances, where perhaps there are large medical expenses as a consequence of the concussion injury, it is possible that your personal injury solicitor can obtain a partial compensation payment prior to a final ruling. This is something you will need to discuss with your solicitor and obviously it will depend upon the supporting evidence. However, there are basically two types of compensation in concussion injury claims which are known as general damages and special damages.
The best way to describe general damages is financial compensation to reflect:
- Pain/suffering from the concussion injury
- Mental trauma
- Life changing injuries
In theory, general damages are unlimited and simply a means of awarding financial compensation for concussion injuries and trauma directly linked to the accident. In practice, guidelines issued by the Judicial College will highlight previous levels of compensation where similar concussion injuries were received. There is always a degree of variation and nothing is ever set in stone but the courts and insurance companies do tend to closely adhere to Judicial College guidelines.
While there is a degree of variation/discretion when it comes to general damages, special damages are very different. They are simply a means of reimbursing expenses incurred as a consequence of the concussion injury and any funding required going forward. These can take in an array of different issues such as:
- Medical expenses for the concussion injury
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Future loss of earnings
- Additional transport expenses
- Adaptions to the home
It is fairly easy to reimburse historic costs but arranging funding for future expenses will require guidance from various parties such as the medical profession. When lodging your concussion injury claim for compensation you will need to specify a degree of damages, both general and special, and if they are backed by experienced professionals the court is likely to look on them in a favourable manner.
If you’d like to discuss a concussion injury claim with a solicitor please get in touch with us today and we can advise you how strong your concussion injury claim is and what level of compensation you might be entitled to.