Head injuries are among the most common, and the most dangerous, types of injuries reported after a car accident, truck accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident. Head injuries also result from falls at work or elsewhere, from participating in sporting activities, or from falling objects. Concussion or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) is caused after a blow to the head when the brain collides with the inside of the skull.
The term Mild Traumatic Brain Injury can be misleading, as concussions can range from very mild to quite severe, with symptoms lasting only a day or two, to very severe, with long-lasting, and even permanent, damage. After a concussion, swelling or blood clots can develop in the brain – these conditions are serious and may be life-threatening. Whenever someone suffers a blow to the head, therefore, it is important to look for signs of concussion.
Signs of Concussion
If a person who has had a blow to the head exhibits any of these symptoms, he might have a concussion.
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Problems with balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Sleep disruption
- Irritability or sadness
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Odd behavior
- Ringing in the ears
- Dilation of the pupils in one or both eyes
Since symptoms of a concussion may not appear for hours or sometimes days after a head injury, it is always a good idea to see a doctor after a blow to the head, especially if the person loses consciousness, even for a short time. An immediate trip to the emergency room is indicated if the person shows any of the following signs:
- Inability to wake up
- One pupil is larger than the other
- Repeated vomiting
- Confusion; inability to recognize people
Most concussion symptoms disappear within a few days, but about ten percent of concussion victims develop Post Concussion Syndrome, a condition in which a variety of symptoms persist for weeks, months, and sometimes long after the original injury. In some cases, PCS symptoms are permanent and can be disabling. Patients have reported persistent headaches, balance problems, and personality changes that continue long after the original injury.
When to Talk to an Escondido Accident Attorney
If you suffer any head injury after an accident, seek medical attention. If you fail to seek medical attention and later experience symptoms of a concussion, it may be harder to prove that the injury was the result of the accident and not something else. Even if you have had a previous head injury, new head trauma may cause new symptoms, or aggravate an existing condition.
After an accident involving a head injury, do not be in a hurry to settle your case. The insurance adjuster assigned to your case may offer you a quick settlement, but that could hurt you in the long run if you begin to experience symptoms later on. Once you have accepted a settlement, you will not be able to collect any additional damages, even if you were not aware of an injury, or if your symptoms got worse over time. Wait until you have been completely released from your doctor’s care before you settle your case. Before talking to an insurance company representative, seek the advice of an experienced Escondido personal injury attorney who has the training and experience that your case requires.
Concussion Injuries at Work
Many jobs involve activities that can lead to head injuries. From heavy objects falling from shelves in a warehouse to slips on greasy kitchen floors, head injuries at work at not uncommon. Worker’s compensation insurance covers on the job injuries and can compensate a worker for his medical expenses and loss of work while suffering from PCS symptoms.
Permanent neurological damage is possible after repeated blows to the head and may result from multiple incidents at work. At the Sargent Law Firm, we have successfully represented injured workers in Escondido, California for over a decade, and can help if you are not receiving the benefits you deserve.
Comparative Negligence in California
California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that a plaintiff in a personal injury case may have their damages reduced if they were partially at fault for an accident. If you suffer a concussion in a car accident, you may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries, but an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury may take into account how your injuries may have been lessened if you had taken proper precautions.
Seatbelts are required in California, and if an injured party was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident, the doctrine of comparative negligence may be used to reduce his settlement or award. If wearing a seatbelt could have prevented or lessened the severity of a concussion, that may be considered in determining the number of damages awarded. A bicyclist who was not wearing a helmet may also face the same problem.
The best way to prevent a concussion is to protect your head, either by wearing a helmet if you are riding a bicycle or driving a motorcycle and by wearing a seatbelt if you are driving a car or truck. If you did experience a head injury and you were not wearing a helmet or seatbelt, do not assume that you cannot collect compensation for your injuries. The absence of a seatbelt, for example, may not have contributed to your injury at all. Talk to an Escondido accident attorney who will know the best approach to your case.
Call an Escondido Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, whether you were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you can be compensated for concussion injuries and PCS. Talk to an accident expert right away, so you will know your rights.
The lawyers and staff at the Sargent Law Firm are experts in all types of accident cases and know how to handle insurance companies. We understand that you might be tempted to take a quick settlement when you are out of work and unable to pay your medical bills, and we can make sure your medical expenses are taken care of while your case is still pending.
Since the symptoms of PCS are not always visible, and since many people do not understand PCS, insurance companies may be reluctant to fully compensate you. The experts at the Sargent Law Firm are well equipped to take your case to court if necessary. You will not pay us a fee unless we settle or win your case. Call us today at 760-291-8866 for a free case evaluation.