man holding his head with a headache after a concussionA traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that interferes with the normal function of the brain, altering the victim’s mental state or degree of consciousness. TBIs, which often result from whiplash or impact to the head in vehicle accidents and contact sports, are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. A concussion is a mild TBI.

Possible Symptoms of a Concussion

Although a concussion is a mild TBI, it’s still a serious head injury that can result in physical, cognitive, and sensory problems. Specific concussion symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Lack of balance
  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Moodiness
  • Loss of memory
  • Ringing in ears
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Altered sense of smell or taste
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying awake
  • Seizures

You might lose consciousness after suffering a concussion, but you should seek medical attention after any blow to the head in a car crash or other incident. While you’re likely to recover from a single concussion without sustaining permanent damage, repeated concussions can have life-changing, long-term effects.

Signs of Post-Concussive and Second-Impact Syndromes

If your concussion symptoms continue for weeks or months, you could be suffering from post-concussive syndrome and should take all possible steps to avoid the risk of another blow to the head. Second-impact syndrome, which occurs when you suffer a second concussion before recovering from the first, can lead to life-threatening swelling of the brain, vascular congestion, and intracranial pressure. According to the CDC, a second concussion sustained by a victim whose first concussion went undiagnosed can be fatal.

How Concussions Are Diagnosed and Treated

While diagnostic tests like computer tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can identify structural damage inside the head, they aren’t especially useful in diagnosing the microscopic evidence of a concussion. In most cases, your doctor can determine whether you’ve been concussed by performing a basic physical and neurological exam and assessing your vision, balance, and coordination. Your physician might then ask you a series of questions about your injury and check to see if you can give basic information like your name, your location, the day of the week, and so on.

In the past, concussion victims were generally sent home to rest and recover on their own. Today, though, therapy for specific symptoms is available. In addition to following your doctor’s advice on treatment and therapy, you should take steps to prevent repeated concussions, which become significantly more likely and potentially debilitating once you’ve had your first.

Seeking Compensation for Damages After a Virginia Accident

If you suffer a concussion in a car crash or other accident caused by someone else, you’re entitled to seek compensation for your damages:

  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery and other treatments
  • Long-term/disability care
  • Prescriptions
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Your first step toward recovering damages is typically filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company and demanding fair compensation for all of the above. The insurer is likely to offer you a quick, low settlement, hoping you’ll accept it because your medical bills are piling up, but you should never accept the insurer’s first lowball offer. It might not even pay all your medical expenses, the amount of which you won’t know until you’re well on the road to recovery.

Instead, you should call 911 to report your accident immediately after the crash and gather all the information you can at the scene (photos of the cars involved and the accident scene, as well as contact information for the other driver and any eyewitnesses to the crash). Inform your own insurer of the wreck, but do not talk to adjusters from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Contact a car accident attorney who can consult with your doctors to determine your long-term health care needs, demand fair compensation for your damages, and take your case to trial if a reasonable settlement is not offered.

Have You Sustained a Concussion in a VA Car Accident?

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Working with Andrew and his team has been--without exception--one of the most pleasant, productive, and professional experiences of my adult life. I was seriously injured in an accident in July, 2018, in Virginia. I was driving a company vehicle that was registered in Maryland, for a company that was based in Wisconsin. And I live in New Jersey, where my personal vehicles are insured. The several jurisdictions involved presented a very unique case that demanded an experienced and nuanced strategy. I found Andrew Thomas (of Dulaney, Lauer, & Thomas) through some online research. And it is noteworthy that Andrew has worked the other side of the aisle--he used to work with insurance companies. Andrew took on my case with the assurance that he would work it with no less energy than he does each of his cases. At each turn, and with each question I had, Andrew and Paralegal Misty kept me informed, returned my calls, provided detailed explanations, and kept me feeling like I was in the loop and there was an eventual end to our journey. Nearly five years after the accident, we settled out of court for a significant sum in recognition of my personal injuries. The settlement was much more than I had expected. And without Andrew & Misty, I am sure the award would have been much less. If you are looking for professionalism, knowledge, dedication, answerability, responsiveness, integrity, and human-level communication from a personal injury attorney--look no further. You have found him. Thank you, Andrew and Misty. Gary Daley
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