Can I Sue for a Concussion?
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Determine if You Can Sue for a Concussion
A concussion is an injury to the head that causes your mental state to be altered. Some concussions are mild; symptoms, such as headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination are temporary; and recovery is complete. Other concussions are more severe, and may result in a much more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI), with permanent effects that can leave victims unable to function or care for themselves and facing a lifetime of continuing care and mounting expenses.
While some concussions may be caused by unavoidable accidents, others are caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or fault. If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion that was due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, you may be entitled to receive compensation through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit.
Pennsylvania laws regarding personal injury are complicated, and making mistakes can be costly, as insurance companies are out for profit and will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible or trick you into saying something that can be used against your case. At this difficult time, when you are trying to recover from your injuries, there is help available from the experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorneys at Wapner Newman. Let us take the burden off you by handling all investigations, negotiations, and legal hurdles involved with getting you the compensation you deserve.
How a Concussion Injury Attorney Works to Help You
Concussion Cases Require Thorough Investigation
Not every concussion or head injury is the result of another party’s negligence. The concussion personal injury attorneys at Wapner Newman know that you could face complications and increasing costs long after the initial incident, and will investigate thoroughly to determine how the accident happened, who was at fault, and what your case may be worth, and we will fight for a settlement that covers all your damages.
When you have us on your side, we will:
- investigate the accident and gather evidence from photographs and videos (such as those from surveillance cameras) and police, accident, hospital, and medical reports
- interview eyewitnesses and first responders
- file all paperwork and make court appearances in accordance with Pennsylvania law
- get expert opinions from medical professionals, therapists, and life-care specialists as to the physical, emotional and financial impact of your injuries, how the concussion affects your ability to function and your quality of life, and the care which will be necessary
- deal with insurance companies and handle negotiations for a fair settlement
- build your case, based on the evidence and Pennsylvania law and past similar cases, and take it to trial if necessary,
We will be there for you, answering your questions and keeping you informed on the progress of your case throughout the entire legal process.
How to Prove a Concussion Exists
There is no one single test that can prove a concussion exists;, concussions are diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and neurological testing.
According to Mayo Clinic, the brain is made up of delicate soft tissue that has the consistency of gelatin. It is cushioned from everyday jolts and bumps by cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. The skull and the three layers of membrane surrounding the brain offer protection, but when an accident or blow to the head causes the brain to move around violently inside the skull, the result may be a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A concussion is a type of TBI that results from a sudden, forceful impact, hit or jolt directly to the head. It can also be caused by a sudden collision or violent shaking of the head and upper body that causes the head to move back and forth rapidly. These impacts or sudden movements cause damage to the brain as it bounces around inside the skull.
Concussions and other brain injuries largely occur as a result of accidents that create trauma to the brain. The brain fills with fluid and swells; because the skull prevents the brain from expanding, pressure on the brain increases. Blood is prevented from reaching brain cells, and further damage occurs.
After an injury that involved sudden shaking or a blow to the head, a concussion is usually suspected based on its effects. It can be further verified by a medical evaluation of signs and symptoms, review of medical history, and a neurological examination that includes cognitive testing of memory, concentration and recall, and imaging tests such as a cranial computerized tomography (CT) scan. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to identify changes in the brain or to diagnose complications that may occur after a concussion.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
Signs of a concussion may appear soon after the accident or not until hours or days later. They
- Physical signs, including heading, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, blurred vision, or ringing in the ears
- Loss of cognitive ability and ability to reason, remember, and think clearly; amnesia and confusion
- Loss of motor skills, balance problems, dizziness
- Communication and speech problems
- Emotional issues such as anxiety, aggressiveness, mood swings, and personality changes
- Temporary or persistent loss of consciousness, coma, and vegetative or semi-vegetative state.
Even if you are not experiencing concussion symptoms at first, you should be evaluated medically, as symptoms may take time to appear and may worsen over time.
How to Win Your Lawsuit for Concussion
To win your concussion lawsuit, your attorneys would have to prove that someone else, the defendant in the case, was negligent and at fault for causing the accident that led to the concussion.
This means showing the existence of the following elements:
- The negligent party had a duty of care not to harm you.
- This duty of care was breached through actions or failure to act.
- This breach caused the concussion.
- You suffered damages as a result.
Examples of negligence that could cause a concussion include:
- A drunk driver who ran a red light and caused a crash that resulted in head injuries
- A slip-and-fall that resulted in a head injury when a property owner failed to fix a broken railing on a staircase.
In some cases, there may be more than one party who was negligent. Through careful investigations, witness statements, and expert opinions, our attorneys would look to identify them and hold them all liable, as they may all have assets and insurance that could go toward a settlement.
We would also present evidence that shows your damages, the need for and costs of medical treatment, and the negative impact of the concussion on your life and that of your family since the accident. Your doctor’s testimony is important to help prove that you sustained a concussion, that your symptoms resulted from the accident, and that you did not have these symptoms before you were injured. Your own testimony as to the effects on your life is important as well, and so is the testimony of people who know you. If possible, keep a journal and write down your symptoms as they occur.
Compensation Awards Concussion Attorneys May Recover
The injuries you receive from the accident and the costs and losses that require compensation are all called damages. While there is no way to know exactly what compensation you will receive, amounts may range from the thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances and factors of the case. Pennsylvania law (PA Consolidated Statutes Title 42, Chapter 83) allows compensatory and punitive damages in personal injury cases.
Compensatory damages are awarded to cover both your economic and noneconomic losses.
Economic damages are for your monetary costs and expenses, including:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Property damage
- Costs of modification to a home or vehicle, such as to accommodate a wheelchair
- Burial and funeral costs, if a death is involved.
Noneconomic damages do not have a specific dollar value but negatively affect your life, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Loss of quality of life and consortium.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in some rare cases to punish a defendant for conduct that is malicious, willful, or wanton.
Amounts of Compensation
Factors that may be considered in determining amounts include:
- The extent, seriousness, and permanence of the concussion
- Costs of medical and rehabilitative treatment
- Your age, family situation, earning capacity and whether return to work is possible
- The effects on your quality of life and whether you will need continuing care
- Whether a wrongful death is involved
- The availability of insurance and personal assets of the defendants
- The inclination of the individual judge and jury
- The ability and skill of your attorney to build and present your case.
Call Our Philadelphia Concussion Injury Lawyers to Sue for a Concussion
At Wapner Newman, we know that concussion cases deserve a dedicated attorney who is willing to put in the time and effort to get clients the maximum amount of compensation. Our legal team is committed to giving our clients results, but we also want to offer assistance through the service of our support staff and our network of professionals that can help you find the care you need.
Please contact Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 to schedule a free initial consultation with a concussion injury lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our firm represents brain injury victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no costs to you unless and until we win your case.