A blow to a driver’s or passenger’s head can change his or her life. Huge medical bills, pain, disability, lost wages, loss of future employment, and other damages can result. If this has happened to you, you will naturally wonder how much money you can receive. The answer is not an easy one but here is a list of over 80 variables that Berenson Injury Law uses to calculate a range of settlement values or jury verdicts for our injured clients. The factors include the severity, liability, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, bills paid and incurred, and insurance available. More information about how to estimate the average concussion settlement follows.
This post is a part of a series about injuries for those people who have unfortunately been hurt in a car or truck accident. Others related topics including head, neck and back injuries and broken bones are here.
In this post you will learn the following:
- What a concussion is
- Its symptoms
- The proof you need to show an insurance company or jury
- What a personal injury lawyer does to get the necessary proof
- Legal damages
- Average settlement value
What is a Concussion?
It is a trauma that induces an alteration in mental status. Depending on the severity of the blow, the big danger is that a concussion can cause a much more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). There are three levels of severity:
Mild: There is no loss of consciousness. It results in temporary confusion and inability to think clearly, but symptoms usually do not last more than 15 or so minutes.
Moderate: There is no loss of consciousness. The injured person has amnesia of the event.
Severe: There is loss of consciousness. In the most serious cases, a coma results. The brain is damaged with cognitive, physical and behavioral problems.
Fortunately, most concussions are mild ones. But the brain is a soft organ that consists of neurons which form tracts. They carry messages all over the brain and control complex activities, including speech, personality, heart rate, breathing, and other vital processes. A blow to the brain damages neurons which disrupts these functions.
A severe concussion can cause life-altering problems. Symptoms can be initially delayed or misdiagnosed. Immediate medical attention and testing are essential to accurately diagnose the injury.
What Causes a Concussion?
A concussion can result from any car or truck collision and especially from a crash with an 18 wheeler. A driver or passenger often strikes his head on the steering wheel, door, head rest, rear view mirror, or dashboard, or roof. This is also common in a motorcycle wreck or when a pedestrian or cyclist is struck by a vehicle.
What Are Its Symptoms?
The main ones are headaches. People also experience these problems:
- Problems with concentration or confusion;
- Impaired memory, judgment, and mood;
- Dizziness; and
Delayed symptoms can include the following:
- Increased aggressiveness or irritability;
- Sensitivity to noise or light;
- Inability to concentrate; and
How Do You Prove the Concussion Case?
When we are hired, we immediately begin to build a file to obtain a good settlement or verdict from a court. We
- obtain evidence that documents how the concussion happened;
- photograph abrasions and lacerations to our client’s head and face as well as to his vehicle;
- order the police report and try to get the police officer to give us his notes from the scene;
- study the ambulance and hospital records and treating doctors to build the case;
- assemble a file that shows legal damages for past and future medical treatment, income lost due to being away from work, future income that will be lost, and pain suffered;
- work with our client’s doctors; and
- prove that our client did not already suffer from headaches, an argument sometimes made by the other driver’s insurance company even when there is no evidence.
A person has a two-year time frame from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit but the sooner you speak to an attorney, the better your results will be. With a concussion, you should not attempt to settle the case by yourself with the other driver’s insurance company as it will under value and under pay your damages. You will then have to file a lawsuit on your own or hire an injury lawyer who will have to start from scratch.
Here is more information that will help get you the best financial outcome:
What Are Legal Damages?
Claimants who receive money for a concussion settlement can receive special damages and general damages for their injuries and expenses.
1. Special Damages
Special damages cover the cost of medical care and any other related economic expense such as
- Past, present, and projected medical expenses and related healthcare costs;
- Lost wages from being unable to work; and
- Property damages to cover car or truck repair costs, rental cars, towing, storage, and the loss of personal item
2. General Damages
Damages of a general nature cover losses that take on a monetary value from the trauma experienced in a personal injury accident. These losses take the form of the following:
- Mental or physical pain and suffering;
- Shock and mental anguish;
- Emotional distress;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
- Loss of consortium
To determine the amount of special damages, there must be a record of medical costs and lost wages. After the amounts for special damages and general damages have been determined, they are totaled. A personal injury lawyer adjusts the total by determining the degree of negligence of each driver, if this is necessary, and analyzing other factors. Comparing a settlement calculation to the settlements received in similar cases also ensures a fair outcome.
What is the Average Settlement Value?
As with any injury, each person’s case is different. You can’t simply say that you heard on the internet that someone in San Francisco got $5 million so your case must be worth that too. For all you know, a tractor-trailer driver was snorting crack when he crashed into a Kia and a girl is now brain damaged. So you can’t find the answer on the internet or by asking your friends. Different juries in different cities and states award different amounts of money, depending on the facts of the particular case.
And contrary to popular belief, there is no one size fits all formula like 3 X MBs (medical bills). Also beware of online calculators that claim they can tell you how much your case is worth since they are inflated and marketing tools for attorneys who promise these big results.
There are local and national reporting services that our office subscribes to that report how much money people receive if they take their case to trial including Verdict Search and Jury Verdict Research. JVR reports that the average for all concussion cases in the United States is $33,423 and the mean verdict (i.e. one-half of verdicts are more and one-half are less) is about $11,000.
However, in major cases, we have seen verdicts exceeding one million, especially involving 18 wheelers, severe crashes, emergency treatment, MRIs and other tests confirming a traumatic brain injury, other major injuries (it is rare for there only to be a concussion), enormous medical bills, and expert testimony from neurologists and other doctors.
We also subscribe to Trial Report Service which lists the jury verdicts each week in Tarrant and Dallas Counties and share these results with our clients when we are formulating our strategy.
Compare these two possible crashes:
Wreck 1: An 18 wheeler rear ends a small car on the interstate in Dallas at a speed of 70 miles per hour. The car is demolished. The driver of the tractor trailer was had just started driving trucks and was texting while driving in violation of federal law. The injured person is in a coma for weeks and suffers multiple broken bones and lacerations. His medical bills are $500,000. He did not have health insurance and none of the bills are paid by outside sources like Medicaid. He had a high paying job which he will not be able to return to. There is a one million insurance policy and an umbrella policy for $25 million with major commercial insurers.
Wreck 2: A car rears another car on a residential road in Fort Worth at a speed of 30 miles per hour. The injured person says he is fine and is able to drive his car home. He goes to his family doctor a week later complaining of a headache. He takes medicine and the headache goes away after a few days. His total medical bills are $200. He has no lost wages. The at-fault driver has a $30,000 per person liability limit with a substandard company like Fred Loya.
We Can Help
A good personal injury lawyer can determine a range of settlement or jury verdict amounts based on your case. While this is hopefully your first auto accident and concussion, he handles these cases on a regular basis.
Look for an injury attorney who understands the medical and legal issues involved in concussion cases and has handled many of them. Look online and see what his previous clients have written, how long he has been practicing law and been board certified in personal injury law, his awards and settlements and verdicts. These are all listed on our web site.
Then call and make an appointment to meet with the lawyer or at the very least, call him on the phone. Make sure that he has what you are looking for and is a good fit for you.
While the average concussion settlement can be sizable, the best way to get the largest recovery is to hire the most experienced and skilled injury lawyer.
Berenson Injury Law has resolved lawsuits for serious TBI’s for millions of dollars and represented others successfully in smaller cases as well.
For almost 40 years, we have helped get our clients the compensation they deserve. But we know it’s not just the money, but getting your life back to where it was before the crash happened that matters the most to you.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.
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