Get Legal Help to Determine Whether You Can Sue for a Concussion
If you or a loved one has suffered a blow to the head that resulted in a bad concussion, you may wonder, “Can I sue for a concussion?” The answer is that you may be able to sue for damages if the injury was the result of someone else’s negligence or fault.
A concussion is a head trauma that causes an alteration in your mental state. It may be easy to recover from a mild concussion, where symptoms are temporary and rarely last for more than 15 minutes. However, if the concussion is severe, it can cause a much more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). The results may be permanent brain damage, requiring a lifetime of care and expenses.
The purpose of a concussion lawsuit is to provide compensation to cover the costs of necessary care and medical bills, and to provide restitution for the pain and suffering and loss of quality of life that victims and their families must endure. Texas personal injury law is complicated, however, and insurance companies will attempt to get you to accept the lowest settlement possible, so in many cases you may need legal assistance to get the compensation you deserve.
How a Concussion Lawyer in Houston Can Help You
Concussion Cases Require Knowledge and Skill
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience successfully holding at-fault parties accountable for their negligence — and winning money for our clients.
When you meet with us, we will start by listening to your version of what happened and who the responsible parties may be. We will make a determination as to whether you have a valid case and what kind of settlement to ask for.
When you have our legal team on your side, we will:
- investigate your case and gather evidence from photographs and videos, medical records, and doctor reports to determine how the accident happened, who was responsible for the harm you’ve suffered
- interview eyewitnesses and first responders and get their testimony
- get expert opinions from medical professionals, therapists, and life-care specialists as to how your injuries affect your ability to function, the quality of life for you and your family now and into the future, and the care which will be necessary
- build your case based on Texas law and past similar cases
- handle negotiations for a fair settlement with healthcare providers, insurance companies and other attorneys
- take your case to trial, if necessary, and present it in front of a judge and jury.
We will answer your questions and keep you informed on the progress of your case throughout the entire process.
When Do I Have a Lawsuit for a Concussion?
When someone else’s negligence or fault results in your having a concussion, you can sue the negligent party for the losses that you suffered.
Concussions are often viewed as a “mild” brain injury, because they are common and usually not life-threatening or permanent. However, concussions can be serious and can cause devastating long-term, life-altering health concerns and recurring medical bills, pain, lost wages, and inability to work in the future. A serious concussion affects not only the victim, but the victim’s family, who may have to bring a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf if injuries are too severe.
How do concussions happen?
The human brain is an amazingly versatile organ that controls our thoughts, movements, and bodily functions, but it is subject to injury from trauma. The brain is made up of delicate soft tissue floating in fluid within the skull. The brain is cushioned and protected by three layers of membrane, but an accident that involves a sudden blow to the head can cause the brain to move around violently inside the skull, causing 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. In addition to direct head impacts, concussions can also result from a sudden collision to the body, triggering reactive movement of the head and brain in a rapid back and forth motion. These impacts or sudden movements cause damage to the brain as it bounces around inside the skull.
Concussions and other brain injuries occur largely as a result of an accident. When an accident creates trauma to the brain, the brain fills with fluid and swells. The hard skull prevents the brain from expanding and increases pressure on the brain. Blood is prevented from reaching brain cells, and further damage occurs.
Effects of a severe concussion may include:
- Loss of cognitive ability and ability to reason, remember, and think clearly
- Loss of motor skills, balance problems, dizziness
- Communication and speech problems
- Emotional issues such as anxiety, aggressiveness, mood swings, and personality changes
- Persistent loss of consciousness, coma, and vegetative or semi-vegetative state.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that people most commonly get TBIs from a fall, firearm-related injury, motor vehicle crash, or an assault. Other common causes of TBIs include:
- Workplace accidents
- Sports injuries
- Injuries from defective products
- Injuries from violence
- Medical malpractice and accidents that occur at birth
- Toxic exposure to chemicals.
If your injuries were caused by another party’s negligence or fault, that party can be held liable, and you may have a legitimate basis for a lawsuit.
Compensation in a Lawsuit for a Concussion
In a successful TBI lawsuit in Texas, you may be awarded money for both your monetary costs, called “special damages” (or economic damages), and your non-economic damages, called “general” damages. For example, if a concussion left you needing permanent nursing care, economic damages would cover the cost of medical bills and therapy, while non-economic damages would compensate you for the past, present, and future pain and suffering that resulted.
Economic, or Special, Damages
Special damages cover the cost of your bills for medical care and other calculable expenses, including:
- Past, present, and projected medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages, both current and projected into the future
- Property damages; for example, to cover car repair or replacement if the injury was from a vehicle accident.
Non-economic, or General, Damages
General damages are to compensate you for losses that do not have a specific dollar value but negatively affect your life. These may include:
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, anguish, anxiety, and stress
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Physical impairment, and temporary or permanent limitations on activity
- Disfigurement and scarring
- General inconvenience and loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Injury to reputation.
To qualify for non-economic damages in Texas, you must have had physical injury and costs. It is not enough to be emotionally traumatized by the accident.
In some rare situations, where the concussion was caused by actions that were wantonly reckless and negligent, you may also be awarded punitive damages. Texas law (CPR Title 2, Subtitle C, Chapter 41, Sec. 41.008) puts caps on the amount of punitive damages at two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000, unless the injury occurred while the defendant was committing a felony crime.
Amounts of damage awards
The effects of a concussion vary greatly in each individual, so the ranges of settlement values and verdicts range widely as well. Depending on the circumstances of the case, amounts may range from the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Factors that will be considered may include:
- The extent, severity, and permanence of your brain injuries
- Whether you will need continuing care and whether you will be able to work in the future
- Your age, earning capacity, and family situation
- The degree of fault and the availability of evidence to prove fault
- The ability to prove non-economic damages
- The amount of insurance and personal assets of the defendants
- The individual judge and jury in the case
- The skill of your attorneys in investigating, building, negotiating and arguing your case.
When concussions and other brain injuries are serious, there is potential for large awards from sympathetic juries.
How to Prove a Concussion Case
To win your concussion lawsuit, your attorneys would have to prove that someone else was negligent and at fault for causing the accident that led to the concussion.
This means that . . .
- The negligent party had a duty of care not to harm you.
- They violated that duty of care through actions or failure to act.
- This violation was related to causing the concussion.
- You suffered damages as a result.
Examples of negligence that could lead to a concussion include:
- A property owner who failed to fix a broken staircase, and a slip-and-fall head injury resulted
- A driver who ran a red light and caused a crash with resulting head injuries.
Any failure to uphold the duty of care can be considered negligence, and the at-fault party could be held liable for any resulting injuries. To prove negligence, our attorneys will gather evidence including:
- Witness statements to corroborate what happened
- Police, ambulance, hospital, and accident reports
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
- Physician statements of your condition and treatment
- Expert reconstruction of the accident.
Evidence is used to show your damages, your need for medical treatment, and your pain and suffering, and also to prove that you did not have concussion symptoms before the accident.
How to Prove It Really is a Concussion
Concussion symptoms can be obvious or subtle and difficult to identify
Unlike other types of injuries, there is no single definitive test used to diagnose whether someone has suffered a concussion. Concussions are diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and circumstances. CT scans and other diagnostic imaging tests may be used to evaluate the extent of your concussion and to check for other damage to the brain. There are also clinical evaluation tests to evaluate any impairment of your cognitive functions, such as problem-solving, concentration, memory, and critical thinking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, concussion symptoms may not always show up immediately. In some cases, the person will feel perfectly fine at first and not experience any physical symptoms until hours or even days later. When symptoms are present, they can last for days, weeks or even longer.
Common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, loss of memory (amnesia) and confusion. The amnesia usually involves forgetting the event that caused the concussion.
Physical signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:
- Headache, or the feeling of pressure inside the head — the primary physical symptom of a concussion
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Blurry vision.
Other signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
- Difficulty thinking, confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or “seeing stars.”
You may also have signs and symptoms someone else may observe, such as:
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Looking dazed
- Forgetfulness and repeatedly asking the same question
- The pupil in one eye being noticeably larger than the other eye
- Not able to stay awake or difficulty waking up.
Get documentation of your symptoms
Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention to document their symptoms, as your doctor’s testimony will help prove you have a concussion, that it resulted from the accident, and that the symptoms that you have come from the head injury. Your own testimony and that of people who know you can serve to help prove the pain and suffering you have been experiencing and how your injuries negatively impact your life. You should also keep a journal and write down your symptoms as they occur.
Even if you are not experiencing symptoms at first, you should get evaluated, as symptoms may take time to become obvious and may worsen over time. If the concussion leads to a hematoma, buildup or pooling of blood in the head, or bleeding in or around your brain, it can be fatal, so anyone who experiences a brain injury should be monitored in the hours after the accident and seek emergency care if symptoms worsen.
What if I Get Post-Concussion Syndrome?
If you are suffering from post-concussion syndrome and need continuing care, this may be reflected in the damage reward you may receive. Approximately 10% of people who get concussions suffer from post-concussion syndrome. This is a complex condition in which symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even a year or more after the concussion.
If you have post-concussion syndrome, you may experience symptoms similar to those of concussion, but you also may have new complications. Symptoms are worse in some people than in others and, in addition to headaches, may include dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, light and noise sensitivity, and behavioral or emotional changes.
It is believed that there may be physiological aspects of post-concussion, but this has not been proven. Medical experts have different opinions as to why certain individuals get post-concussion syndrome and the physical reasons for it.
Relevant Texas Laws
Texas has laws that will affect your personal injury case. These include:
- Statute of Limitations – According to Texas law, (CPR TITLE 2, SUBTITLE B, CHAPTER 16, SUBCHAPTER A, section 16.003) generally, there is a time limit of two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury in court. If you miss this deadline, the courts are likely to dismiss your case completely. ***For the exact statute of limitations and other deadlines for your claim, you must speak directly to an attorney.***
- Modified Comparative Negligence – Even if you partially contributed to the accident that led to your concussion, as long as you are found to be less than 51% at fault, you may still collect compensation based on the proportion of fault for which the other party was responsible.
Do I Need a Lawyer for my Concussion Case?
In some situations, such as when your injury is minor and you do not have serious symptoms, you may be able to handle a claim through insurance or Small Claims Court on your own. However, be aware that insurance companies are out for profit and want to pay out as little as possible. They have high-powered lawyers on their side trying to deny or minimize your claim, so it is difficult to fight them without the advice and assistance of a qualified legal professional.
Making mistakes can be costly, so it’s better to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer from the start. Your attorney can handle all negotiations with insurance companies and make sure everything is done properly and according to Texas legal requirements.
Call Our Texas Concussion Lawyers for Help
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we understand the difficulties concussion victims face. We are here to help you navigate the legal hurdles and get you the compensation you deserve. As seasoned legal professionals who have experience with brain injury cases, including concussions, we are ready to fight for justice for you.
When you have us working for you, we will take the burden off you by handling all aspects of your case so you can concentrate on your recovery and move on with your life. We will do everything possible to negotiate a settlement, but are fully prepared to take your case to court if necessary.
We offer free initial consultations, and have a No Fee Guarantee®, which means that you will owe us nothing unless and until you win your suit and collect damages. We look forward to learning about your case and helping you get the ball rolling.
Don’t delay. Call Terry Bryant now at (713) 973-8888 for your free case evaluation.