Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are serious, life-altering injuries that are little-understood outside of the scientific and medical communities. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of brain injuries (after falls), and an estimated 2.87 million people visit the emergency room for head or brain injuries a year.
Our scientific understanding of brain injuries is still developing. Unlike a broken bone or a torn tendon, people who suffer brain injuries may not have physical symptoms. Many people who suffer TBI are not aware of their injuries, even while friends and family note drastic changes in behavior and cognitive abilities.
Brain injuries arising from car accidents are typically covered by car insurance. If you are not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will reimburse your medical bills and lost wages resulting from your brain injury. However, if the victim’s brain injury symptoms are subtle, like a slow cognitive decline, it can be hard to “prove” brain injuries to an insurance company.
Even worse, traumatic brain injuries do not always present symptoms immediately after an accident. Insurance companies tend to undervalue claims and settle quickly, and delayed symptoms from injuries may be missed in the final settlement. Unfortunately, once a settlement is reached for a car accident, victims cannot renegotiate.
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Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury After a Car Accident
If at any time after a car accident you experience any of these symptoms, immediately contact your doctor or call 911. This list is not intended to diagnose illness, but to inform you of the common medical complaints from brain injuries.
- Cognitive decline
- Memory loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Sensitivity to lights/sound
- Increase of floaters or flashes in vision
- Changes in behavior or activity level
This is not a complete list of symptoms. There are many more symptoms of brain injuries that may not be well-documented or easily diagnosed.
Attorneys at BenGlassLaw work with our client’s doctors and other medical experts to fully document and explain ambiguous symptoms of brain injuries. Often, the insurance company will deny that the victim has a brain injury or, more often, that the symptoms are evidence of a pre-existing condition.
Six Steps Everyone Should Take if They Suffered a Head Injury in a Car Accident
1) Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
Your health and wellbeing should come first. If you are experiencing symptoms of a brain injury, contact your doctor or call 911. Timely treatment of your injuries is important to your health and important for your car accident claim.
2) Report Your Accident and Injuries to Your Insurance Companies
If you are not at fault for an accident, your car and health insurance policies will cover you within your policy limits. In simple car accident claims, your insurance company will seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy (if they have one).
3) Plan to Manage Your Medical Bills While You Wait for Settlement
In complex accident cases, particularly traumatic brain injury cases, the victim’s medical bills arrive before they finished negotiating with the insurance company. If health insurance doesn’t fully cover the costs, then you may have to pay out of pocket while waiting for your settlement check. Many smart drivers purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) coverage to pay their immediate medical bills after an accident.
4) Consult with an Attorney Before You Give Recorded Statements to the Other Insurance Company
A recorded statement is a summary of the accident, your injuries, and your general condition after an accident. In property-damage only cases, a recorded statement is a simple statement recalling the details of your accident. However, when an accident involves injuries, a simple statement like “I felt okay after the accident,” can be used against you later in your case.
5) Carefully Collect All Your Medical Records While You Treat
Early in the process, the insurance company will request access to your medical records to evaluate your claim. In most situations, you SHOULD NOT allow the insurance company unrestricted access to your most sensitive data. If you have reported symptoms like migraines before your car accident, the insurance company may claim your brain injury was pre-existing. Consult with a personal injury attorney before you grant anyone access to your medical records.
6) Keep a Diary to Document Your Brain Injury Symptoms Over Time
Many traumatic brain injury symptoms get worse over time. Periodic headaches could transition to migraines, or cognition could decline to the point where it affects a victim’s employment. A simple diary of symptoms (coupled with medical records from your doctor), can help your attorney negotiate with the insurance company.
BenGlassLaw’s Six-Point Assessment of Personal Injury Cases – Do You Really Need an Attorney?
Some attorneys are all too happy to take your personal injury case, and they never tell you that most small car accidents can be settled without an attorney. How can you know that your case requires an attorney? What should you do if you don’t need an attorney?
BenGlassLaw will never try to convince you to hire us if we don’t believe we will add value to your claim. BenGlassLaw believes in empowering through education, and for the car accidents that we know the victim doesn’t need an attorney, we will direct you to our resources to handle the case yourself.
How Does BenGlassLaw Evaluate Personal Injury Cases?
Our lawyers perform a Six-Point Assessment of your case to determine whether hiring an attorney makes sense for you.
- Determine Fault – Virginia is a contributory negligence state. If you are at-fault for your accident, even 1% at-fault, you cannot recover damages for your accident. Often, insurance companies use this to reject personal injury claims, even when the victim didn’t contribute to the accident.
- Current Injury – The worse your injury, the more it makes sense to hire a lawyer for your personal injury claims. Accident victims with serious injuries, like broken bones or torn ligaments, should consult with an attorney BEFORE making any recorded statements with the insurance company.
- Previous Injuries – Insurance companies love to use previous injuries as a reason to fight car accident claims. They will point to your previous injuries and claim your car accident injuries are “preexisting.” We will review with you your past medical history to see what impact your health history will have on your settlement.
- Treatment – Insurance companies have a ”length of treatment algorithm” that they use to determine how long you should be treating. If your medical treatment takes longer than the insurance company deems is normal, they will not give you a fair offer for your medical bills.
- Car Insurance – “You can’t get blood from a stone.” We have seen more good cases torpedoed by poor insurance then we can count. As most people don’t know, it is perfectly legal to drive in Virginia without car insurance. If the person who caused your accident is uninsured or underinsured, we will need to look at your policy to see if we can find coverage to pay for your damages.
- Your Health Insurance – Many health insurance companies will seek repayment of bills they paid on your behalf. Will make sure they don’t get more than they deserve (which is sometimes zero).
Your Personal Injury Six-Point Assessment is Free - You Don't Pay us Anything Until the Settlement!
Here's how we can help you with your car accident case today:
- Download our free books, 5 Deadly Sins that will Wreck Your Injury Claim and GetItSettled. These books can help you start thinking about your car accident case. If you have a small car accident case, GetItSettled can show you how to settle this case yourself!
- Attend our free webinar, GetItSettled University. On this webinar, Virginia Trial Attorney Brian Glass and Lisa Derco, ex-defense attorney for a major insurance company, talk about the process of settling your small car accident case without an attorney.
- Call our office at (703) 584-7277 and speak to one of our staff members about your case. You can schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, or simply ask our Client Care Specialist some questions about your personal injury case.
- Browse our collection of articles, FAQs, and blog posts about personal injury cases. If you don't see your question answered there, fill out a contact form on our website and tell us more about your specific situation.
The team at BenGlassLaw wants to help you get a fair result for your case so you can get back to living your life. Our main office is located in Fairfax, Virginia, but we have additional spaces to meet with you in Virginia. Representation in jurisdictions where we are not already licensed is performed in conjunction with local counsel–at no additional legal fees to the client–and with permission of the court.
Want to learn about your case before calling us? Read our report, 5 Deadly Sins that can Wreck Your Car Accident Claim, to learn...
- What form you should never sign for an insurance company;
- What "service" provided by some personal injury lawyers can be the kiss of death to your case;
- How to avoid having past accidents come back to haunt your case;
- How to quickly and easily find an attorney;
- What the insurance companies do to investigate your background;
- Whether the "standard" one-third contingency fee is really "standard";
- How to get through the "fluff" of lawyer advertising to find out what's important;
- How to maximize your chances for recovery in your case;
- Whether your health insurance company is allowed to be paid FIRST out of your accident settlement;
- And what the insurance industry doesn't want you to know about the settlement of accident cases.