Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is an injury that you can suffer after a car accident. PCS is a medical condition where the symptoms of your concussion persist for longer than the normal recovery period. This can sometimes be a debilitating condition. Many people with PCS struggle both professionally and personally. If you develop PCS after a car crash, you deserve compensation.
What are the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is the medical condition of persistent concussion symptoms.
A concussion happens when the brain collides with, or concusses, the inside of the skull. That traumatic contact can cause a brain injury. That injury is usually detected with a CT scan.
Concussions cause a wide variety of symptoms. Different people can suffer in very different ways from a concussion. However, some of the most common symptoms are:
- loss of consciousness,
- headaches or migraines,
- vision problems, including double vision, blurred vision, or increased light sensitivity,
- hearing problems, like tinnitus or increased sensitivity to loud noises,
- loss of smell,
- memory loss,
- personality changes or mood swings,
- an inability to concentrate or pay attention for sustained periods of time,
- depression, and
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
These symptoms of a concussion injury usually last for around 2 weeks. In most cases, victims make a full recovery from this type of head trauma within a month with proper medical treatment.
If symptoms persist for more than a month, you may be suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Note that the symptoms of PCS are any concussion symptoms – not necessarily the ones you had at first. The symptoms that are most likely to persist are cognitive issues, such as
- poor memory, and
- taking longer to think.1
How can PCS affect my life?
The symptoms and impairments of PCS can drastically reduce your quality of life. PCS is a serious injury that can hurt your personal life as well as your career.
Your career can suffer from the cognitive symptoms that you develop. Even jobs that focus on manual labor require an ability to stay on task and concentrate. People suffering from PCS often struggle with these skills. The personality and behavioral symptoms of PCS can also make you less dependable or well-liked. This can also imperil your professional life.
Your personal life can also suffer from PCS. If you have problems paying attention or thinking, it can negatively affect your relationships with friends or family members. It can also make you frustrated and depressed, which can exacerbate the problems.
Are these head injuries common after a car accident?
Concussions are a common injury to suffer in a car accident. They can happen in 2 ways:
- you hit your head on something during the collision, like the steering wheel, air bag, head rest, or window, or
- the force of the collision shook your head suddenly and strongly enough to make your brain concuss the inside of your skull.
Because you can suffer a concussion even if you did not hit your head on anything, many people get one in a crash without knowing it. They may suffer the symptoms of a concussion without knowing what is causing them. They may not go to the emergency room for medical attention or see a medical professional or neurologist to get properly diagnosed. This can make concussions even more common than they seem.
Of people who suffer a concussion that causes mild traumatic brain injuries (mild TBIs), between 10 and 25 percent of them develop post-concussion syndrome.2 That number is likely even higher for victims of more severe traumatic brain injuries.
What compensation can I recover for these traumatic brain injuries?
If you have developed post-concussion syndrome after a motor vehicle accident, you deserve compensation. If you were not at fault for the accident, the other driver should pay for all of the losses you have suffered that stemmed from the crash.
You can recover this compensation by filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. The at-fault driver’s insurance company can be made to pay out what you deserve.
What is a good post-concussion syndrome car accident settlement?
A good settlement amount for a concussion in a car accident claim that involves post-concussion syndrome is one that covers all of your losses. Because these losses vary widely depending on the facts of your case, it is impossible to say what an average settlement value would be. However, you can estimate your losses by using an auto accident settlement formula. Getting a good settlement offer that covers these losses, however, is not easy.
Insurance companies are for-profit corporations. They maximize their profits in part by minimizing their expenses. This means lowballing you whenever you file an insurance claim with them.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, the insurance adjuster on your case will make an initial settlement offer. The amount and the timing of this offer is designed to make it seem enticing. It often only covers the medical expenses that you have already accumulated. It will rarely cover your pain and suffering or the costs of the medical care that you are likely to need.
However, the initial settlement offer is usually made right when you are feeling the financial pressure of your medical bills the most. In order to accept the initial settlement offer, you have to release the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company from liability. Accepting the offer means you cannot sue. It will end your claim.
How can a personal injury lawyer help?
A car accident attorney from a reputable law firm can help you recover a good settlement offer that covers your post-concussion syndrome by representing you during settlement negotiations with the insurance company. If those negotiations do not produce a fair settlement offer, your personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
In order to protect their bottom line, insurance companies will often argue that accident victims suffering from PCS:
- were partially to blame for the crash,
- are not hurt as badly as they claim to be, or
- are faking their concussion injuries.
They generally make these claims to justify offering a low settlement amount, even if your medical records show otherwise.
Once a personal injury claim has been filed, a trial date will be set. Settlement negotiations will heat up as evidence is discovered and the insurance company begins to take your claim seriously. Most personal injury cases end when a mutually-agreeable settlement agreement is reached. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you negotiate one with the defendant and their insurer. If no settlement agreement is reached, your car accident attorney can take your case to trial and present your case. The jury’s verdict will determine how much compensation you are entitled to receive.
- Suzanne Polinder et al., “A Multidimensional Approach to Post-concussion Symptoms in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,” Frontiers in Neurology (Dec. 19, 2018).