According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, every year, there are roughly 3 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S.
Yet despite being the most common type of traumatic brain injuries people suffer in accidents, concussions are still wildly misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
National Concussion Awareness Day was created to shift the perception and help people understand the severity of concussions. The campaign, founded in 2016, is the brainchild of a high school freshman who sustained a concussion.
The goal of the event, which takes place this year on September 16, is to "start a conversation to increase concussion awareness nationally, raise funds for brain injury charitable organizations, and show support for those suffering."
Concussions are often undiagnosed and untreated.
A concussion is classified as a "mild" traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in the medical world, but it's easy to call a brain injury mild if you're not the one suffering from the consequences.
Typically caused by a bump or blow to the head or the violent shaking of the head and body, a concussion can stretch and damage brain cells. In addition, this trauma can cause chemical and metabolic changes in the damaged brain cells, making it more challenging for them to communicate and disrupting the brain's normal function.
In a car wreck, you can sustain a concussion if the sudden acceleration or deceleration of your vehicle causes your brain to bounce off the inside of your skull. You can also get a concussion if you hit your head, chin, or eye on the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, window, headrest, or some other part of the car. Getting hit in the head by crash debris also puts you at risk of a traumatic brain injury. Other common causes of concussions include slip, trip, and falls; falling objects; assaults (including those caused by negligent security); and sports injuries.
Unfortunately, concussions aren't always properly diagnosed in the immediate aftermath of a serious car wreck. Remember, emergency room doctors are generally there to see if you require life-saving medical treatment. While a CT scan or MRI can reveal a potentially fatal condition like a brain bleed, about 80% of traumatic brain injuries cannot be seen on an MRI or CT scan. As such, you should schedule a follow-up appointment or seek a second opinion if you're experiencing concussion symptoms and feel like you aren't getting the treatment you need to recover.
Warning signs of a concussion
Some people think a traumatic brain injury means you get knocked out or lose consciousness, but that isn't necessarily true. Yes, being knocked unconscious is a telltale sign of a concussion, but many concussions don't result in loss of consciousness. There are other symptoms to watch for, including the following:
- Blurred vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Slurred speech
- Appearing dazed
- Brain fog
Delayed symptoms may include:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep impairment
- Changes in taste and smell
- Sensitivity to light
- Balance issues
- Mood swings
Again, if you feel like something isn't right, or you're experiencing any of these symptoms after an accident, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Keep in mind that if you're concussed, and you sustain another concussion before the first one has had time to heal appropriately, the damage can be fatal (this is called second impact syndrome).
Likewise, if you sustain multiple concussions throughout your life and have a history of brain damage, you may also be at risk of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease.
How a brain injury lawyer can help
If you or someone you love sustained a concussion in an accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. However, much like the brain itself, brain injury claims are complex. And if you're not careful, you could lose out on the compensation you're entitled to under Georgia law.
Make no mistake about it: your concussion injury claim represents a threat to the insurance company's bottom line—and you can be sure that the insurance adjuster handling your claim will do everything possible to pay you as little as possible.
They may question the severity of your concussion, argue that you don't need certain medical treatment, and indicate that you don't need to get an attorney involved. The reality is they know a brain injury attorney will be able to advocate for the actual cost of your losses, and they'd rather pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement offer.
At the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we take concussion injury claims personally. That's because our founding attorney knows firsthand what it's like to undergo brain surgery and how the symptoms of a brain injury can be debilitating. Let us work with you to get your concussion assessed by a licensed medical professional so that you can receive a treatment plan that puts you in the best position to recover. Then, let us aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you. We have offices in Atlanta, Duluth, Lithonia, College Park, Marietta, Gainesville, and Conyers.