A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can occur for a variety of reasons, including those that fall under the “personal injury” umbrella. Vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, violent assaults, and construction site accidents are among the many reasons concussions happen. One of the lasting effects of a concussion is called post-concussion syndrome (PCS) which can cause numerous painful symptoms. Learn more about PCS, including how it is diagnosed and treated.
Diagnosing post-concussion syndrome
When an individual sustains a concussion, their brain moves within their skull due to a violent impact. For a person to be diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, they must experience at least three lingering symptoms related to their recent brain trauma. These symptoms can manifest days or weeks after the accident and may include:
- Memory issues
- Problems concentrating
- Sleep issues
Symptoms can also include apathy, noise and light sensitivities, anxiety, and personality changes. These symptoms may vary by person and require injured individuals to undergo CT scans or MRIs to check for severe brain damage.
Anyone who experiences a concussion is at risk for post-concussive syndrome, especially if they are 40 years old or older. Those with pre-existing psychiatric conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, mental fogginess, or depression, might be more susceptible to post-concussion syndrome.
When to see a doctor after a concussion
Those who experience head injuries of any kind should see their doctors as soon as possible. If an injured individual experiences lingering symptoms, they should make additional appointments to discuss what they are experiencing and which treatment options to follow. Resting often and managing stress are two main keys to a successful recovery. Medications might also be prescribed depending on the symptoms. These medications may include pain medicine for headaches, anti-anxiety medication, and antidepressants. Additional treatments can include vestibular (inner ear) therapy, sleep schedule and daily routine adjustments, neck therapy, counseling, and light exercise.
Other recovery measures may include limiting screen time, since looking at screens can cause eye fatigue and make headaches worse. Reducing exposure to bright lights and loud noises is helpful if there are sensitivity problems with one or both issues. It is also best to limit head and neck movement and to consume more protein. The branched-chain amino acids in protein-rich foods such as nuts, fish, and beans can improve concussion and PCS symptoms, as can omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods. Salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, soy, and flaxseed are high in omega-3s and boost brain health.
Most people with PCS make full recoveries. While some recover after about three months, others can take a year or longer to stop experiencing symptoms.
Avoiding concussions and post-concussion syndrome
While some accidents that result in concussions are beyond the individual’s control, such as car accidents or construction accidents that were not their fault, there are still safety measures to take. Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, moped, bicycle, or similar vehicle is strongly recommended, as is using seatbelts while driving or riding in cars and trucks.
Maintaining safe residential and commercial premises also helps avoid concussions and PCS. This includes making certain objects on scaffolding are secure and keeping all walkways free of slippery or icy substances. For example, if auto shop employees clean spills immediately, the risk of slipping and falling on motor oil, gasoline, and other vehicle fluids is lessened.
What to do if PCS was caused by negligence or a violent assault?
When post-concussion syndrome is due to a violent assault or a person or entity’s negligence, taking legal action is recommended. After getting medical attention and obtaining copies of the medical report, the accident victim should contact an attorney. Legal professionals will review the details of the case to determine if there are grounds for filing a claim. If grounds for a claim are present, the lawyer will then collect any supporting evidence. In addition to the medical report, evidence can include photos and videos of the accident or accident scene, a police report if applicable, and any witness testimonies.
Since Georgia is a fault state, the insurance company of the at-fault person or people is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff should notify their own insurance company in addition to the at-fault agency. This is something their personal injury attorney can do for them. As long as the plaintiff is 50% or less to blame for the accident, they can collect damages as per the state’s modified comparative negligence rules. The lawyer can also send a demand letter detailing what damages the liable insurance company must pay.
If the at-fault party, or defendant, refuses to settle the claim for any reason, the lawyer can draft and file a legal complaint with the local court system. To win the court case, the legal professional must be able to prove that negligence or intentional tort, such as assault and battery, was the reason for the accident.
To prove negligence, the lawyer must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff duty of care and breached that care to directly result in the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, if the defendant was driving while intoxicated and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing a concussion among other injuries, they are liable and subject to damages.
To prove an intentional tort, the lawyer must be able to show that the defendant intentionally tried to harm the plaintiff. For example, say the defendant blamed the plaintiff for “stealing their significant other” and “wanted revenge” And they purposefully created hazardous conditions at their shared workplace, causing the plaintiff to slip, fall, and hit their head. The defendant is liable because they wanted to harm the plaintiff.
Common damages in personal injury cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
If you need to file a personal injury claim following any type of traumatic brain injury, contact Harris Lowry Manton LLP. We serve clients in our offices in Atlanta and Savannah and provide dedicated counsel and representation for a wide range of personal injury cases. Call our offices or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.