If I sustained a head injury in a car accident, am I entitled to a financial recovery?
A common type of injury after a car accident is a head injury. When a car is impacted, the seat belt restraint system will activate, causing your torso to remain stabilized while your head is jerked suddenly in different directions. This can result in a whiplash injury, where your head is thrown violently in a way that can potentially injure your brain.
The bottom line is, yes, you may be entitled to a financial recovery after a car accident causes you to sustain a head injury. However, only some head injuries after a car accident will warrant a financial recovery, and a car accident attorney can help you identify whether your claim will succeed.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, what can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBI) is a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. Symptoms can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects, beginning immediately after the accident or days or weeks later. Symptoms of a “mild traumatic brain injury” can include:
- Loss of consciousness for a time;
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of confusion or disorientation;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Fatigue or drowsiness;
- Problems with speech;
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Sleeping more than usual; and
- Dizziness or loss of balance.
Thus, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is not unusual for some or all of these symptoms to begin at some time following the trauma of the car crash. Even someone with a “mild” traumatic brain injury can be left with some pretty significant limitations and may not be able to physically and/or mentally perform as he or she did prior to the car accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury Examples
A concussion is one example of a traumatic brain injury, and the post-concussion syndrome is often seen after a car accident. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of a concussion may have a delayed onset and can include headache; ringing in the ears; nausea; vomiting; fatigue or drowsiness; and blurry vision.
Brain injuries can be slow to heal and the experience can be overwhelming and frustrating. Some people coping with a TBI may also experience depression, fatigue, anxiety, anger, and other behavioral changes. Those living with a traumatic brain injury may need to seek ongoing medical support, rehabilitation, and continued treatments.
Car accident victims who sustain a traumatic brain injury caused because of someone else’s negligence are entitled to receive financial compensation under New York’s personal injury law. This is why it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, so that he or she may assess the circumstances and help you understand the legal options available.
Recovery for pain and suffering: The serious injury threshold
As you may know, in order to receive compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident, you will need to establish a “serious injury,” defined as:
[A] personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
In order to satisfy the serious injury threshold, courts have generally required objective evidence of injury. In Licari v Elliott, the New York State Court of Appeals held that “subjective complaints of occasional, transitory headaches” do not satisfy the threshold. In that case, the injured motorist offered no proof that his headaches “in any way incapacitated him or interfered with his ability to work or engage in activities at home,” so the highest court in the state found that he was not entitled to recover for pain and suffering.
While subjective complaints of occasional headache may not satisfy the serious injury threshold, courts have nevertheless held that “post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic headaches, and cognitive dysfunction” as a result of a collision can qualify as a serious injury.
Injured In A Car Accident? Call William Mattar.
If you are experiencing headaches and post-concussion symptoms after a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering. At William Mattar law offices, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in analyzing medical records and other information to see if your injuries rise to the level of a serious injury. Our car accident attorneys are also experienced in advocating that our clients’ injuries rise to the level of a serious injury. Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 844-444-4444.