Note: Attorney Doug Horn, a Kansas City personal injury lawyer, will be a featured presenter in a national webinar, Proving Traumatic Brain Injury, being broadcast on September 23, 2019. The continuing legal education presentation is sponsored by the National Business Institute (NBI) and is designed to for attorneys who want insights on how to better handle brain injury cases.
Why Are More Concussions Being Diagnosed After Motor Vehicle Accidents?
In the past 5 years I have seen a considerable increase in concussion cases following motor vehicle accidents. I think there are two primary reasons for this.
First, because drivers are driving faster, more aggressively, and with greater distractions, there is an increasing probability of a violent collision. A severe force of impact is going to create more chance for a concussion. Keep in mind that a concussion does not necessarily involve a direct impact to the head. Often, a concussion will occur because of an acceleration/deceleration type injury. This is what commonly happens when the neck is whipped backward and then forward in a car accident.
Secondly, I believe that everyone, including the medical community, is taking head injuries more seriously. This may be because all of the publicity surrounding the NFL policy change on how they deal with players who complain of concussion-related symptoms immediately after a hit.
For decades the usual practice in the management of a concussion was to prescribe medication to mask the headaches and suggest that the person rest until the symptoms subside. However, it is my recent experience that doctors are now much more pro-active about how they treat concussions. More on that below.
The Importance of An Early Neurological Exam
If a person after a traumatic event (i.e. car accident) is having symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, balance, vision difficulty, trouble with memory or concentration, it is important that the person be examined by a doctor who specializes in concussion management. The physician will determine the mechanism of injury and evaluate the physical complaints, cognitive issues, sleep disorder, and psychological concerns.
Often the doctor will perform special neurological testing, including a neuro-ophthalmologic evaluation for symptoms related to visual blurring, double vision, etc.
Based on the assessment, doctors are now more frequently referring concussed patients to individualized rehabilitation, which might involve a variety of different therapies, including vestibular, cognitive, and physical therapy.
Legal Consultation After Car Crash Head Injuries
If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury in a car accident it is recommended that they seek legal consultation with a lawyer who concentrates in brain injury. Even a mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) can have long-term effects that significantly impact quality of life. In order to fully recover, head injury victims deserve the very best medical evaluations, treatment, and rehabilitation. Additionally, they also must recover fair and full compensation in their insurance claims. That is the lawyer’s responsibility.