After experiencing a personal injury, brain injuries are frequently under-diagnosed injuries or completely missed. One reason is people don’t always seek treatment for a head injury because they expect it to resolve quickly. Another reason is, brain injury symptoms don’t always immediately show up on diagnostic imaging in the emergency department immediately after. Third, if you experienced a broken bone or something is bleeding, it’s easiest for hospital personnel to focus treatment on the injury they can see, as opposed to the injury they can’t.
For some individuals suffering from a brain injury, even a concussion or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), they may not notice the symptoms right away. For some, friends and family members will notice changes in behavior or speech first. Those are both signs that are critical not to ignore and warrant immediate medical attention.
For others, signs are noticeable within the first few hours (brain bleed, carbon monoxide poisoning) to the first week or two after an incident (mTBI). You may begin experiencing more headaches, nausea, vomiting, light-sensitivity, delayed cognitive functioning, or more easily become angry. The key here is that the second you, or someone else, notices that something has changed since you hit your head or had carbon monoxide exposure, you should immediately seek medical attention.
If your symptoms didn’t present within hours of the incident, understandably your documentation may be limited. Insurance companies often minimize compensation of a brain injury based on a lack of immediate documentation alone. That’s why documenting difficulties experienced in your daily life on a regular basis after an incident is critical.
To avoid issues with getting appropriate compensation following a brain injury, it is important that you not only seek medical care right away, but that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you through the process.
Here are five reasons you need an experienced personal injury law if you have a brain injury after an accident:
1. Insurance Companies Want Proof and Documentation
The first and most important piece of information we give to our clients and anyone we meet with is to document, document, document. Proper documentation is key to being able to move forward with a brain injury claim. Insurance companies want to know the when, where, how and why. While it may be tempting to go home after an accident and see if your symptoms resolve over the next several days, this can delay the diagnosis of a brain injury, and leaves a gap in treatment, which insurance companies like to use against you. After an accident, remember to immediately document:
- Where the accident took place-take pictures.
- The date and time of the accident.
- How the accident occurred.
- If you were knocked unconscious or not.
- What symptoms you are feeling minutes, days, and weeks after the incident, even if you do not seek medical care right away.
- Any witnesses or people who were around when the injury happened, if you don’t personally know those who were there, try to get their contact information.
In documenting the above, you will save yourself a bigger fight with the insurance company. As always, we suggest seeking medical attention right away.
2. Insurance Companies Will Look For an Out
Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible, or nothing, whenever they can. (Another reason documentation is so important). Insurance companies will leave no stone unturned when it comes to looking for any other potential reason for your symptoms than what caused the injury, the subject incident. By looking into your daily activities, work habits and family medical history, your past medical history, or just daily stresses of life, insurance companies will try to find any piece of information which would justify them denying your claim.
Avoid having to jump through hoops with insurance companies by retaining a good personal injury attorney that has experience in representing brain injuries. Are you unsure how to choose the right personal injury attorney? Learn what to look out for when seeking an attorney >
3. Your Ability to Appear Functional, Does Not Mean You are Not Suffering
It is not uncommon for brain injury clients to have largely the same outward physical appearance as they did before the injury. Frequently, brain injury clients can still dress and feed themselves, attend school or work, and objectively appear “normal.” The inability to “see” the injury in the same way you see a broken bone, can cause even friends and family to fail to appreciate the extent of your injuries. If those closest to you don’t “see” it, certainly it’s going to be even harder to get the insurance company to accept it.
What others fail to see after a brain injury is that you may not be “fine” at all. You may be having to compensate in other areas of your life just to “keep up appearances” in your daily life. Perhaps you’re having difficulty concentrating on assignments or can’t recall things your co-workers or boss asked you to do. Maybe you’re having to write things down, something you never had to do before. These are all evidence that you’re suffering from a brain injury, and even if others can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening or doesn’t add value to your case.
Brain injury symptoms can vary by person and brain injury type. While some people may experience little change in their day to day lives, many people and clients struggle with memory loss, migraines or headaches, light sensitivity, vision problems, easily communicating thoughts and ideas, doing daily job tasks, unprovoked anger, and more. Although these symptoms may not seem like suffering to some, these are symptoms that could affect your day to day life, job, and personal relationships. Over time these symptoms can get better, but only a medical provider can guide you through your treatment and recovery. For some, they may never go back to who, or how, things were before your brain injury.
It’s important that you do not let the insurance companies undermine your suffering or the full impact on you and your life. This is exactly what personal injury attorneys are trained to do, help you receive full compensation for your injury.
4. Insurance Companies Know They Cannot Undermine the Right Attorney
When insurance companies begin their investigations into a claim, having an attorney represent you keeps the insurance companies in check. Personal Injury Attorneys with experience in brain injuries are even more critical, because without that experience, they may be scared off by the lack of immediate evidence on imaging, or settle the case for far less than what it is worth. Having an experienced attorney by your side ensures the insurance companies will not be able to use unrelated previous injuries, “lack of suffering,” or any other excuse to undermine your injuries.
Research by the insurance industry itself supports that individuals with attorneys, on average, receive 3x the amount of compensation those without an attorney receive. Insurance companies take your claim more seriously, and pay more fairly, with an attorney on your team.
5. Having an Attorney Handle Your Case, Allows You to Focus on Healing & Living Your Life
Our number one goal at Johnson Livingston is to ensure our clients are taken care of so that they can focus on healing instead of fighting with insurance companies. Knowledge of the rules and laws surrounding brain injuries and insurance claims are vital in the success or failure of a personal injury claim. Having an attorney to listen to your story, learn about you and your injuries, and review your documentation is a huge benefit to your claim, and lawsuit if it goes that far.
You won’t have to worry about filling out a bunch of extra paperwork, talking to the insurance companies, or stress associated with explaining your symptoms correctly; that is what we are here for. We will be with you every step of the way, handling your claim from start to finish, and will only settle if you are comfortable with the compensation.
It is no surprise that insurance companies tend to fight claims regardless of the severity of the injury. Having an attorney to represent you, tell your story, and fight for your right to compensation will alleviate any mistakes or misunderstandings that could take place during the claims process and removes you from the stress so that you can focus on healing and moving on from your injury.
If you or someone you know have been injured due to negligence resulting in a brain injury, call our office today at 801-948-9670. At Johnson Livingston, we have experience in getting you the help you need and the compensation you deserve. For more information on claims related to brain injuries click here.