Both the jarring effect of a collision and the impact of a blow to the head can result in a serious brain injury, such as a concussion. In addition to the tremendous amount of pain and other substantial symptoms that you may feel as a result of the brain injury, you may have to deal with other consequences that can affect many aspects of your life in the months and years ahead. Compensation for the losses that you sustain is available to victims under Texas law. Your experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston can help you to obtain the justice that you deserve.
What Is a Concussion?
When you suffer a concussion as a result of a car accident, you may initially lose consciousness. Even if you do not lose consciousness, you may notice symptoms immediately. In some people, however, symptoms may not appear for several days or even weeks. Some of the symptoms of a concussion include blurry vision, headache, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness and ringing in the ears. Some people experience a variety of other symptoms. These can include dizziness, amnesia, slurred speech and more.
There may also be symptoms that can linger for weeks or longer after the accident. These include depression, light and sound sensitivity, concentration issues, forgetfulness, depression and other psychological issues. Regardless of the specific symptoms that you are living with after your auto accident, you may not be able to return to your regular routine for weeks or months. In some rare cases, people do not fully recover from their concussion.
Common Causes of Brain Injury Car Accidents
During an auto accident, your vehicle’s forward momentum will be stopped suddenly by a tremendous impact. Regardless of whether your vehicle was traveling at 40 miles per hour, 60 or more, the impact can be jarring. This sudden change in momentum alone can result in a brain injury. However, many victims of motor vehicle accidents also experience a blow to the head. For example, the impact of the collision may cause your head to strike the steering wheel or side window. These motions can cause the brain to twist or bounce inside the skull. They can also damage brain cells and result in chemical neural changes.
What to Do After an Auto Accident?
Some people are unable to take specific steps after a car accident because they have lost consciousness, have difficulty concentrating or have other symptoms. However, if you have the wherewithal to remember to take a few steps, you may be able to strengthen your auto accident claim in court. If not, ask someone else at the scene to follow some of these steps. What should you do after a car accident?
After contacting first responders for assistance and rendering aid to other victims as needed and if possible, your attention should focus on gathering evidence. For example, you should take photos of the accident from all angles. If possible, take pictures of the scene or landscape surrounding the accident. Get the contact information for witnesses as well. Their testimony may be useful in your case. When EMS arrives, you should accept medical attention on the scene. Some people feel well enough immediately after an accident that they turn down medical attention. If this is the case, you should get medical attention as soon as possible after the event. This will establish a medical record of your injuries. In addition, contact your personal injury lawyer after you have received medical attention and are well enough to do so.
The Devastating Impact of a Concussion
The most obvious effects of an auto accident are a severely damaged vehicle and the injuries you sustain. The at-fault party’s insurance company may initially fight the claim, so you may need to make repairs and pay for a rental car out of your own pocket. In addition, medical bills may quickly start to pile up. These medical expenses could include the cost of emergency medical services, CT scans and other testing, follow-up care, medications, psychological treatment and more. Some people require a hospital stay. After a concussion, you will be advised to remain at home in a dark, quiet room until symptoms improve. For some people, this may mean taking many weeks off of work. This may be an unpaid leave that directly impacts your ability to pay your bills. The combination of all of these effects can have a serious, detrimental impact on your life.
The Types of Damages Available Under Texas Law
Under Texas law, motorists can be held financially liable for the expenses that they cause to others while they are behind the wheel. This extends far beyond covering vehicle repairs. The law permits a car accident victim to recoup losses for medical expenses, loss of income and even pain and suffering. The future impact of an auto accident may also be calculated or estimated, and you may seek compensation for anticipated expenses as well. Your car accident lawyer will review the circumstances of your case to determine the compensation that may realistically be available to you.
Why You May Not Get a Fair Settlement from a Car Insurance Company
The auto insurance company for the person who caused the accident is required to pay for related expenses up to the limits of the coverage. Any expenses beyond the coverage limits are the policyholder’s personal responsibility. Coverage varies by policy. Texas only requires a minimum amount of liability insurance, although some drivers carry more coverage. This minimum includes $30,000 per person for injuries up to $60,000 total and up to $25,000 for property damage. In some cases, a driver may be uninsured and assumes personal financial responsibility for the expenses.
Unfortunately, insurance companies could attempt to settle for a price that is lower than what is due to the victim. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Before you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you should consult with your personal injury lawyer to ensure that it is a fair amount.
What Affects the Settlement Amount from a Car Accident Case?
Several factors will affect the settlement amount that you can expect from your case. The first factor relates to how severe the injury is. Concussion symptoms can fluctuate in severity in the days and weeks following your accident. It is important to document the initial symptoms as well as the progress of your recovery by receiving frequent medical care until you are fully healed.
Another factor that will impact your settlement amount is liability. In order to win an auto accident case, your personal injury lawyer must prove that the other party was at fault. The police report and eyewitness accounts may provide key supporting evidence to prove who is at fault for your accident.
Gathering Proof to Support Your Car Accident Claim
After suffering injuries from a car accident, it is important to keep all pertinent records securely in a file. This may begin with a copy of the police report, and it may be followed up with photos or videos of the accident. Each time you visit a doctor, you should request a detailed write-up of the visit. In addition, keep invoices for the medical treatment you received.
Ideally, you will have the names and phone numbers of witnesses to your accident. If not, they could be found in the police report. In some cases, people have luck gathering witness accounts by using social media. Your Houston personal injury attorney can interview the witnesses, and he or she may call some witnesses to court to provide testimony if your case reaches the courtroom.
Damages may also be provided for lost wages. Because of this, you will need to document how much time you took off of work and the financial impact of the loss of work. For people with lingering symptoms, it may be necessary to switch to a less demanding position in the company, and compensation may be adjusted accordingly. Your employer can help you to gather all of the necessary information to support this aspect of your claim.
Working with Your Accident Attorney to Build a Strong Case
The best time to contact an accident attorney is as soon as possible after the event. Your attorney can advise you on the best steps to take to document the impacts of the accident and help you to secure evidence as needed. In addition, the other party’s car insurance provider may contact you soon after the accident. It may attempt to gather a statement of the accident and your injuries, and this statement can be used in court. It is crucial that you tell the insurer to contact your lawyer. Avoid answering any questions.
As your case progresses, your personal injury lawyer will ask you to continue accumulating evidence, such as medical records. These should be conveyed to your attorney as soon as possible. You will work closely with your attorney so that the strongest case can be built on your behalf.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas
Texas law has a statute of limitations for auto accident cases. This means that you must file your case within that time period or you forfeit the right to do so, regardless of how severe the accident was. The statute of limitations is two years. This time period begins on the date of the accident.
Request a Consultation Today!
If you have recently suffered a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion after a motor vehicle accident, you should consult with a Texas personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights. Regardless of the severity of the auto accident, the impact on your life and health can be severe. Your lawyer can help you to recoup the full amount of damages that are available to you under the law. To request a consultation, contact our personal injury lawyer in Houston today.