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Concussion Injury

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Concussion Injury

A concussion is the most common type of brain injury and the mildest form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). That does not mean they are not serious. A concussion injury can cause severe and long-lasting effects. 

Understanding concussions, how they happen, and the symptoms to watch for can help protect you after an accident or injury. 

What Is a Concussion?

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a mild brain injury caused by violent shaking of the head, rapid acceleration, and deceleration, or a blow to the head. This results in temporary changes in brain function and mental status. 

A concussion is usually a temporary injury. Most people recover completely within a few weeks. However, a concussion is not minor, and it may cause permanent brain damage. A second concussion injury too soon after a first has a much higher chance of causing permanent and more serious damage. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

A concussion injury can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary depending on the person. You may experience any of these symptoms immediately after a head injury, but it may take hours, days, or weeks to develop. 

Common concussion symptoms include: 

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Vision changes such as blurry vision
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Ringing in the ears or tinnitus
  • Concentration problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleep changes
  • Changes to taste or smell
  • Loss of consciousness, which may only last seconds

It’s a common misconception that losing consciousness is required to suffer a brain injury. You may have suffered a concussion even if you did not lose consciousness.

How Are Concussions Diagnosed and Treated?

A concussion is challenging to diagnose as it isn’t something that can be seen on imaging tests. Concussions are usually diagnosed based on the symptoms you report and the nature of your accident. A doctor may ask questions to evaluate your concentration and memory and perform simple tests of reflexes and coordination. To rule out a more serious brain injury, your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan. 

One of the most important tools physicians use to rate the severity of a brain injury is the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This test measures responses like motor function, verbal response, and consciousness. It’s part of a neurological exam to look for issues with the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system. 

There are three components to the test: 

  • Eye response (1 to 4 points). The score depends on whether you can open and close your eyes on your own, only when prompted, only in response to pressure, or not at all. 
  • Verbal response (1 to 5 points). This portion involves asking you questions testing your memory, thinking, and awareness. 
  • Motor response (1 to 6 points). This portion tests muscle movement and your ability to understand and follow basic instructions. 

A score of 13 to 15 indicates a concussion. A score of 9 to 12 indicates a moderate TBI. A score of just 3 to 8 indicates a severe brain injury.

A concussion rarely requires hospitalization. Treatment usually involves resting for a few days and avoiding bright lights, loud noises, and strenuous activities. Over-the-counter acetaminophen is usually recommended to treat pain after a head injury. Avoid ibuprofen and aspirin. 

It’s very important to guard against another injury, especially in the months after your concussion. Repeat concussions have a cumulative effect and may lead to serious, permanent disability. 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Concussion Injury?

Every person is different. Some people recover completely from a concussion within a week or two with no noticeable long-term effects. For others, a concussion can cause symptoms that persist for months or even years. 

When concussion symptoms last for more than a week or two, it’s called post-concussion disorder (PCD) or post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

PCS can last for weeks or even a year or longer after a concussion. Some people are at a higher risk of developing post-concussion syndrome. 

Risk factors of PCD include: 

  • Advanced age
  • Female
  • Double blow to the head
  • Severe head injury
  • Major vision changes after concussion
  • Initially long-lasting symptoms
  • Previous concussion
  • History of PTSD, ADHD, migraines, mood disorder, or seizure disorder

A concussion causes damage to the brain that takes time to heal. Even a mild concussion can have lasting effects that may be subtle and change over time. Most people have symptoms that resolve within a couple of weeks. However, less than half of people with a moderate to severe concussion return to their pre-injury level of function after one year. 

What Causes Concussions?

A concussion happens when the brain strikes the inside of the skull or twists or bounces in the skull. This can cause physical injuries and trigger chemical changes in the brain that cause symptoms. 

The most common causes of concussion injuries are: 

Falls alone account for about half of TBI-related hospitalizations, especially among older adults. However, car accidents cause about 17% of TBIs overall. 

What Compensation Can You Recover for a Concussion Injury in Florida?

If your concussion injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses you have suffered. Compensation may be available for economic damages like medical bills and lost wages and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. 

If your concussion happened in an automobile accident, you can first recover compensation through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. You can pursue the at-fault driver if your damages exceed the $10,000 limit or you suffered more serious injuries. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Concussion Claims in Tampa, Florida?

You have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation for a concussion injury. In most cases, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Tampa, Florida. This means you cannot recover compensation more than two years after your accident. 

It’s important not to delay seeking compensation, though. You likely need to report a car accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to preserve your claim. It also takes time to investigate your accident and build a case for liability. If you wait too long, it can be difficult to prove another party was at fault for your concussion – or that it was even related to your accident.

Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer for Help After a Concussion Injury

If you have suffered a concussion in a fall, car crash, or other accident, contact our attorneys at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We will listen to your story, evaluate your case, and help you understand your legal options. You can call us at (813) 223-6200.

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