What Is the Average Settlement Amount for a Head Injury in a Car Accident?

Car companies have made significant advances in safety technology, from forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control to lane departure warnings. Unfortunately, despite these and other safety features, car accidents continue to happen every day. Although some accidents are minor fender-benders and the motorists involved drive away without a scratch, others cause more serious injuries that will require immediate medical attention. When a motorist is involved in a car accident, the impact of the crash often causes head injuries that can range from minor concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Depending on the severity of the injury, the treatment and follow-up care can be very costly. If the accident was caused by a negligent driver, you may pursue a financial settlement by filing a personal injury claim. The settlement amount will be based on the specific factors of your case but can range from $10,000 for a minor whiplash injury to several million dollars for a severe TBI. A skilled car accident lawyer will assist you and fight to secure the financial compensation for which you are entitled.

What Are the Most Common Types of Head Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?

 When the impact of a car accident causes the head to snap back and forth or strike the window, steering wheel, or other objects inside the car with extreme force, this can cause a range of head injuries. Of the roughly 17,000 car accidents that occur each day in the United States, thousands of people suffer the following two types of injuries:

  • Whiplash: This is a common injury that occurs when the force of the impact causes the head to snap back and forward in a violent motion, injuring the muscles and nerves in the neck. This type of injury often occurs in rear-end accidents. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness of the neck, decreased range of motion, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches. If whiplash is not treated, the injured person may suffer from chronic pain, stiffness and loss of motion, difficulty sleeping, headaches, fatigue, and an increased risk of future disk injuries.
  • Concussions: These occur when some type of force causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull. When a car accident occurs and the force of the impact causes the head to hit the steering wheel, the side window, or the windshield, this can cause the brain to strike the inside of the skull. Although concussions are considered a minor TBI, they can cause a range of serious side effects, including memory loss, blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, confusion, mood changes, and loss of consciousness. In most cases, people recover from concussions and do not suffer permanent damage. However, more severe concussion injuries, including TBIs, can cause permanent physical and cognitive impairments. Some people may suffer from post-concussion syndrome, which occurs when concussion symptoms continue for a period after the accident. Symptoms may include severe headache, sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, and emotional instability.

Why Is It Important to Seek Medical Attention?

If your head or neck was injured in a car accident, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention, even if the injuries seem very minor. There are a number of reasons why this is so important. First and foremost, although you may not experience significant pain immediately following the accident, you could still have a potentially serious injury. Oftentimes, the shock and stress of the accident cause adrenaline to course through the body, which can temporarily block the sensation of pain. When this happens, you may assume that your injury is not serious and that it does not warrant going to the nearest hospital to be examined by a trained medical professional. Unfortunately, if you do have a head injury and you delay medical treatment, the condition can become worse.

If you plan to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver involved in the accident, the failure to seek immediate medical attention for your head injury could have a negative impact on your claim. It sends a message that your injury must not be very serious if you did not find it necessary to go to the hospital or your health care provider for immediate treatment. This will likely impact the outcome of your settlement or result in your claim being denied.

How Are Concussions Diagnosed?

If you think you may have a concussion, go to the nearest hospital or make an emergency appointment with your physician. If you go to your doctor, he or she will perform a series of clinical tests, known as neurocognitive testing, which are designed to evaluate any cognitive impairments of which you may be suffering, including problem-solving, concentration, memory, and critical thinking. If you go to the hospital, doctors can diagnose a concussion by performing a range of diagnostic imaging tests, including a CT scan, to determine the severity of the concussion and check to see if there is any other damage to the brain.

How Are Concussions Treated?

Concussions are brain injuries; therefore, the brain needs rest to heal and recover. That means staying home from work or school and avoiding all strenuous physical or mental activities, particularly those that could cause another blow to the head. If the concussion caused any physical or cognitive impairments, a health care professional may recommend physical therapy or occupational therapy. Treatment recommendations and recovery times vary based on the person’s age, overall health, history of previous concussions, and severity of the concussion.

What Settlement Amount Can I Expect for a Head Injury?

 If you intend to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver for the medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage associated with the accident, the settlement amount that you will receive will depend on a number of factors, including the following:

  • The total cost of your medical expenses
  • Whether you suffered any broken bones
  • Whether your injury required surgery
  • Whether your head injury caused long-term or permanent impairments, medical issues, or other challenges
  • The number of missed workdays
  • The loss of future earning capacity
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Taking all these factors into consideration, the average settlement amount for a relatively minor whiplash or concussion injury is between $10,000 and $100,000. If the injury is severe and causes life-changing impairments, settlement amounts can average between one million and five million dollars. A skilled personal injury lawyer will thoroughly review the details of your case, the nature of the accident, and the severity of your injuries to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. He or she will negotiate with the insurance company and prepare for any situation that could impact the outcome of your settlement.

What Should I Do if I Suffered a Head Injury in a Car Accident?

 The first priority is to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. Call 911 to report the accident and notify dispatch if there are any injuries so that an ambulance is sent to the scene. The officer at the scene will fill out a police report, which may include information about who caused the accident. This can be valuable evidence when you initiate the claims process. Exchange information with the other driver, take pictures of the accident scene, and talk to witnesses who saw the accident. Ask if they would be willing to provide an official statement. Notify your insurance company that you were injured in a car accident. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of making money. They may make an initial settlement offer that seems like a large sum of money but that does not come close to the settlement that you deserve. They also have a team of highly paid lawyers who will resort to a range of tactics to prevent the insurance company from having to pay a sizable settlement. You are strongly urged to contact a car accident lawyer who has your best interests at heart. He or she will be able to anticipate the tactics used by the insurance company and advocate for you if the insurance company tries to deny your claim. Ultimately, a dedicated lawyer will protect your rights and negotiate the best possible settlement offer.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Who Have Sustained Head Injuries

If you or a loved one suffered a concussion, whiplash, or any other type of head injury in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process, address all your questions and concerns, and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.