Visitor Question

Settlement for post-concussive syndrome?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Saint Joseph, Missouri)

I was rear ended at a complete stop by a vehicle travelling approx. 40mph. Insurance company has stated they are liable for the accident and deemed my car (Honda with less than 100,000 miles) a total loss. The car has been taken care of, and that part is settled.

Medically, I was told by EMTs at the scene that I appeared to be okay and was encouraged to follow up with my doctor. I went to Urgent Care within the hour with dizziness, brain fog, back and neck pain, and just felt out of it. They took mid back X-rays and sent me home with some muscle relaxers, a note for two days off of work, and instructions to follow up with my PCP.

I followed up with my doctor a few days later, unable to sleep, terrible HAs, neck pain, double vision, short term memory loss, etc. and was diagnosed with a concussion. This has lead to a diagnosis of Post-Concussive Syndrome.

I have been unable to work (I have a full time management position) and I had to request an incomplete for graduate school and withdraw from Fall semester, as I am still prescribed “cognitive rest”, unable to watch tv/go online/text for more than 2-5 minutes due to extreme mental fatigue and “brain pain”.

I’ve seen a PT daily with exception of weekends and have improved over the past month, but I am still unable to work, drive, and live my usually very busy life.

My question is, how does one calculate these issues in a settlement? I’ve pushed back my school so far that if I miss more than two consecutive semesters I must re-apply to the master’s program – I am out of work for over a month and my life has been turned upside down.

I know I should be able to be reimbursed for medical expenses and lost wages, but the loss of my master’s degree work, volunteer work (I manage a website for a local nonprofit), and inability to complete my FT job. (In addition to managing a department, I am the grant writer for the system and have two grant reports due for the Federal govt, and I’m unable to use a computer for more than five minutes or complete high level brain functions without immediate pain.)

My docs are hopeful that my brain function will return to normal-ish within three months or so, but there is no guarantee or timeline. In the meantime, I am just going to PT, doing my exercises, and staying at a standstill otherwise until I am better.

Does this fall under “pain and suffering” settlement for this type of case? Is this something I can navigate on my own or is it beneficial to speak to an attorney before going any farther? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion.”

While it’s clear you have been unable to fulfill your academic requirements, it will be a challenge to convince the insurance company to compensate you for those losses.

When liability is clear, insurance companies generally pay for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (such as medications, costs of travel to treatment, wheel chairs, nursing services, etc.), lost wages, and for pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, the insurance company will not empathize with your academic setbacks. They will only pay for those losses which are tangible and provable. They may assert there are other reasons you may not have been able to fulfill your requirements. You may have sustained a separate unrelated injury, or became ill, or there was another unique causation.

They will likely request a medical narrative from your physician stating that as a direct result of the accident, and for no other reason, you are unable to work and study at the same capacity you were before the accident…..and that medical prohibition will last for up to three months.

In the event you are able to meet these requirements, you would then be in a position to request compensation for those losses. Of course, attaching a specific amount of compensation to those losses will be difficult.

Because of the tenuous nature of your claim, and the inherent difficulty in pursuing the claim on your own, you would be best served by consulting with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most personal injury attorneys will not charge for initial office consultations After visiting with the attorneys you will have a better idea of the substance of your claim, and the likelihood of prevailing.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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