Sleep Better at Night With Answers to Your Top Questions on Virginia Brain Injury Claims
Experiencing something as traumatic as an accident in Chesterfield County can leave your head spinning with questions and uncertainty. Get the answers you need fast in this FAQ series from Richmond brain injury attorney Kevin Mottley.
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What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?
One tool used by medical professionals is the Glasgow Coma Scale. It is a 15-point scale used by all sorts of medical professionals to evaluate a patient for level of consciousness and brain function following a head injury. A score of 13-15 in a patient with a head injury is generally considered to show a mild or minor brain injury classification. A score of 9 to 12 is moderate. A score below 9 indicates a severe brain injury.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of concussion are generally organized into four groups: (1) thinking/remembering symptoms, (2) physical symptoms, (3) emotional/mood symptoms, and (4) sleep symptoms.
A person suffering from a concussion may have difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or remembering new information. They may describe a feeling of being “slowed down” in their thinking. I have seen this in clients as they sit in my office trying to describe things to me.
As for physical symptoms, the person may experience headaches, fuzzy or blurry vision, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise, balance problems, or a feeling of fatigue or lack of energy.
Emotional and mood symptoms include irritability, sadness and depression, a tendency to be more emotional than normal, and a feeling of nervousness or anxiety.
A person’s sleep may be affected as well. The person may sleep more than usual or less than usual. Also, they may have difficulty falling asleep.
It is important to understand that some of these symptoms may not appear right away. In fact, some of them may not be noticed for weeks or even months after an injury when the person resumes his or her daily life activities (work, school, etc.). Because of this time delay, the victim of a concussion may not admit they’re having problems and may not understand why they’re having difficulties. This, of course, leads to more anxiety. Also, family, friends and coworkers may not notice the problems and symptoms, as the person appears “normal.”
What attorney fee do you charge?
For serious personal injury cases, like traumatic brain injury cases, I charge what is known as a “contingency” fee. A contingency fee is equal to an agreed-upon percentage of the recovery in the case (the settlement amount or verdict amount). If there is no recovery in the case, my fee is zero. The exact percentage fee I charge depends on the specifics of the case. Once I have an opportunity to evaluate your matter and think about it, I will tell you what percent fee I will be willing to agree to in your case.
Why won’t the insurance company settle my mild TBI case?
There are really two reasons why insurance companies do not settle mild traumatic brain injury cases. First, the insurance company and its lawyers do not believe that the plaintiff has a traumatic brain injury or they believe that enough doubt exists that it is worth it to go to court and have a jury decide that question. Second, sometimes the insurance company does not agree that the victim of a traumatic brain injury should receive all of the compensation that the law entitles the victim to receive. For example, it is not uncommon for the victim of a mild traumatic brain injury to require very expensive rehabilitative services and counseling into the future. These services help the victim live as productive of a life as he or she can. The cost of this future rehabilitative work adds up, and can be very expensive. When the insurance company is not willing to pay for that type of expense, it is often necessary for the plaintiff to go to court and ask a jury to award that money.
How is a mild traumatic brain injury diagnosed?
Typically, a mild traumatic brain injury is diagnosed by a qualified medical professional as the result of a detailed neurological examination. Such medical professionals most often include emergency room doctors, neurologists, and neuropsychologists. It is also possible that imaging of the brain by a CAT scan, MRI, SPECT or PET will assist in the diagnosis. But it is well-accepted that brain injuries are notoriously difficult to diagnose and that they may not present themselves for extended periods of time following an accident. Physical, occupational and speech therapists may also play a role in evaluation of a patient’s brain function deficits. In addition to scans of the brain, various screening tools measure a person’s speech, movement, memory and thought. A cognitive evaluation by a neuropsychologist who has experience and training in formal neuropsychological testing is often used to diagnose a traumatic brain injury.
What is a traumatic brain injury, or “TBI”?
A traumatic brain injury, also referred to by some as an acquired brain injury, is an injury to the brain that is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all jolts or bumps to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” to “severe.” The majority of TBIs that occur every year in the U.S. are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
How can I work with the Insurance Co. to be sure I don’t end up paying for someone else’s mistakes?
Brain injuries are hard to diagnose. In mild brain injuries, the symptoms can hide for a long period of time after a Richmond accident. Because of this, many people remain unaware that they experienced any type of brain trauma.
As you negotiate a settlement after an accident, your insurance adjuster will try to get you to settle quickly. This is to pay you the minimal amount in your settlement, which helps the insurance companies make a profit off your injuries. The way you work with the insurance adjuster is critical to the outcome of your claim. Here are a few tips to help you get the maximum amount of compensation available to you after an accident.
- Avoid discussing your injuries with the insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster may try to get you to say that all of your injuries from the accident were diagnosed and treatment was determined. This can cost you. If you are later diagnosed with a brain injury as a result of an accident, you may not be compensated for the treatment.
- Do not accept a final settlement. Accepting a final settlement offer means that you can no longer receive any other compensation for your injuries. Once your claim is closed, you cannot reopen the claim to get the money owed to you—not even if you are later diagnosed with another injury that resulted from the accident.
- Hire an accident attorney to represent you. Hiring an accident attorney in Virginia to represent you to the insurance company helps ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. You can get the guidance you need throughout the resolution of your claim so that you can be confident that everything is handled in the best way possible.
Serious Injury Attorney in Richmond, VA Can Help You Right Now
Working with the insurance company can be difficult, especially after a brain injury. With a little bit of help from a brain injury attorney in Richmond, you can be confident that you will receive the best outcome possible in your claim.
To learn more about how to best handle your Richmond brain injury, contact the Mottley Law Firm at (804) 930-1022. We will help you understand what you can do to get the maximum results in your claim.