Have you received medical treatment for a concussion injury but continue to experience ongoing symptoms such as headaches, memory problems, or fatigue weeks or months later? You’re not alone. Studies show that at least 10% to 50% of people who suffer a head injury experience long-term concussion symptoms.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a condition in which concussive symptoms continue long after a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Living with PCS can be costly and emotionally and physically challenging.
If you believe you have PCS, contact a brain injury lawyer immediately. You may be eligible for compensation for post-concussion syndrome via a personal injury claim. Read on to learn how to seek fair compensation.
Can You Receive Compensation for Post-Concussion Syndrome?
You can receive compensation for post-concussion syndrome, but the amounts vary widely from case to case.
How Much Compensation Can You Seek for PCS?
The type and size of the compensation (“damages”) you can claim depends on various factors, which we’ll explore in more depth below. Common types of economic and non-economic damages available in a post-concussion settlement include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
How Much Is the Average PCS Settlement?
There is no “average” settlement for PCS, as no two people experience the same symptoms.
In general, concussion settlements are lower than settlements in cases involving severe brain injuries. However, post-concussion syndrome settlement amounts are typically higher than settlements in concussion cases in which the victim doesn’t experience lingering symptoms.
A mild traumatic brain injury and PCS settlement can range from less than $5,000 to over $1 million. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and give you a potential settlement range for your brain injuries.
Types of Compensation
Other than court-mandated damages through a personal injury claim, you may qualify for other types of compensation for post-concussion syndrome, such as:
- Workers’ compensation
- Social Security disability insurance
- Veterans Affairs benefits
Factors That Affect Compensation
Many factors affect the availability and amount of compensation for post-concussion syndrome, including:
The Severity of the Symptoms
The more serious and enduring your symptoms, the higher the settlement amount. Severe concussions usually mean longer recovery times and higher medical costs compared to milder cases.
Common post-concussive symptoms include:
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Memory and concentration problems
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Sleep problems
The initial symptoms of a concussion after a head injury may take hours or days to appear, but they resolve within one to two weeks for around 80% of people. Sometimes, however, post-concussion symptoms may last for weeks, months, or even years, including after a mild brain injury. Up to 15% of people with PCS never achieve full post-concussion syndrome recovery.
Age and Occupation
Anyone can develop PCS after a head injury, but some have a higher risk of developing post-concussion syndrome than others.
Both the very young and the elderly are at higher risk. Seniors are more prone to falls, which increases the risk of head injuries. While elderly people are more likely to develop mild TBI rather than severe TBI, studies show they are slower to recover and more likely to develop PCS and other injuries and complications.
Children may also take longer to recover from a concussion. Particularly severe complications in younger individuals can cause permanent brain damage or even death, which often makes for a higher settlement amount.
Your job can likewise put you at a higher risk of physical injuries that may cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Construction workers are especially prone to accidents such as falls, being struck by objects, and being struck by a moving vehicle.
Availability of Insurance Coverage
The availability of insurance coverage often determines the maximum settlement value in personal injury cases.
For instance, if you were injured in an auto accident in New York or New Jersey, you must turn to your insurance company first, even if the crash was due to someone else’s negligence.
If your auto insurance isn’t enough to cover the full extent of your medical expenses and other losses, you can file a claim against the insurance of the at-fault driver. How much you can claim will depend on their policy limits.
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may be able to tap into your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you have one. Again, your maximum settlement value would be based on your policy limit.
The Process of Filling a Claim for PCS Compensation
Personal injury claims can be complicated, but your lawyer can help you navigate the process. Here are the main steps in a personal injury case:
It can be challenging to prove post-concussion syndrome. Brain injury symptoms may take a week to develop, so concussion often goes undiagnosed. The fact that PCS is an “invisible” condition that doesn’t always appear on imaging tests like MRIs and CT scans doesn’t help either. Lacking a definitive diagnostic test, doctors rely on second-hand evidence like your reported symptoms and a history of head injuries to diagnose post-concussion syndrome.
Misdiagnoses are also common. A mild traumatic brain injury or PCS can resemble other injuries and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, so it’s not impossible for your physicians to have differing opinions about whether you have post-concussion syndrome.
To prove post-concussion syndrome and maximize your settlement value, be sure to:
- Seek medical attention immediately following a head injury
- Document all your symptoms
- Keep copies of all medical records
- Gather expert testimony from medical professionals
It’s also important to follow your doctor’s instructions, complete your full course of treatment, and follow up with your primary care physician.
If you seek medical care and aren’t diagnosed with a concussion but experience symptoms later, request follow-up treatment or a second opinion.
Filing a Claim
If you develop post-concussion syndrome, you may be able to pursue compensation by filing an insurance claim. If the insurance company tries to undervalue your claim or deny it outright by arguing that you don’t have PCS, you can take the case to court.
The deadline, also known as the statute of limitations, for bringing a personal injury lawsuit is:
- New York: Three years from the date of the injury
- New Jersey: Two years from the date of the injury
If you didn’t realize you had injuries, which is often the case with delayed onset of post-concussion syndrome, the court might extend the statute of limitations and allow you to file your claim later.
Keep in mind that the time frame for filing an insurance claim is significantly shorter. Insurance companies usually require you to at least notify them of an accident “promptly” or “within a reasonable time,” which usually means within a few days of the injury.
Hiring a Lawyer
Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after the accident. Your lawyer can start building your case immediately after you hire them while you are still receiving medical care or recovering from your injuries. If you wait, crucial evidence can go missing and witnesses’ memories can fade. You will also be giving the insurance company a head start on building their case against you.
Negotiating a Settlement
Your personal injury attorney will take over all communications with the insurance company and negotiate on your behalf. Never speak to the insurance company without a lawyer.
Going into the negotiations, it helps to have a specific compensation amount in mind. This will stop you from accepting a lowball offer. Your lawyer can help you determine what a fair settlement would look like.
Post-Concussion Syndrome FAQ
Read the answers to these common questions about post-concussion syndrome:
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit for PCS?
You have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit for PCS in New York and two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in New Jersey.
How Long Is the Process of Settlement?
If you and the insurance company agree on a settlement, you can typically expect your check within four to six weeks. If your case comes up for a court trial, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several months to finalize.
Can You Still Receive a Compensation if You Were Partially at Fault?
You can still receive compensation for personal injuries if you were partially at fault. New York is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning you can recover damages no matter how much of the fault you bear. New Jersey is a modified comparative negligence state, which means you must be less responsible for the accident than the other person to recover damages,
Suffering With Post-Concussion Syndrome? Call Us.
At Sadaka Law, our personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping accident victims. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCS or another serious injury, we can help. Call 800-810-3457 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury lawyer and discuss compensation for post-concussion syndrome.