Head injuries can be extremely dangerous and, if severe enough, can have a devastating long-term impact on those unfortunate enough to suffer them. This is due in no small part to the importance of the skull’s function in protecting the brain that it contains. Any trauma sustained to the head in an accident can cause the brain to move around inside the skull which can cause severe damage to the internal structure of this most fragile organ that is, in effect, the very essence of who we are. Trauma can cause internal haemorrhaging which requires emergency surgery to stem bleeding and drain blood that has already haemorrhaged into the subarachnoid space in order to relieve pressure from the brain.
More minor brain injuries still hold the ability to disrupt the lives of those unlucky enough to suffer them. Post-concussion syndrome is just a condition which accounts for a significant proportion of all brain injury cases recorded annually. Suffering a brain injury as a result of receiving trauma to the head in an accident can be bad enough at the best of times but is undoubtedly worse when that accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. If you have sustained a brain injury which has led to you developing post-concussion syndrome or any other debilitating neurological condition as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault then you could be entitled to compensation.
What is post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is a group of symptoms that, after initial development by the sufferer, can continue for many weeks, months or even a year or more. The condition, which first came to prominence during the First World War and eventually came to be known as shell shock, remains relatively mysterious to medical experts to this day as very little is actually known about it and, more specifically, what exactly causes it. Evidence suggests it stems from concussion which is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) commonly sustained in accidents where the victim’s head has received trauma.
However, psychological factors are also thought to contribute to its development as was predominantly the case all those years ago. This has only served to add to the mysterious nature of the condition and the level of debate amongst health experts regarding it. Post-concussion syndrome is the most common manifestation of disorder to be diagnosed in people who have suffered mild brain injuries with the annual incidence being around 150 cases per 100,000 people, accounting for no less than 75% of all recorded cases of injuries to the head.
What causes post-concussion syndrome and other brain injuries?
The main cause of post-concussion syndrome and other brain injuries is generally thought to be physical trauma sustained primarily in slip, trip and fall accidents at work, at school, in other public places or as a result of being the victim of a violent physical assault. Such trauma is generally sustained when the victim’s head strikes, or is struck by a hard object or surface travelling at high speed. Physical damage to the brain can also be sustained as a result of receiving inadequate levels of care whilst in hospital if you have had a slip, trip or fall due to the negligence of someone working in the hospital or if you have had surgery that was of a substandard level.
Other symptoms may have causes that are psychological as opposed to physical with the former being considered responsible for early symptoms that occur immediately after mild trauma and the latter being considered responsible for symptoms that develop later perhaps as a result of underlying pre-existing psychological conditions. Despite the uncertainty, most health experts remain of the opinion that post-concussion syndrome is caused by a mixture of factors relating to physical injury and pre-existing psychological factors. These underlying psychological factors may make some people more predisposed to developing the condition as a result of receiving minor head trauma.
What are the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome causes many different symptoms which are broadly physical, psychological, behavioural, emotional and cognitive in nature. It is for this reason that misdiagnosis of the condition is common as there are so many symptoms of which are applicable to such a wide variety of other conditions. Physical symptoms tend to develop immediately following injury with the more psychological symptoms having a tendency to emerge later on with their severity progressively declining over time. Affected individuals will most often suffer from a higher frequency of headaches and migraines which last much longer than they did before. Dizziness is another common reported symptom affecting about half of all cases of the condition with older sufferers being the most susceptible.
Other short-term physical symptoms include:
- Decreased sense of taste and smell
- Hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred and double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light and noise
- Insomnia, sleepiness and other sleep-related problems
Medium to long-term psychological and behavioural symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Lack of emotion
- Decreased libido
- Lack of ability to tolerate alcohol and stress
- Loss of social judgement
- Personality change
- Emotional lability
- Lack of motivation
Long-term cognitive symptoms include:
- Reduced attention span and difficulty concentrating properly
- Loss of consciousness
- Impaired judgement
- Problem solving difficulties and problems with abstract thinking
- Impaired cognition
- Decreased ability relating to work performance and social interaction
- Slowed processing of information and reaction to stimuli
How are post-concussion syndrome and other brain injuries treated?
Whilst there is currently no known cure for post-concussion syndrome, it can be managed in various different ways. Treatment for specific symptoms remains the most common way of managing the condition. Prescribing of medication such as anti-depressants for depression and behavioural problems and pain killers for headaches and migraines are good examples of how specific symptoms can be treated alone. This, along with the use of behavioural therapy is amongst the most common treatment for the condition with sufferers being educated on how to manage their symptoms and reduce the impact of those symptoms on their lives. This can include making the patient aware that everyday problems such as stress can greatly exacerbate and worsen symptoms and therefore avoidance of it is advised to as great an extent as possible.
Additionally, emotional difficulties can be managed and addressed with the help of various types of psychotherapy; the most commonly applied being cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which aims to influence disturbed emotions by improving thoughts and overall behaviour more generally. Neurotherapy can also help in the treatment and management of post-concussion syndrome and other brain injuries and works by administering audio and visual rewards for producing certain types of brainwave activity. Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG) has also been proven to be an effective treatment for post-concussion syndrome and other disorders with similar symptoms. This technique produces visual maps of different brain rhythm types and their locations within the brain. Significant improvements continue to be made to QEEG with the identification of the specific problem brainwave patterns in need of correction being increasingly easily identified.
How much compensation could I be entitled to?
The vast majority of brain injury compensation claims yield settlements of high amounts due to the importance of the brain to the normal functioning of an individual’s life. However, as is the case with all personal injury claims, the amount you could be entitled to depends on certain criteria such as life expectancy, ability to communicate, the risk of developing epilepsy, behavioural abnormality and the degree to which independence has been restricted. As a general guide, the different levels of severity of brain injury and the amount of compensation with which they are normally awarded include:
- Between £1,450 and £8,400 for the most minor head injuries including those which have resulted in the development of post-concussion syndrome.
- Between £10,000 and £28,250 for injuries which have resulted in some minor residual brain damage.
- Between £28,250 and £144,000 for injuries that have resulted in more serious brain damage.
- Between £144,000 and £185,000 for brain injuries resulting in moderately severe brain damage.
- Between £185,000 and £265,000 for the most severe brain injuries where extensive damage has occurred.
Let Tylers Help
At Tylers, we understand just how devastating and debilitating suffering a brain injury such as post-concussion syndrome can be. We also recognise that although it can’t turn the clock back and make things how they once were, compensation can go a long way towards helping your rehabilitation and can be used to pay for any expenses you have amassed as a result of your injury. This includes any care you may now need, any alterations and adaptations to your home and car and any medical expenses you may have incurred if you have had to have specialised private treatment. It can also pay for any travelling expenses if you have had to travel to medical appointments, loss of earnings if you have had to stop working and for the general suffering you have endured as a result of sustaining the injury that wasn’t your fault.
If you have suffered post-concussion syndrome or another brain injury due to an accident or someone else’s negligence, you could be eligible for compensation. Our dedicated team of personal injury solicitors have many years of combined experience in dealing with brain injury compensation claims and will do their utmost to award you with an amount with which you are satisfied and that is typical for the specific level of injury you have suffered. They will guide all the way through the claims process and keep you updated every step of the way, notifying you as soon as possible of any developments in your case. So don’t delay, give Tylers a call today and take that brave first step towards recovery and getting your life back on track.
If you have suffered post-concussion syndrome or any other brain injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault or due to someone else’s negligence then you may be able to make a claim. Call Tylers today on (freephone): 0800 699 0079 to see if you can make a claim today.
-By Lee Kirton