Honest Answers From Your South Carolina Personal Lawyer
When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.
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Does South Carolina limit or cap how much punitive damages I can get for an accident case? If so, what’s the limit?
South Carolina law does limit punitive damages in accident cases, but there are exceptions you need to know.
South Carolina Punitive Damage Award Limits for Most Cases
For most accident cases, South Carolina limits punitive damage awards to the greater of three times the actual damages or $500,000. So, if you get $100,000 in actual damages, the most you can get in punitive damages is $500,000. If you get $200,000 in actual damages, the most punitive damages you can get is $600,000—three times the actual damages of $200,000.
The jury isn’t told about this limit. I’m about to tell you why.
Punitive damages can have a real impact on the outcome of your case. Our Spartanburg injury lawyers can increase the odds of a successful outcome, call us at (864) 582-0416 to discuss your situation or provide your information through a form on our site.
Exceptions to Increase the Limit
If the jury comes back with a punitive damages award higher than the limit, the judge can increase the limit to the greater of four times actual damages or $2,000,000, if the judge determines:
- The defendant’s wrongful conduct was motived primarily by greed, and the defendant acted unreasonably dangerous with a high likelihood of injury resulting from it, with the knowledge or approval of high-ranking employees or supervisors, or
- The defendant could be subjected to a felony conviction for the act or conduct that caused the accident.
In this scenario, if the jury awarded $1 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages, the judge could allow $4 million in punitive damages—four times the actual damages of $1 million. If the jury gave $100,000 in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the judge could allow $2 million in punitive damages.
Exceptions That Eliminate the Limit
If the trial judge determines one of the following occurred, there is no limit on punitive damages:
- The accident occurred because the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is often the most likely exception, usually due to a drunk driver who causes a car accident, which might result in a dram shop action or lawsuit against any bars or restaurants we can prove overserved the DUI driver.
- The defendant intended to harm you. Warning: This usually gets cases excluded from insurance coverage, which pays most settlements. You’ve got to be extremely cautious in most cases to avoid this since most defendants can’t pay from their own pockets. You don’t want to hit a grand slam but break your back in the process.
- The defendant was convicted of a felony for the act or conduct that hurt you.
Cases Where Punitive Damages Are Unavailable
South Carolina law shields some defendants from punitive damages, no matter what. In these cases, actual damages are also limited. So, the law’s against you, and these entities also have insurance companies to make it worse on you—working to grind down the settlement you can get.
The lucky defendants who get a free pass for recklessness include:
- Government offices. This includes car accidents caused by city, county, or state employees while driving government vehicles (including the police) or falls at public buildings owned by cities, counties, or states. It also includes public schools. And here’s a shocker. The definition of “government entity” is so broad it includes agencies you might never think—like some hospitals.
- Charities. Again, the law is very broad, defining “charity” as any tax-exempt organization. That includes most charities, but also churches.
While these organizations are largely good and necessary, all these laws really do is protect their insurance companies from paying what they should to innocent victims. That includes government offices—generally, taxpayers don’t foot the bill for accident and injury settlements. As we all know, the government and even the best charity are run by people, and people sometimes ignore safety, causing life-changing injuries or even wrongful death. These groups shouldn’t be any less responsible, but this is a situation where the law is what it is.
Punitive Damages Are Complicated. Get Professional Help to Build Your Case.
If you’ve got a case potentially involving punitive damages in South Carolina, here’s our three-step process to evaluate it:
- We customize your case to determine whether it fits the legal purpose of punitive damages.
- We analyze fault to determine if we can prove whether it rises to the level of “recklessness” required to get punitive damages.
- To estimate the potential punitive damages value, if we evaluate your case under the microscope of the 12 factors South Carolina law gives for setting the amount of punitive damages.
Whether your case involves punitive damages or not, our goal is to always maximize the value if we both decide you and your case are the right fit for us. To get started on that, call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form or you can schedule a FREE, EASY strategy session. Also, if you’re wondering what it’s like to work with us, look no further: go to these websites we don’t own—an attorney review website and Google +.
Does it matter whether your case is a slip and fall or trip and fall?
If you’ve gotten hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, you might wonder if there’s a legal difference. Maybe you’ve done some asking around or looked on the internet. Well, your search is over, at least for South Carolina cases.
In my experience, the key difference between a slip or trip is what caused the fall:
- A slip and fall accident usually results from a substance on the floor that makes it slippery.
- A trip and fall accident usually results from an object on the floor that your foot gets caught on.
Both are dangerous. Slip and fall injuries include torn knee cartilage like a meniscus or ligaments like the ACL, broken hips, legs, and broken arms. Trips can cause violent falls directly onto your head, causing a traumatic brain injury and sometimes even death.
This Is Complicated. Get Legal Help.
Proving fault is often the biggest challenge to getting a settlement for slip and fall or trip and fall injuries. And it’s your job as the victim to prove fault, as unfair as that sounds. This is called “legal liability.” Worse, slip, trip, and fall law is complicated—and tough on victims who don’t know what they’re doing. Luckily, experienced attorneys know exceptions that can help you win your case if they apply.
Just proving liability in a slip or trip and fall case involves skillfully piecing many factors together. You need a professional to mold the evidence into a solid case for fault so you can have a shot at a good settlement.
There are two things our firm wants to define getting your questions answered and your case evaluated by an experienced professional: FREE and EASY. To do that, just call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. You’ll get your questions answered and if you want, you can schedule a strategy session with an experienced accident injury lawyer—and you don’t have to worry what it will be like.
Always check out what it’s like to work with any attorney—here’s what real clients say about us in reviews we don’t buy or edit.
What can I take to my first attorney meeting about a South Carolina fatal accident or wrongful death case?
If you’re asking this question, you need simplicity, and I’m going to give it to you. Bring every piece of paper or evidence that might relate to your loved one’s accident, the medical care for it, and untimely death. Below you’ll find a list of some things you can bring to help the attorney start an evaluation of the case, but first, a little information for you about how these cases work.
The Basics of Accidental Death Cases in South Carolina
This is called a wrongful death case. It gives certain family members the legal right to be compensated for the loss of a family member. The law gives rights to specific compensation in a settlement for a fatal case.
There are a host of reasons why you need an attorney for a wrongful death case, and you can read about the most important ones in this article.
Meeting with an attorney about a wrongful death case should be free. Most lawyers call this a consultation. At my firm, the meeting is a free strategy session because that’s what we’re going to do—start building your case from the ground up, painting a picture of what it will look like going forward. I’ve worked awful hard to make sure these meetings are easy, comfortable, and informative for you. Because that’s who it’s about—you.
Remeber, you can always call our office at (864) 582-0416 and request a free consultation to discuss your situation. And if you hire us, no, you won’t need any money to do it.
Now, on to what you can bring to help us get started on your case evaluation.
Things You Can Bring to Help the Attorney Get Started on Your Wrongful Death Case
The first thing to remember is, if you don’t have some or any of these documents, don’t worry. A good lawyer does a thorough investigation to help you gather these things, but below are documents and evidence that can really help jumpstart your case:
- Your appointment by the Probate Court as personal representative of the estate. In a wrongful death case, the actual client is the personal representative of the estate. Before the case can be officially started, you need to get this from the probate court. If you don’t have it, we can help you get it.
- Death certificate. This is an official document for any death in our state. We use it to help prove the actual cause of death is linked to the accident. This is especially important in medical malpractice and nursing home or assisted living facility cases. But even if the death certificate doesn’t list the accident as causing the death, you can still have a case. You owe it to yourself and your family to pursue it if you feel the death was caused by someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing.
- Other documents and evidence needed, depending on the type of case. Wrongful death cases get caused for a variety of reasons, whether it’s car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer trucking accidents, slip or trip and fall cases, medical malpractice, or nursing home/assisted living facility neglect. To help you figure out what we might need depending on those cases, here are articles on what you need depending on the case:
- Car, motorcycle, or semi-trailer wreck
- Slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, or nursing home neglect
ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Evidence of what your loved one earned at their job. This helps us prove all the potential lost income created by this tragic death.
You’ve Already Got a Lot of Things to Worry About—What It’s Like to Deal With a Lawyer Shouldn’t Be One of Them
Meeting with a lawyer is hard, even when you’re not overwhelmed by grief and the avalanche of responsibilities that comes with picking up the pieces of an unexpected death. If you’re hesitant to come to see us because you worry about how you’ll be treated, watch this brief video on how we helped a family who went through something like you.
And if it’s still too early for you to think about coming to our office but you’ve still got questions you need answers to, no worries. You can just call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. But you've got to act before it's too late.
What should I bring to my first meeting with an accident injury attorney?
Here’s the simplest answer: any document or piece of evidence you think might relate to your case. When your case involves a slip or trip and fall, defective product, medical malpractice, or a loved one who got hurt at a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s especially important to make sure you can give an accident injury attorney all the facts about how the injury occurred. (We actually have separate articles if you get hurt in a car, motorcycle, or semi-truck accident or get hurt at work.)
Below is a list of items you can gather to bring to your first meeting if you have them. If you don’t, no worries—one of the critical things a good attorney does is a sound investigation to help gather all the evidence you need. This list is ideal, but you don’t need to worry if you’re missing some of these items.
Evidence You Can Bring to Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Attorney
To help you more, I’ve listed them in the order of importance from my years of experience helping folks like you.
- An accident report, if one exists and if you’ve got it. Sometimes our slip or trip and fall victims get an incident report from where they got hurt. This can be a key piece of information, as it often contains your statement about the incident. Sometimes it even contains what other employees or management said about it, which can be critical evidence. And if you haven’t reported it yet, here's why you need to right now.
- Pictures related to your case. This could be from the scene or depict anything related to your injuries. Folks often don’t have pictures from the scene of a fall, and they certainly don’t have any from how medical malpractice occurred. But if you’ve got severe injuries, some of the most powerful evidence in your case can be pictures showing gory wounds, broken bones, and what your injured limbs look like when stitches or casts are removed. These pictures can often be an important timeline of the treatment you endured to recover from your injuries. It’s also powerful to capture your limitations and suffering, like using crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair, or sleeping in a recliner because your bed hurts due to your injuries.
- Contact information for any witnesses. While you will almost never get helpful statements from anyone who works for the business, hospital, assisted living facility, or doctor who hurt you, some of the most important witnesses in your case can be people in your life who’ve seen your struggle overcoming injuries and the pain and suffering they created. We need to get in touch with them immediately so we can start building your case for pain and suffering—which we really don’t call pain and suffering.
- A short typed or written statement summarizing your accident. Because the facts of an injury are of utmost importance in these cases, it’s vital for you to make sure you’ve had time to think about them and record them, so the attorney has a clear understanding of exactly how you got hurt. That’s how we begin to evaluate whether we can prove fault that opens the possibility for a legal financial recovery for you. Make sure you put “WRITTEN FOR LEGAL ADVICE” on it.
- A medical provider list summarizing your treatment. This helps us figure out who we need to get medical bills and records from faster. It’s especially critical for you to take a little time to compile a complete list if you’ve gone a long time without hiring a lawyer because you’ve undergone extensive treatment from multiple providers over a long time.
- Any communications from an insurance company. This could be letters, emails, or texts. This can give us an idea how they intend to defend against your case. Plus, it lets us know who we need to get in contact with at the insurance company if we represent you, so the claims rep or adjuster knows they don’t deal with you anymore, they deal with us. This is often the first great relief to our clients, who no longer have to worry about falling prey to the adjuster’s dirty tricks.
- Any medical records you have. While we don’t expect anyone to have all or even most of their medical records, if you can share anything you have with us, it’s a help. We may be able to figure out the nature and extent of your injuries, which helps our evaluation. It also gives us valuable contact information for your providers so we can get these records and bills requested faster.
- Any medical bills or proofs of payment you have. Again, this helps us identify providers we need to get bills and records from.
- Information related to your health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Hopefully, if you’ve got these options, you’ve used them to pay for your injury care. While you do have to pay them back, this is the best way to pay your accident-related medical bills. Giving us this information lets us get in contact with them so we can begin the subrogation process to repay them and protect you from failing to pay them back.
- If you lost income because you couldn’t work due to your injuries, documentation of lost wages. Many people can’t work as a result of injuries, and you can legally recover your lost wages. If your doctor wrote you out of work, get us any information you have related to this. It may be copies of his excuses, letters, or other documentation of your missed work that could even come from your employer. You can bring us pay stubs or even tax documents if they clearly show the wages you lost. Don’t worry. We’ll make this process easy on you too.
- Copies of your photo ID, such as your driver’s license. We may need this for our file to help identify you.
If you have the time to do it, you can massively impress your personal injury attorney by organizing everything by category into a folder or file. That’ll help attorneys like me, who actually review this information before we meet. When we get that done faster, we can get to answering your questions quicker.
If you’re worried about the meeting, don’t be! If you’re thinking about coming to see me, here’s how that meeting works.
If you’re not ready to meet, you don’t need to worry about that, either. Feel free to call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. You’ll get your questions answered by an experienced accident injury attorney.
And if you need a little more encouragement about what it’s like to work with us, check on these reviews from people who actually hired us or just met with us, posted on websites we don’t own: Avvo.com and Google + reviews.
Why is it tough to get a settlement for a slip or trip and fall in South Carolina?
Because the law can work against you, and the insurance company definitely will.
What the Law Says
First, there’s the law. You’ve got to prove it’s someone else’s fault you fell. It’s just not as simple as showing you fell on something that wasn’t supposed to be there. The law requires you to prove wrongdoing by the business or property owner caused your fall.
But the law’s on your side in two important ways: you don’t always have to prove anyone had “notice” of the danger, and you can still have a case sometimes if the danger was obvious.
Often, you’ve got to prove the fall wasn’t your fault, or it wasn’t more your fault. In many cases, you’ve got to deal with the “comparative negligence” defense, which can reduce or even prevent a settlement. It usually grows out of the primary defense you might hear while you’re still laid out on the floor: Why didn’t you look where you were going?
What the Insurance Company Will Do
And then comes the insurance company, whose claims representative will do all she can to convince you the deck’s just too stacked against you.
Don’t believe it. There’s hope. If you’re seriously hurt, your case justifies the intervention of a skilled accident injury lawyer for this and other important reasons.
You need a guide to shine a light through the darkness and pilot you safely to shore. For the right case, justice can be achieved, but you’ll need help. Don’t miss your one and only chance at getting your medical bills paid and obtaining compensation for all of your harm.
How We Can Help
To get an idea of how we will treat you, read these real-life stories by clients telling what it’s like to work with us.
Will my accident injury settlement affect my Social Security Disability benefits?
It depends. Folks who receive Social Security Disability need those monthly benefits—it might be the only income you can get due to a disabling health condition or prior injury. The law doesn’t discourage Social Security Disability recipients from seeking justice, but you’ve got to protect your rights—or your settlement could create a financial strain you can’t afford.
Here’s How a Settlement Could Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits
If you’re hurt on the job, monthly Social Security benefits can be reduced by your workers’ compensation settlement, even if you don’t get Social Security until after your workers’ compensation case is over. But there’s good news! An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know how to minimize that reduction with an important legal maneuver. The resulting money put back in your pocket makes the workers’ compensation case well worth pursuing.
Any other accident settlement may impact you, depending on the type of benefits you're getting.
- If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the settlement has NO effect on your benefits. Whether it’s a car or motorcycle accident, an 18-wheeler or commercial truck crash, a slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, or any other type of injury, your settlement won’t reduce your benefits at all.
- If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your benefits could be impacted. You must report the settlement to Social Security. You'll need to take that into consideration and get professional legal advice on the best way to minimize the effect.
One important thing to remember if you’re on disability—don’t forget Medicare or Medicaid, because they won’t forget you. You’ve got a looming disaster hanging over your case if you don’t properly protect Medicare or Medicaid’s rights. And if you’re on Medicare, your case may require a complicated negotiation with Medicare about future medical treatment related to your injury, called a Medicare Set-Aside.
The takeaway here is, Social Security Disability recipients are just as worthy of compensation for your medical bills and injuries as anyone else, but your case has an extra wrinkle for those disability benefits.
Ready to talk to a lawyer about SSD benefits? Call us at 864-582-0416 or fill out a contact form with your information.
If You’re Seriously Hurt, Don’t Risk It Going Alone
Though you have the right to pursue your case, you’ve still got to make sure you do it right—and be certain you protect your Social Security Disability rights at the same time. Here are the best reasons to hire an injury attorney or car accident attorney.
If you’re on Social Security Disability and get seriously hurt, your case has a lot of moving parts. Get started now on free advice from a professional who’s experienced at solving problems like yours. It will only cost you a little time to get your questions answered—call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form for a free strategy session about your case.
You can also scout us out with real client reviews on an attorney review service we don’t own.
I was in an accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. How will I possibly pay all the medical bills for it?
It depends, but don’t be frightened it’ll all come from your pocket. You’ve likely got some good options to help you pay them.
If Your Brain Injury Is From a Work Accident
Stop worrying—this should all be paid by your job’s workers’ compensation insurance.
For more answers to questions you may have—or should have—about work injuries, download our FREE BOOK on workers' comp cases.
If You Were Hurt in an Accident Outside Work
1. Health insurance. If you’ve got it, use it. This is what it’s for. And, it pays a whole lot quicker than an injury case settlement, which can be a long and drawn-out process.
Using it will keep you from worrying if your medical care will get cut off for lack of funds. While you may have to repay health insurance from your settlement, it’s still your best bet.
2. Medicare, Medicaid, or other government benefits. Use this for the same reasons as number 1 above.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’ve got health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other government benefits, DO NOT take “no” for an answer from a provider who says they’ll just wait to get paid from your settlement. Explain to them they agreed to take these benefits long before you got hurt, and that’s what they’re for. If they still refuse, just politely tell them you will call your health benefits provider to help them get it straightened out.
Remember, you’re doing nothing wrong—you’re just trying to help the system work the way it should, and most importantly, protect yourself.
You need to keep providers out of your settlement as much as possible. You’ll need that money to make up for lost income- especially lost future income- and potentially help pay for future medical care.
3. Ask the hospital for help. Hospitals know brain injury care can bankrupt most patients and the hospital needs to be paid, too.
Many hospitals have a “benefits coordinator” or similar person whose job is helping folks like you.
Even if you’ve got a pay source, you should talk with the benefits coordinator. She might be able to find financial aid or bill forgiveness programs within the hospital to wipe out medical debt, or help you qualify for public assistance or government benefits to help pay.
The benefits coordinator might offer much-needed help in pointing you to programs that give aid and support to brain injury survivors and their families.
We’re Here to Help
Figuring out how to pay for brain injury care is just the tip of the iceberg. Due to the huge costs and losses from these injuries, you need a legal professional to protect your right to the compensation you need.
Don’t risk sinking your one chance at securing payment of past and future medical care, plus compensation for lost income and the harm done to your life.
You need answers. You might not even know the right questions to ask. We can help you with your legal problems and help you get support for the others associated with brain injury. To get an idea of how we treat people, read the reviews on a website we don’t own. To contact us, do what’s easiest for you, call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.
How can an accident attorney help a brain injury victim and her family?
Whether you’re a family member or a survivor, coping with a traumatic brain injury from an accident can be overwhelming. You’re right to wonder if one more thing on your list—seeing a lawyer—can help.
The short answer. If you or a family member suffered a brain injury, you may be dealing with someone who’s unconscious or not in their right mind to make complex legal decisions. And soon the insurance company will descend, hoping to take advantage of your inability to handle an overwhelming situation to force a cheap settlement that you’ll regret the rest of your life. You could forfeit rights to compensation you’ll need in the future to cover lost wages or mountains of medical bills.
That’s why people like you need an experienced lawyer to lighten your load and show you the way. We help make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you, and if needed, get folks appointed in court to manage the survivor's affairs.
Specific Ways a Brain Injury Attorney Can Help
Here are just a few:
- Provide peace of mind. It’s the number one unspoken benefit of an attorney you trust. You will know your legal rights and the evidence you need to win. Your rights and evidence may differ depending on whether you’re involved in a car wreck or motorcycle accident, an 18-wheeler accident, a slip and fall or trip and fall, or a work injury. Helping you learn those rights is one reason we wrote books on car and trucking accident and workers’ compensation cases. When you have an attorney you trust, you know you’re protected. You can return your full energy to the medical recovery process, knowing your legal care team is in place and at work for you.
- Help with guardianship and conservator proceedings for adult brain injury survivors. These Probate Court procedures appoint a person, often a family member, to handle medical, financial, and legal affairs while the survivor is incapacitated by injury.
- Gather evidence related to the case, or protect your right to it, before it disappears. Victims have to prove how they got hurt. You can’t risk someone destroying evidence you need to prove your right to potentially vital legal compensation.
- Secure witness statements and contact information for later use. You don’t have time to run these people down.
- Assess the amount of available coverage to compensate you for your car accident damages. You might have coverage on your own policy.
- Deal with insurance company representatives. They look out for the insurance company, not you, no matter how nice they seem. You don’t need to worry about responding to their demands or waiting for them to call you back.
- Guide you in protecting your rights to future medical care, whether it’s in the legal system or provided through work injury benefits in workers’ compensation. In workers’ compensation cases, you may qualify for permanent and total disability benefits or even highly extensive brain injury benefits—you can bet the insurance company will fight tooth and nail against paying these extremely expensive cases.
You Should Wonder, But Not Worry
I’ve been doing this long enough to know most people prefer seeing the dentist more than a lawyer, but sometimes you just need professional help. If you’ve got a brain injury or a family member with one, that time is now.
And if you’re wondering what it will be like to meet with me, here’s what happens at our free, no-obligation first meeting. And if you need me to, I can come to you.
What doctors and care providers help you recover from a traumatic brain injury?
Survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often need a dedicated team to help overcome these potentially devastating injuries. The treatment can be long term, and we know information is power, so here’s a list of providers you might expect to see.
The Most Important Members of the Team: the Survivor and the Family
Without a doubt, you’re the most vital member of the team. For the survivor, all efforts are focused on returning you to a normal life. This may be the fight of your life, and it’s worth fighting for.
The importance of family support can’t be understated. It goes far beyond showing up for appointments. Due to the survivor’s limitations, you may be the key decision-maker in medical matters that can impact not just treatment, but the survivor’s future.
Yes, it’s about relentless love—but take some time for yourself, too. Get rest—you’ll need it for the long haul.
Brain Injury Doctors
TBI can bring a host of doctors to help repair and heal your brain. Here are the medical staff who’ll help you along the way, courtesy of the Air Force Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia:
- Neurosurgeon. To assess physical brain damage, you’ll likely need a brain surgeon, even if you don’t require an operation. They evaluate the damage to the brain using scans and other tests. They may oversee procedures like skull removal to allow for brain swelling and intracranial pressure monitoring to assure the swelling doesn’t get to dangerous levels.
- Neurologist. Think of neurologists as brain doctors who don’t operate. They diagnose and treat conditions related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The neurologist could be the captain of your ship.
- Neuropsychologist. These board-certified psychologists have specialized training in brain function. Their evaluations help assess the survivor’s ability to make financial, legal, and medical decisions, plus evaluate their prospects for returning to home, school, and work.
- Physiatrist. Also known as a “rehabilitation doctor,” these doctors handle post-acute care, as you begin to recover from the injury and work towards returning to life. The physiatrist usually leads the rehab team, making referrals to various other therapists and specialists to address your needs. You should expect the physiatrist to work closely with the patient, the family, and the entire rehab team to develop a comprehensive plan to return the survivor to normal life—or as close to it as possible.
- Primary care provider. Your regular doctor should be kept involved with your condition as you return to him for regular checkups and overall health management.
- Counselor and psychologist. These providers can help survivors and their families confront the challenges brought on by brain injury.
- Psychiatrist. These doctors diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders that can be brought on by brain injury, including understandable depression and anxiety.
Other Therapists on the Brain Injury Care Team
Never forget the nurses! These are generally the frontline in your care and an important voice for any doctor or specialists, so make sure they hear yours. Here are other individuals who may also be part of the team:
- Case manager/social worker. These hospital employees help manage care and work with your health insurance or your employer’s workers’ comp insurance to get medical bills paid. They can help make sure you get proper care, help you find needed services, and provide other resources.
- Physical therapist. Physical therapy helps you reclaim your strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, and muscle function.
- Occupational therapist. Occupational therapy helps you overcome challenges to activities of daily living, like eating, bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, getting up and down, and using a wheelchair or other medical equipment.
- Speech pathologist. These professionals evaluate and treat communication, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. They help you understand what you hear, speak clearly, think of words, and address reading and writing problems. They also help with cognitive issues like attention, thinking, memory, and interacting with others.
You May Need a Legal Team Member
You’ve hopefully surrounded yourself with a medical care team you trust to protect and preserve your ability to recover medically. You should take just as much care to surround yourself with a legal team you trust to help you recover legally. If you’ve got questions about how we can help protect you legally for a brain injury from an accident, call toll free 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.
What is a concussion, and what are the symptoms?
A concussion can result from just a bump on the head in car wrecks, motorcycle crashes or trucking accidents, trip and fall or slip and falls, and work accidents. It is considered a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI). But a concussion’s symptoms and consequences can be anything but mild.
A Wise Doctor Defines Concussion in Terms We Can Easily Understand
The best way I ever heard a concussion defined was by a respected elder doctor in Spartanburg who treated a client of mine. My client got hit by a drunk driver in a car crash and suffered a concussion. The wise doctor painted a vivid picture of a concussion, with some good Southern flair:
Imagine a peach in a Mason jar filled with water. The peach is your brain. The Mason jar is your skull. The water is your cerebrospinal fluid. Take the ends of the peach jar in each hand and shake it so the peach bounces around in the jar. That’s a concussion.
The Mayo Clinic gives a more clinical description. Basically, the brain will “slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of your skull.”
But it’s the peach in the Mason jar that’s always stayed with me.
Know the Risks of Concussions
While sports have given us the playful adage that a concussion victim “got his bell rung,” you’ve got to remember that a concussion is serious. This is a brain injury—a sign of damage to the most vital and delicate organ in the body. Left untreated, a concussion can hide the warning signs of a potentially fatal brain injury.
Medical professionals, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, deem the first 24 hours after a concussion critical in determining whether a potentially devastating, or even fatal, injury exists. Victims need vigilant observation to help detect severe injury.
If you or someone you know shows signs of a concussion, get medical testing before it’s too late.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function.” You’ve got to watch out because signs and symptoms may not show immediately. They can last for months. Common symptoms include:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion, feeling like you’re in a fog, or appearing dazed
- Amnesia (memory loss) about the accident
- Dizziness, "seeing stars," ringing ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Delayed answers to questions
To show why there’s no such thing as a “mild” brain injury, the Mayo Clinic advises you to look for delayed symptoms like:
- Inability to concentrate and remember things
- Irritability and other personality changes
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Disorders of taste and smell
If symptoms intensify, get treatment now.
Concussion Side Effects and Complications
Concussion side effects and complications can stretch into the long term, and may include:
- Post-traumatic headaches. These may start a week or even months afterward.
- Post-traumatic vertigo. This sickening sense of spinning or dizziness can last for days, weeks, or months after a brain injury.
- Post-concussion syndrome. This frustrating, crippling condition can last for as long as several months. Symptoms include prolonged dizziness, inability to sleep, depression and anxiety, struggles to think right, and difficulty remembering things. According to the Mayo Clinic, some experts compare this syndrome to depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. In many cases, chemical reactions to brain trauma and the body’s emotional response contribute to it.
Concussion Victims Need Extra Legal Protection
Concussion victims can be especially susceptible to insurance companies taking advantage of them in their cases. You don’t have to let that happen to you. If you’ve suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury, call toll free 888-230-1841 for a free meeting to get your questions answered and to safeguard your right to get your medical bills paid and to get financial compensation, which might include extensive future care or lifelong workers’ comp benefits. Don’t let the insurance company take your rights away from you forever!