Concussion: Car Accident VS Sports Injury
After watching the playback of Sidney Crosby’s recent concussion over and over again I started to think about how seriously we take a concussion in sports these days. I’m reading screaming articles about how the NHL needs to take this more seriously and protect players. Players that cause these injuries whether deliberately or just part of a play are penalized and suspended for their behavior. So it made me think about our clients, the unlucky people that are in the wrong place at the wrong time, minding their business going about their day when someone decides to not pay attention or try a driving maneuver that not even Mario Andretti could pull off. And the result is a car accident. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of brain trauma. What people don’t know is that after an accident even tho the insurance company can see the damage on your vehicle, unlike a hockey player you have to “prove” that you have a concussion. Your doctor will complete a disability certificate and will indicate that you have a concussion, but is that enough medical evidence to prove you have a concussion? You may have all the symptoms of a concussion but the insurance company will still need a lot of medical documentation to prove this. So, is the NHL team doctor more believable then yours?
In the auto insurance industry a concussion is taken very lightly, the insurance company’s doctors will tell you your fine and you can get back in the game very quickly. Trauma to the head can produce many problems because so many components may be injured. Brain tissue is surrounded both by the skull and by a tough membrane called the dura, which is right next to the brain. Within, and surrounding, the brain tissue and dura are many arteries, veins, and important nerves (the cranial nerves). Therefore, trauma to the head may damage the skull, the blood vessels, the nerves, the brain tissue itself, or all of the above. Depending on the nature and severity of their injuries, people may exhibit a very wide range of symptoms, from a coma to none at all.
It’s disheartening to see our clients come in that are suffering from a concussion syndrome and having to fight with the insurance company for benefits, being denied an Income Replacement Benefit or being kept in the Minor Injury Guideline with only $3500.00 of rehabilitation benefits. All concussions and brain injuries are different and depending on a person’s age and the severity of their injury it could take days, weeks or even longer. A CT scan can be done but even if this test shows nothing it does not mean you don’t have brain trauma. I think the first battle with concussions after a car accident is getting the auto insurer to take it as seriously as the NHL does.