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HEADS UP!!!: Concussions and Your Legal Rights

September 21, 2017 By John Torgenson

Fall has arrived Arizonans. The temperature is dropping, the kids are in school, our favorite television shows are returning, the D-Backs are on their way to the MLB playoffs, and of course, football is back. That’s right, our favorite professional and college football teams are back in the trenches breaking our hearts one double overtime loss at a time.

Inevitably, with the return of football comes the more sobering discussion regarding concussions and their long-term effects on an individual’s brain functions. There is no question that televised football games provide a necessary outlet for informing Americans regarding the dangers associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), such as concussions. College and professional football have even taken steps to limit the number of helmet-to-helmet collisions that occur on the football field. However, whether it’s the glamour and excitement of football or our general belief that nothing bad will happen to us, many often forget that concussions are not exclusive to contact sports. The truth is, suffering a concussion is a very real risk of everyday life. It is imperative for you to seek medical attention if you believe you have suffered a concussion.

At Torgenson Law, it is our prerogative at to keep you informed as to your legal rights when you suffer a personal injury. Concussions are one of the innumerable risks that Arizona residents could endure as a result of the negligence and carelessness of another. Below, we have provided a brief introduction to concussions and their symptoms, as well as the necessary actions you should take if you believe you may have suffered a concussion or other TBI.

What is a Concussion?

As you likely know, traumatic brain injuries are caused by a bump or blow to the head that can temporarily or permanently disrupt your brain function. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), most TBIs are mild. These mild brain injuries are what we commonly refer to as concussions. In short, a concussion results when a jolt to the head causes the brain to actually bounce around within the skull. Such an injury can occur during work, at school, in the supermarket, on the roadways, or while performing any other normal daily activity.

Everyday Causes of Concussions

The CDC indicates that falls are the leading causes of TBIs, as they account for nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths. Of course, another leading cause of concussion-related emergency room visits are motor vehicle accidents. The sudden jolt created by the crash may cause one to bump his or her head on the steering wheel, dashboard, air bags, doors, etc. Unfortunately, whether it is the shock of the crash itself or the relief of no apparent physical injuries, many will ignore a seemingly harmless blow to the head following an automobile accident. This is one of several reasons why most concussions are left untreated and undiagnosed. These closed head injuries should not be taken lightly considering the short and long-term impacts on your overall health. Thus, when you suffer a head injury, always check for the typical signs and symptoms of concussions and contact a medical professional for further diagnosis.

Concussion Symptoms

The signs and symptoms associated with concussions and TBIs can be subtle and may even be delayed. Accordingly, most individuals simply do not report concussion symptoms following a head injury. Signs and symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Light and Noise Sensitivity
  • Irritability and other personality changes

These symptoms may appear immediately after the head injury, however they could also be delayed for hours, days, or even months after the injury. Also, severe or additional concussions risk further neurological impairments. Research indicates that TBIs can cause epilepsy, greater susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders, severe depression, and decreased cognitive ability. Accordingly, you should not hesitate to contact a doctor if you suffer a concussion or other TBI.

Take Action in the Event of a Concussion

As the old adage goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” If you suffer head trauma, it is in your best interests to seek medical attention to better protect yourself from the physical and emotional effects of TBIs. Regardless of how you were injured or severity of your injuries, if you experience any of the above listed symptoms, or you otherwise feel “off” or “dazed” following head trauma, seek immediate medical attention. If you believe medical treatment is unnecessary, remain cautious and monitor your symptoms, rest, and avoid other activities that could further aggravate your head injury.

Furthermore, it is important to note that concussions and their related short-term and long-term effects are a form of personal injuries for which legal remedies may be available. If you or a loved one suffered a concussion or other TBI as a result of another’s negligence, you have a right to recover the costs associated with your medical treatment, lost wages, as well as past and future pain and suffering that resulted from this trauma.

As experienced personal injury attorneys, we at Torgenson Law understand that personal injuries are not always visible to the naked eye. If you or a loved one suffers a concussion or other physical, mental, or emotional injuries due to the fault of another, call us at (602) 726-0747. We provide aggressive legal representation for all types of personal injuries, as we strive to protect the rights and interests of Arizona residents.

John Torgenson portrait

John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.