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The real facts about concussions

October 11, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Claims of concussion and brain injury by car accident victims are frequently met by the insurance and defense industry with skepticism and allegations of faking or malingering.

Insurance witnesses and adjusters argue the victim didn’t hit her head, lose consciousness, or report symptoms to a doctor for days or even weeks after an auto accident, and therefore these cannot be serious injuries.

The defense industry and the doctors they hire to defend these cases argue that “mild” brain injuries are just that – mild.  These cases, they say, are not serious, are often made to sound far worse than they actually are, and everyone recovers within a year, usually within a few weeks or months.


The insurance industry and the defense lawyers make these arguments because they all initially sound persuasive. But  the science about brain injury paints a different picture.

Unlike talking points and headlines thrown around by claims adjusters and defense lawyers, the following FACTS about concussions and brain injury are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s premier public health agency:

  • Most concussions occur without being knocked unconscious.
  • Severity of injury depends on many factors and is not known until symptoms resolve and brain function is back to normal.
  • Every person is different.  While most victims of concussions recover quickly and fully, recovery may be slow among older adults, young children, and teens.
  • Those having a concussion in the past are at a higher risk of having another one and are likely to take longer to recover.
  • Symptoms may worsen with physical or mental exertion (e.g., lifting, computer use, reading).
  • Repetitive brain injury, when not managed promptly and properly, may cause permanent damage to your brain.

If you or anyone you know suffers a concussion or a brain injury from a car accident, remember these points when the insurance claims adjusters and the lawyers hired by the insurance companies tell you that your brain injury isn’t real or serious.

– This blog post was written by Brandon Hewitt. Brandon is an attorney in Michigan Auto Law’s pre-lawsuit division, where he works with clients in the early stages of their cases and helps them secure their No-Fault insurance benefits.

 – Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by C Jill Reed

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