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Car Accident Head Injury Overview and Settlements

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If you have been in a car accident or some other type of accident, you may have suffered a head injury or concussion. What is a typical car accident head injury settlement, and what are some of the issues involved in these accident settlements?

If you suffered a head injury in a car accident, you might wonder how much you can get in a settlement. Before hiring an attorney, you might want to learn more about car accident head injuries and what you can expect in the legal process.

This page features extensive information about car accident head injuries, settlements, and common questions and answers. If you have further questions about your case, you can contact an experienced personal injury attorney using the attorney finder on our website.

Overview of Head Injuries and Concussions

A concussion is a type of head injury that may also be referred to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is caused by a blow to the skull or violent shaking in an accident. The brain slams into the inside of the skull and can cause serious injuries and consequences. Concussion is one of the most common types of injuries in car accidents. Some of the health problems that can stem from concussions and head injuries include:

  • Loss of consciousness: If the accident causes you to go unconscious, this is a serious head injury. In car accidents, it can be caused by the head hitting the windshield or steering wheel.
  • Feeling of nausea: If you have an upset stomach or throw up after the accident, this is a sign that you may have a concussion. Other related symptoms include being dizzy or sensitive to light.
  • Confusion or amnesia: You might not be aware of it right away, but you might not remember events or are confused about the day or the week or even the year.
  • Seeing stars: Some concussion victims may see stars or have ringing in their ears.
  • Changes in mood: If it seems that you are more easily angered than usual, or someone tells you this, it could be that you suffered a concussion. It also is common to be more irritable, listless and/or nervous.
  • Change in sleeping: If you sleep more than usual or cannot sleep, this could be a sign of a head injury.
  • Headaches: If you are experiencing headaches more than usual and they do not go away easily, this also could be a concussion sign.

On top of the injury and symptoms, you may have to deal with an insurance company claim and handle settlement negotiations. It can be very helpful in this type of accident to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you get the best possible settlement.

Types of Concussions Caused by Auto Accidents

There are three types of concussion that can be caused by car accidents:

  • Grade 1: You do not lose consciousness, but you may have short term amnesia of 30 minutes or less.
  • Grade 2: You have a loss of consciousness, and amnesia may last from 30 minutes to a full day.
  • Grade 3: You are unconscious for more than five minutes, or suffer amnesia for more than a day.

Types of Car Accident Head Injuries

A typical car accident injury is a traumatic brain injury or TBI. TBI is not just one injury, but a range of injuries that describe several types of brain damage. Below are the most common car accident head injuries. The specific type of TBI will determine the symptoms the accident victim experiences, and their prognosis.

Most of these injuries can cause headaches, which are an exceptionally debilitating injury. We have included information on this page about typical settlements and verdicts for headache injuries.


Concussions are mild TBIs and are the most common car accident head injury. In one year, more than 800,000 children 17 and under visited the ER for concussions. Most concussions are mild, but some can be serious and lead to severe problems. 

Common concussion symptoms include dizziness, headache, fatigue, and changes in behavior. Most minor concussions require rest for the victim to recover. However, serious concussions may require extensive medical treatment.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

This is a common brain injury in car accidents. The cause is not a blow to the head, but from violent forces on the brain and head. If the brain moves quickly inside the skull, it can damage the brain and body’s connection. Fibers in the brain stem can tear, leading to devastating injuries. Many victims with diffuse axonal brain injuries end up in comas.


A brain contusion may be referred to as a brain bruise. The brain can suffer a contusion in a car accident when the head strikes the windshield, steering wheel, or another hard object. Contusions often are localized injuries and can be minor or severe injuries.

A severe cerebral contusion can lead to brain herniation, where a part of the brain squeezes past the skill. Victims with a brain contusion may require immediate surgery to reduce brain swelling.


This type of traumatic brain injury also happens when the head hits something in the vehicle. This injury occurs both at the site of impact and on the opposite side of the brain. These serious head injuries occur if the brain moves inside the skull during an impact. The movement causes the brain to hit the skulls front and back, so the victim may suffer two brain injuries.

Open Head Injury

An open head injury involves a fractured skull as well as a brain injury. A penetrating brain injury is a severe open head injury where a foreign object breaks through the skull and damages the brain. These severe injuries may require brain surgery to relieve pressure on the brain.

A doctor may need to perform wound debridement after the foreign object is removed from the skull. High-velocity brain penetrations are one of the worst head injuries and usually result in permanent disability or death.

Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury or ABI happens from inside the body and not from outside forces. One example of an ABI is an anoxic or hypoxic injury where the brain is starved of oxygen so it cannot function properly. Lack of oxygen may kill enough brain cells to lead to a severe brain injury.

Sample Head Injury Settlements

Most people want to know how much they can receive in their head injury settlement. After all, these are often severe injuries that require a lot of compensation for the person to get the care they need. Below are some sample head injury settlements and verdicts from across the country.

Your car accident attorney can provide you some examples of recent head injury settlements and verdicts in your area. Your settlement could be much higher or lower and depends on the facts of your case.

$90,000 Head Injury Settlement

A big rig sideswiped a small car on a highway during a lane change. The plaintiff lost control of his car and smashed into the guardrail. The victim suffered a concussion, PTSD, and a sleep disorder. Case settled for $90,000

$100,000 Head Injury Settlement

A driver broadsided the plaintiff at a red light in Washington, DC. The victim suffered a concussion and soft tissue injuries. The insurance company lowballed the plaintiff with a $31,000 settlement, but her attorney sued. The case settled for $100,000

$600,000 Head Injury Settlement

A hockey puck hit a woman at a high school hockey game. A player hit a slap shot and hit the woman in the side of the head. An accident investigation showed that changes to the stands to install locker rooms under them led to most protection equipment to be removed. The case settled before trial for $600,000

$1 Million Head Injury Settlement

A man slipped and fell at a business center. Ice build-up from a drain pipe led to the accident. The lawsuit claimed the drain pipe was in a hazardous location and the center owners failed to correct the problem. The client suffered a severe brain injury and could no longer work.

The man was on the job when he crashed, so workers’ compensation paid all wage loss and medical bills. Case settled for $1 million.

$1.1 Million Head Injury Settlement

A doctor was shoveling snow in his driveway before work when a car slid into him, causing his head to strike the pavement. The driver’s insurance policy provided only $100,000 of liability coverage. However, additional coverage through the driver’s company was available because the driver was going home from court and was considered to be employed when the accident happened.

The additional insurance coverage allowed a settlement of $1.1 million.

$1.25 Million Head Injury Settlement

A tractor trailer hit a car in which the plaintiff was a passenger. The semi driver made a left turn and failed to yield. The plaintiff suffered a serious brain injury and a rib and shoulder fracture. The plaintiff recovered well but her attorney showed the insurance company that she had long-term side effects from the accident, including some weakness on her right side.

The case settled for $1.25 million.

$1.425 Million Head Injury Settlement

A friend drove his friend and her son to the airport. The plaintiff did not know the defendant was drunk before meeting them. On the trip back to the airport, the plaintiff reported the defendant was speeding. He left the road and slammed into a steel barrier.

The violent crash killed her son and left the mother with a serious head injury and two broken ankles. The case settled for $1.425 million.

Dangers of Not Securing A Sufficient Head Injury Settlement

Some personal injury attorneys who lack expertise with head injury cases may not obtain enough compensation to provide long-term financial stability to the victim.

For example, an attorney may settle a head injury case for $200,000, which sounds like a lot. However, when you subtract $60,000 in attorney’s fees and $40,000 in medical bills, the victim receives only $100,000. That might still sound like a windfall.

However, the victim may have expensive, ongoing medical treatments and therapy for months or years. Also, the accident victim may not be able to work in their chosen profession anymore because of mental and physical problems from the brain injury.

Now the victim may have to file a disability claim, which may be denied. That legal action also requires another attorney and another set of attorney fees.

Clearly, it is vital to hire an experienced car accident head injury attorney from the start to ensure you get as much compensation as possible for your injuries. Without adequate compensation, you may not be able to afford the medical treatments you need.

What Is the Settlement Value of Headaches?

One of the common head injuries in car accidents is persistent headaches. Headaches might seem like a ‘minor’ injury unless you are afflicted with them. These can be serious, life-altering injuries and you should be entitled to compensation for suffering headaches after a car accident.

However, juries struggle to determine what head injury involving persistent headaches is worth. The plaintiff’s credibility is crucial in a head injury lawsuit to receive a just settlement or verdict.

According to one prominent attorney, the average verdict for head injuries involving headaches is $72,100, with a median verdict of $13,300. To put that in context, this attorney states the average award in a personal injury case is $791,000.

The median award for people under 18 with headache injuries was $7,463. For those between 19 and 39, the median was $8,800. For people over 60, the median award was $13,400. Some other interesting verdict statistics:

Skull fracture verdict average: $271,000

Closed head injury verdict average: $271,000

Head and skull injuries verdict average: $123,500

What Is the Settlement Value For a Concussion?

One attorney reports the average settlement value for a concussion injury is between $20,000 and $80,000. More serious concussion injuries involving long-term treatment may settle for $125,000 or more.

Post-Concussion Syndrome and Car Accident Settlements

Post-concussion syndrome is a recognized medical condition that occurs when you are experiencing concussion symptoms for weeks, months or even a year after the accident. It is estimated that 10% of accident victims with a concussion will get this disorder.

The symptoms are very similar to the initial concussion, but will more often include dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, sensitivity to light or noise, and changes in behavior or emotions. The symptoms of this condition may be worse for some than others. Some who suffer post-concussion syndrome may have headaches that do not go away with time.

One of the challenges of obtaining compensation for post-concussion syndrome is that symptoms are vague and not easily seen. It also is possible for different doctors to have varying opinions about whether you have the condition or not.

When at attempt is being made to settle a claim for post-concussion syndrome, it is likely the insurance company will object. Insurance companies always prefer accident injuries that are clearly visible, such as broken ribs or a broken arm. There is not a great deal of controversy about whether a broken bone is broken or not and what that injury is worth. But post-concussion syndrome is another matter.

If the case goes to trial, getting a fair settlement for this syndrome also can be challenging. The jury wants to be certain it understands the injury and the problems it causes you. Juries may also be difficult to predict on post-concussion syndrome compensation amounts when doctors disagree on the diagnosis. Juries always prefer when all doctors agree on a diagnosis.

Damages Available in a Concussion Car Accident Settlement

Arriving at a fair settlement for a head injury or concussion will involve plenty of negotiation by your personal injury attorney with an insurance adjuster.

Damages usually are referred to as ‘special damages’ such as your medical bills and lost earnings. The other type of damages is called ‘general damages,’ and refers to pain and suffering you have experienced from the accident.

One of the central challenges in a personal injury case is how to value your general damages. The reduction of your life quality can be hard to easily put into a dollar amount. General damages can vary a great deal from case to case. Some states may put limits on the amount you can receive in special damages. Or, there may be a cap that limits your special damages.

Negotiating the amount of special damages is normally the most challenging part of a car accident head injury settlement. In addition to pain and suffering, you also may be compensated under general damages for loss of consortium or companionship and emotional and psychological distress.

Depending upon the jurisdiction and the severity of the accident, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the person who caused your accident injuries, if their behavior was especially outrageous, malicious or negligent. Punitive damages are difficult to obtain most cases, especially in a settlement.

Remember that you can only make a claim for head injury damages when your medical professional states a clear opinion that the injury was due to the accident. It is important to be certain your doctor has a clear opinion that your concussion or head injury and related symptoms are due to the accident.

It will be helpful for your personal injury case with a concussion if you see a medical professional who is experienced in treating concussions. This might involve seeing a neurologist, neurophysiologist or neurosurgeon. If you went to the emergency room after your accident, the ER doctor may be able to assist in getting you to the appropriate head and brain injury specialist.

What Affects The Head Injury Settlement Amount?

The damages amount will obviously affect your settlement. There are other factors that can affect your car accident concussion settlement:

  • Who was liable for the accident? If you were at all responsible for the accident, this may affect how much compensation you may receive at settlement.
  • Mitigation: The plaintiff must make attempts to minimize the damages, and if you did not do that, this could reduce the settlement.
  • Circumstances of the plaintiff: There are factors about you that could affect the settlement, including your work, age, medical past, and other factors.
  • Circumstances of the defendant: Factors about the defendant might include whether they were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when the accident happened.

Head Injury Settlement Calculator:

Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident causing a head injury? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Head Injury Settlement Calculator.

Get Legal Help With Your Car Accident Head Injury Settlement

If you suffered head injuries in an accident, it is critical to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will negotiate with stingy insurance companies to secure you the best settlement.

Many head injuries require extensive rehabilitation and medical treatment, so getting as much compensation as possible is important.

Lawsuit Info Center can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Use our site to find a licensed attorney near you today.

Frequently Asked Questions about car accident settlements

It is never a good idea to accept the first settlement offer. You should always get a second opinion and have an attorney review your case. Contact a lawyer for them to examine your case and check whether you have gotten a reasonable offer. Another option for reviewing your settlement value and making sure the insurance company has given you a sensible offer would be to employ your very own outside free specialist. The specialist must give reasonable settlement estimations and pay to all property damage and wounds brought about by the faulted, careless driver. Before you make any settlement decisions, consult with your attorney and take the advice they give you. They are helpful at ensuring you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your concussion.

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Concussions are known as mild traumatic brain injuries. Trauma to the head is very serious and not to be taken lightly. If you become involved in a collision that was the result of the negligence of others and sustain a concussion, you are entitled to receive compensation. By hiring an attorney, they can ensure you receive compensation for your medical expenses, wages lost during recovery time and property damage to your vehicle. There are numerous variables that go into deciding how much your settlement estimation might be. To guarantee you get the most extreme measure of pay, it is essential to archive everything. The first and most significant advance is to receive medical treatment at the earliest opportunity. Not only because a concussion is a head injury and not to be taken lightly, but because there may be other injuries that might be unnoticed yet in addition since looking for treatment is the start of your documentation of damages.

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When you have achieved a settlement, your concussion settlement check should contact you in two weeks or at longest about a month and a half. In the event that you have not gotten it within the six-week time period, it is savvy to contact your lawyer to perceive what may hold up the check. It’s conceivable your lawyer had sent in the settlement release sometime delayed after you signed it. If so, the insurance agent got it sometime at a later date that you expected, which postponed your normal date to receive it. Concerning settling, there are a couple of various workplaces that manage sending and accepting release statements and cutting checks. Find out from your lawyer the facts of your release settlement to get a better-estimated timeframe of when you may get your check.

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Collisions can leave you frazzled and wondering what the next step is. One of the most important questions you may ask yourself is “how much compensation can I get for my head injury?” and the easiest way to figure that out is to use our head injury settlement calculator. Our calculator pursues a general equation by including the accompanying costs together:

  • Medical costs
  • Estimated future medical bills
  • Loss of income due to inability to work from injuries sustained
  • Property damage

After you’ve added those total expenses together, a multiplier 1-5 is applied to that number that will represent the pain and suffering experienced from the injuries. The less serious the injury, the lower the number will be. If the injures sustained require a lengthy recovery and enable the victim from performing daily tasks, the number will be greater.

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Whiplash is a very common injury to sustain from a car accident and is generally caused by rapid back and forth motions resulting in torn ligaments and tendons to the neck. It is possible to sustain a concussion from whiplash because although whiplash is a completely different type of injury, the same back and forth jerking motions that cause whiplash may also cause a concussion. As stated previously, rapid shakes, jolts and bouncing rattles your brain inside the skull causing concussions.

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Yes, it is still possible to get a concussion without hitting your head! Most concussions are cause by a hit or blow to the head however; you can still sustain a concussion by extreme jolts to the head causing your brain to rapidly shake back and forth or bounce around inside the skull. All of the rapid shakes, jolts ad bouncing causes brain cell damage and chemical imbalances.

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Absolutely, you should go see a doctor if you become knocked unconscious! Head injuries are no laughing matter and any type of injuries sustained to your head or brain should be examined immediately. The scary thing about head injuries is you can’t see exactly how bad it may be. That is why it’s important to seek medical attention right away so the doctor can run imaging tests to diagnose what injuries you have. Specifically, if you are experiencing blackouts, severe migraines, disorientation, drowsiness and vomiting do not ignore these signs and go see a doctor.  

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Injuries sustained from being involved in a car accident vary from minor cuts and bruises to life threatening injuries. Head injuries are very common and unfortunately, very serious. It’s easy to suddenly get rear-ended and hit your head against the steering wheel or dashboard leaving you with a traumatic brain injury. If you hit your head you may lose consciousness, sustain a concussion, become dizzy and nauseous, experience headaches, mild confusion, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood swings and lightheadedness. Some common head injuries sustained from being involved in a car accident include:

  • Hematoma
  • Concussion
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Skull fracture
  • Brain swelling
  • Brain cell damage
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Sometimes, the victim of a concussion will experience lingering symptoms similar to those of a concussion, but may also incorporate new difficulties, for example, exhaustion, insomnia and anxiety. Settlement values vary depending on how debilitating the injury leaves the victim. Other variables that go into determining how much compensation a victim may receive include pain and suffering endured as well as wages lost during recovery. Medical bills are tangible evidence when determining compensation, but other factors that are more difficult to factor in include future medical expenses as well the degree of your lost wages. Post-concussion can be difficult to diagnose so it’s important while consulting with your personal injury attorney to gather key evidence to help support your claim. Be sure to:

  • Have all medical records from all doctors seen after the accident regarding the concussion/post-concussion.
  • Testimony from your doctor stating the condition you have is indeed post-concussion syndrome.
  • Testimony from your employer, family and friends who witness behavioral changes such as fatigue, irritability and memory loss.
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A concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury. Any traumatic brain injury is serious enough to file a personal injury claim. If you are suffering from pain sustained from an accident and the injury has caused an interference with work losing income, you have a serious enough injury to pursue a claim. It’s possible for the victim of a concussion to sustain serious cognitive issues preventing the injured person from working or even from having the capacity to live on one’s own. Thus, if you or a loved one has sustained a concussion due to an auto accident, it is in the individual’s best interest to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss further legal options.

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Post-concussion syndrome is the aftermath of a concussion where symptoms such as nausea, headaches and dizziness linger for weeks, months or even years after the initial concussion. If symptoms have lasted and recovery has not been made within the first 3 years it’s possible they may be permanent. In any case, some examination demonstrates that specific variables that are more common in individuals such as high anxiety, depression and PTSD are more common to develop post-concussion syndrome than individuals who don’t have a history of high stressors and anxiety. Specialists still don’t concur on precisely why some people get post-concussion disorder.

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A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury typically caused by an extreme blow to the head or even an intense shake or jolt of the head. Concussions are very common especially in car accidents but do not generally cause permanent damage however, any injury to the head is not to be taken lightly. It is possible that a concussion victim may not develop symptoms until day or weeks after the accident. When filing a claim for your auto accident after sustaining a concussion, you have the opportunity to ask for compensation due to pain and suffering and if work was missed, any lost wages during the time it took to recover. It’s important to seek medical treatment after the accident to ensure you receive the most compensation possible. A doctor’s testimony along with medical records will provide proof of the injury and will benefit you when deciding a settlement amount. Symptoms of concussion include:

  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Confusion
  • Speech problems
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Recuperation from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) fluctuates based on the damage done to the brain however is achievable. Recovery can take up to months or even years after the initial injury. Depending on the severity of the TBI, some victims may not recovery at all. Mild traumatic brain injuries more often than not, require no treatment other than a lot of rest and if need be low dose pain relievers.  Although the traumatic brain injury is mild, the victim will likely be observed closely for any worsening or new symptoms. It is important to seek out immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing any type of head trauma.

Treatments include:

  • Puncturing the skull to relieve pressure and allow fluid to drain.
  • Removing pieces of the skull from the brain
  • An Intracranial pressure (ICP) is a bolt that is placed in the skull to monitor pressure.
  • Brain tissue may be removed to make room for living brain tissue.
  • Rehabilitation treatment
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There is a wide range of variables that determine how much compensation you may be owed if you have sustained physical injury from a car accident due to a negligent driver. Depending on the severity of the concussion the amount the victim may receive will be different. Minor, moderate and severe concussions will all have different ranges in compensation. Because a concussion is viewed as less than a traumatic brain injury with no long-lasting permanent effects, the settlement amount you most likely will receive will be around $1,500-$4,000.

On average a minor concussion settlement is around $1,500- $4,000. A moderate concussion settlement amount is $4,000- $8,000. And a severe concussion settlement averages around $7,000- $25,000. There is no exact answer as to how much you will receive due to many different variables and other injuries included, but here are some real examples of concussion victim settlements:

  • Minor concussion and other minor injuries sustained from a car accident by a Virginia man received $290,000 settlement.
  • Severe concussion and other traumatic brain injuries causing temporary memory loss and complex seizures. The woman received a settlement of $800,000.
  • Woman suffered concussion and pelvic fractures after being stuck by a bus and received a settlement of $2.74 million.
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If you sustain a head injury in a car accident due to the negligence of others, you are owed compensation from the party liable for the collision. If you are the victim you will then need to demonstrate financial misfortunes with the goal that you can legitimately reclaim the money you will need to restore your life. The money for these misfortunes is known as “damages”. Various types of damages include:

  • Decreased quality of life
  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Wages lost during recovery time
  • Pain and suffering
  • Deformity (scars and permanent disfigurement)
  • Unfit to earn at such extent
  • Permanent disability
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Car accidents can cause many types of injuries from minor cuts and bruising to severe brain trauma. After being involved in a car accident, it’s crucial you go see a doctor especially if you hit your head during the collision. You might think you’re in the clear moments after the accident yet many brain injuries may not become apparent for a considerable length of time. Avoiding medical attention while sustaining a traumatic brain injury may result in devastating, permanent damage or even death.

Head injuries are categorized into 2 groups known as open head injuries or closed head injuries. Open head, meaning an object has split open the head or fractured the skull and closed head injury meaning the skull has not been fractured but injuries to the head are still present.

Common head injuries caused by a car accident include:

  • Concussion
  • Brain hemorrhaging (brain bleeding)
  • Brain edema (brain swelling)
  • Anoxic brain injury (increase of blow flow due to lack of oxygen to the brain)
  • Contusion
  • Coup-contrecoup (brain slamming side to side against the skull)
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