The fact is that brain injured victims of auto accidents are often undetected at the emergency room thus creating insurance company obstacles to getting adequate compensation. I recently received a call from a women that was rear ended, at a high rate of speed in a car accident and thrust into the car in front of her. In other words, a double impact. The mechanics of the accident are obvious, her head went forward and backward violently 2 times.
At the emergency room she had a headache, but denied unconsciousness even though she did not remember some of the accident. Of course, a CAT scan of the brain showed no acute intracranial problems. So, she was released with a possible mild brain injury. For some reason, she decided to go to a chiropractor for the headaches and she returned to work. Work turned out be a disaster for her. She was completely disorganized. She had extreme difficulties with her memory and concentration and continued to have headaches. Her coworkers noticed all her problems. Her family doctor referred her to a specialist.
This case is fresh in my mind, but it demonstrates several problems the client now faces with her insurance company. One problem, she is now off from work but the insurance company does not want to pay her lost wages. The insurance company cannot understand why is she now off from work. After all, she went back to work after the accident. The reason is because she did not understand that she suffered a traumatic brain injury.
It’s a matter of credibility to the insurance company. Because of the doubt they now have about her injury, she is being sent out for an Independent Medical Examination. In other words, the insurance company hand picked expert doctor. However, in this case, even their expert will concede that the client is suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury.
The challenge in these cases are the misconceptions concerning the consequences after a traumatic brain injury. The person has a normal brain scan and looks normal, therefore they must be normal. However, underneath the surface their life is falling apart.
I read psychological evaluations where the client tells the therapist that they think they are going crazy. They don’t have any energy. They are depressed all the time. They cannot concentrate the way they did in the past. Headaches interfere with their concentration. These can all contribute to emotional and personality changes.
The insurance company will then look for ways to counter the client’s symptoms. They will try to find any problems in her history. Did the client have a history of headaches or emotional and psychological problems prior to the accident. For instance, a recent divorce could be a target.
The best way to counter the onslaught of insurance skeptics is the neuropsychological evaluation. The neuropsychological evaluation can provide evidence of brain damage which is not available through conventional neurological examinations. The assessment is conducted with individual objective tests and standardized test batteries. The neuropsychological examination is designed to effectively detect or rule out malingering.
The bottom line is that the neuropsychological evaluation is the front line of offense against the renegade insurance company that wants to deny or diminish the value of a claim after a serious brain injury is sustained in an auto accident.