The fact is that car accident victims with brain injuries often go undetected in the emergency room, creating hurdles for the insurance company to obtain adequate compensation. I recently received a call from a woman who was rear-ended at high speed in a car accident and pushed into the car in front of her. In other words, a double impact. The mechanics of the accident are clear, her head went violently forward and back 2 times.
In the emergency room, she had a headache, but denied being unconscious, even though she had no memory of the accident. Of course, a CAT scan of the brain showed no acute intracranial problems. So she was released with possible mild brain damage. For some reason, she decided to see a chiropractor for the headache and went back to work. Work turned out to be a disaster for her. She was totally disorganized. She had extreme problems with her memory and concentration and continued to have headaches. Her colleagues noticed all her problems. Her GP referred her to a specialist.
This case is still fresh in my mind, but it shows some of the issues the client is now dealing with with her insurance company. A problem, she is now off work, but the insurance company does not want to pay her lost wages. The insurance company cannot understand why she is now off work. After all, she went back to work after the accident. The reason is that she did not understand that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
It is a matter of credibility for the insurance company. Because of the doubts they now have about her injury, she is sent for an Independent Medical Examination. In other words, the insurance company has selected an expert doctor. In this case, however, even their expert will admit that the client is suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury.
The challenge in these cases is the misconceptions about the consequences after a traumatic brain injury. The person has a normal brain scan and looks normal, therefore they must be normal. But beneath the surface, their lives are falling apart.
I read psychological evaluations where the client tells the therapist that they think they are going crazy. They have no energy. They are depressed all the time. They cannot concentrate as they did in the past. Headaches hinder their concentration. These can all contribute to emotional and personality changes.
The insurance company then looks for ways to counteract the client’s complaints. 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 example, a recent divorce could be a target.
The best way to counter the onslaught of insurance skeptics is the neuropsychological evaluation. The neuropsychological evaluation may provide evidence of brain damage that is not available through conventional neurological examination. The assessment is performed with individual objective tests and standardized test batteries. The neuropsychological examination is intended to effectively detect or rule out malingering.
The bottom line is that the neuropsychological evaluation is the frontline of the attack on the renegade insurance company seeking to deny or reduce the value of a claim after a serious brain injury is sustained in a car accident.