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January 19, 2024

Common Workers’ Comp Settlements for Post Concussion Syndrome in California

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: The average workers’ compensation settlement for post-concussion syndrome (PCS) in California varies significantly based on the severity of the case. Concussions are classified as minor, moderate, or severe, and each category has a different impact on the individual’s health and quality of life.

Minor PCS cases typically involve short-term symptoms that resolve within a few weeks, while moderate cases may see symptoms persisting for several months. Severe cases, on the other hand, can lead to long-term or even permanent impairments, often requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. The settlement for these cases is designed to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

Please note that the following are general estimates, and the actual settlement can vary based on the specifics of each case. We always recommended consulting with a legal professional to understand the potential settlement amount for a specific case:

Severity of Concussion Average Settlement
Minor Approximately: $20,000 – $50,000
Moderate Approximately: $50,000 – $105,000
Severe Approximately: $385,000 – $1,000,000+

Example Settlements

Here are some specific examples of PCS workers’ compensation settlements:

  1. A married couple was struck head-on in a vehicular accident. One of the passengers suffered a closed head injury, facial fractures, a cracked molar root, a fractured rib, and facial lacerations. The settlement amount for this case was $2 million.
  2. In another case, a car accident resulted in a concussion and post-concussion syndrome that led to headaches, dizziness, and memory problems. The settlement amount for this case was $329,000.
  3. A plaintiff suffered a concussion with post-concussion syndrome and a herniated disc resulting in permanent pain. The jury awarded $40,606.74 in past medical expenses and $50,000 in compensatory damages.

Please note that these are specific examples- the actual settlement amount can vary based on the specifics of the case, including the impact of the injury on the individual’s quality of life, the cost of medical treatment, and the amount of lost wages.

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Compare concussion settlements to what other types of workers’ compensation injuries are worth in California here.

How Long Does a Post Concussion Syndrome Case Take to Settle in California?

The duration of a PCS case settlement in California can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the case. Some can take a few months to settle while others can take over a year.

What Factors Affect a Settlement Amount?

Here are some factors that can influence the timeline of your case:

  1. Severity of the Injury: The severity of the concussion plays a significant role in the settlement process. Concussions that cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) require far more compensation than those that have few complications.
  2. Symptoms and Recovery Time: After a concussion, the majority of people recover from the initial symptoms within 2 weeks to 1 month. If symptoms persist for more than a month, you may be diagnosed with PCS. PCS may last up to a year or longer.
  3. Impact on Quality of Life: The symptoms and impairments of PCS can drastically reduce your quality of life, affecting both your personal life and your career. This can influence the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
  4. Type of Claim: Certain types of personal injury claims can recover more compensation than others. For example, car accidents and other personal injury claims allow victims to recover a wide range of damages
  5. Wait Periods: In California, the wait period for workers’ compensation is only 3 days. You generally do not receive any payment for this wait period unless you are off work for the retroactive period, which is generally around 21 working days.

workers' comp post concussion syndrome settlement

What Will My Settlement Cover?

A PCS settlement in California can cover a variety of damages related to the injury. Here are some of the key components that a settlement might cover:

  • Medical Bills: This includes the cost of immediate medical care, ongoing treatment, and future medical expenses related to the concussion.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: These are the costs associated with physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and other forms of rehabilitation that may be necessary for recovery.
  • Loss of Future Earning Capacity: If the concussion has long-term effects that limit your ability to work or reduce your earning potential, these losses may be included in the settlement.
  • Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury. It can also include compensation for the reduction in your quality of life.
  • Lost Wages: If you had to take time off work due to the injury, you could be compensated for the income you lost during that time.

It’s important to note that the specifics of what a settlement covers can vary based on the details of the case, the severity of the injury, and other factors. Therefore, we recommend consulting with a personal injury lawyer to understand what your specific settlement might cover.

Common Challenges with This Type of Work Comp Case

Workers’ compensation cases involving PCS can present several unique challenges, including:

  1. Difficulty in Diagnosis: PCS can be particularly challenging to diagnose. A person can have PCS but all tests, including CT scans and MRIs, may show that everything is normal. This makes it difficult for insurance companies to adjudicate.
  2. Delayed Symptoms: Severe concussion symptoms usually take time to show, which can lead to under-compensation. For instance, a worker who fell and suffered a concussion may feel well after a few days and not bother filing a workers’ comp claim.
  3. Insurance Denials: Insurance companies frequently deny long-term and short-term disability claims involving PCS. Insurance adjusters prefer objective, fact-based data, like an MRI study or bloodwork, to symptom-based diagnoses.
  4. Proving Negligence: To qualify for compensation in a TBI case, you must prove to the court that your injuries were the direct result of someone’s negligence and that your injuries bear a financial cost.
  5. Long-lasting Implications: Workers’ comp head injury settlements tend to settle at a higher value than your average workers’ compensation case as they can have lingering effects.

If you are dealing with serious injuries such as a TBI, then it is all the more critical for you to get help from a legal professional who specializes in TBI cases.

Tips to Maximize Your Settlement Amount

Here are some tips that can help maximize your PCS settlement amount:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: You should seek medical attention immediately following a head injury. This not only ensures your health and safety but also provides a medical record of the injury, which can be vital during settlement negotiations.
  • Document All Symptoms: Keep a detailed record of all symptoms you experience following the injury. This can help demonstrate the severity of your condition and its impact on your daily life.
  • Keep Copies of All Medical Records: These documents can provide evidence of the extent of your injuries and the treatments you’ve received. They can also help to justify the costs you’re claiming in your settlement.
  • Gather Expert Testimony: Testimonies from medical professionals can strengthen your case by validating your symptoms and the need for ongoing treatment.
  • Develop a Treatment Plan: Discuss a treatment plan with your doctors and plan for the worst-case scenario. This can help you estimate future medical costs and ensure you’re seeking adequate compensation.
  1. Consult a Legal Professional: A lawyer who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the complexities of the workers’ compensation system.

Every case is unique, so these tips may not apply to all situations. It’s always best to consult with a legal professional to understand the specifics of your case

Get Connected With an Attorney

A Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) settlement can help you manage the financial burdens that come with this unexpected and challenging condition. At LawLinq, we can connect you with experienced PCS lawyers in California, at no cost. Our network of attorneys is well-versed in the state’s personal injury laws and has a proven track record of helping individuals seek justice for their PCS cases.

You do not have to face this difficult journey alone. Connect with a California PCS lawyer through LawLinq today. Let us help you find the right legal representation to guide you through this challenging time, contact our team today to learn more.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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