Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with an estimated 50-70% of new TBI cases each year attributed to vehicle crashes. A TBI occurs when normal brain function is disrupted by a blow to the head, a skull-penetrating injury, or by the brain being shaken in the skull. The effects of these injuries can be devastating and require life-long treatment and care. If you or a loved suffered a TBI caused by a car, truck, or motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you need to know how to fight for the compensation you deserve for long-term care.
How Vehicle Crashes Cause a TBI
It’s important to understand that a TBI can occur even when there is no direct blow to the head or penetration of the skull. While both of these injuries are common in car crashes, TBIs are often caused by an impact that jolts the brain but does not actually touch the head. Common brain injuries caused by car accidents include the following:
- Concussion. Caused by a direct blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head, a concussion can range in severity from mild to severe. The victim may or may not lose consciousness, and damage to the brain may not show up on imaging tests such as CT scans. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, and changes in mood, behavior, and motor function. In a car crash, the occupant can hit his head on the steering wheel, dashboard, or side window, or could be thrown back and forth so violently that the brain is shaken in the skull.
- Contusion. Usually caused by direct impact to the head on the steering wheel or dashboard, a contusion is an area of bleeding on the brain. If the contusion is large, it may need to be surgically removed. Contusions can be diagnosed with imaging scans.
- Diffuse axonal injury. When the head is jerked violently, tears can occur in the brain stem and in nerve tissue throughout the brain. This disturbance can cause permanent widespread brain damage, coma, and death. This is the injury that occurs in Shaken Baby Syndrome, but it can also be caused by strong rotational forces in a rear-end, head-on, or rollover car crash.
- Penetrating. The most common type of penetrating brain injury is a gunshot, but flying debris from a violent car crash can also penetrate the skull and the brain, causing damage to the area where the penetration occurs. Depending on what functions are impacted, a penetrating brain injury can be debilitating and is often fatal.
Closed head injuries suffered in a car accident may not be immediately recognized at the scene of the crash. If you were in a collision of any kind, you should see a doctor for assessment for a possible brain injury.
Treatment and Recovery From a TBI
Even if no permanent symptoms of a brain injury are evident after a car crash, victims should be aware of the danger of re-injury to the brain before it has fully healed. For example, if you suffered a mild concussion in a car accident and then fall and hit your head before it has healed, you could suffer serious consequences. Following your doctor’s orders after a concussion or other brain injury is very important. Brain damage from a car accident is sometimes temporary—symptoms may reverse as the brain heals—but can also be permanent, affecting the victim for a lifetime. The victim may experience:
- Physical challenges. These may include fatigue and weakness, tremors, poor motor coordination, speech difficulties, seizures, balance problems, mobility challenges, and changes in taste or smell.
- Cognitive problems. People with a TBI may become easily distracted and confused, have difficulty understanding and coping with reality, have poor memory, be slow to answer questions, and have difficulty organizing their thoughts.
- Verbal issues. Brain injuries can result in poor or broken speech, difficulty finding words, speaking in a monotone, and uncontrolled outbursts and swearing.
Depending on the severity of the brain injury, victims may need months of physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Those who are permanently impacted by physical and cognitive problems may need assistance with basic daily tasks for the rest of their lives.
Why You Need a Bedford, Texas Attorney When You Suffer a TBI
Treatment for a TBI can be very expensive, and you will need a generous settlement at the time of the crash to see you through a lifetime of care. The car accident attorneys at Parker Law understand what it takes to diagnose, treat, and care for a crash victim with a TBI and will fight to get you the settlement you need for the best possible recovery. When you have been in a car accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact the Parker Law Firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.