Brain Injuries in Vehicle Accidents
According to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, every year, about 8,600 people suffer brain injuries that cause long-term or lifelong disability. The top causes of TBI are falls, which account for 28 percent of injuries. And motor vehicle accidents account for 20 percent of TBI cases.
Even though in 2016, Pennsylvania had the lowest number of crash-related fatalities in five years, the number of serious crash-related injuries reached its five-year high. So many vehicle accidents – and the brain injuries they cause – are preventable. If people drove responsibly at all times, the number of TBI cases would likely decrease dramatically.
If you or a member of your immediate family has suffered a TBI, you need a personal injury attorney on your side. The long-term costs of TBI are often significant, but with an attorney’s help, you could get compensation to help cover your costs. Personal injury cases must be filed within a certain timeframe, so don’t wait to ask for help. Contact the attorneys at Wapner Newman today to request a free case consultation: 1-800-LAW-6600.
Types of Brain Injuries
The force of a car accident is enough to cause a traumatic brain injury, even when there’s no outward injury to the skull. When a car is traveling at a high rate of speed, and a crash suddenly stops the car, the force of the impact can cause the brain to shift and make abrupt impact with the inside of the skull. Any time the brain is subject to such force, diffuse axonal injury (DAI) may occur. DAI is the widespread shearing of the brain’s nerve fibers, and doctors may have difficulty detecting all the microscopic injuries throughout the brain.
A blow to the head can cause injuries such as a skull fracture or bleeding on the brain (also called intracranial hemorrhage). There are four types of intracranial hemorrhages, but only these two are commonly associated with car accidents:
Epidural hematoma – This is the term for blood that accumulates between the skull and the brain’s outer covering. People with this injury may lose consciousness momentarily, regain consciousness, and lose consciousness again. Sometimes, a person may feel fine after a car accident until hours later, when blood begins to accumulate on the brain.
Subdural hematoma –This is the term for blood that accumulates on the surface of the brain, a serious and often fatal injury. Even a minor blow to the head can cause a subdural hematoma, with bleeding lasting weeks or longer before any symptoms are evident.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are complex, so two people who suffer similar injuries won’t necessarily have the same symptoms. Generally, however, any of these symptoms could be a sign of brain injury:
- Severe headache
- Confusion or dizziness
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Poor balance
- Weakness or numbness in any part of the body
- Mood disturbances.
Because signs of a TBI may not be evident immediately to the untrained eye, it’s always wise to see a doctor as soon as possible following a crash. If during the exam a doctor notices possible signs of brain injury, such as poor reflexes, or unusual eye-tracking, they can order brain imaging tests to search for injury.
Prognosis for TBI
The brain does have some capacity to “rewire” itself. If an injury destroys some part of the brain, new neural networks may form over time, as the brain attempts to restore its functioning. But that’s not always the case.
People with TBI may require numerous therapies to help them with speech, movement, and psychological issues. Those therapies may be highly effective among some individuals, but some people never fully recover from a TBI.
The long-term costs of TBI can be significant. Some injury victims may need to live in an assisted care facility, or have home nursing care, for the rest of their lives. Families often struggle to pay for their loved ones’ medical care, and financial difficulties are compounded when the person who suffered the TBI was also a primary income-earner in the household.
If a member of your immediate family has suffered a TBI in a car crash, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys at Wapner Newman today, online or at 1-800-LAW-6600, to request a free case consultation.