Personal injury attorneys who routinely handle car accident cases have much experience helping clients with brain injuries pursue compensation. One reason why, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), accounting for nearly 15 percent of the TBIs diagnosed in the United States each year.
In the chaos of an accident, a victim may be jolted violently, or smack his or her head against the steering wheel or windshield. When this happens, a traumatic brain injury may be the result.
While many car accident victims who sustain brain injuries recover fully, some are left with long-term or even lifelong physical, cognitive, emotional, communicative, or behavioral impairments. For these brain injury victims, life may never be as it was before the accident.
For example, they may have difficulty completely day-to-day tasks, be unable to hold a job, and experience strained personal and professional relationships—
all while unexpected medical debt mounts.
However, some victims who suffered TBIs in car crashes may be eligible to pursue compensation for accident-related damages. If you're considering taking legal action after a car accident in which you sustained a TBI, here's what you should know.
Common Accident-Related Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can be categorized by their severity, as well as whether the injury in question is “open” or “closed.”
A TBI described as open indicates that a force or object penetrated the skull. While open TBIs are certainly possible in car accidents, many car crash TBI victims have closed injuries, meaning their heads or bodies sustained a serious blow or jolt, but the skull wasn't breached.
The most common types of car accident-related brain injuries include:
- Concussion: Considered a mild form of brain injury, concussions can still have serious consequences, particularly if a victim sustains a second concussion before the first has had time to properly heal. Concussions may temporarily disrupt brain function or even cause long-term changes in brain chemistry.
- TBI: A more severe form of brain injury, TBIs occur when head trauma results in bruised, bleeding, torn, or otherwise damaged brain tissue. Like concussions, TBIs can cause serious brain dysfunction.
Brain Injury Symptoms
Loss of consciousness or loss of memory (amnesia) are two of the common symptoms most often associated with head or brain injuries. However, while some crash victims may lose consciousness or have no recollection of events immediately before or after the accident, many others diagnosed with a TBI don't experience either symptom.
Common TBI symptoms include:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
- Memory problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleep patterns
- Mood changes
Long-Term Impairments Associated With Brain Injuries
Because the brain controls all of the body's functions, a serious injury has the ability to impact a wide range of systems. As a result, brain injury victims may experience:
- Physical issues, such as seizures, paralysis, impaired balanced and coordination, and trouble swallowing
- Sensory deficits, like decreased or altered sensations
- Behavioral impairments, such as mood or personality changes, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Cognitive deficits, including trouble concentrating or following directions, difficulty reasoning, an inability to set goals or start and complete tasks
- Communication problems, such as slurred speech, difficulty speaking, or trouble reading, writing or comprehending language
Are You Eligible for Compensation?
Adjusting to life with a brain injury can be both challenging and costly. However, victims injured in accidents caused by someone else's negligence may be eligible to take legal action to seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other damages.
If you or someone you love is living with a TBI sustained in an accident that wasn't your fault, the award-winning legal team with McGartland Law can help you explore your options. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial case review. Don't wait—in most states, victims have just two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.