According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans suffer approximately 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. Falls are the leading cause of these injuries as they cause 35 percent of all TBIs. Car accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs and cause 17 percent of TBIs.
TBIs can range from mild to severe, but all of them are concerning. Many injuries to the brain have lasting effects on a person’s physical, mental, and cognitive capabilities. Specific injuries can require months or years of rehabilitation. Some people never fully recover from a TBI.
Anyone involved in an accident should seek medical attention, even if they believe it was a minor collision. Sometimes, brain injuries do not show up until later, and swelling or tissue damage may not always be readily apparent. Seek immediate, on-the-scene care after an accident and follow-up care if new symptoms arise.
What Types of Car Accidents Cause TBIs?
Any accident that causes a person’s head to suddenly and violently move or hit an object, such as a window, steering wheel, or dashboard, can cause a brain injury. Common causes of TBIs include:
- Speeding, Swerving, and Stopping Abruptly: A car can crash from speeding and spinning out of control or stopping quickly.
- Rear-End Accidents: When a car is hit from behind, a person could suffer whiplash or a TBI.
- Head-on Collisions: A front-end collision can cause the vehicle to stop suddenly at the rate of speed it was traveling, potentially causing severe injury to the person’s face, mouth, or brain.
- Side-Impact Collisions: A side-impact collision causes a person’s head to move violently in the direction of the impact and back again, causing damage to the brain’s lining, blood vessels, and tissues.
- Hitting Object: Hitting a side or front window in an accident can cause lacerations, skull fractures, and brain bleeding or swelling.
- Debris: Serious injuries can occur when debris, glass, or even bone fragments result from a crash.
When someone suffers a TBI from a car accident, the losses can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. A car accident lawyer can help a victim affected by TBI get their due compensation to lessen the pain of their losses.
What are TBIs?
Any damage to the brain from trauma, such as a violent blow or a penetrating injury, is considered a TBI. TBIs are divided into three categories for medical purposes:
- Mild TBIs or Concussions: A mild TBI typically occurs from a mild blow to the head. Victims may suffer temporary symptoms, such as dizziness or fatigue; most victims will recover after rest.
- Moderate TBIs and Post-Concussion Syndrome: Symptoms linger for a few months to a year or more. Treatment can last for some time and can lead to depression and anxiety.
- Severe TBIs: These injuries occur with violent brain movements or when blows and foreign objects pierce brain tissue. Loss of consciousness and serious side effects are common.
In addition to a concussion, other brain injuries include:
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): This is when the brain violently moves back in forth in the skull, causing axon nerve tears.
- Contusion: This is a bruise or bleeding beneath the skin that was caused by a blow to the head. Contusions commonly occur with concussions.
- Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (TSAH): This is bleeding within the space surrounding the brain, which causes brain irritation, pressure, swelling, and brain cell damage, among other injuries.
- Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury: This is when an accident causes injury to the brain at both the side of impact and the opposite side of impact. This injury is generally very severe and requires extensive treatment.
- Hematoma: A hematoma occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, and blood begins to form clots. It may require surgery to correct.
Brain injuries are also classified as open or closed. An open brain injury occurs when the skull is fractured or penetrated by a foreign object that damages the brain. A closed brain injury occurs when there is a blow to the head and injury to the brain, but the skull does not break.
What are the Symptoms of TBIs?
Symptoms will vary depending on the type and severity of the accident. The important thing to remember is that any injury to the head can injure the brain. The damage may seem mild, but symptoms often show up later. It is always best to be checked by a medical professional after any car accident. Symptoms of a potential brain injury include one or more of the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Blurred vision
- Sensory deficiencies
- Changes in mood or sleep patterns
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness in extremities
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
How are TBIs Treated?
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. A doctor will prescribe a short-term or long-term course of treatment that could include one or many of the following treatments:
- Rest and sleep
- Hospital stays
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Psychiatric care
- Cognitive testing and therapy
- Home health care
- Help with daily activities
- Long-term care
- Social support and education classes
A TBI can have a devastating effect on a person’s life and their family, relationships, and ability to live a fulfilling and productive life. If a car accident was the cause of the injury, one should not hesitate to seek legal counsel.
What Should I Do if an Accident Caused My Head Trauma?
Calling 911 for medical help is the most critical action to take in any car accident, particularly one with potential brain injuries. Always accept medical treatment and check-ups on the scene and seek medical treatment immediately if symptoms arise later or just as a precaution. It is always a good idea to take pictures and video of the vehicles involved, damages, injuries, road and weather conditions, and the geographic location. These images could be significant in a later settlement negotiation or legal actions.
People will often stop to help in an accident or mill around the scene to watch what is happening. Try to get statements from those who witnessed the accident, along with their contact information. As soon as possible after the accident, contact a car accident lawyer. A brain injury victim should be compensated fairly for their devastating financial losses and pain and suffering.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Advocate for Brain Injury Victims
If you have a TBI because of a collision, contact a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. You deserve to be compensated fairly and fully for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation. We will be ready to negotiate or litigate for the compensation you deserve. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.