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Traumatic Brain Injury and Car Accidents

Updated on 24 January, 2019
Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Alina Fong

Traumatic Brain Injury and Car Accidents

Out of all of the injuries a person can suffer in an automobile accident, brain injuries are probably one of the worst. The consequences of a brain injury are often severe and long-term. Brain injuries can be as minor as concussions, headaches, and dizziness or involve more serious conditions like memory loss or physical damage to brain tissue. Brain injuries can be difficult to detect and should be treated immediately by a medical professional. 

Brain Injury Symptoms

Brain injuries are typically placed into two categories: open and closed. Open brain injuries involve some sort of penetration of the skull and brain tissue. Closed brain injuries are a more common type of brain injury and can vary from a minor concussion to total paralysis or even death.

While open brain injuries have visible symptoms, closed injuries are much harder to detect. A few readily apparent closed brain injury symptoms may include:

  • unconsciousness
  • seizures
  • nausea or vomiting
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • severe headaches
  • memory loss
  • coma

If left untreated, victims of a closed brain injury can go weeks if not months without noticing anything is different. Since the above symptoms do not include visible signs of damage, such as bruising or bleeding, victims may go about their lives thinking they are in perfect health.

Automobile-Related Causes

In a half-decade survey of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) conducted by the CDC, car accidents were the third leading cause of TBIs and, more disturbingly, the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths. A variety of factors involving automobile accidents can lead to a TBI. The head striking the windshield, dashboard or side window can lead to a TBI. Likewise, a blunt object colliding with the skull can also cause such injuries.

Conversely, injuries such as whiplash, where the head is tossed back and forth without any real impact with another object, can also produce a TBI. Since the brain is merely floating within a pool of cerebrospinal fluid, all that is protecting it from colliding against the inside of the skull is a series of membranes no thicker than 100 microns. This is why victims of whiplash injuries should have themselves tested for TBIs immediately following their accident.

Brain Injury Recovery

The amount of recovery time depends not only on the severity of the brain injury but upon the patient too. No two patients are the same, nor are their injuries. While a concussion may heal in a few weeks or a couple of months, more traumatic injuries might never heal completely and may require surgery. Other types of recovery methods include medication, physical therapy, prolonged periods of bed rest, and psychological counseling. When looking at treatment options it is important to look for specialists that are focused on helping you achieve your recovery goals, with your best interests in mind.

Building a Brain Injury Legal Case

Proving a person suffers from a TBI can often be a daunting task. Since the damage is hidden from view, a brain injury case must rely on the testimony of medical experts. MRIs, EEGs and other types of brain scans can help prove the extent of the injuries, but often, when it comes to convincing a judge or a jury, the brain is a bit of a lockbox.

Provable, objective evidence is hard to come by when arguing a closed brain injury case. Cognitive FX specializes in functional NeuroCognitive Imaging which is very helpful in having objective diagnosis, to clearly understand severity and specificity of regional impairments after an accident. This type of imaging is changing the way we understand injury in the courtroom. Psychological testing, witnesses from before and after the accident, along with forensic experts can go a long way in proving lasting injury to a court of law.

Brain injury victims are advised to seek out legal representation in order to recoup the full losses they may have suffered in an automobile accident. Experienced attorneys are trained to defend such cases and vastly increase its chances of ending in a satisfying verdict.

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