Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries resulting from car crashes are a serious public health problem in this country. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports approximately 1.7 million brain injuries each year in the United States. Today, over 50 percent of traumatic brain injuries are caused by car crashes. Accordingly, the brain injuries result from the force exerted on the head and brain at the point of impact.
Although brain injuries may be “invisible”, they can be life-altering. The CDC has indicated that brain injuries are a major cause of disability and even fatality in the US. Additionally, it is estimated that about 155 people die each day because of injuries related to a brain injury. Ultimately, those who survive a traumatic brain injury can suffer long-term effects including memory impairment, movement impairment, sensation impairment (such as vision and hearing), and even emotional changes and functioning.
These injuries can place huge financial and emotional burdens on the injured individual as well as their family.
What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury During a Car Accident?
In a car crash, the force of the impact will result in a sudden stop in forward movement while the brain is still moving forward. When this happens, the soft tissue of the brain makes a hard impact on the interior of the skull. This may cause bruising and bleeding at the brain. The head may also be impacted by metal or other debris causing a serious penetration injury. Even at low speeds, a car accident can cause catastrophic injuries to the brain skull and cause the injured party innumerable issues.
In addition to obvious symptoms such as lacerations, a severe headache, loss of consciousness, or seizures or convulsions, a traumatic brain injury can often create symptoms that are indefinite and may not even seem head injury-related such as the following:
Light or sound sensitivity
A change in taste or smell
Lack of coordination
Pressure at the head area
Short-term memory loss
Blood at the ears or nostrils
Because some of these symptoms can be so vague, a brain injury is not always immediately apparent. It is critical for anyone to get immediate medical attention after a car accident to rule a brain injury out.
Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosis
A brain injury diagnosis will typically rely on tests and diagnostics that are able to detect an injury and its severity such as:
The Glasgow Coma Scale — this test is used to gauge the status of an individual with a suspected TBI. It tests an injured party’s eye movements and pupil measurements, the victim’s ability to respond to verbal questions, and their physical response to reflexes and touch. A healthcare professional will assign a score with the lowest score indicative of a coma and the highest indicating normal functioning.
CT scans — this diagnostic tool takes pictures in “slices” of the skull and brain to detect any hemorrhaging, fractures, contusions, or other damage.
MRI imaging — this diagnostic may not be done immediately after the accident but at a later time or at follow-up. An MRI will test brain activity.
EEG, or electroencephalogram — this diagnostic test detects electric brain activity through electrodes attached to the head. This is often done in tandem with an MRI.
Even though these tests are helpful, they are not fail-proof. They may still come back as normal, even while the injured party or their family feels that there is still something wrong. It’s important for an injured party to be persistent with their doctor if they continue having problems and symptoms.
If you or a loved have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, you may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries and get financially compensated for your costs and damages.
Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. (816) 319-0508