A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye and often leaves drivers and passengers with serious injuries. Though often overshadowed by more visible injuries, brain injuries can be debilitating and sometimes even life-threatening. Brain injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained in a car accident. They can range from mild to severe and can have a lasting impact on victims and their families.
If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury resulting from a car accident, it is important to seek legal help right away. At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, our car accident attorneys have experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation!
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain that occurs after an external force causes the head to suddenly and violently move. TBI can also occur if an object hits the head or if an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain.
Severe TBI is much less common than mild TBI but can be life-threatening. Severe TBI can cause a coma, persistent vegetative state, or death. Victims of severe TBI often require long-term medical care and assistance with daily activities.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion, is the most common type of TBI. Concussions are caused by impact, sudden momentum, or change in movement. When car accident victims have a concussion, they will usually lose consciousness or experience dizziness and confusion.
A contusion is a head injury that occurs when bleeding and bruising form on the brain. Contusions are usually caused by a direct blow to the head and may require surgical procedures to remove. They can also occur as pain or swelling or result in blood clots in the brain, memory challenges, difficulty in speaking, and changes in cognition.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
DAI occurs when the head rotates or moves rapidly back and forth, causing the brain to shift inside the skull and tear nerve fibers. DAI is often caused by motor vehicle accidents and can result in coma or a persistent vegetative state.
Secondary Brain Injuries
A secondary brain injury results from the body’s response to a primary injury that prevents enough oxygen from reaching your brain. The extra fluid and nutrients accumulate to heal the injury, causing inflammation. This can be dangerous because the skull limits the space available for the excess fluid and nutrients, which causes brain swelling and increases pressure within the head. This causes injury to parts of the brain that were not injured initially.
A coup-contrecoup brain injury indicates there are injuries on both sides of the brain: the impact side (coup) and the opposite side (contrecoup.) These injuries occur when the brain experiences a sudden violent or forceful movement, such as rollover collisions. Due to the impact, both sides of the brain are damaged as the brain hits the inside of the skull.
A hematoma is a blood clot that develops when a blood vessel ruptures. When blood escapes, it thickens and clots to stop the bleeding. There are a few different types of hematomas:
- Epidural hematoma: A clot that forms between the skull and the brain’s lining.
- Subdural hematoma: A clot that forms between the brain and the dura.
- Intracerebral hematoma: A clot that forms deep within the brain tissue.
Common Symptoms of Brain Injuries
The symptoms of a brain injury can range from mild to severe and can last for days, weeks, or even years. Symptoms of a mild TBI (concussion) include headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and fatigue.
Symptoms of a more severe TBI can include loss of consciousness, coma, seizures, slurred speech, and paralysis. Victims of severe TBI often require long-term medical care and assistance with daily activities.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away, even if there are no obvious signs of injury. A brain injury may not be immediately apparent but can have lasting effects.
It is also important to get legal help as soon as possible after a car accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you deserve.
How Are Brain Injuries Diagnosed?
A medical professional makes a diagnosis of TBI based on a review of symptoms, a physical examination, and diagnostic tests. The type and severity of TBI will determine which tests are ordered.
- Imaging Studies: CT scan or MRI of the head can show damage to the brain. These studies are usually done in the hospital emergency department. However, imaging studies do not detect most mTBIs (or concussions).
- Neuropsychological Testing: This type of testing is often used to assess cognitive function and help determine the severity of TBI. It can also be used to monitor recovery and identify areas of deficits.
- EEG: An EEG may be done to look for changes in brain activity that can occur with TBI.
What Are the Possible Consequences of Brain Injury?
The consequences of a brain injury can be mild, moderate, or severe. They can last for a short time or be permanent.
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to:
- Degenerative Brain Diseases: TBI can lead to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
- Physical Complications: TBI can also cause physical complications such as seizures, problems with vision and hearing, and difficulty swallowing.
- Emotional and Behavioral Problems: TBI can cause emotional and behavioral problems such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings.
Most people who experience a mild TBI (concussion) will recover quickly and have no lasting effects. However, some people may experience symptoms, including headaches and dizziness, for weeks, months, or even years.
Victims of moderate to severe TBI often experience long-term or permanent effects that damage the brain cells and may result in cognitive problems, paralysis, and chronic pain. They may also require lifelong medical care and assistance with daily activities. If you or someone you love has been in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away and get legal help from an experienced car accident lawyer.
What Treatments Are Available?
The treatment for TBI depends on the severity of the injury. In most cases, treatment may include medication, surgery, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
- Degenerative Brain Diseases: There is no cure for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. However, some treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of these diseases.
- Physical Complications: Seizures can be treated with medication. Difficulty swallowing can be treated with speech therapy or a feeding tube. Surgery may be required to correct problems with vision or hearing.
- Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings can be treated with medication and counseling.
Can I File a Lawsuit For a Traumatic Brain Injury?
At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, traumatic brain injuries are not uncommon in cases handled by our car accident trial lawyers.
Whether you have suffered a minor or severe head injury, it is important to seek legal advice. We can help you determine if you have a case and guide you through the process.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci
If you have been involved in an accident and suffered severe injuries, it is important to contact a lawyer. They can help you to understand your legal options and protect your rights.
Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci is a personal injury law firm serving individuals and families throughout Virginia. We often meet people at a time of uncertainty in their lives, a moment when they have suffered a life-altering catastrophic injury or wrongful death and are seeking help.
At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we understand that we have an opportunity to guide our clients towards a better future, and we take that responsibility seriously. Call (804) 607-3101 today for a free consultation.