TBIs, or traumatic brain injuries, are very common in car accidents.
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of hospitalizations and deaths related to traumatic brain injuries across the country.
TBIs can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms may not appear immediately and TBIs may not show up on x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans.
They are also often mistakenly attributed to other accidental injuries.
The symptoms of TBI after a car accident may not appear until days, weeks, or months after the accident.
Many people do not become aware of TBI symptoms until they return to everyday activities such as returning to work.
All of these factors make it much more important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident.
This will help your physical as well as financial recovery.
In the following article we will discuss the effects of TBIs after car accidents and how they can be included in a personal injury case.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
If you’ve suffered one in a car accident and someone else is at fault, you have the right to file a head injury claim with the relevant insurance company for full compensation for your damages.
In addition to car accidents, brain injuries can also be caused by sports accidents, falls, assaults, and defective or dangerous consumer products.
All legal action related to brain injury depends on the details of when the injury occurred.
A common cause of post-accident TBI is when your head hits the steering wheel, window, dashboard, or other solid object during the accident.
But your brain can still be injured even if you don’t get a direct hit or jerk on your head.
The force generated by the sudden impact of a motor vehicle accident can cause your head to lash back and forth violently, causing the person’s brain to hit the front inside of the skull first, and then the back inside of the skull bumps.
This usually happens during a whiplash injury.
This can result in bruising in the brain or a cerebral hemorrhage that is bleeding from the brain in your skull.
The severity of the traumatic brain injury
Brain injuries are considered to be either mild or severe.
Traumatic brain injury is considered mild if loss of consciousness lasts less than 30 minutes.
The majority of TBIs are considered mild, but up to 15% of victims have symptoms for a year or more.
There are several signs and symptoms of mild TBI, including:
- Coordination problems
- Sensory problems such as loss of smell, bad taste in the mouth, sensitivity to light or noise
- Excessive sleep
- Mood swings including violent outbursts
- Difficulty formulating thoughts or sentences
- Memory loss
Many victims of mild TBI will at some point make full recovery and regain their full quality of life.
Often times, when you suffer from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, you lose consciousness for over an hour.
Moderate to severe TBIs
Symptoms of mild to severe TBI appear within a few days of the accident.
These symptoms can be:
- Regular bouts of nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty speaking or walking
- Clear liquid that drains from your ears or nose
- Dilated pupils, either or both
- Irritability, combative behavior
It could take days or weeks for your symptoms to appear
The symptoms that you may experience due to your TBI may not be immediately apparent.
Depending on the severity of your accident and injury, symptoms of a brain injury may develop for several days or even weeks after the accident
This is why you should always see a doctor immediately after a car accident, no matter how you feel.
If you do not see a doctor right away (again, you should always see one immediately if you notice changes in behavior or physicality after a severe blow to the head during the accident.
You will need a thorough neurological exam or a brain imaging scan that will reveal damage to the surface of your brain.
Is it possible to sue for TBI after a car accident?
It is definitely possible to apply for a TBI after a car accident.
If your auto insurance does not want to pay for your injury or cut payments before you have recovered, you can claim unpaid, overdue medical bills, assistance, mileage, compensation, and lost wages.
You can also sue the negligent driver for your economic damage and for pain and suffering as a result of your accidental injuries.
To do this, you first have to prove that the other driver actually caused the collision.
Types of damage in cases of brain injury
In cases of personal injury, there are two basic types of damage.
These damages are known as special damages and general damages.
Special damages or economic damages are easily quantifiable expenses due to your injury.
These often include:
- The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.
- Loss of wages
- loss of earnings
- The cost of past and future medical treatment
General or non-economic damage is not easy to quantify with a dollar number.
These damages can include:
- The loss of joie de vivre
- Loss of the consortium
- Loss of camaraderie
- Pain and suffering
- Mental fear
- Emotional distress
Act quickly after your accident
Although TBIs are not visible, their effects are far-reaching.
If you have been injured in a car accident and believe you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you should see a doctor right away.
You will need to obtain medical records and keep a journal of the impact the injury has had on your daily life.
It would be helpful if you spoke to a brain injury attorney as well, as calculating the damage in a personal injury case can be tricky.
During an initial consultation, you and your attorney will discuss the possible negligence that caused your injury, whether a settlement can be reached, and whether a personal injury lawsuit is the right option.
If you act quickly after your accident and work with a qualified personal attorney, you may be able to receive financial compensation for the cost of medical treatment, lost income, decreased quality of life, and your pain and suffering.
Work with an experienced personal injury attorney
Even if you believe you suffered minor injury or no injury, it is still important to get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Even a mildly traumatic brain injury can change your life.