Head injuries from car accidents are common. In fact, auto accidents cause 20 percent of all brain injury cases, according to BrainandSpinalCord.org.
Head injuries can also be extremely dangerous. The impact of the collision, the jarring motions, and crushing within the vehicle can cause serious and potentially fatal head injuries. After getting medical attention, victims or their family members should contact a local car accident attorney to begin looking into their legal options for compensation.
What are some common types of crash-related head injuries?
Medical professionals divide head injuries into two broad categories: open and closed head injuries. Open head injuries occur when an object – either foreign, like a shard of metal, or organic, like a piece of bone – actually penetrates the head.
Conversely, closed head injuries, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), refer to the damage that occurs when someone sustains a blow to the head. This can occur when your head comes in contact with a hard surface on the interior of the vehicle or with something outside of the vehicle (such as the ground if the force of the accident throws you from the car). With a closed head injury, the skull is not broken and there may be little to no immediate outward manifestations – but it can be just as serious, if not more so, than an open head injury.
Closed head injuries can range from mild to very severe and can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Closed head injuries may include:
- Cerebral contusion – Contusions are another name for bruising to the brain tissue.
- Concussion – Concussions, when a violent impact shakes the brain inside the skull, can range from mild to severe and cause temporary brain dysfunction.
- Intracranial hematoma – This is a condition when a blood vessel pops and the blood pools around the brain. This injury causes pressure on the brain and requires immediate medical attention.
- Diffuse axonal injury – This is an injury to the axon of the neutron in the brain. This injury frequently arises from car accidents, can cause permanent damage to the brain, and can lead to comas and a vegetative state.
What types of symptoms do head injuries cause?
Accident victims and their family members should educate themselves about the symptoms that could be indicative of traumatic brain injuries. It is important to keep a watchful eye for any signs of a brain injury because delays in diagnosis and treatment can cause serious long-term complications or even fatality.
Unfortunately, symptoms of closed head injuries are not always especially pronounced or easy to recognize because they may seem very insignificant at first glance, such as getting the blues or experiencing restless sleep. If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, pay extra attention to aches, pains, discomfort, mood swings, or feelings of disorientation. Be sensitive to unusual changes in speech, memory, attention span, or emotion.
While they sometimes appear immediately following an auto accident, it is also not uncommon for symptoms to go unnoticed for weeks or months after the crash.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, notify your doctor immediately.
- Headaches and migraines
- Confusion and difficulty thinking clearly
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Loss of balance
- Double or blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Paralysis or difficulty swallowing
- Sleep disturbance
- Irritability, sadness, change in mood or personality
- Problems with memory
- Lack of self-control, outbursts, social difficulties
- Speech impairments
What potential impact can a head injury have on someone’s life?
Because the symptoms can cause cognitive, psychological, emotional, and physical problems, brain injuries can affect every aspect of a person’s life after an accident. Victims may have difficulties hearing, seeing, thinking, reading, and interacting with others. Many friends and family members say that their loved one “just does not seem the same” after the accident. With impaired functional capacity, they may be unable to work as they once used to or perform the same daily activities. Their career, relationships, and entire sense of self may suffer.
On top of all these effects, there are generally huge financial implications for victims or their families. Treatments for head injuries are expensive and often long-term. Surgeries, medication and other therapies, in-home care, and rehabilitation might be part of the treatment plan for brain injury patient. The cost of treatment combined with the loss of income/earning capacity can spell financial crisis for most families.
What types of treatments do head injuries require?
In addition to surgery and prescriptions during the acute phase of the injury, rehabilitation and treatment of brain injuries include the following.
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Other forms of psychological treatment
- Vocational counseling
The brain does not heal and recover in the same way as other body parts; proper emergency treatment and ongoing rehabilitation may continue for years.
Victims should team up with a lawyer who has experience representing head injury victims. A TBI attorney knows how to prove to an insurance company or jury that his client is suffering from the sometimes invisible effects of traumatic brain injury. An accurate depiction of your symptoms and the losses you have suffered after the accident are essential to obtaining a fair settlement.
What do I need to do in order to take legal action?
If you or your loved one suffered a head injury in an auto accident, we caution you not to file or settle your claim too soon. You first need to get a clear picture about the totality of your injury and of your current and future needs. Compensation could be recoverable by filing a claim that addresses not only medical expenses, but also lost income, along with other damages like pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, and more.
To receive compensation, victims or their loved ones must show how the injury affects daily life. Victims can establish this through expert testimony, medical bills, evaluation, doctor’s notes, etc.
Your best bet is to consult with an injury attorney in your area to discuss how to move forward, take legal action, and maximize your settlement. For a lawyer in Pennsylvania that has successfully handled numerous head injury cases for victims, contact Cordisco & Saile today and request a free consultation: 215-642-2335.