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Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Far too many traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are due to accidents involving vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. A traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden force causes damage to the brain. With respect to car accidents, the use of seat belts and child safety seats may greatly reduce the risk of TBIs.


Traumatic brain injuries are categorized as a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury. A closed injury happens when an object suddenly and violently strikes the skull without breaking the bone. A penetrating injury is one where the object breaks the skull. In car accidents involving high rates of speed, a coup-contrecoup may develop, which is a contusion resulting from the brain being shaken back and forth inside the skull.


TBI symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe. A person with mild traumatic brain injury may not lose consciousness or may lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Symptoms of mild TBI may last for days or weeks and may include feeling dazed and not like oneself, headaches, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, confusion, tired eyes, ringing in the ears, fatigue, mood changes and trouble concentrating. Moderate to severe TBI symptoms may include these same symptoms as well as a worsening headache, repeated vomiting, seizures, slurred speech, numbness and loss of coordination.


Medical Care & Expenses


The level of care needed for a traumatic brain injury often revolves around the specific circumstances of the car accident. Speed is always a factor, as well as whether safety features such seat belts, airbags and head rests were used. Rollover scenarios and multiple vehicle crashes should always be memorialized via photographs to capture the depth and nature of the impact involved.


Medical care for traumatic brain injuries suffered during a car accident often begins with paramedics who arrive at the accident scene or when the car accident victim presents himself or herself at the emergency room. The assessment of the severity of the TBI begins with a check of the vital signs, dilation of pupils, a neurological examination and neuroimaging studies such as computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Once the diagnosis has been finalized, car accident victims must then travel the road to recovery. And along the way, medical expenses will certainly arise. Medicines for pain may be needed, as well as psychotherapy and occupational therapy sessions to develop coping skills for psychiatric conditions. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, rehabilitative programs may be needed, perhaps in the form of home-based sessions, inpatient centers, day programs or supportive living.


Car accident victims who are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury face a myriad of treatment options and medical expenses. These car accident patients should consult an attorney to understand their compensation options and to assist with documentation and any additional investigations that may be needed. In situations where multiple vehicles are involved, a skilled car accident attorney can help explain how the different insurance companies may compensate the victim’s medical expenses and damages.

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