Traumatic brain injury typically occurs due to an impact to the head. Car crashes number among the leading causes of TBI because of the high likelihood that such an impact will occur. People who do not hit their head may still end up with TBI if they abruptly crash to a stop, as in such a situation the brain can bump against the inside of the skull.
TBI can have a wide range of consequences that affect a victim’s health, finances and general well-being.
At the accident scene
At the time of the impact, TBI can begin with loss of consciousness and subsequent memory impairment. In cases of severe TBI, these symptoms tend to last longer, making them more immediately obvious. If TBI is moderate, symptoms can be harder to identify. Some people do not even remember passing out and attribute their feeling of disorientation to the shock and stress of the accident. They may decline transportation to the emergency room because they cannot identify an immediate serious injury. Even going to the emergency room may not necessarily reveal the presence of TBI, especially if there are no outward signs of head injury.
In the days and weeks following
Many TBI symptoms appear gradually, within days, weeks and even months of the accident. Sufferers may begin experiencing headaches, nausea, blurred vision or ringing in the ears. They may feel increased difficulty in concentrating and remembering. Some may notice impairment in functions such as physical coordination or speech. Psychological changes may occur as well, bringing emotional swings, irritability or anxiety. Many people may not connect one or more of these symptoms to a car accident that happened several weeks ago. However, in the time following an accident, remaining alert to any changes can help someone get medical help and treatment promptly.
Even moderate TBI can have long-term repercussions on health and earning ability. Currently, most treatment is based on managing symptoms, which can change or worsen over time. People who suffered TBI as a result of a car accident or other types of negligence may be entitled to recover several kinds of damages, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.