Did you know that over half of all traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents? They are also one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
Having a serious brain injury can change your life in many ways. For some, it can take away your ability to earn a living, your ability to enjoy daily life, and even your ability to take care of yourself.
How Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur
Brain injuries generally occur because the brain is forced against the skull. When the skull hits something hard like a window or steering wheel, then the brain slams up against the skull, causing injury. In fact, the skull may not even have to be visibly harmed for a traumatic brain injury to occur.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Although you or others may not realize that you have had a traumatic brain injury, there are a few signs that you should look for after an accident. These signify that you or a loved one should seek medical attention immediately.
- Short term or long term memory loss
- Blurred vision, blindness, or double vision
- Loss of smell or taste
- Speech impairment
- Difficulty with balance
- Reduced ability or delays in processing information
- Difficulty keeping a conversation or concentrating
- Headaches or migraines
- Impulsive behavior
- Depression and mood swings
Results of a Traumatic Brain Injury
When a brain injury occurs, it will have varying symptoms or consequences. Right away, it can knock a person unconscious or put them in a state of altered consciousness. This causes cognitive, and sometimes physical, impairment.
In the long term, a traumatic brain injury can alter your cognitive abilities, from difficulty processing thoughts, to memory problems, to generalized impaired thinking. It can also affect your physical abilities. In addition, many people may not realize that a traumatic brain injury can also alter your moods and ability to function on an emotional level.
These changes can be either temporary or permanent. You can also either lose partial or total functioning on many levels.
Types of Brain Injuries
Every brain injury is unique. The same type of car accident, for example, could cause two very different brain injuries in different people. Each type of injury affects different parts of the brain, each of which has a affects function differently.
- Concussion: A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. The brain itself is damaged, blood vessels stretch, and nerves could be damaged. It can cause either temporary or permanent damage, taking a few months to a few years to completely heal.
- Contusion: Contusions are commonly known as bleeding in the brain. Generally, contusions appear in sets of twos—one at the site of the impact and the other at the opposite side of the brain.
- Diffuse Axonal: Brain structures can tear in a diffuse axonal injury. The movement of the skull and the brain are not in sync, harming nerves and releasing brain chemicals. This harms the brain’s ability to communicate and its chemical processes.
- Penetration: When an object goes through the skull and into the brain, the brain is penetrated. This can also be caused by pieces of the skull. Weapons and firearms are far more likely to result in brain penetration than car accidents.
Levels of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries vary in seriousness, with the most serious resulting in permanent damage.
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: If you lose consciousness at all, it is very brief. Brain scans may show a normal brain, but the person appears dazed and confused at the time of injury.
- Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: This is the result of moderate or minor head injuries. It is characterized by long-lasting confusion and physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral problems that could be permanent.
- Severe Brain Injury: These injuries require significant treatment in order to recover, and recovery may never be complete. This very severe injury is usually the result of a crushing blow or a penetrating wound.
Car accidents can result in severe brain injuries. If a loved one has recently suffered a brain injury from a car accident, then you probably already know that he or she will require long-term care.
Additionally, you may have a personal injury case. Contact a car accident attorney today to find out how you might be able to see a settlement for your loved one’s injuries.