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Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, 286,000 car accident victims suffer TBIs every year. And the actual TBI count might be even higher, considering that not all brain injuries are immediately apparent after an accident.

A traumatic brain injury is “sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head.” The consequences can be severe, affecting the person’s physical capabilities, mental functioning and their emotional well-being.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries

According to the Mayfield Clinic, the injury that occurs at the moment of impact is called the primary injury. How the primary injury manifests varies. Sometimes it involves the entire brain and other times it involves only a portion of the brain. The primary injury can also involve a fractured skull.

At the moment of impact, your brain crashes back and forth inside your skill. This often causes bleeding, bruising and tearing of nerve fibers. Symptoms like dizziness and confusion might develop immediately, or you might appear fine — at first. Sometimes brain trauma, like swelling, is delayed. This is called a secondary injury, which typically develops gradually. Swelling can occur up to five days after an accident.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs that affect the entire brain are called diffuse. These include:

  • Concussion — a mild injury that usually doesn’t cause permanent damage (unless you suffer repeated concussions).
  • Diffuse axonal injury — shearing and stretching of the nerve cells that can affect a person’s wakefulness.
  • Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage — bleeding into the space surrounding the brain, which can cause numerous problems.

Focal injuries affect specific parts of the brain. These include;

  • Contusion — a bruise to a specific area of the brain.
  • Hematoma — a blood clot that forms when a blood vessel ruptures.

These injuries don’t always occur in isolation. You sustain multiple types of TBIs with a variety of complications that require different types of medical treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

It’s important to be aware of TBI symptoms, especially if you have been in any kind of car accident. Remember that TBI symptoms might not be immediately obvious after the accident. They also range in severity, from mild TBIs to severe TBIs. There are also special signs to watch for in children. The following are signs and symptoms of mild TBIs:

  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Confusion or disorientation,
  • Headache,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Fatigue or drowsiness,
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual,
  • Dizziness,
  • Blurred vision,
  • Sensitivity to light and
  • Mood changes.

Moderate and severe TBIs can also include any of those symptoms, in addition to the following:

  • Convulsions or seizures,
  • Pupil dilation,
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears,
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes,
  • Loss of coordination,
  • Agitation or unusual behavior and
  • Slurred speech.

Children are more susceptible to TBIs because their brains are not yet fully developed and are more vulnerable to injury. Younger children are also more difficult to diagnose because they can’t always communicate when something is wrong. Here are a few signs that your child might have suffered a TBI:

  • Change in eating or nursing habits,
  • Persistent crying,
  • Unusual irritability,
  • Change in sleep habits,
  • Sad or depressed mood and
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities.

These are not the only signs and symptoms of TBIs. Be sure to consult with a medical professional immediately after a car accident and in the days following. It also in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover compensation for any current and future medical expenses.

What Kind of Treatment Will I Need?

It depends on the severity of your injury. A mild TBI might only require rest and medication. Moderate and severe TBIs might require hospitalization and, in some cases, surgery. Often the treatment doesn’t end with the initial diagnosis and hospital visit. Some victims need long-term care if they can’t eat or breathe on their own. Others need help with basic daily activities like bathing and dressing. You might need a physical therapist, speech therapist or occupational therapist to help you relearn or compensate for lost abilities.

TBIs are clearly serious and expensive injuries. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney today if you or a loved one suffered a TBI because of someone else’s negligence.

Reach Out to Our Office

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, contact the law office of Charles Bryan Alred, P.C., today. Our passionate attorneys will assist you throughout each step of the personal injury process.