What Are Different Types of Car Accident Brain Injuries?
Emergency room and fatality data indicates that car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the U.S., according to the CDC. Damage to the brain is a serious concern. Ranging from temporary impairment to severe, life-changing loss of cognitive abilities, the types of brain injuries that can result from car accidents can vary greatly.
Additionally, brain injuries are not always immediately apparent. Many symptoms of brain injuries can take time to develop, and they may be difficult to recognize, especially for the injured.
Brain injuries can be caused by head trauma or deprivation of essential oxygen. These two types are called TBIs and acquired brain injuries, respectively. Generally, the kinds of brain injuries that occur in car accidents tend to be the former, as TBIs result from head trauma caused by severe impact. Acquired brain injuries are usually associated with medical issues that deprive the brain of oxygen, such as disease, stroke, or failures in medical care.
The types of TBIs that are often seen in car accidents include the following:
- Concussions: Caused by a violent jolt or blow to the head, a concussion can involve loss of consciousness, but not always. Concussions are the most common type of brain injury, but that does not mean that they are not serious. This type of injury is the result of blunt trauma that causes the brain to collide with the walls of the skull. When the brain shakes inside the head during a car crash, is jolted back and forth, or is subjected to impact when the head hits a hard surface, a concussion can result. Aside from possible loss of consciousness, a concussion can cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting among other symptoms. In extreme cases, the damage can be permanent. Such an injury should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Contusions: Anther type of brain injury caused by head trauma is a contusion. Contusions are localized bleeding that may cause damage to the surrounding areas. In other areas of the body, these can consist of simple bruises. In the brain, contusions are much more serious. The injury may cause a blood clot that may require surgical removal. Undetected bleeding in the brain can cause swelling and pressure that can damage the surrounding tissues, cutting off oxygen supply to the area, and causing possible damage or death to brain cells. Coup-contrecoup contusions are serious injuries that involve impact damage sustained to more than one area of the brain, as the brain knocks around inside the head as the person is tossed around in a violent accident.
- Penetration injuries: Some of the most traumatic are penetration injuries in which a sharp object impales the head and pierces the brain. If the person survives, they will likely suffer from severe damage to the brain. Penetration injuries can significantly affect brain function and quality of life. They are highly likely to be fatal.
- Diffuse axonal injuries: When the brain jolts or rattles around in an intense car accident, it can cause diffuse axonal injuries. These injuries are marked by a shearing or tearing of axons, or nerve fibers, in the brain. Often resulting in a coma, these small tears are often undetectable in many diagnostic tests, such as MRI or CT scans.
What Are Symptoms of Car Accident Brain Injuries?
Injuries to the brain can impair mobility, cause loss of physical sensations, impact motor function, and harm communication abilities, as well as cause issues with life-sustaining brain function. Damage caused by TBIs can cause changes in a person’s personality, making them moody, angry, depressed, or even violent.
The symptoms that can be associated with brain injuries can present immediately after the trauma, but they may also take time to develop; they may come and go. Symptoms that may be difficult to detect at first have the potential to become quite serious, even life-threatening. Left untreated, some symptoms may even be permanent.
Common symptoms of car accident brain injuries include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Slurred speech.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Personality changes.
- Difficulty concentrating.
What Should I Do if I Have a Car Accident Brain Injury?
Anyone who suspects they have a brain injury should see a doctor right away. These are serious injuries with serious consequences that should not be put off. The most dangerous effects of such an injury may not be immediately apparent, so seeking medical evaluation and obtaining medical care can make all the difference. You should always see a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel uninjured.
Someone who has been injured in this way in a car accident should also be aware of their legal rights to making a claim against the person responsible for the accident. It is advisable for someone in this position to consult a lawyer.
Any medical visits, symptoms, diagnoses, or treatments should be documented as evidence in a possible legal fight. The injured party should also be aware of the statute of limitations that exists in their state for filing a personal injury claim. In New Jersey, you have two years to file a claim, starting from the date of the accident. This can go by quick, so it is best to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Get Results for Clients Seeking Claims for Brain Injuries
If you incurred a brain injury from a car accident, you may be able to receive damages from the at-fault driver. One of our experienced Highland Park personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you with your case. Visit us online or call us at 732-537-8570 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly assist clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.