From mild concussions to permanent unconsciousness, traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents, and the effects can be short-term or last a lifetime. If you or your family member has been involved in a car accident involving any kind of head trauma, call our experienced and compassionate car accident lawyers at (305) 643-3100 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney today at Stabinski Law.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain that stems from a physical force. As opposed to other brain injuries, like a stroke or aneurysm, the force behind a TBI is external, which is why traumatic brain injuries in car accidents are common. TBI is a general term for a wide range of injuries, as it can be used to describe anything from a slight concussion to a sharp object or gunshot penetrating the skull.
A closed injury occurs only within the skull. In other words, the skull is not broken or penetrated. Rather, the injury occurs from the force of the brain jolting inside the skull and making a traumatic impact. A common example of a closed TBI is a concussion.
An open injury occurs when an external object pierces the skull. This is a very localized and usually very acute injury, such as a gunshot wound or piercing by a sharp object.
How Can I Tell If I Have TBI?
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a few of the most prevalent symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Lost consciousness
- Lack of memory prior to or following the traumatic event
- Difficulties with neurological functioning, like weak muscles, poor vision, or slurred speech
- Mood swings, confusion, or lack of concentration
It can be difficult to diagnose a TBI without the help of a trained medical professional. While some types of TBI are more obvious, such as open injuries where the skull is penetrated, others can have very mild symptoms that do not appear for hours or days after the traumatic event. Nonetheless, even mild cases can have very severe, long-lasting results. The best way to know for sure whether you have a traumatic brain injury is to seek medical attention after an accident and to closely monitor your symptoms.
TBIs are measured against the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and depending on the symptoms, the injury can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury of any kind following a car accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Stabinski Law to learn more about your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.
Are Traumatic Brain Injuries in Car Accidents Common?
Yes, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of TBIs. Traumatic brain injuries in general impact millions of Americans per year. According to a study in the Journal of Neurotrauma, the global incidence of traumatic brain injury is 64-74 million people per year. In the U.S., there were at least 61,000 deaths in 2019 that can be attributed to TBI, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In 2016, there were around 227,000 TBI-related hospitalizations. Of this extremely high prevalence rate, around a quarter of these TBI injuries resulted from motor vehicle crashes, which is the second leading cause after unintentional falls, according to the CDC’s Surveillance Report.
Remember that these statistics only include the traumatic brain injuries in car accidents that are actually reported and diagnosed. Because the symptoms can be easy to miss, many more instances of TBI from car accidents likely go unreported, and these numbers could potentially be much higher.
What to Do If You Suffered a TBI in a Car Accident
It can be difficult to tell right away if you have suffered a brain injury as a result of a car accident. However, if you were involved in an automobile crash and experienced any sudden jolt or force to the head, there are a few steps you should take to help protect yourself and your rights.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Even if you are not in immediate pain, you should be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Your doctor may be able to detect signs and symptoms that you and your loved ones cannot. When you are injured in a car accident, it is critical to create a medical record that associates your injuries with the preceding accident. Because the signs of TBI can be delayed, you should frequently monitor your cognitive functioning, and if any symptoms arise, schedule regular follow-ups and seek the needed medical treatment.
Record Details of the Accident
If you are able to do so, take notes and record details regarding the accident. Take photographs and jot down everything you remember about what happened. One of the most common symptoms of traumatic brain injury is memory loss or difficulty with speech and cognitive reasoning. Days, weeks, and months after the accident, you may find it extremely difficult - if not impossible - to remember what happened on the day of the accident. However, in order to successfully seek compensation from the at-fault driver or an insurance company, it is really important to have your story straight and be able to recount details about what happened.
Consider Talking to a Lawyer
Many people undervalue their claims. Sometimes, when negotiating with insurers or going to trial, victims of car accidents do not realize that they can be entitled to compensation for all of the consequences of the accident, including past and future medical bills, costs of ongoing physical therapy or treatment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, incidental costs like home help and transportation, and much more. By talking to an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer, you may be able to maximize the amount you are owed by the person who caused your injury.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
While traumatic brain injuries in car accidents are unfortunately common, your suffering should not be undervalued. Victims of car accidents may have the legal right to receive compensation for their medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. At Stabinski Law, we fight hard for victims of car accidents and work tirelessly to make sure they are not taken advantage of by insurers. Contact our compassionate legal team at (305) 643-3100 or contact us online to tell us more about your case.