How car accidents can cause brain injuries
A concussion—a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)—happens when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. In a car accident, this may occur when someone’s head hits the steering wheel or a window. More severe brain injuries can occur as well when an object penetrates the skull and damages the brain directly. However, contact with an external object is not necessary to cause a brain injury; just a violent jerking motion of the head is enough. If your head moved forward and back, for instance if you were rear-ended, you may have a concussion.
Remember, there’s really no such thing as a minor brain injury. Even a mild TBI (mTBI) and whiplash need to be taken seriously to avoid long-term damage. Moreover, even a mild TBI makes you vulnerable to further injury: if you have a concussion, you are at risk of severe, potentially fatal damage (called second impact syndrome) if you sustain a second concussion before your current injury has healed.
Warning signs of a concussion
Depending on the part of the brain that is damaged, brain injuries can have a wide range of symptoms. Some signs that you may have a concussion include:
- Double or blurry vision
- Dizziness or trouble with balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of memory
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Trouble concentrating or reading
- Disrupted sleep patterns (you may feel very tired or conversely have trouble sleeping)
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sensitivity to light
Even long after your concussion from a car accident, you may still be at risk for PCS, or post-concussion syndrome. With PCS, you can continue suffering from concussion symptoms for weeks, months or even years after the initial injury.
It’s important to keep in mind that brain injuries sometimes have delayed onset symptoms. That is, you may feel fine immediately after the accident (especially if your adrenaline is up) but start to experience symptoms hours or even days later.
What you should do if you may have a head injury
The most important thing to do after any accident, even if you feel fine, is to get checked out by a doctor right away. Go to your primary care provider, an urgent care facility, or an emergency room within 24 hours and tell the doctor you were in a car accident. Head injuries, again, can have delayed onset symptoms, so getting checked out is important to protect your rights. Getting medical attention also creates a record of your injuries in case an insurance company later disputes them.
The next thing you should do is contact us, before you talk to the insurance company. We can protect your legal rights throughout the claims process. Car insurance companies fiercely dispute claims involving traumatic brain injuries because they know the costs can be quite high. You may need long-term medical care or have permanent effects on your life. Our attorneys know how to advocate for the full amount of compensation for your car accident you’re entitled to receive under California law.
Get an experienced lawyer on your side
If you suffered a head or brain injury in a car accident, contact our law firm right away. When you talk to us, we’ll listen to your story and explain your legal rights and options. If you decide to hire our firm, we’ll launch an immediate investigation into your car accident to determine how your head injury occurred and who was responsible. We’ll protect your rights in negotiations with the insurance company while you focus on healing, resting and following your doctor’s instructions. You deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering brought upon by your car accident. Whether through a settlement or at trial, we’ll fiercely advocate for you, and you don’t owe us a cent until and unless we successfully resolve your case.
If you have a concussion or other head injury from a car accident, take your case seriously right from the beginning. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney. We can meet by phone or videoconference, or in person at our offices in Walnut Creek, Antioch, or Pittsburg, CA.