March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
The car accident lawyers at Clancy & Diaz, LLP have seen firsthand how devastating traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be. They can cause permanent neurological damage and result in long-term cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments, such as memory loss, paralysis, and depression. They can also be fatal.
The sooner you notice and seek medical attention for a brain injury, the better. That's why it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options associated with this type of car accident injury.
How traumatic brain injuries happen in car accidents
A traumatic brain injury occurs when there's a sudden jolt or blow to the head that damages the brain. In car accidents, brain injuries can happen when the head collides with an object such as the dashboard, steering wheel, or window. They can also happen even if you don't hit your head on anything; any violent forward and backward movement of the head can be enough to cause the brain to strike the inside of the skull.
Concussions are often sustained by crash victims and are generally considered mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) because they typically don't involve structural damage to the brain, and the symptoms are often temporary. While a concussion can still cause significant physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, it does not usually require surgery or long-term hospitalization, as more severe forms of TBI might.
It's important to note, however, that just because a concussion is classified as a mild TBI does not mean that it should be taken lightly or ignored. Even a mild TBI can have serious consequences if not properly treated, and a second injury before the first has fully healed can cause a potentially life-threatening complication called second impact syndrome. Anyone who suspects they may have suffered a concussion or any other type of TBI should seek prompt medical attention and follow their doctor's instructions for recovery.
Brain injury symptoms and warning signs
The symptoms of TBI can range from mild to severe, and they can appear immediately after the injury or days or weeks later. Common symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness. The person may lose consciousness for a few seconds or several minutes - but just because you didn't lose consciousness doesn't mean you don't have a TBI.
- Headache. A headache that doesn't go away or gets worse over time.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Confusion. They may have trouble speaking or understanding others.
- Memory loss. Trouble remembering events that occurred before or after the injury.
- Sensory problems. Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, or a bad taste in the mouth.
- Mood changes. Heightened irritability, depression, or anxiety.
Some brain injury symptoms may not be immediately obvious, and others may be more visible to someone else instead of the victim. After a crash, the best practice is to always get checked out by a doctor right away.
Treatment options for TBI
The treatment for TBI depends on the severity of the injury, but there is no such thing as a "mild" brain injury. Severe cases of TBI may require hospitalization and surgery.
In addition to medical treatment, people with TBI may benefit from rehabilitation services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. These services can help the person regain lost skills and function.
A car accident attorney can protect your rights
If you or someone you know has sustained a traumatic brain injury, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately. Early intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome of the injury. You also need a proper diagnosis to avoid aggravating the injury.
In addition to seeking medical attention, it's also important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. At Clancy & Diaz, LLP, our Bay Area car accident lawyers can help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation you deserve under California law.
If you were injured or a loved one died in a Bay Area car accident, contact Clancy & Diaz, LLP for a free evaluation. We can answer your questions and explain your potential options for recovering compensation.
Our law firm has offices in Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, and Antioch, California. We are available to hear from you at any time, day or night. Contact us right now to schedule your free case evaluation.