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A traumatic brain injury typically happens when a person suffers an impact to the head. According to the CDC, car accidents are among the leading causes of TBI, frequently leading to hospitalization and even death. If you were in a motor vehicle accident and believe you may have hit your head, you should consider the possibility that you may have sustained a brain injury. It is important to understand the causes and symptoms in order to get proper medical care as soon as possible.
While brain injury occurs sometimes because the skull gets fractured or even pierced through direct impact, it can happen even without such an event. Car accidents, in particular, often feature an abrupt collision. Even if you do not hit your head in the crash, the sharp jerk you experience as the car comes to a sudden halt can cause the brain to hit the interior of the skull, resulting in injuries such as bruising or internal bleeding of the brain.
TBI can be mild or severe. The symptoms of mild injury can include a short period of loss of consciousness, disorientation or confusion, typically lasting less than half an hour. Extended symptoms usually present as cognitive difficulties such as mood swings, difficulty focusing and worsened memory. Physical effects can include headaches, blurred vision, photosensitivity, nausea, fatigue and seizures. In many cases, these symptoms are attributed to other causes, and sufferers do not seek medical attention right away. Another issue is that mild injury will not always show up on an MRI or a CAT scan, further complicating diagnosis.
Severe TBI is typically identified by an initial loss of consciousness that lasts longer than 30 minutes or by memory loss that lasts longer than 24 hours after the impact. The long-term effects of severe brain injury can range from coma to major loss of function in areas such as speech, thinking, emotion or movement. In some cases, severe injury ultimately results in death.
While the symptoms of TBI can differ widely in terms of severity, they generally tend to have an adverse impact on employment, family life and day-to-day function. Some effects can be reduced with therapy and rehabilitation. The resulting financial burden can be quite heavy, including expenses for treatment, additional household help and other necessities, as well as loss of earning power.
If you were in a car accident, there is a possibility that you may have sustained brain injury. It is important to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Consult a knowledgeable attorney to learn about your options for obtaining compensation for your injuries.