When you are in a serious motor vehicle collision, you may be lucky to be alive. Crashes that involve high speeds and large vehicles can cause devastating and even fatal injuries to drivers and passengers. One of the most common catastrophic injuries caused by a car crash is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all TBI-related deaths. The extent of brain damage caused by a head injury sustained in a car accident can vary widely depending on the force of impact. We discuss a range of brain injuries and the financial compensation you will need to have a fighting chance at a recovery.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
Although the brain is generally well protected inside the skull, doctors are discovering that even minor blows to the head can cause damage to the brain. In a car accident, a person can suffer brain damage without even hitting his head against anything. Some common forms of car accident injuries that lead to brain damage include the following:
- Diffuse axonal injury. This type of injury can be caused by the strong rotational forces that can occur in a car accident. When the brain lags behind movement of the skull, supporting brain structures and nerve tissues can be torn. This can disrupt the normal communication and chemical processes of the brain. The result can be temporary or permanent brain damage or coma, or death.
- Concussion. This is a general term for any kind of trauma to the brain. It can be caused by the head striking the steering wheel, dashboard, back of the seat, or doors in a collision or by a violent jerking of the head and neck caused by a rear-end or head-on collision. Depending on the severity, concussions can result in loss of consciousness, brain bleeding and swelling, nerve damage, coma, and death. Minor concussions can cause dizziness and disorientation while a major trauma can cause permanent brain damage.
- Contusion. Usually the result of a direct impact to the head, a contusion is a bruise caused by bleeding on the brain. This injury can become serious if the bruised area is large and may require surgery to remove. Symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting are often temporary and are relieved when the swelling and bleeding stop.
- Coup-contrecoup injury. When the force of impact is strong enough, the brain can be bruised at the point of impact and on the opposite side of the brain as it is slammed into the skull. Depending on the strength of impact, this injury can cause permanent brain damage. It is of special concern because sometimes the injury on the opposite side of the impact goes undetected until permanent damage is done.
- Penetrating injury. Also called an open head wound, this injury occurs when an object penetrates the skull and embeds in brain tissue. Usually the result of a gunshot, penetrating injuries can also be caused by glass and debris from a car crash. Depending on which area of the brain is penetrated, this injury can affect motor function, communication skills, and much more.
Even a minor brain injury can require expensive emergency medical care. You will need a significant settlement from the at-fault driver to cover all potential damages.
How an Attorney Can Help
Car accident claims involving minor injuries can often be settled quickly between drivers and insurance agents. However, when a catastrophic injury such as traumatic brain injury occurs, an experienced car accident attorney will know how to document losses and negotiate for the settlement you need for medical bills and ongoing—sometimes even lifelong—care. When you or a loved one has suffered permanent brain damage, many factors must be considered when negotiating a settlement. Don’t try to do this on your own. In Indiana, call Keller and Keller to help you get what you deserve.