Among the most serious injuries suffered in car accidents are head injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) requiring hospitalization among adolescents and adults ages 15 to 44 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Head injuries, which include concussions as well as more serious TBIs, are of great concern. The signs and symptoms of a head injury may appear immediately or may not be apparent for days or weeks after the impact that caused the injury. Symptoms may come and go, particularly pain or headache immediately after the injury.
The Mount Sinai School of Medicine says that the number of people in the U.S. with undiagnosed TBIs that cause substantial and persistent cognitive, behavioral and social difficulties may exceed 30 million. Undiagnosed head injuries, often due to initial pain subsiding, have caused many deaths, including the loss of celebrities like actress Natasha Richardson and TV salesman Billy Mays.
Anyone who suffers a blow to the head in a car accident should see a doctor as soon as possible. If a doctor recommends further treatment, including hospitalization for traumatic brain injury, it is crucial to follow the doctor’s orders. If the car crash was caused by another motorist, after receiving medical treatment, contact a car accident lawyer at Herrman & Herrman in San Antonio, TX, to discuss your options to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
Types of Head Injuries in a San Antonio Car Accident
Head injuries in auto accidents can happen because of a blow to the head – such as striking the side frame or windshield of the vehicle in reaction to the impact of a collision – or violent movement of the head in a rear-end collision. The forceful movement of the head can cause the brain to move inside the skull, causing bruising.
If an object breaks the skull, such as metal sheared from a car in the crash, it can also cause a penetrating head injury. In some cases, pieces of a broken bone can tear into brain tissue and cause damage.
A brain injury in a car accident may be described by doctors as:
- Concussion: The most common types of head injuries may cause a temporary loss of awareness or consciousness. Most people recover from concussions with several days of rest. However, having had one concussion makes you more susceptible to concussion from an additional blow to the head. Repeated concussions can cause cumulative, irreversible brain damage.
- Focal or diffuse axonal brain injury: A focal brain injury affects a single area of the brain. A diffuse axonal brain injury indicates widespread damage to tissue throughout the brain. Where the brain has been injured will dictate which bodily functions are affected. A wider area of brain damage will be more consequential.
- Intracranial hematoma: This refers to a blood clot located in the brain or near the brain. Intracranial hematomas can cause pressure on the brain, which may lead to permanent brain damage if not relieved. Depending on the blood clot’s location, hematomas are described as intracerebral hematomas, subdural hematomas or epidural hematomas.
- Brain bleeding/hemorrhages: Bleeding can occur within the skull outside of the brain, or within the tissue of the brain. Coma or death may result without immediate medical attention to address the bleeding.
A severe brain injury can cause a car accident victim to lapse into a coma. In the most serious cases, a person could be in a coma indefinitely.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms and Treatment
UT Health San Antonio says an individual with a concussion may experience:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- A brief loss of consciousness.
Patients with moderate to severe brain trauma might have any of the above symptoms, plus:
- Repeated vomiting
- Dilated pupils
- Weakness or numbness
- Loss of coordination.
A car crash victim with mild injuries might be sent home from the hospital with instructions to follow up with his or her primary care doctor. Severe injuries might require a hospital stay for close monitoring and neurological exams to check possible neurological injuries. Sometimes neurosurgery is necessary to help manage swelling of the brain or to repair damaged tissue.
Functional recovery, in which a brain injury patient is responsive and able to manage his or her own follow-up medical care, can last months or even years depending on the severity of the injury, UT Health San Antonio says. A patient may need rehabilitation and skilled care during recovery. When important parts of the brain are injured, patients are not always able to achieve functional recovery and may require assistance with basic needs.
Some TBI victims benefit from the shared experience and belonging found in support groups, such as the Alamo Head Injury Association’s support group in San Antonio. The group meets monthly and is open to any acquired brain injury survivors, their families or caregivers, and others with interest.
How Can a San Antonio Lawyer Help Me with My Brain Injury Case?
If another driver caused the car accident in which you or a loved one sustained a head injury, you shouldn’t have to pay for your accident-related expenses. The at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company should be held responsible for covering your medical bills and related costs from the accident.
Our traumatic brain injury lawyers at Herrman & Herrman have extensive experience representing clients and their families in cases involving auto accidents that have caused serious and life-changing brain injuries. We attend to every detail of the TBI car accident case and pursue maximum compensation aggressively.
In a severe brain injury case, an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney from Herrman & Herrman would consult with top-level physicians, psychologists, and life care planners to document the physical and cognitive deficits your injury has caused and develop ongoing care and financial plan for the challenging future you will face.
Contact us today in San Antonio for a free explanation of how our lawyers can help you pursue a legal claim for a traumatic brain injury suffered in a car accident.