A brain injury requires prompt medical care, and it is important that you understand how severe this type of injury can be to your life and health. While substantial damage to the brain cannot be undone, proper medical treatment may help to prevent further damage. This is why seeking immediate medical care is highly important as soon as any symptoms of TBI are experienced.
What is traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
Traumatic brain injury—also referred to as “TBI”—can occur when there is direct trauma, causing damage to the brain. Sudden and/or direct trauma may cause bruising of the cerebral cortex.
When a closed head injury occurs (i.e., any injury to the head that does not penetrate the skull), the brain can suffer a whiplash-type injury. This is caused by the quick acceleration, then deceleration of the brain inside of the skull. In this case, the brain clashes against the skull and becomes bruised.
In some cases, the brain can become severely damaged. The CDC estimates that of the approximately 1.7 million people who suffer a TBI each year, 52,000 people die as a result.
What causes traumatic brain injury?
Most often, the cause of TBI is a direct impact of the head against a stationary object. In car accidents, the stationary object could be a window or steering wheel. Closed brain injuries that cause a whiplash-type effect of the brain are common among drivers and passengers who are wearing seat belts in high-speed motor vehicle collisions.
Beyond this, an auto accident may cause objects to go airborne, potentially striking drivers and passengers in the head. This, in addition to puncture wounds, may cause traumatic brain injury.
According to the CDC, between the years of 2006-2010:
- 9.2% of TBI related deaths in children ages 0-4 were associated with motor vehicle accidents
- 55.8% of TBI related deaths in children ages 5-14 were associated with auto accidents
- 47.4% of TBI related deaths in young adults ages 15-24 were primarily associated with motor vehicle collisions
- Approximately 32% of TBI related deaths in adults ages 25-44 were related to auto accidents
- Approximately 22% of TBI related deaths in adults ages 45-64 were primarily associated with auto collisions
- Nearly 10% of TBI related deaths in adults 65 years of age or greater were associated with motor vehicle accidents
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury
A victim of traumatic brain injury may lose consciousness when the injury occurs; however, this is not always the case. TBI cases may range from mild to extremely severe. Mild cases—typically diagnosed as a low-level concussion—often have a very high recovery rate with proper rest and prompt medical care. Unfortunately, for many who suffer a TBI, the injury is life-long and life-changing.
Symptoms of TBI may include:
- Headaches, which may range from mild to severe and occasional to continuous
- Sensitivity to noise and/or light
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of motor skills and/or function, including problems with balancing
- Weakness, tingling or numbness in the arms and/or legs
- Loss of or blurred vision
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of or slurred speech
- Loss of memory
- Difficulty solving problems and/or trouble concentrating
- Change in sleep patterns
- Changes in personality, to include aggression or sudden emotional outbursts
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury may vary widely, depending upon the severity of the injury. Brain injuries can not only cause physical injuries, but also mental and emotional disabilities. TBI may lead to the suffering of long-term or permanent disabilities.
Long-term effects of TBI
A TBI that is considered mild may only cause a slight, temporary change in mental status or cognitive functioning. However, many brain injuries may be much more severe, causing lasting effects that may require daily assistance and long-term or permanent care.
The injury can impact your ability to fully participate in your own life, keep your job, take care of yourself and your family, drive, or even complete simple everyday tasks. The victim of TBI may need to relearn how to do tasks that were once simple, or may need assistance with completing them.
These effects may not be immediately apparent following the accident. Instead, issues may not appear for weeks, or even months. Sadly, permanent disability can be the outcome. Disabilities resulting from a brain injury may range from memory problems to paralysis, to personality changes, and possibly even coma or death.
Accidents that can lead to brain injury
Motor vehicle accidents that can cause TBI include:
- Car accidents, including drunk driving accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle
- Bicyclist hit by a motor vehicle
Treatment and rehabilitation for brain injuries
If you or someone you know suffered a brain injury due to an auto accident, immediate medical treatment is essential. Be sure to document symptoms and get medical records from the facilities that provide care, as these records are important when filing an auto injury claim. Recovery can take months or even years, and can put both emotional and financial stress on the victim and their family.
At Baskerville Law, our legal professionals may be able to help you locate appropriate medical professionals in the Albuquerque area. We’ve successfully handled cases involving traumatic brain injury and can inform you of your legal rights after a car accident. To get started, call or text us at (505) 247-2774 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.