In the past few years, concussions and other brain injuries suffered by football players have been much in the news. However, football and other contact sports are in the minority in terms of causing serious brain damage.
Vehicle accidents are at fault for many more cases of traumatic brain injury across the country.
Understanding the two forms of TBI
Even in a low-speed, rear-end collision, serious brain trauma is possible. There are two forms of traumatic brain injury: open and closed. An open head injury refers to a skull fracture or an incident in which a foreign object penetrates the skull. A closed head injury, which is much more common, is caused by a blow to the head; no open wound is involved. This could happen, for example, if the impact of a rear-end collision causes a person’s head to strike the steering wheel or dashboard.
Brain damage can occur in a car accident even if the head does not directly hit any surface or object. The rapid deceleration in a collision causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. This is called a coup/contrecoup injury, and can be just as severe as a direct blow to the head.
Seeking prompt medical attention
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traffic accidents are responsible for about 286,000 traumatic brain injuries annually. However, the number may be much higher because brain damage is not always apparent at the time of a vehicle crash. Symptoms may not show up for days or even weeks, and an accident victim may, therefore, wait to seek medical attention.
Watching for TBI symptoms
Anyone who becomes the victim of a car crash should seek medical attention at once, even if it is “only” a fender-bender. Children are especially susceptible to brain injuries in a crash. Symptoms of TBI include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness or loss of balance, sensitivity to light or noise, blurred vision, anxiety, depression and other mood changes.
Car crashes cause many kinds of injuries, but brain damage is among the more serious concerns. Not only is an immediate medical evaluation essential for physical health, but also in terms of proving that the injury was directly related to the accident. This will be important when filing a claim for an insurance settlement.
Victims may not be multimillion-dollar athletes, but their health is just as important as that of any running back or wide receiver, and so is the compensation the law entitles them to.