According to the National Library of Medicine, car accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). These wrecks don’t only involve other drivers but also cyclists and pedestrians. Being diagnosed with a TBI can be emotionally nerve-wracking and physically debilitating. For TBI survivors, life after a crash is life-altering. If you’ve been hit in a car accident and suffered a TBI, there are multiple options for recovering damages. These include legal recourse.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury After a Car Crash?
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI for short, is brain damage caused by an outside force instead of a genetic disorder or illness. This outside force disrupts the brain’s normal functioning and results in bruises, torn tissues, and other injuries. In car crashes, there are two primary causes of TBIs:
- Direct hit to the head involves a foreign object hitting the head or the head hitting a foreign object. Examples include a person’s head hitting the dashboard, the driver’s window, or something else. Usually, direct hits to the head result in closed-head injuries. This means that the damage may not be visible to the naked eye. In some cases, there will be bleeding or cracks on the head, but these visible markers will be absent at other times.
- Shaking of the head. When a person’s head violently jolts, it causes the brain to move against the skull’s inner walls, resulting in injuries. This type of TBI is also associated with closed-head injuries. Injuries may not be visible by just looking at the head. However, on the inside, the person can experience hemorrhaging and pressure. These are especially dangerous because the injuries can present complications and become fatal.
TBIs after car accidents can be incredibly elusive. While you may feel like there is something wrong, a TBI can go undiagnosed because the brain can appear “normal” during an MRI or CT scan. It’s not uncommon for a TBI to take days, weeks, or months, after the accident to become apparent. It’s essential to understand how this specific type of injury presents itself to ensure that you get the proper medical attention quickly.
It’s also critical to understand that symptoms related to a TBI are often delayed. The car-crash victim can have other injuries, and the symptoms of a TBI may be attributed to another more visible collision-related damage. The TBI is often masked by another more obvious injury. For this reason, it’s essential to understand TBI to ensure a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Other essential factors to be aware of include the following:
- Mild forms of traumatic brain injury have long-lasting impacts
- A second TBI can worsen the effects of a previous one
- TBI impacts cognition, mood, perception, communication skills, and physical activity
- Treatments for TBI include various therapies, from surgery and medications to physical and occupational therapy
What do I do After a Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by Car Accident?
Seek medical attention. In any car accident, it’s important to get proper medical attention so that a medical professional can assess your injuries. This is especially true if you believe you hit your head or were jolted during the car crash. The more proactive you are about seeking medical attention for your injuries, the sooner you will receive proper medical treatment. You want to ensure that you are referred for appropriate diagnostic imaging to detect a TBI. Receiving a diagnosis and a proper treatment plan means that you can start the process of recovery.
Documentation. In today’s world, having a paper trail can be helpful. Seeking medical attention from the beginning will make it easier for future litigation. There may be many records from the start, including emergency room visits, family doctor visits, and other specialists who treated you shortly after the car crash. These records can show health insurance and no-fault insurance companies that your TBI was caused by the vehicle accident.
Contact a TBI attorney. In California, you only have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury case and therefore, you want to ensure that you are protecting yourself from missing any filing deadlines that may leave you without recourse. Even if you are unsure if you wish to sue the driver who caused the accident, speaking to a TBI lawyer as soon as possible is critical. A knowledgeable lawyer can answer your questions and advise you on the best route.
The sooner you move forward with a TBI case, the better off you’ll be. First, your lawyer will start collecting your medical records and investigating the specifics of the car accident. The longer a party waits to collect evidence, the more at risk they are for losing witnesses, pictures, or records, which can get lost or damaged with time.
Second, at-fault parties start crafting their defense immediately after a car crash. When another driver’s negligence or carelessness caused the accident, a lawyer could determine the potential success of your case. A lawyer can also evaluate your case’s worth, factoring in pain and disability.
Beware of insurance companies. Insurance companies are not your friend. Their representatives do not work for you. They work for a company. Unfortunately, the insurance company often does what’s in their best interest ꟷ that’s to settle the case as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. If you are presented with settlements, releases, or waivers related to your car crash, it’s best to speak to a lawyer first. In fact, if an insurance company presents you with anything and requests your signature, you should first speak to a lawyer. The last thing you want to do is sign away your right to litigate without assessing your options.
Traumatic brain injuries caused by car collisions are potentially devastating and life-altering. California provides ways for TBI victims to receive compensation for injuries sustained. You may be entitled to receive money for medical bills and replace lost wages.
For more information, call our law firm at (415) 946-8900 or email us by visiting our site.