Kentucky car accidents can range in severity, from minor to deadly serious. And while serious accidents–the kinds that total cars–often result in the most serious of injuries for drivers and passengers, even a low-impact fender bender can cause injuries. Of the more serious types of injuries one can sustain from a car accident, brain injuries top the list.
Understanding Brain Injuries
Among the most common injuries sustained in a car accident are injuries to the head.
Primary brain injuries, or the initial injuries that affect the brain, are by nature acquired brain injuries, meaning the individual was not born with the damage. In the case of a car accident, the primary brain injury is usually a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Victims of traumatic brain injuries may also suffer secondary brain injuries, or injuries that indirectly occur due to the primary injury. Examples of this would be conditions like insufficient blood or oxygen flow to the brain, which can result in brain damage separate from harm caused by the accident itself.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries transpire when the head receives a blow, jolt, knock, or any type of penetration that upsets the brain’s normal function. This disruption results in symptoms ranging from confusion, sleepiness, and amnesia to more serious personality changes, permanent damage, and even death.
Currently, the Center for Disease Control notes that motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of TBIs, contributing up to 20% of TBI-related hospitalizations each year in the United States. Additionally, in deaths related to TBIs, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause in persons aged 15-24, 25-34, and 75 and older.
Common Car Accident TBIs
Here are the most common types of traumatic brain injuries seen as a result of a car accident:
- Concussion: Concussions occur when a sudden change in momentum or movement results in the brain hitting the inside of the skull. Concussions can range in severity from mild to severe. They can impact the brain for a short period or potentially permanently.
- Coup-Contrecoup: Similar to a concussion, a coup-contrecoup occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull; however, in a coup-contrecoup the brain strikes the skull in two places, resulting in two brain injuries. If you picture a high impact crash, such as a rollover, it is easy to see how the brain could be jostled in such a way to strike two opposing sides.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury: Diffuse axonal injuries happen most commonly in high speed accidents and occur when the brain continues to move once the body has stopped. This can disconnect the brain from the rest of the body by severing brain stem fibers. Often, diffuse axonal injuries will result in a coma.
- Laceration: While we typically think of lacerations as occurring externally on soft tissue, they can also occur within the brain itself. These tears can happen within brain tissue or to blood vessels.
- Open Head Injury: An open head injury results whenever the skull becomes cracked or fractured. In addition to skull fractures, these also include penetrating brain injuries, when an object has pierced through the skull and entered the brain.
Each of these injuries requires medical attention. It is important if you have been involved in a car accident to be checked and cleared by a medical professional as soon as possible, even if you feel you have no symptoms. Brain injuries can present differently, and it is important to be evaluated for your own health and safety. Sometimes, symptoms don’t begin immediately, so you need to be on the watch for changes that begin after the traumatic event occurs.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
If you have been in a car accident, you can usually tell immediately if you’ve cut yourself or broken your arm. Brain injuries, however, along with soft tissue injuries, may take longer to discover.
If you suffer any of the following symptoms hours, days, or even weeks after a car accident, you may have a brain injury:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of memory
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty speaking
- Mood changes
- Trouble walking or balancing
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Bleeding from the ears
- Numbness or tingling in limbs or extremities
One or more of these symptoms could indicate a serious medical problem that requires swift evaluation.
If you discover you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury from a car accident, you may qualify for compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact a Kentucky personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin discussing your case and get your risk-free consultation.
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Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draws upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain to you all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each approach so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions.
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