Car accidents often involve serious, life-altering injuries. Brain injuries are among some of the most devastating types of car accident injuries, as they can lead to life-long complications and are sometimes fatal. When someone suffers a brain injury due to a car accident caused by negligence, they and their family may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. If you or a loved one has recently suffered a brain injury in a car accident, the personal injury lawyers of Steelman, Gaunt, and Crowley are here to help. Contact us today at (573) 341-8336 to learn more about taking legal action for brain injuries from car accidents.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Serious brain injuries are known by the medical term “traumatic brain injury”, or TBI. TBIs occur when a sudden, external physical impact damages the brain. A TBI can be either confined to one part of the brain (focal) or may occur in multiple parts of the brain (diffuse).
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a traumatic brain injury can occur in one of two ways:
- Closed brain injuries – This type of brain injury is nonpenetrating, meaning the skull is not broken. Closed brain injuries occur when the brain moves forward and backward rapidly inside the skull, which causes brain tissue and blood vessels to bruise and tear. These injuries are especially common in car accidents, falls, and sports-related injuries.
- Penetrating brain injuries – Also known as an open head injury, a penetrating brain injury involves a break in the skull.
Common Car Accident Brain Injuries
TBI is a broad category that covers a wide range of brain injuries, which vary in severity from mild concussions to fatal brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), car accidents are the second-leading cause of TBIs, after falls.
While concussions may be mild compared to more severe TBIs, they are still serious injuries that require careful medical attention. Concussions are caused by bumps, blows, and jolts to the head or by hits to the body that cause the brain to move back and forth quickly.
The symptoms of a concussion are typically temporary, but they can be debilitating. They include headaches and issues with memory, concentration, balance, and coordination. These symptoms can also be delayed, so it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional after any car accident, especially if there was a blow to the head.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries
The brain is full of connecting nerve fibers called axons. A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when these fibers tear due to the brain shifting and rotating inside the skull. People who suffer DAIs often end up in comas and may suffer injuries to several different parts of their brains. The signs of DAI can be microscopic and may not show up on CT or MRI scans.
Extremely hard blows to the head can cause the skull to fracture. These fractures sometimes lead to other brain injuries, such as concussions and contusions. A skull fracture can happen in a car accident if a passenger hits their head.
You can learn more about your legal options after a skull fracture and other brain injuries from car accidents by speaking with the compassionate and dedicated Missouri car accident lawyers at Steelman Gaunt Crowley.
A brain contusion is bruising of the brain. These injuries can occur due to blows to the head or jolts to the body that cause the brain to move around and hit the inside of the skull. Contusions often heal on their own, but can also cause life-threatening complications, including brain bleeding and blood clots.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury After a Car Accident
The onset of brain injury symptoms varies. For some patients, symptoms may be immediately apparent, while for others, symptoms may not surface until days or even weeks after the crash. This makes it extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you have not yet noticed symptoms.
Mild TBI Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of a mild TBI include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Speech issues
- Dizziness and balance issues
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Odd tastes in the mouth
- Difficulty smelling
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
- Mood changes
- Trouble with memory or concentration
Symptoms of Moderate to Severe TBI
A moderate or severe traumatic brain injury may include any of the symptoms of mild TBIs, along with any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Chronic headaches
- Regular vomiting or nausea
- Seizures or convulsions
- Pupil dilation
- Clear fluids in the nose or ears
- Difficulty waking up
- Trouble with coordination
- Weak or numb fingers or toes
- Severe mental confusion
- Feelings of agitation or combativeness
- Slurred speech
- Entering a como
What Damages Are Available in a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
When pursuing a settlement or court judgment in a personal injury lawsuit, an attorney will attempt to seek financial compensation for all economic and non-economic damages available under the law related to their client’s injuries.
The available damages will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, but recoverable damages in Missouri personal injury claims may include:
- Medical expenses – All expenses for treatment of the brain injury are recoverable, including hospital bills, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- Lost wages – When a brain injury causes the victim to miss time from work, their lost wages are recoverable.
- Loss of future earning capacity – If the brain injury prevents the victim from returning to their job or finding other work, they may be compensated for these lost future earnings.
- Pain and suffering – Physical pain and emotional suffering are non-economic damages and are recoverable in a personal injury claim.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Some brain injuries may prevent the victim from returning to activities they previously enjoyed or enjoying life in general. This is another recoverable non-economic loss.
Learn More From Our Missouri Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has recently suffered a TBI or any of the other common brain injuries as a result of a car accident, your family has legal rights. At Steelman Gaunt Crowley, our Missouri personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients recover the financial compensation they need and deserve after injuries caused by negligence. Contact us today at (573) 341-8336 for more information, and how you can ensure your legal rights remain protected.