One type of injury that is often associated with vehicle accidents—and typically considered the most serious—is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The brain is the most complex organ and arguably the most important. Some vehicle collisions occur at high enough speeds to damage the brain despite the protection afforded by the skull.
A TBI resulting from a car accident often happens when a person’s head strikes the steering wheel, dashboard, or another part of the vehicle’s interior. Depending on the exact nature of a patient’s TBI, they could be diagnosed with a contusion, concussion, or intracranial hematoma (brain bleed), to name a few conditions.
However, one’s head does not need to physically strike another surface for a TBI to occur. This can make TBIs difficult to recognize.
Symptoms of Moderate and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Some symptoms of moderate and mild traumatic brain injuries mirror symptoms of severe TBIs. Individuals who suffer a mild TBI can experience:
- Blurry vision
- Confusion and/or disorientation
- Memory loss (usually associated with the period immediately before or after the injury)
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dilated pupils (in one or both eyes)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Difficulty speaking or thinking
Those who suffer mild TBIs often do not lose consciousness; if it does happen, the patient typically becomes unconscious for a few seconds. Moderate TBIs, conversely, can cause patients to lose consciousness for more than 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Losing consciousness for more than 24 hours is typically a sign of a severe TBI.
Symptoms of Severe TBIs
The initial symptoms of severe TBIs are largely the same as those consistent with mild or moderate TBIs. Loss of consciousness may last longer, though, and some symptoms associated with milder forms of TBI (memory loss, difficulty speaking, headaches) could persist indefinitely.
Severe TBIs also make patients much more likely to develop serious complications. These complications include coma, numbness in extremities, post-traumatic epilepsy, meningitis, going into a vegetative state, and, at the end of the spectrum, brain death.
It is important to note that mild and moderate traumatic brain injuries can be just as serious as severe traumatic brain injuries in relation to long-term effects. However, insurance companies often downplay mild traumatic brain injuries.
How Does a TBI Factor into a Personal Injury Case?
The aim of any personal injury claim or lawsuit is to make the victim whole again. An important part of making someone whole again is to provide the victim with necessary short-term and long-term medical care, along with the expenses needed to cover the care.
TBIs often command a significant amount (both time and money) of medical care. The average person who suffers a TBI will need $150,000 worth of medical care, and it is common for patients’ care to reach well into seven figures. When the stakes are that high, it is imperative to call a knowledgeable and experienced Missouri personal injury attorney. Our firm is ready to serve you; call us at 636-946-6886 to discuss your needs today.