Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are responsible for the deaths of approximately 50,000 Americans each year and the hospitalizations of roughly 230,000 more. Many more victims go undiagnosed.
Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of TBI. Most TBIs are closed head injuries, which means that trauma sets the brain in motion inside the skull. The brain gets slammed against the interior surface of the skull, resulting in contusions and swelling.
Trauma can also initiate rotational forces that twist and stretch the brain, which can damage axons. Brain neurons send messages via electrical impulses; axons are the carriers of these impulses. When axons are damaged, brain function is diminished.
A condition called diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs on a cellular level and leaves blood vessels and major brain structures intact. This type of damage cannot be detected by MRIs or CT scans, making DAI vastly under diagnosed and undertreated.
Brain injuries are unlike injuries to other parts of the body. They not only have a physical component, they also affect the cognitive and emotional well-being of the victim. Impairments can be temporary or permanent, subtle or catastrophic.
It’s important to note that low-impact auto accidents can result in TBI (e.g., concussion due to whiplash), not just high-impact ones. In addition, a person involved in a car crash may feel perfectly normal immediately following the incident; however, TBI symptoms might only present themselves hours, days, or weeks later.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, schedule a medical evaluation and contact an auto accident attorney to protect your rights.