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Car Accidents Contribute to Most Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car accidents are frightening events often leading to injury. One of the most serious types of injury is a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries – also known as TBIs – can occur when someone suffers a blow, bump or jolt to the head, or when something penetrates the head and enters the brain tissue. According the Centers for Disease Control, 1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury every year. TBIs are responsible for almost a third of all accidental deaths. Although falls may account for the greatest number of injuries, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs. Car and truck accidents account for 17 percent of all people with a TBI.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Car Accidents

Of all the causes of TBIs, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents cause the most serious traumatic brain injuries. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are responsible for more TBI-related deaths than any other accident, accounting for 31.8 percent of all deaths caused by TBI.Car accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries directly or indirectly. When a TBI occurs as the direct result of an automobile accident, it is usually because of something like drivers hitting their heads on the steering wheel or against a deployed airbag. In addition, passengers in a vehicle may suffer from a brain injury when the roof of a vehicle crashes during a rollover accident or when a seat collapses.TBIs can also occur indirectly during a car crash when someone suffers from whiplash because, although there is no pressure being directly applied to the brain, the brain can bounce inside of the skull as the head rapidly moves back and forth with the impact of the crash.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

When patients receive a direct brain injury during an automobile crash, they generally experience symptoms – such as loss of consciousness or coma – that can easily be observed or discovered through neurological tests. Indirect injuries are not as easy to evaluate because obvious TBI symptoms may not occur for several days – or even years – after the injury occurs.

Symptoms include memory problems, depression, moodiness, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, anxiety, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, balance problems and sleep disorders.

Although it isn’t always possible to tell if a TBI is serious, certain symptoms tend to be present. If a person experiences a headache that won’t go away, convulsions and seizures, nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, numbness in the extremities, a loss of coordination, dilated pupils, restlessness or an inability to wake up.

The Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs can be devastating because of their effects. Almost half of all individuals suffering a severe TBI will need surgery to repair the damage. TBIs can lead to long-term disabilities including problems with cognition, sensory processing, communication and even mental health.

The behavior changes associated with a change in a person’s mental health can be especially difficult for both the person injured and their families. A person with a TBI can suffer from long-term anxiety, depression or a change in personality. In addition, a TBI can cause a person to become more aggressive, either acting out or behaving in socially inappropriate ways.

Know Your Rights

In addition to the physical and emotional challenges associated with TBI, the medical and indirect costs can be staggering. The CDC estimated these costs exceeded $76 billion in 2000. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury because of a truck or car accident, you may be entitled to damages from the other driver. Before agreeing to anything with your insurer, you should speak with an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney who can advise you of your options.

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