A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an unnatural movement, hit to the head, or violent shaking causes the brain to strike against the skull. When this happens, brain tissue absorbs this impact. Depending on the amount of force and if the person was moving when it happened, the damage can vary from mild to severe. A TBI can disrupt normal brain function, resulting in short-term or long-term health problems or even death.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of TBIs. The extent of the injury depends on how the accident happened. In a head-on collision, both of the cars abruptly stop, and those inside the vehicles are still moving at the same speed prior to the crash. As a result, they are thrown forward, right into the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield, and back into the headrest. On top of that, the front of the car could be smashed up into them. This impact can force the brain into the skull.
In a side-impact collision, a passenger’s head can slam right into one of the windows. The damage in this case will likely occur to the side of the victim’s head. This can also cause a serious TBI.
Similar to head-on collisions, rear-end accidents can also cause a person’s head to pitch forward, hitting the windshield, steering wheel, or dashboard. The harder the impact, the greater chance of sustaining a TBI. Another factor that can increase the severity of a TBI is when the occupant fails to wear a seat belt.
How Do I Know if I Have a Brain Injury?
Brain injuries are often caused by slip and falls, blunt trauma, motor vehicle accidents, and violence. A medical professional can perform tests to see if there is a TBI and to establish its severity.
Concussions might lead to temporary symptoms, like confusion, blurred vision, headaches, a brief loss of consciousness, or disorientation. Moderate TBIs can cause severe headaches, impaired vision, memory loss, and nausea. These impairments can last for longer periods of time and may become permanent.
A serious TBI can lead to more severe symptoms, such as fluid discharge from the ears or nose, seizures, and unequal pupil dilation. This is because the brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerves have been torn. This physical damage can cause permanent and devasting changes to a person’s life. Aside from impaired function, an adult with a TBI can have a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other neurological diseases. It is also not unusual for a child with a TBI to have medical problems appear as their brain develops.
Can a TBI Cause Mental Side Effects?
Brain injury victims can experience significant mental health conditions after an accident. Mental injuries can make the person’s recovery even harder, especially if catastrophic injuries are involved.
It is important to seek treatment for conditions like anxiety and depression, particularly if the symptoms are acute. An anxious person may feel nervous or fearful. They may experience panic attacks, a shortness of breath, an inability to sleep, and other issues. Generalized anxiety is milder, while acute anxiety can produce the feelings of panic.
Depression can also affect sleep and produce changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness, restlessness, sadness, and hopelessness. Depressed victims can also have a pronounced lack of energy, problems concentrating, a tendency to withdraw from other people, and thoughts of death or suicide.
Many car accident victims have anxiety and depression and need therapy, medication, or a combination of treatments. Brain injury survivors may not realize they have these conditions. It is important to have a thorough medical evaluation by a professional after a collision.
What if Someone Else Caused the Car Accident?
If the TBI victim did not cause the car accident, they may want to reach out to a qualified car accident lawyer. The financial losses incurred from medical bills, long-term care, property damage, and lost wages can be high enough to waste a lifetime of savings. In personal injury cases, determining liability is critical. If another party solely caused the collision, there may be a higher damage award for the victim.
However, proving liability is not always easy. It is also important to know that states have different laws that apply to personal injury cases. Pennsylvania applies comparative negligence. Therefore, if a defendant can prove that a plaintiff was partially responsible for a car crash, it can impact how much damages are awarded. In Pennsylvania, the court will determine a percentage of liability and the damage award will be reduce by that amount. If a party is over 50 percent liable for the accident, they cannot collect compensation.
How can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A consultation with a lawyer is an important step after a collision. The lawyer will need as much information as possible about the accident to determine if there is someone to name in the claim. Before contacting the lawyer, the victim can write up as much information about the accident as they can remember. Details about any emergency medical treatment at the scene, whether or not the victim contributed to the accident, weather conditions, and police reports should be explained.
Monetary losses will also be talked about, so it is important to have specifics pertaining to any medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, child care, and even funeral costs. All invoices and receipts should be kept together since they will need to be shown at some point. These damages are easier to calculate, while non-economic damages are more difficult to determine because they are subjective.
Non-economic losses can also be explained during a consultation, including details about how the TBI affected the person’s daily life. The lawyer will also ask if the TBI has impacted the victim’s loved ones and if there is a loss of consortium. Non-economic losses are just as impactful as economic losses. Car accident survivors with TBIs can become disconnected from friends, family, and society. They can experience years of mental and emotional anguish.
If the case is successful, the damages awarded will depend on the severity of the TBI. Mild concussions are not associated with the same types of high medical expenses as serious TBIs. The latter can cause continued physical and mental problems for a very long time, which can last a lifetime for some victims.
Some potential damages for a car accident victim with a TBI include:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Life care costs
- Pain and suffering
There may be other awards that are available to the victim. A car accident lawyer can fight on behalf of their client so that they can focus on healing.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Legal Guidance to Collision Victims Suffering From TBIs
If you have a brain injury that was caused by a negligent driver, you may have legal options. If you need help with a TBI injury, speak to a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-569-8488. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.