October 21, 2022
What to Do If You Have a Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries are one of the most frequent injuries you can get after a car accident. However, you might not immediately realize you have been hurt in a car crash. Not all injuries are painful or show obvious symptoms at first. Some injuries may remain unnoticed for several hours or even days.
So, how can you tell if a brain injury is mild or severe? Mild cases could cause a momentary shift in awareness or mental state. In severe cases, the patient may experience prolonged unconsciousness, coma, or even face death. Brain injuries can leave a victim with long-term symptoms and lifelong struggles and limitations.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain is damaged by a sudden, external physical force. TBI is a general term that encompasses a wide range of head injuries and can vary greatly when it comes to symptoms and severity.
Types of Injuries
What happens to your brain in a car accident? As the brain bounces around inside the skull, it tears nerve fibres causing bruising and bleeding. Medical professionals often classify brain injuries into two — closed head injuries and open head injuries. Closed head injuries are very common after car accidents. It happens when the brain’s vital blood vessels and tissues are bruised and torn. Open head injury can also happen when an object, such as collision debris, penetrates the skull and harms the brain during an accident.
Many other types of brain injuries fall within these two classifications, including the following:
Blood clots within or on the surface of the brain are referred to as hematomas, which can develop anywhere within the brain.
Cerebral contusion is essentially a bruise on the brain. They are made up of blood that has seeped from arteries, veins, or capillaries mixed with parts of the brain that have been wounded or enlarged. If a contusion does not heal properly on its own, a hematoma can develop, which surgeons can remove through surgery.
A brain hemorrhage is referred to as uncontrolled bleeding on the brain’s surface or within the brain tissue.
Focal traumatic brain injuries come in a variety of forms, and hemorrhages are one of them. Focal brain injuries are localized traumas that only impact a certain area of the brain. While these injuries typically result in less severe damage than other types of TBI, they can still be fatal if not treated immediately.
Ischemia occurs when there is an insufficient blood supply to certain brain regions. Many TBI patients may experience a regular decrease in their blood supply to very low levels. This can be critical because a brain that has just suffered a traumatic injury is particularly sensitive to even small drops in blood flow. During the initial days following a head injury, changes in blood pressure can potentially be harmful.
- Skull Fractures
Potentially damaging forces that could fracture the skull could harm the brain underneath. The discovery of skull fractures during a patient evaluation, especially when located at the base of the skull, may be very dangerous because they may harm arteries, nerves, or other structures. Depressed skull fractures are another possibility in which a piece of the bone presses against or into the brain.
Signs of Brain Injury
You might not immediately know you have been hurt in the head right after involving in a car crash. TBIs are hard to recognize as they may appear hours or even days after the accident. That is why it is important to have a head injury assessment with your doctor following your accident. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury you should look out for:
Your capacity to process speech and language can be greatly affected by head injuries. Even though your head may already know what it wants your mouth to say, there could be a problem with the neurological pathway that directs your mouth’s actions. Slurred speech and other speech problems can be a sign of a brain injury.
- Coordination and Balance Difficulty
After a head injury, your brain will not have complete control over how your body moves. This may make it difficult for you to maintain your balance, use your fine and gross motor abilities, or even move or walk normally.
- Visual Disturbances
After a car accident, you can feel dizzy and get vision problems, including blurred vision. Trauma to the brain can sometimes result in these visual abnormalities.
- Cognition Issues
You might see that your processing speed has slowed after brain injury. Information can appear to be moving slowly inside your head, impacting your cognitive functioning negatively.
Other signs and symptoms to watch out for:
Symptoms can differ greatly depending on the severity of the brain injury.
- Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Having a mild traumatic brain injury includes:
- Physical symptoms
- Sensory symptoms
- blurred vision
- ringing in the ears
- changes in the sense of smell and taste
- Cognitive, behavioral, or mental symptoms
- loss of consciousness
- memory and concentration problems
- mood swings
- feeling depressed and anxious
- difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can be detected by any signs and symptoms of a mild injury, as well as the following:
- Physical symptoms
- loss of consciousness for longer periods
- persistent headaches
- convulsions or seizures
- dilation of the pupils of the eyes
- clear fluids coming out of the nose or ears
- tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
- Cognitive, behavioral, or mental symptoms
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech
- Coma and other forms of consciousness problems
Are Children at a Higher Risk?
The answer to this question is yes. According to the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine’s studies, children are indeed more likely to sustain serious injuries. The research found that children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely to acquire serious injuries in side-impact collisions than in frontal collisions (15%) or rear-end collisions (3%).
What You Should Do If You Suspect Brain Injury?
Always treat a traumatic brain injury as an emergency. After a car accident, first responders are trained to evaluate you for brain damage because severe TBIs will quickly get worse without treatment. After a car accident, getting medical help is crucial for your health and well-being, especially if you sustained brain trauma. Not only is this crucial to your recovery, but your medical history also reveals how severe your TBI was following the collision. This will support your car accident claim in turn.
In car accidents, head and brain injuries are extremely common. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the responsibility by yourself if someone else’s carelessness turned your life upside down.
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury and other personal injuries in a car accident and are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Richmond Hill, the lawyers at Michelle Linka Law can help. Call us today for a free quote at (416) 477-7288.