Brain Injury Symptoms and Diagnosis After an Accident
Car accidents are the second-leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. Even at relatively low speeds, the sudden jolt of a collision can damage the brain’s delicate tissues and have life-changing consequences.
A brain injury can range in severity from mild to catastrophic. But even a mild injury is a serious one. Unfortunately, minor brain injuries do not always show up immediately, even if accident victims visit the emergency room right away. For this reason, it’s essential to understand the symptoms of a brain injury if you’ve been in a car accident in California.
It’s equally important to know your legal rights if you suffered a head injury in a crash. A TBI is costly to treat, even when its effects are temporary. You deserve compensation if someone else is responsible for the accident that injured you.
Did you sustain a TBI in Los Angeles County? Talk to a Pasadena brain injury attorney at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph today. Our law firm understands the complex medical and financial demands that TBIs place on survivors and their caregivers. We fight for compensation that accounts for both current and future costs to ease your burdens.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
How Does a Car Accident Cause a TBI?
When you’re riding in a car, your body is moving at the same speed as the vehicle. When it is hit abruptly, you may come to a sudden stop or be subjected to a rapid change in direction. Your brain remains in motion until it hits the skull, a dashboard, windshield, window, or other object.
TBIs can also happen when flying objects penetrate the skull and pierce the brain. Bone fragments from a fractured skull, road debris, or anything that strikes the head at high velocity could cause a penetrating brain injury.
In both scenarios, brain injuries are medical emergencies. Even if there is no apparent wound, the violence of impact on the brain could cause bleeding that rapidly destroys cells and neurons.
A brain injury can have physical, mental, cognitive, and emotional effects. Symptoms of mild injuries like concussions may have a delayed onset. Some people may not even realize that they’re suffering from a brain injury until days after their car accident.
Look for these symptoms of a mild brain injury in the hours and days after a wreck:
- Loss of consciousness for just a few seconds or minutes
- Fatigue or unusual sleeping patterns
- Speech problems
- Blurry vision
- Trouble with balance (vertigo)
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- Memory or concentration problems
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Inability to taste
- Personality changes
- Depression or anxiety
Many of these symptoms also appear in a moderate to severe TBI, but are worse, such as:
- Loss of consciousness for minutes to hours
- Headaches that become increasingly painful
- Repeated vomiting/nausea
- Dilated pupils or nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements)
- Clear fluid draining from nose or ears
- Inability to wake
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Sensory changes (e.g., numbness, tingling in limbs)
- Severe confusion
- Significant agitation
- Speech problems
Car accident victims displaying any of the above symptoms need immediate medical attention. The longer a brain injury goes undiagnosed, the more damage it can cause.
The short-term effects of a brain injury will depend on the severity of the trauma. Someone with a concussion may experience memory problems, headaches, and disorientation for a few days or a few months, but they eventually recover completely from their injury.
The immediate effects of a catastrophic brain injury are much worse. Bruising on the brain can cause massive brain bleeds and widespread damage. Like other injured parts of the body, the brain also swells in response to trauma. But unlike many other body parts, the brain is encased in the hard shell of the skull and cannot expand. The growing pressure in the brain can cause damage even in areas where no impact occurred.
Without emergency treatment, many short-term effects can cause lifelong problems.
Car accidents can cause healthy, active individuals with a lifetime of opportunities ahead of them to become permanently disabled if they suffer severe TBIs. The long-term effects of a brain injury can include:
- Permanent memory loss
- Inability to form new memories
- Speech impairment (aphasia)
- Eating/drinking problems
- Loss of motor coordination, such as the ability to walk
- Difficulty with thinking, making decisions, and/or understanding
- Inability to read and write
- Sensory issues, such as visual/hearing impairments, sensitivity to sound, light, temperature
- Emotional problems, including aggression, outbursts, sadness, mood swings, inappropriate responses to situations
- Inability to work
- Need for round-the-clock caregiving or move to a nursing home
- Persistent vegetative state
- Post-traumatic dementia
Brains are complex organs, and no TBI is alike. Accident victims with injuries to the same areas of the brain may experience very different long-term effects, depending on factors such as how quickly they got treatment or how their brain rewired itself.
Diagnosing TBI After an Accident
Doctors diagnose brain injuries using a variety of tests, including:
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans
- Neurological exam
- Speech, vision, language, and hearing tests
- Evaluating levels of consciousness using tools such as the Glasgow Coma Scale and Ranchos Los Amigos Scale
- Intracranial pressure (ICP) probe to monitor pressure inside the skull
- Medications to reduce swelling, prevent seizures, or even induce comas to give the brain time to rest
Keep in mind that symptoms of serious brain injuries, including life-threatening hemorrhages, may not show up on imaging tests right away. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your symptoms in the days after a car accident.
If you’ve been in a crash and feel fine, it’s a good idea to have someone wake you every 2 hours on the night following the accident to make sure that you can be roused easily and that you aren’t showing signs of a head injury.
How a Pasadena Brain Injury Lawyer Can Recover Damages for You
The lifetime cost of living with a TBI is estimated to be between anywhere from $85,000 to $3 million. That’s not accounting for further financial losses if family members have to quit their jobs in order to care for a loved one with a brain injury. If you’re in this situation after a car wreck in Pasadena, Attorney Pius Joseph can meet with you in a free consultation to review your legal options.
A lawyer knows that the stakes are high when it comes to TBI claims. You need money that can support you with past and current medical costs. But you also need to be financially prepared for whatever lies ahead — and with a brain injury, the road to recovery is often bumpy and there are no guarantees.
It’s important to contact a California brain injury lawyer as soon as possible after your car accident. The insurance company for the at-fault driver will likely contact you quickly after the wreck and offer you a settlement. You should never accept this offer. With traumatic brain injuries, the ultimate cost of the damage may not be known for weeks, months, or even a year after the crash occurs. Insurers try to get you to settle early because once you accept the money, there’s no turning back to demand more.
An experienced Pasadena TBI lawyer can:
- Investigate your claim to identify who was at fault for the car accident
- Gather medical records, pay stubs, evidence, and expert testimony to show the seriousness of your brain injury and how your life has been changed
- Work with financial planners to show what your anticipated future costs will be
- Build a strong, persuasive case that shows why the at-fault party owes you maximum compensation for your TBI
- Negotiate with the insurance company to push for a full and fair settlement
- Take your case to trial (if needed)
Most car accident claims result in settlements. However, there are times when defendants refuse to pay the full amount of money that victims are entitled to. Be sure to choose a California TBI attorney with a strong track record of success representing clients just like you in court.
Providing Top Legal Services to Pasadena TBI Accident Victims for Over 30 Years
At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we want justice for California brain injury victims. You shouldn’t have to face a lifetime of financial and personal hardship because another driver was careless. You can rely on our legal team to fight for maximum compensation so that you have the resources you need moving forward.
Ready to discuss your case? Contact our Pasadena brain injury lawyer now for a free case review.