What impact does traumatic brain injury have on car accident survivors? How does brain damage affect the individual's quality of life and ability to work? Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for approximately 50,000, or 30% of all injury deaths in the US. Each year, approximately 2.8 million Americans suffer an injury that can cause brain damage and 282,000 of these require hospitalization. Of these, motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of all traumatic brain injuries and related fatalities in the US. It is the leading cause of death following a car accident for individuals between the ages of 5-24 with those between the ages of 20-24 at greatest risk. Nationwide, approximately 5.3 million people live with the consequences of traumatic brain injuries.
There are two types of brain injuries that can be sustained in a car crash. The first are open wounds caused by pieces of metal, glass, and hardened plastic that penetrates the cranium. Open wounds are particularly dangerous as they can cause significant blood loss, brain swelling, and allow infection to set in. The second, more common type of injuries are closed head injuries including concussions and contusions caused by blunt force impact. The full impact of these injuries may not be readily apparent and symptoms can present themselves hours, days, or even weeks afterward.
More seriously, those who suffer minor brain damage in an automobile accident are prone to developing seizures, depression, and aggressive behaviors. There are also indications that there is an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson's and progressive dementia.The more severe the brain injury, the more significant the consequences. For individuals who have TBI symptoms that develop or persist for more than six months, there is an elevated risk of premature death caused by endocrine dysfunction, diabetes insipidus, and other disorders that the injury triggers or exacerbates.
One of the most insipid aspects of brain damage is that the brain may heal with no apparent long-term damage only to reappear years or even decades later. While most symptoms including diminished cognitive function, depression, etc. persist following a traumatic event, these symptoms and others can appear to be treated and resolved. As time passes and the individual's health changes or they experience another minor trauma, these symptoms can return in full force.
The severity of a brain injury is measured on the Glasgow Outcome Scale. At 3 months following injury, the scale is an accurate assessment of the individual's long-term recovery prospects. Those who score higher on the scale tend to have better prospects of full recovery. Even so, patients can suffer micro-tears and lesions within the brain that are not visible on CT scans or X-rays. This means that there is a significant possibility that the full extent of the brain injury won't be diagnosed immediately and it is estimated that this occurs in up to 60% of instances. Between 30-50% of those with moderate traumatic brain injuries, and 80% of those with severe head injuries will have long-term impairments. Of those who suffer minor traumas, very few develop long-term neurological damage. Of those with minor trauma, approximately 90% will recover within 6-8 weeks following the automobile accident.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents car accident survivors who have suffered brain damage in Topeka, Wichita, Liberal, Goodland, and elsewhere in Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, and Missouri. Those who experience traumatic brain injuries can pursue compensation to help them recover from the financial impact and changes to their quality of life that these injuries can cause.
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