Car accidents are stressful enough without considering the consequences of severe injuries. When an accident damages more than your car, you have to take care to ensure that you make it from the wreckage as safely as possible. While you’re more likely to come away from an accident with a broken bone, it is always possible that you’ll suffer a more serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury. If this is the case for you or a loved one, take the steps necessary to ensure that you’re treated as quickly and effectively as possible.
Defining a Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries are the result of your normally-suspended brain coming into contact with the hard bone that’s meant to protect you. That force results in the fracturing of the bone or the penetration of objects into the skull. This contact can result in minimal consciousness, a vegetative state, a coma, or, at worst, brain death, as well as brain hemorrhages or bruising of the soft tissue and subsequent memory loss.
That said, brain injuries are easier to detect than some other car accident-related traumas. If you hit the windshield during a car accident or made contact with the steering wheel, you’ll want to feel for any tenderness on your forehead or make note of any abnormal wooziness you may be feeling.
How to Identify a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you think you may have a traumatic brain injury and are conscious enough to assess it, or if you witness a loved one get injured in a car accident and want to do your best to diagnose them before an ambulance arrives, look for the following symptoms:
Loss or Change in Consciousness
If you or a loved one fall unconscious or feel as though you can barely stay awake, then it’s possible that you may have sustained a brain injury. Brain fog is a common symptom of a brain trauma, and it feels just like its name suggests. If thinking is difficult and, despite the stress and adrenaline of the accident, you or a loved one are feeling sleepy, do your best to stay away and wait for medical professionals to arrive on the scene.
It’s possible that contact between your brain and your skull could result in focused damage to the soft tissue. As such, you may find that your speech is impaired after a car accident. If you or a loved one are having a difficult time talking, or if you can’t remember particular words or scenarios, do your best to let someone on the scene know right away.
Loss of Balance
It’s also possible that, if you hit the back of your skull against one of the structures in your car, you could have damaged your cerebral cortex. Your cerebral cortex controls your balance and ensures that your body knows which way is up. When it’s damaged, your brain’s understanding of your center of gravity is thrown off, and it can be difficult to stand, let alone walk. Likewise, any vertigo your brain may feel as though its experiencing can result in vomiting.
You may also find that you’re unable to move appropriately or in the same ways that you’re used to. A traumatic brain injury may sever the connection between your brain and certain muscle groups in your body, making them more difficult or impossible to control. Sometimes this symptom of a brain injury can be dismissed as damage done to the muscles or bones themselves, so be sure to communicate with any medical professionals on the scene and have yourself or a loved one tested for other symptoms of brain trauma.
Clear, Leaking Fluid
In the case of severe brain injuries, you may find clear fluid leaking out of your or a loved one’s ears or nose. If this is the case, seek help immediately. This cerebral fluid helps keep your brain suspended and healthy inside of your skull. When it leaks out, not only has your skull been fractured, but your brain’s health has been dangerously compromised.
Other symptoms to look out for after a car accident include:
- Blurred vision
- Tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light and sounds
- Mood swings
When the Victim is a Child
Children will often exhibit many of the same symptoms of traumatic brain injuries after a car accident as adults, but they may have more difficulty vocalizing them. If you and a child are in a car accident, keep an eye on them. If they, post-accident, fall asleep extremely quickly or are more inconsolable than usual, or if they seem unable to communicate effectively, seek the assistance of a medical professional in order to ensure that they haven’t sustained any brain trauma.
How to Respond to a Brain Injury
While there’s not much that you can do for yourself or a loved one upon sustaining a brain injury in a car accident, you can assess your situation – so long as you are mentally capable of doing such. If you are not the injured party, you can check in with your loved one and perform a basic test of their motor skills and responses to verbal questions. Communicate with any medical professionals on the scene in order to have those individuals better assess your loved one’s health.
Most importantly, take care to get yourself or your loved one to a hospital as soon as possible. If you even suspect a brain injury as a possibility, be sure to dial 9-1-1 and ensure a hospital performs all diagnostic procedures to confirm your suspicions.
Seeking Legal Recourse
You may have the option to take legal action against the person who caused your car accident. A personal injury case may be filed in order to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries. If you’re too severely injured, though, your family may have to petition for the appointment of a conservator to stand in for you in court. You, likewise, can fill this role for a loved one, so long as your petition is met with a court’s approval. Either way, it is possible that a personal injury case or, if severe injuries result in death, a wrongful death case can result in some payment for your trauma and recovery.
If you or a loved one suspects a traumatic brain injury, contact the experienced legal team at Trial Lawyers for Justice today for a free consultation.