A car accident can change your life. It can cause emotional, financial, and physical damage that can last for years. Whether you're driving on a busy road in Dallas, a bustling highway just outside Houston, or a rural road in Guthrie, a car accident in Texas can prove to be lethal.
Are brain injuries common in Texas car accidents? Although car accidents cause different kinds of injuries, traumatic brain injuries have the most devastating consequences. As a victim or the family of a victim of a car accident, you need to fully understand the gravity of a traumatic brain injury and the medical treatment required for it.
Car Accident Statistics for Texas
Let's look at some car accidents statistics gathered by the Texas Department of Transportation, in the year 2019:
- Every 2 hours and 26 minutes, a person was killed in a car accident
- Every 2 minutes and 3 seconds, a person was injured in a car crash
- A crash was reported every 56 seconds
There is no wonder why Texas leads all states in the number of deaths and fatal injuries caused by car accidents.
The Most Common Types of Car Accidents:
1. Head-on collisions
A head-on collision takes place when the front of two vehicles that were traveling in opposite directions collided. These vehicles usually collide at a breakneck speed which can be detrimental to your body if you aren't wearing a seat belt or your car doesn't have an airbag. Head-on collisions can result in head and spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, paralysis, and death.
- Rollover accidents
As the name suggests, this occurs when a car rolls over to its side or roof. These are more common for larger vehicles like trucks and pick-ups. However, minivans and SUVs also have the potential to roll over. These accidents can cause injury to the brain, thorax, abdomen, upper and lower limbs.
A rear-end collision is the result of one car crashing into the other car in front of it. These are the result of distracted driving or driving without maintaining an appropriate distance from the car in front. These collisions can cause Whiplash (a type of neck injury). Both drivers need to get checked by a medical professional after such a collision to rule out any serious injuries.
- Side impact (t - bone) accidents
This happens when the front or rear of one vehicle collides with the side of another. Many factors determine the impact of this kind of collision. Depending on the speed of the vehicle, its build and where the impact occurred, this can result in fatal injuries. Side impact accidents cause head, brain, and neck injuries as well as impact the pelvis and abdomen.
Out of all the injuries that these accidents have the potential to cause, traumatic brain injuries are the ones that prove to be the most fatal.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A traumatic brain injury is caused by an external impact or blow as opposed to injuries or issues that are internal, like a stroke or an aneurism. This type of injury is considered to be present through the following criteria:
- Loss of consciousness
- A partial amnesia
- Anomalies in the brain scan
- Skull fracture
Brain injuries require immediate medical care and each victim can experience different symptoms after sustaining them. Symptoms include concussion, vomiting, nausea, slurred speed, blurred vision, disrupted sleep pattern, and confusion among others.
If you or a family member has experienced these symptoms after a car crash, it is imperative that you get medical attention and file a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident.
What are the Types of Head and Brain Injuries?
There are two main types of brain and head injuries:
An open head injury results when the skull and the protective layers around the brain are compromised like in a gunshot wound.
- Closed head injury
In this case, the skull remains closed and the brain doesn't get penetrated. This is actually the most common kind of injury sustained in a car crash. During the crash, the victim's brain can stop in place and then hit the side of the skull with impact. This can cause brain tissue damage and tear blood vessels.
What Are the Different Ways In Which a Vehicle can Cause a TBI?
While it's important that you understand the concept of open and closed head injuries. It's equally important to understand that TBIs can occur even if there is no penetration or a direct blow to the head. A TBI can easily be caused by a violent jerk or jolt to the body. This can cause the brain to hit the skull during a car accident.
Let's look at some common types of brain injuries caused by a car accident:
A concussion is caused by violent shaking of the skull or through a direct blow on your head. Its severity can range from mild to high. Concussions are sometimes hard to measure as the victim may or may not lose consciousness and damage may not appear on a CT scan or tests.
Common symptoms include loss of sleep, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, changes in movement, behavior, and mood. During a car crash, the victim is more than likely to hit their head on the steering wheel, dashboard or the side of the door and that can cause a serious blow to the head.
Contusions are areas of blood on the brain and they can be caused by the direct impact of the head on a dashboard or steering wheel. These are detected with the help of imaging scans. It has the potential of resulting in a severe injury. If the contusion is large, doctors will have no choice but to remove it surgically.
- Diffuse axonal injury
During a car crash, the victim's head can experience violent shaking which can tear the brain stem and cause serious brain damage. Strong rotational forces during a head-on, rear-end or rollover collision can cause this. This can result in permanent brain damage, coma, and even death.
Although the most common type of penetrating injury is the gunshot, flying debris and material in a car crash can hit the victim's head and penetrate the skull easily. This directly impacts the brain and depending on the area it damages, it can cause disability, loss of vision or speech, and worst of all, death.
In addition to these head injuries, a victim can experience neck and spinal cord injury that can have lifelong after-effects.
The Long Term Effects of a Brain Injury Caused by a Car Accident:
By now, we've established that a car accident can have a devastating effect on the accident victim's life, both in the short and the long term. A brain injury can literally impact your overall ability to function normally. Immediate medical care is critical for a victim's recovery as one brain injury can end up causing others, and it's better to act fast in this case.
Victims of a TBI suffer from mood swings, impulsive behaviors, headaches, lack of sleep, and mental fog. These issues can impact their ability to work, do business or maintain relationships.
Emotional Effects of a TBI:
Research shows that at least one-third of the individuals that suffer from a car crash experience emotional after-effects for up to a year after the accident. Apart from major issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and phobias, a brain injury victim also experiences:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight fluctuations
These emotional effects hamper the victim's way of life and should be included in damages when requesting compensation
Physical Effects of a TBI
We've already discussed in detail the kind of head and brain injuries caused by a car crash. These injuries are associated with long-term effects like disabilities, paralysis, and even amputations. Softer injuries like tissue and muscle damage can stay with the victim for a long time. In most cases, the accident victim will need proper physical therapy too.
It is essential that the extent of these physical injuries is determined so compensation can be requested to ease the pain and suffering of the brain injury victim.
Hold the Negligent Party Responsible
Given the major consequences of a TBI, it is crucial that the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. The goal should be to get a fair settlement keeping in mind the emotional and physical pain caused to the victim. All damages including the hefty medical bill must be accounted for so the victim can get some sense of ease for their suffering and sometimes permanent impact on the way of life.
Contact the Glenn Law Firm
Going through the hefty process of a personal injury claim and hiring a brain injury lawyer can be overwhelming for a victim of their family. You may not be able to hold the at-fault side accountable and take the case to a level where you can get justice without the help of a professional personal injury lawyer at Glenn Law by your side.
This is where we come in for your legal representation and take away all your worries. Our professional personal injury attorney will make sure you get compensation for all types of damage and suffering. You don't have to worry about our fee either because we work on a contingency fee plan. We only charge the fee if we win the case for you.
Call us today to learn more.