A car crash, a fall, or other similar accidnets can easily lead to blunt force head trauma. If you have had to deal with head trauma due to some kind of accident, you should seek treatment immediately. It’s important to get professional guidance to prevent as many complications as possible.
Car Accident Statistics in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas
Texas has higher-than-average fatality rates on the roadways (1.36 deaths per hundred million miles traveled in 2015 compared to the national average of 1.13), and nearly 240,000 people were injured in car accidents in our state in 2016, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
While the leading cause of brain injury and concussion in Texas is falls, the second leading cause is car crashes. If you exclude minor brain injuries and look at only those requiring the services of a neuro-intensive care unit (such as moderate to severe traumatic brain injury cases), car crashes are actually the most frequent cause.
Car Accident Injury Statistics in Texas 2016
|Incapacitating Car Accidents||937||552||9,444|
|Non-incapacitating Car Accidents||3,865||1,900||45,481|
Courtesy of the Texas Department of Transportation
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury refers to any brain damage caused by an external impact, as opposed to damage suffered by a stroke or tumor. The presence of a “TBI” is contingent upon at least one of the following criteria:
- Loss of consciousness
- Partial amnesia
- Skull fracture
- Brain scan anomalies
- Post-traumatic seizures
Types of Head and Brain Injuries
In an “open head injury,” the skull has been compromised and protective layers of the brain are exposed to the elements, such as with a gunshot wound.
In a “closed head injury,” the skull remains intact and the brain has not been penetrated. This is often the type of injury sustained in a car crash. During an accident, the victim’s head can stop suddenly, causing the brain to hit the side of the skull, which can bruise brain tissue and tear blood vessels.
Signs and Symptoms of a Brain Injury
A brain injury can lead to a person experiencing physical, emotional and cognitive pain and difficulty. Sometimes these signs and symptoms last for long periods of time. Many times, the signs of brain injury don’t show up immediately after the initial trauma. Instead, they appear days, weeks, months or even years later.
Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology’s journal, recently published a report showing that a person who has sustained a mild concussion can show signs of brain damage on brain scans taken months later.
Short-Term Effects Traumatic Brain Injuries
Neurologist Dr. Raina Gupta says that physicians know a good deal about brain injuries’ short-term effects on the human body. A person who has suffered a brain injury, he states, will generally experience:
- Double vision
- Memory loss.
These symptoms typically reveal themselves within the first few days following a mild brain injury, and then usually fade away within a couple of weeks or months. But, not always. Dr. Gupta feels it’s important for anyone who has sustained a head injury, even quite some time ago, to know that the injury might have something to do with persistent cognitive difficulties. Feeling like you’re foggy or mentally drained could be due to a head injury inflicted long ago. It’s best to talk with a doctor if you have any issues with confusion, memory loss, or mental clarity – or even sleep or mood – after suffering a head injury.
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury
Suffering any kind of brain injury can be life changing and catastrophic. Since a brain injury often doesn’t manifest itself for months following head trauma, a person might not realize the gradual changes in behavior or cognitive ability that stem from the injury. Cognitive changes to look out for after suffering head trauma include mood swings, verbal outbursts, and irritability.
Physical symptoms months later that may be due to a prior head injury include:
- Sleep disorders
Often, a person who has sustained a brain injury may find that later they’re diagnosed with secondary psychiatric disorders including depression, perceptual-motor disorders, and even early onset of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’ve suffered a head injury, you should speak to a doctor immediately. After that, contact Patterson Law Group. Our team of personal injury lawyers wants to hear your story. Fill out the form on this page and we will be in touch with you promptly.
Primary Head and Brain Injuries Incurred in Car Accidents
When your head bangs against the dashboard or headrest, you suffer from primary injuries, and it’s too late for doctors to reverse those head injuries. The best they can do is try and prevent any secondary injuries or complications.
Skull fractures are a common primary injury of car crash victims, in which broken shards of the skull press on the brain. A localized head brain injury like bruising and bleeding is usually contained to one layer of the brain, whereas a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) can affect neurons throughout the brain.
Secondary injuries happen within a few days of the primary injury, and may be triggered by low oxygen intake or brain tissue swelling.
How to Measure Brain Damage After a Car Accident
Perhaps you have seen on TV how First Responders assess the brain injuries by asking a few basic questions, such as “What is your name? – How old are you? – What year is this? – Who is the current President of the United States?” These questions help quickly determine how alert and awake an injured driver or passenger may be, and they are part of the Glascow Coma Scale (GCS) to rate levels of the severity of comas.
A GCS score of 3 or less indicates a vegetative state, a score of 9 or higher indicates a slightly responsive patient, and a GCS score of 15 indicates full consciousness and alertness.
You Need to be Tested for Brain Damage After a Car Accident
There are two types of brain scans useful in diagnosing and monitoring head and brain injuries, the CT and the MRI. A CT, short for Cranial Tomography, is akin to a brain X-ray that detects bruises and blood clots. A more complete picture can be seen with an MRI scan for Magnetic Resonance Imaging which highlights the molecular damage.
Here are a few local resources which offer CT and MRI scanning for car accident victims:
Envision Imaging of North Fort Worth
10840 Texas Health Trail #140,
Fort Worth, TX 76244
Phone: (817) 741-0008
Gateway Diagnostic Imaging
1106 Alston Avenue, Suite 175
Fort Worth, TX 76104
Phone: (817) 289-2002
Texas Health Harris Hospital Forth Worth
1301 Pennsylvania Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76104
MRI Centers of Texas
1000 Lipscomb, Ste 100
Fort Worth, 76104
Your Brain After a Car Accident
When the brain gets injured, it reacts like any other tissue by swelling up with liquid, but it has nowhere to expand because it’s embedded in a hard skull. As a result, intracranial pressure builds up inside the head with no place to go. By reducing intracranial pressure following a TBI, doctors can ensure that blood passage to the brain is uninterrupted, and they can prevent further prevent secondary injuries to brain tissue.
In addition to swelling, the brain may experience neuron damage after a devastating car accident. Neurons communicate via chemical signals with the central nervous system and a jarring highway collision wreaks havoc with the brain’s delicate chemistry. It can take many months for the brain to regain its chemical balance following a car crash, but when it does, the healing can occur at a miraculous pace.
Your Amazing Brain Adapts to TBI Damage
The brain has the ability to adapt to change, even after it has been injured in a car accident. It can create new neurons to replace damaged ones, as well as establish new chemical connections in the brain that have been severed by head and brain injuries, but it is a very slow process. Patients who undergo rehabilitation therapy after a car-crash TBI are advised to continue the same stimulating regimen in their homes after being released from the hospital.
If you’ve been victimized in a serious car accident, trust Patterson Law Group. Call us for a free consultation regarding your injuries and your right to compensation after a car accident.