Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States, with at least 1.7 million TBIs occurring each year, either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Car accidents and other traffic-related incidents are the second-leading cause of TBI (17.3 percent) after falls (35.2 percent) and are responsible for the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8 percent), according to the CDC. A TBI is usually caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body, the Mayo Clinic says. An object penetrating the skull can also cause traumatic brain injury.
Moderate to severe TBI can result in prolonged or permanent changes in a person’s state of consciousness, awareness or responsiveness. A severe TBI is usually a debilitating injury requiring continuing care and assistance for the victim.
If you or a family member has suffered a TBI in a car accident caused by someone else, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm want to help you. We understand the financial struggles that TBI victims and their families face, and we know how to help them obtain compensation to pay medical bills and replace lost income.
Types of TBI in Car Accidents
A direct blow to the head or a whiplash-type injury in a motor vehicle accident can cause bruising of the brain and damage to the brain’s internal tissue and blood vessels, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) explains. A bruise at the site of impact is called a “coup lesion.” When the brain is jolted on impact in a car accident, it rebounds and may hit the skull on the opposite side and cause a bruise called a “countrecoup lesion.”
The jarring of the brain against the skull can cause tears in the brain’s internal lining, tissues and blood vessels, which may cause internal bleeding, bruising or swelling of the brain, MUSC says. A penetrating head injury caused by a foreign object can fracture the skull and tear into brain tissue.
Any damage to the brain resulting from trauma or physical injury is technically a traumatic brain injury.
Levels of Head Injuries
TBI injuries may be divided into three levels of head injury:
- Concussion or mild TBI – A temporary and relatively mild condition marked by headache and possibly problems with balance, coordination, concentration, memory and judgment. Most concussion victims recover fully after a period of rest, but suffering one concussion makes a person more susceptible to more serious injuries if they suffer another head injury.
- Post-concussion syndrome and moderate TBI – Symptoms of a concussion can sometimes persist for a few months to a year or more after a head injury. This may lead to anxiety and depression.
- Severe TBI – Severe traumatic brain injury includes closed-injury TBI caused by the brain moving within the skull and being harmed, and penetrating TBI, in which a foreign object penetrates the skull and brain tissue.
Symptoms of Mild TBI (Concussion)
A mild TBI (concussion) may cause any of these symptoms:
- Raised, swollen area (a bump) or a bruise
- A small cut in the scalp
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Problems with balance
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Change in sleep patterns
- Blurred vision
- “Tired” eyes
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Altered sense of taste
- Fatigue or lethargy
Symptoms of Moderate-Severe TBI
A moderate to severe TBI requires immediate medical attention, MUSC advises.
Its symptoms may include any of the above, plus:
- Deep laceration (cut) in the scalp or an open wound
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache that does not go away
- Repeated nausea and vomiting
- Loss of short-term memory, such as difficulty remembering the events up to and through the traumatic event
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty with walking
- Weakness in one side or area of the body
- Seizures or convulsions
- Behavior changes, including irritability
- Blood or clear fluid draining from the ears or nose
- One pupil (dark area in the center of the eye) becoming larger than the other
Severe TBI can result in coma, a persistent vegetative state or “locked-in syndrome,” a neurological condition in which a person is conscious and can think and reason, but cannot speak or move.
The Brain Trauma Foundation says moderate and severe TBIs are associated with a significantly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative dementia that leads to death.
Moderate to severe TBI can be a lifelong disability that leaves victims and their family with seven-figure medical bills and no ability to work for a living. TBI victims may need around-the-clock care and attention, including assistance with performing daily life functions, such as eating, bathing, dressing, and bathroom needs, for example. The physical and financial burdens assumed by care-providing family members may lead to them developing psychological problems.
Contact Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member of yours suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, Joye Law Firm may be able to help you. Our car accident lawyers have been helping injured people from Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and across South Carolina since 1968.
Joye Law Firm’s attorneys have nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience, including successful legal work to secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other related losses sustained by TBI victims and their families. Joye Law Firm attorneys have been named Super Lawyers in South Carolina and have received an AV rating from the distinguished Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.
If you are dealing with a traumatic brain injury after a car accident that was not the TBI victim’s fault, call Joye Law Firm at (888) 324-3100 or complete our online form today for a free initial consultation.