Car accidents second leading cause of traumatic brain injury deaths in U.S.

Whether a person is involved in a minor fender bender or a devastating collision, a car accident can result in serious injuries. These include head and brain injuries, such as spinal cord damage and mild to severe traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. contribute to 30 percent of all injury deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car accidents are the second leading cause of TBI deaths. Those who survive a traumatic brain injury may have to live with severe cognitive and physical disabilities as a result of the injuries. In Florida alone, 2,424 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2012, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A number of these deaths were the direct result of TBI.

How does TBI occur?

A traumatic brain injury can occur when a sudden impact causes the soft brain tissue to hit against the skull bone, as reported by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Not only does this have the potential to cause immediate bleeding in the brain, but the brain can continue to swell after the initial injury occurs. This swelling can continue for several days following the accident and create additional pressure in the skull cavity. Objects that fly around the car can inflict trauma by piercing the skull as well.

Identifying the signs and symptoms of TBI

Depending on the severity and location of the injury, people may exhibit different signs and symptoms of TBI. Mild TBI may be more difficult to diagnose, as many of the symptoms can be indicators of other issues. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, people who have a mild TBI may experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble concentrating, dizziness, fatigue and a change in mood. Moderate to severe cases of TBI may result in convulsions, memory loss, sensory disabilities, slurred speech, intense headaches, inability to wake up from sleeping, increased confusion, muscle weakness and numbness in the arms and legs.

On the road to recovery

Different diagnostic tests are used to find the direct location of the injury. Physicians may also ask the patient to evaluate his or her symptoms in order to gain a better understanding of what the TBI has affected. Since TBIs are extremely individualistic, physicians will often create a treatment plan based on each patient's unique symptoms and needs. Many treatment plans include a medical team of professionals, including occupational, speech and physical therapists. Some patients will require follow-up care for years to come, while others may recover quite quickly and move on to lead healthy, normal lives.

When to partner with an attorney

Not only do TBIs impact the lives of injury victims, they also affect the lives of their family members. People who have had their lives affected by the negligence of another driver should immediately discuss their case with an experienced personal injury attorney. The effects of many injuries, including head and brain injuries, may not be immediately apparent after an accident and waiting can only hurt the chances of obtaining appropriate compensation for your injuries. To preserve your rights, contact Dana J. Watts, Attorney at Law to schedule an appointment.