The brain is a delicate organ, and trauma to the head can easily lead to permanent brain damage. This is why we require cyclists and motorcycle riders to wear helmets. But you don’t need a helmet to drive or ride in a car, because people believe that the vehicle’s frame will protect them from harm.
From 2016 to 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported around 4,600 traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths in the state of Washington. About 1,000 of these TBIs were caused by car accidents, which is one of the leading causes for unintentional TBIs across the country. The reason for this is because drivers and passengers often hit their heads on objects inside or outside the vehicle when significant impact occurs.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a TBI results when an individual experiences “a violent blow or jolt to the head.” Mild TBIs usually only affect the brain temporarily, but severe TBIs may cause bruising, bleeding, and permanent damage to the cells in the brain.
Common TBIs from car accidents
There are several different types of TBIs that you may experience after being in a car accident, but some are more common than others. The five most common traumatic brain injuries include:
- Concussion. Concussions are caused by any type of force to the head. They are considered to be mild TBIs, but the pain and side effects from them can be severe. When an individual is involved in a car accident and experiences any type of impact to the head, this can cause a concussion to appear.
- Contusion. When an individual has a bruise on their brain, this is called a contusion. Contusions occur when an individual strikes their head on an object, and the brain hits the inside of the skull. Some contusions will heal on their own. However, they can lead to bleeding and blood clots if they are severe. In car accidents, contusions typically happen when an individual’s head strikes an object inside or outside the vehicle.
- Coup-Contrecoup. A person who is diagnosed with a coup-contrecoup has an injury in two different places in the brain. Coup-contrecoup typically develops after a blow to the head. This may be from hitting your head on an object twice, or it can come from the force of one strike causing the other side of your brain to collide with the inside of your skull.
- Acquired brain injury. An acquired brain injury may happen without hitting your head on any object. Instead, this type of injury develops when you are having a different issue in your body, such as insufficient oxygen. Therefore, when an individual is in a car accident, they may lose blood flow or oxygen to the brain, causing an acquired brain injury.
- Penetrating brain injury. A person may be diagnosed with a penetrating brain injury if an object goes through their skull. If the object enters their brain, this can be extremely dangerous and even deadly. Victims of car accidents may suffer a penetrating brain injury if any objects inside or outside the vehicle penetrate their brain. This is very common in high-speed accidents.
The symptoms of car crash related TBIs can vary after
Some people report symptoms of a TBI immediately after a car accident, while others do not show any symptoms for days or weeks. However, depending on the severity of your TBI, you may experience a variety of different symptoms. The following are some of the symptoms that you may experience with mild and severe TBIs:
|Mild TBI||Severe TBI|
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A moderate TBI may have symptoms from either or both categories.
Regardless of if you have symptoms or not, it is extremely important that a physician assess your head and skull after hitting your head during an accident. The sooner that a TBI is identified, the better chance of recovering you may have.
What kinds of car accidents lead to TBIs?
While any kind of car accident can lead to a TBI, there are some car accidents that are more likely to cause these types of injuries, such as:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Large truck accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Rollover accidents
In truth, any collision between two vehicles, or a vehicle and another object (like a tree, a building, or even the road) can lead to brain trauma.
Can I file a claim for a TBI after a car accident in Vancouver, WA?
If you sustained a TBI after a car accident with a negligent driver, you may be entitled to damages. Our car accident attorneys at Philbrook Law Office will meet with you, listen to your story, and determine if you have a potential claim. If we believe that you do, we will gather the necessary proof and documentation, determine what losses you have suffered since the accident, and represent you in front of a jury or during settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
Some of the types of evidence that we may need to prove negligence are police reports, medical records, witness statements, photographs, and video footage. We know that you are going through a very difficult time as your medical bills are accumulating and you are unable to return to work. Our goal is to show the full extent of your losses, including medical bills and lost wages as well as less tangible harms, like your pain and suffering. However, it is important that you file your claim within three years from the date of your accident. This may seem like a long period of time, but it’s really not.
The attorneys of Philbrook Law Office, PS are knowledgeable and skilled in helping clients who have experienced TBIs after car accidents. Our lawyers take these injuries very seriously, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive fair compensation to move forward with your life. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Battle Ground and Vancouver, WA.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.