Whenever you are in an accident, the first thing you should do is assess yourself and any passengers for injuries. Worry about other vehicles and damage to the car itself after the initial emergency check-over. While some injuries, such as abrasions and broken bones are immediately noticeable, some injuries are not immediately identifiable. Internal injuries such as those to the brain often do not show any signs or symptoms for days or even weeks after a trauma. Even though these traumatic brain injuries do not show immediate signs of injury, they still can have serious and permanent repercussions. It is important to realize this because early detection and obtaining immediate medical care thereafter have been shown to be the key to making a good recovery after a traumatic brain injury.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
An intracranial injury, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI), is an injury or damage to the brain itself, including its cells and structures, and often occurs as a result of sudden trauma to the head. Car accidents, slip and falls, assaults and explosions are the top incidents resulting in brain injuries. While most people assume that direct impact with the head, such as hitting the window or steering wheel, is necessary to cause a severe injury, that is simply not true. Medical literature shows that the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the automobile not only causes whiplash, but it also causes the brain to bounce around within the cranial cavity. This bouncing, twisting, and rotation can stretch or even sever communication between nerve cells and fibers in your brain. When nerve cells and fibers are injured, people can lose mobility, lose memory, experience severe anxiety and depression and even result in losing the ability to smell and taste food.
What is the Severity and Prevalence of TBIs?
An estimated 1.4 million Americans receive doctor diagnoses of TBI annually. The actual prevalence is thought to be much higher because many TBIs remain undetected. More than half of TBI cases stem from car accident injuries. The TBIs are classified into 3 categories: mild, moderate and severe. Approximately 80% of TBIs are classified as mild TBI (mTBI), which is characterized by either a brief loss of consciousness, mental status changes, or simply being dazed or confused. A relatively small portion of sufferers experienced severe TBI symptoms. Severity symptoms often depend on the length of time in which a person remained unconscious, following this scale:
- Less than 30 minutes: minor or mild,
- More than 30 minutes but less than six hours: moderate, and
- More than six hours: severe.
While the TBI may be classified as “mild” by doctors, these injuries can severely impact the quality of your life. Studies show that even mild TBIs can cause permanent damage to brain cells and fibers that result in debilitating symptoms. However, there is a treatment for these injuries and the science behind the treatment of TBIs is improving by leaps and bounds all the time. In fact, brain injury experts agree that the key to making a full recovery is obtaining proper medical treatment as soon as possible after an injury and the onset of its symptoms. As a result, it is critical that victims of car accidents that having ongoing symptoms related to a head injury seek immediate medical attention.
Contact an Attorney No Matter the Severity of the Symptoms
If you have recently been in a car accident resulting in injuries, no matter how mild or minor, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. All too often, people that have suffered a TBI think the symptoms will just go away with time and not seek timely medical attention. When it comes to TBIs, once the injured party is victimized again when the insurance companies tell them they are lying, exaggerating or outright faking their symptoms. Proactivity is your best ally in car accident cases. If you would like to contact a Chicago, IL vehicle accident injury attorney, contact Pullano & Siporin today by calling 312-551-1100 to schedule your free and initial confidential consultation.