While many people assume that a permanent brain injury is an obscure event that only happens to other people, statistical research reveals this debilitating form of injury is far too common. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that head injuries constitute the leading cause of death in young adults and children. Further, head injuries account for 44 percent of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. Over 1.5 million Americans sustain head injuries every year with 80,000 of those injuries resulting in irreversible damage.
The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries is auto accidents followed closely by bicycle or motorcycle accidents, falls, and sports-related accidents. After a person has sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident, it is not always immediately apparent how extensive the damage really is until some time has elapsed, and medical tests and evaluations have been conducted. The outside of the head may look fairly normal and mask serious internal damage. Nonetheless, the brain may have extensive internal bleeding or the skull might be fractured.
Most accidents that cause head trauma result in at least a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and involve a brief change in someone's mental faculties or loss of consciousness. Severe cases of TBI involve long periods of loss of consciousness or amnesia. A severe TBI can cause impairment of critical mental and physical functions, such as reasoning, sensation, memory, language, and emotion.
It is important to realize a person can sustain a traumatic brain injury in a car accident even when the vehicle occupant does not hit his or her head on a hard object.
There are several ways the brain can be injured in a car accident or other accident like a fall without actual impact to the head.
- Bruising or Bleeding - This can result when the soft tissue inside the head impacts the skull, which might cause blood vessels to tear. This can cause bleeding into different areas of the brain. The blood often causes pressure to build against these tissues because the skull is immovable. The pressure against these tissues can cause parts of the brain to stop functioning correctly or even die off. This frequently happens in an auto accident because the brain goes from moving at a high rate of speed to a complete stop instantly which causes the brain to smash against the inside of the skull. People who experience this injury often will appear to be fine right after the accident occurs. This is very dangerous because the pressure builds until the head impact victim starts to feel funny and confused. These types of physical and mental symptoms might be a precursor to the victim lapsing into a coma.
- Tearing - If someone is thrown forward and backward violently in a car accident, the brain can actually be torn in the process. This is a dangerous injury because the tears may be very small and undetectable during an MRI or CT scan.
- Swelling - When the brain is injured, the body will react much the way it does to heal any other injury. It will swell because it is trying to heal itself. The problem when the brain swells is that there is no extra room inside the skull for this swelling to occur. The pressure then pushes down on the brain and can stop bodily functions like breathing and heart rate. Sometimes doctors will have to relieve the pressure right away by creating an opening in the skull.
Traumatic brain injuries often leave a person with long-term disabilities and debilitating conditions, such as seizures, amnesia, dementia, loss of mental functioning or sensation, impairment of communication skills, and nerve or vascular damage. Auto accident victims that suffer traumatic brain injuries can also be more susceptible over the long-term to diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and epilepsy.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should never assume you are okay just because you are experiencing only minor dizziness or a mild headache. You should be checked out by medical personnel immediately after an accident if you experience any sort of trauma to your brain no matter how slight. If you have sustained injury to your brain, you also should speak with an attorney, so you can discuss and understand your rights.
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury because of the negligence of another, the Miami Personal Injury Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano offer the assistance you need to obtain the results you desire. With over 130 collective years of experience representing policyholders across South Florida, our firm provides legal representation of unmatched excellence. Contact our firm as soon as possible to start on the road to protecting your legal rights. Our firm received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and was ranked as a top firm in South Florida by the Miami Herald. Put our exceptional Florida Permanent Brain Damage Lawyers to work on your case. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.