Brain Injuries From Car Accidents
Have you or a loved one suffered an injury to the brain because you were involved in a car accident in Fort Worth, Texas? At Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, we know that a brain injury can fundamentally change your life as you know it. It can result in death, permanent disability, and drastically shorten your lifespan. Even mild brain injuries can significantly impair your ability to work and enjoy your life. Our Fort Worth car accident lawyers will help you fight to recover compensation from anyone who caused you to get hurt.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us online or call our Tarrant County law office to arrange a free consultation. Our team will happily review your case and answer any questions you have. If you decide to pursue compensation, we’ll fight tirelessly to help you get every last dollar you deserve.
What is a Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to a disruption in normal brain function that’s caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Despite the name, not all traumatic brain injuries are traumatic. TBIs can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the trauma, symptoms, and complications.
Mild TBIs (or mTBIs) are often called concussions, and occur when a loss of consciousness or disorientation lasts less than 30 minutes. Severe TBIs tend to involve extended lengths of unconsciousness or disorientation, as well as significant disruptions to normal executive functions, memory, and behavior. The vast majority of traumatic brain injuries are mild. Studies suggest that severe TBIs account for between 10 percent and 30 percent of all brain injuries.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Are a Leading Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury
Every year, roughly 2.8 million Americans visit the hospital with a suspected TBI. More than half – 1.5 million – are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. According to a CDC report, of these 1.5 million people:
- 230,000 are hospitalized but survive their injury
- 90,000 suffer a permanent disability because of their injury, and
- 50,000 people die due to the severity of their TBI.
Car accidents – and motor vehicle accidents in general – are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 80 percent of all crash victims sustain trauma to the head or chest. That’s four out of every five crash victims.
According to the CDC, there were 383,293 car accident-related traumatic brain injuries in 2013. That accounted for 14 percent of all TBIs. So, car accidents are responsible for one out of every five traumatic brain injuries.
Young Men Are Most Likely to Suffer a TBI in a Car Accident
Research suggests that young men between the ages of 15 and 35 are most likely to suffer a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident. This is thanks to something called the “Young Male Syndrome.” In a nutshell, young males are more likely than others to engage in risky behavior. This includes driving at high speeds, drinking and driving, and not wearing a seatbelt behind the wheel.
These behaviors “not only influence the occurrence of the injury but also affect morbidity and mortality, because they enhance the risk of cerebral hypoperfusion and hypoxia, which frequently leads to secondary brain damage.”
Why is this the case? There are a couple of explanations. First, believe there it’s due to the fact that a male’s brain does not fully develop until they’re 25 years old. That means they are more likely to be impulsive and take risks. Second, the Young Male Syndrome proposes that the risky behavior is driven by sexual competition. In other words, young men want to impress women and think that taking risks is the way to do it.
Long-Term Complications of a Traumatic Brain Injury
While traumatic brain injuries can be deadly, many victims do survive. However, many are faced with the challenges of a permanent disability. It’s estimated that 5.2 million Americans are currently living with a disability because of a traumatic brain injury. Complications and struggles associated with these TBI disabilities include:
- Impaired motor function
- Altered speech
- Behavioral changes, including increased aggression, irritability, and impulsivity
- Memory loss
- Neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Progressive brain atrophy, and
- PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders.
This is not an exhaustive list. Trauma to the brain can cause significant disruption to brain function and cognition, making it difficult to live your life. It’s estimated that TBI-related disabilities cost the country more than $76.5 billion.
What Types of Car Accidents Cause Brain Injuries?
Scientists are currently developing methods to determine which car accidents and types of impact are most likely to cause traumatic brain injuries. The hope is to allow first responders to assess the type of impact and be able to determine, which relative confidence, whether it’s likely any of the occupants might have suffered a TBI.
However, it is important to keep in mind that any traumatic event can potentially cause a brain injury. This includes any type of collision, including:
- Frontal impact crashes
- Side impact crashes
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Multiple-vehicle collisions, and
- Single-vehicle crashes.
However, factors – such as speed, velocity, and angle of impact – can all play a role in the severity of a crash and, in turn, the chances of sustaining a brain injury.
How is a Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed After a Car Accident?
When you’re involved in an auto accident, it is always a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as you can. That’s true, even if you do not think that you’ve been injured. Unless you suffered a penetrating head injury, you might not know that you’ve sustained a brain injury. Left untreated, a brain injury – mild, moderate, or severe, – could lead to complications or even death.
How will a doctor or healthcare provider diagnose your TBI? There are a number of different tests that can be performed. These include:
Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS): A comprehensive assessment that measures your ability to function in three different areas: speech, motor function, and eye movement. Responses are rated, added together, and assessed.
- 13 and higher: mild TBI
- Between 9 and 12: moderate TBI
- 8 or below: severe TBI.
Sometimes the GCS score is used in conjunction with other details, including how long you were unconscious and how your memory has been affected.
Speech, Language, and Cognitive Assessments: There are several tests that are designed to test brain function, based on your ability to think, reason, speak, and move. These tests are often used in addition to other diagnostic measures.
CT Scans: A computerized tomography scan (or CAT scan) can reveal internal damage to the brain at the site of impact and the surrounding tissue, including bruising and bleeding.
MRIs: Magnetic resonance imaging, or an MRI, can provide even more detail about the trauma the brain might have sustained in a car crash, including damage to brain tissue, blood vessels, and the development of blood clots.
ICP Monitoring: When the brain is injured, the body might launch an immune response to protect the body. However, this often causes swelling, which can make a TBI worse. A doctor might order intracranial pressure monitoring – which involves inserting a probe through your skull – to keep an eye on the inflammation.
These tests can help the doctor diagnose different types of injuries to the brain, including diffuse axonal injury, skull fractures, contusions, and more.
Can I Recover Damages For My Brain Injury From a Car Accident?
The costs of a brain injury can be overwhelming. Over the course of your life, the costs related to a severe TBI can easily exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not more. Even a mild TBI can create a devastating financial situation for crash victims.
Fortunately, in Texas, you can potentially be compensated for your brain injury. You can file an injury claim or lawsuit against anyone who contributed to your Fort Worth car accident as long as you aren’t mostly responsible for the crash. In other words, you can receive compensation if you share less than 51 percent of the blame. If you share some fault, your damages will be reduced to reflect that.
What kind of compensation can you recover? Damages might be available for:
- Medical bills, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, medical devices, and follow-up care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Nursing care
- Lost income and wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Temporary and/or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Has someone you love passed away because of a TBI they suffered in a Fort Worth car accident? Stephens Law Firm, PLLC can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for your tragic and untimely loss.
Call Our Compassionate Fort Worth Car Accident Attorneys For Help Today
You will only have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit if you have suffered a brain injury in a Fort Worth car accident. Typically, the statute of limitations is two years from the date you learn about your injury. You will miss out on valuable compensation if you don’t file your claim on time. Don’t let that happen – there’s too much at stake. Call Stephens Law Firm, PLLC and ask our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers for help. We’ll put our more than 22 years of experience to work for you and fight to get you the money you deserve. Your initial case assessment is free, so call now.