Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain InjuriesFor some people, being able to drive is one of the most exhilarating experiences ever. There is no better feeling than having the ability to go wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go. However, that freedom of independence comes with a price. For many people, that price is paid everyday by sharing the road with people who may or may not be sleeping behind the wheel, sober, or legally able to operate a vehicle.

Even during the best conditions on the roads in Las Vegas, car accidents happen every day. All drivers are aware of the serious injuries that car accidents can cause for all parties involved, from chronic pain to paralysis and traumatic brain injuries, to death. Today, we want to look specifically at car accidents that lead to traumatic brain injuries.

What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that results from trauma to the head or brain. Most people think of violent blows to the head, sports injuries, and falls when they think of causes of brain injuries. But car accidents are also a leading cause. In fact, car accidents were the second most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in 2017. Although TBIs can be mild or moderate, a majority of TBIs can be so severe that the damage to the head or brain is permanent.

What are the symptoms of TBIs?

Some of the more severe symptoms of TBIs include a loss of consciousness for minutes or hours, convulsions or seizures, a persistent or worsening headache, the inability to wake up from sleep, a numbness of fingers and toes, a loss of coordination, and clear liquid flowing from the nose and ears. These symptoms can happen within the first couple of hours, days, or even weeks after someone has suffered trauma to the head. People with severe TBIs can experience lifelong complications and side effects.

What are the complications associated with TBIs?

Some of the lifelong complications that people can experience from severe TBIs include a constant or permanent change in a state of consciousness. These altered states of consciousness can range from a coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, or brain death.

When a person is in a coma, they are unaware of everything going on around them and unable to respond to anything around them. This state of unconsciousness can result in extended damage to the brain. This brain damage can cause the person to enter into a vegetative state.

When a person is in a vegetative state, they have the ability to respond to their environment by opening their eyes, responding to reflexes, and moving. Even though it is possible for the vegetative state to become permanent, many people transition to a minimally conscious state. When a person is in a minimally conscious state, they can display some signs of self-awareness or awareness of the environment.

People in a minimally conscious state may transition from a coma or vegetative state to signs of greater recovery. Unfortunately, when there is no measurable activity found in a person’s brain, that person can be pronounced brain dead. Once a person is pronounced brain dead, it is considered permanent, and the removal of breathing devices can lead to eventual heart failure.

Can car accidents cause traumatic brain injuries?

Car accidents are among the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. One of the most dangerous factors of a car accident is the violent movements to the head and neck, which can cause damage to the brain. Even when there is no contact to the head, the rapid movement causes the brain to move around and hit the sides of the skull, causing injury to the brain. This is known as a coup contrecoup injury.

That damage is not always noticeable immediately after car accidents; it can take time for the full extent of the injury to become clear. The injured person can continue to suffer the effects of a severe TBI weeks and even months after a car accident happens. Certain types of collisions may be more likely to cause a TBI.

Head-on collisions and TBIs

A head-on collision is a type of car accident where the front ends of two vehicles travelling in different directions collide with one another. This forces both vehicles to come to a sudden stop. When this happens, a person’s head can be thrown backward in a violent manner, and then jerk forward due to a force from behind.

If a person is not wearing a seatbelt, they’re also at risk of being ejected from the vehicle and suffer other head injuries – from the glass of the windshield to a pole or other objects.

Side-impact collisions and TBIs

A side-impact collision is a car accident where one car crashes into the side of another car. With this type of accident, a person’s head is usually thrown in the direction of the impact. When this happens, the person’s brain can strike the side of the skull and bounce back again.

Being struck directly in the side produces more devastating effects for drivers in a side-impact collision. Drivers are at risk of being struck in the head with bone fragments and even outside debris like shards of glass or flying objects, which can rip into brain tissue.

Rear-end collisions and TBIs

A rear-end collision is a type of car wreck where the car behind another vehicle crashes into the one in front of it. This type of accident can cause the occupant’s brain to move within their skull with violent force, causing damage to the brain without any penetrating injury. When a person’s brain slams against their skull, it can cause the internal lining to tear along with the tissues and blood vessels. Internal bleeding, swelling, and bruising can also occur as a result of a rear-end collision.

At Claggett & Sykes, we have a history of successful accident cases and recovering the most for our injured clients. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a car accident in Las Vegas, contact one of our experienced car accident attorneys for guidance. Call us at 702-333-7777 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We also serve clients in our Reno office by appointment.