Traumatic Brain Injuries: The Hidden Danger
Center of Disease Control and Prevention data indicates that the leading cause of death in young adults and children is head injuries. 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. The brain may have extensive internal bleeding or the skull can 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 loss of critical mental and physical functions including reasoning, sensation, language, and emotion.
It is important to realize a person can sustain a traumatic brain injury in a car accident even when a person does not hit his or her head on anything.
There are different ways the brain can be injured in a car accident or other accident without you actually hitting your head:
- Bruising or Bleeding - This can result when the soft tissue inside the head impacts the skull, which may cause blood vessels to tear. This can cause bleeding into different areas of the brain. The blood can cause 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 causing 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 as the pressure builds, they will start to feel funny and confused and then may lose consciousness and go 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 not be able to be picked up by an MRI or a 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 functions like breathing in the body and even 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 and 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 car 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 feel that you may have experienced any sort of trauma to your brain, no matter how slight. You should see a doctor if you are involved in a Georgia auto accident with a significant impact even if you feel no ill-effects. If you have sustained injury to your brain, you should speak with an attorney so you can discuss and understand your rights.
For over 27 years, the Georgia traumatic brain injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been helping people just like you who suffer serious head and brain injuries. We understand the potential legal and factual obstacles to proving our clients’ right to legal compensation and fight hard for our clients’ best interests. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Georgia auto accident or other accident causing serious head and brain injuries, you should not hesitate to call us. Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.