Head and Brain Injuries After a California Car Accident
As the command center of the human body, the brain is the most important and complex organ in the entire body. Thus, injuries to the head or brain after a car accident are nothing to take lightly and require expert medical attention. An experienced accident lawyer can help you find the best medical care while also ensuring your rights are protected.
What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain is damaged due to external impact. Unlike damage caused by a stroke or tumor, traumatic brain injury is caused by an outside force. The presence of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is contingent upon at least one of the following criteria:
- Partial amnesia
- Loss of consciousness
- Brain scan anomalies
- Post-traumatic seizures
- Skull fracture
Levels Of Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity. Certain injuries can completely heal within 24 hours, while others may be permanent and life altering. Minor injuries may only temporarily affect your brain cells. More serious injuries could result in torn tissues, bleeding, bruising, and other physical damage to the brain. There are ultimately three levels of traumatic brain injury.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
A mild traumatic brain injury occurs when loss of consciousness is brief or does not occur at all. If an individual does not lose consciousness, they may simply feel momentarily dazed or confused. Alteration in mental state, whether loss of consciousness or a dazed/confused feeling is referred to as a concussion. Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Blurred vision
- Ringing ears
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Loss of smell
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Memory or concentration problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Mood changes or mood swings
Tests or scans for a mild traumatic brain injury can sometimes appear normal. A mild traumatic brain injury can heal as quickly as 24 hours. Most people recover from concussion symptoms within three weeks.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
A moderate traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent shaking of the head or a non-penetrating blow to the head. Moderate traumatic brain injuries are typically characterized by a loss of consciousness that lasts several minutes to a few hours and confusion that lasts several days or weeks. Symptoms of a moderate traumatic brain injury include:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of the eyes
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes or hours
- Persistent headaches
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Drainage from the nose or ears
- Loss of coordination
- Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech
- Coma and other disorders of consciousness
With a moderate traumatic brain injury, physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral impairment can last for months. In certain cases, impairment may be permanent. Victims who have suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury can generally recover well with treatment or lessons to compensate for their deficits.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe traumatic brain injuries are typically the result of a penetrating wound or crushing blow to the head. Severe injuries carry the highest risk of death or permanent alterations. Prolonged hospitalization and extensive rehabilitation are required in cases where the skull has been crushed or fractured. Rehabilitation is typically incomplete and victims generally are not able to fully recover to pre-injury status. Symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury are similar to symptoms of a moderate traumatic brain injury.
Types Of Head & Brain Injuries
Not only are there varying degrees of severity, but here are also several different types of head and brain injuries. Injuries sustained are dependant upon the type and amount of force that impacts the head.
Injuries can be divided into two categories: open head injuries, and closed head injuries. With an open head injury, the skull is compromised in some way so that layers of the brain are exposed. Alternatively, closed head injuries are injuries that occur without compromising the skull. Closed head injuries are more common in car accidents.
Concussions are the most common forms of traumatic brain injury. Concussions occur when applied force causes your brain to collide with your skull. While concussions are associated with a loss of consciousness, you don’t have to lose consciousness to experience a concussion. Unlike many brain or head injuries, concussions can heal relatively fast depending on the severity.
It is possible to experience postconcussive syndrome after recovering from a concussion. Postconcussive syndrome symptoms include headaches, blurry vision, changes in sleep patterns, lack of interest in daily activities, change in sex drive, dizziness, lightheadedness, and changes in the ability to think, concentrate, or remember. If you feel symptoms of postconcussive syndrome, you should call your doctor.
A contusion is a bruise on the brain caused by direct impact to the head. Symptoms of a contusion include difficulty understanding speech, memory challenges, difficulty with coordination, problems with attention, changes in personality, or reduction in intelligence. Symptoms may not be exhibited at all for minor contusions. Large contusions may need to be surgically removed to prevent the swelling from causing further damage.
Diffuse axonal injuries are often caused by shaking or strong rotation of the head. Rotational forces such as those that occur in a car accident are common causes for diffuse axonal injuries. Diffuse axonal injuries occur when the stagnate brain lags behind the movement of the skull, which causes brain structures to tear. As nerve tissues are torn, chemicals within the brain can be released, which causes further damage. A diffuse axonal injury could present itself in the form of a variety of functional impairments that differ depending on where the tears occur. Diffuse axonal injuries can produce temporary or permanent widespread brain damage, coma, or death.
Penetration occurs when the impact of a sharp object forces skin, hair, bones, and fragments from the object into the brain. Penetration is a serious life threatening injury, which requires immediate medical attention.
How To Measure Brain Damage After A Car Accident
The Glasgow Coma Scale is the most common way to measure brain injury after an accident. The Glasgow Coma Scales requires analyzation of motor response, eye response, verbal response to determine the level of brain function. The lower the score, the more sever an injury is. Glasgow scores are classified as follows:
- Mild: 13-15
- Moderate: 9-12
- Severe: 8 or less
A GCS score of 3 or less indicates a vegetative state. Higher scores increase the probability of making a full recovery. Medical professionals will perform tests to make sure speech is coherent, body movement can obey commands, and eyes can spontaneously open when determining the score.
Testing For Brain Damage After A Glendale Car Accident
Brain or head injuries may not always present immediate symptoms. However, if left untreated, injuries can worsen with time. It’s important to be tested for brain damage after an accident. Testing involves a CT or MRI scan. Here are a few local medical facilities that offer CT or MRI scans after an accident:
624 S Central Ave
Glendale, CA 91204
Glendale Diagnostic Imaging Network
800 S Central Ave #100b
Glendale, CA 91204
Glenoaks Imaging Professionals, Inc.
1731 West Glenoaks Blvd. #101
Glendale, CA 91201
Contact Megeredchian Law If You’ve Been Injured In An Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Megeredchian Law can help you investigate your accident to build a strong personal injury case. Let us focus on earning you a fair settlement while you focus on healing. Contact Megeredchian Law today.