One of the most devastating injuries that anyone can sustain in an automobile accident is a traumatic brain injury. So called TBI injuries can totally alter the way in which accident victims live their lives. Furthermore, traumatic brain injuries are often overlooked immediately after an accident due to the fact that the victim may appear healthy and not develop symptoms until days or week after the wreck. Here is what to know.
Types of Injuries Common in Car and Motorcycle Accidents:
Head Injuries and Post Concussion Syndrome
Car Accidents are one of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) 50,000 people die annually from TBIs, while 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive, and an estimated 80,000-90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability as a result -- currently, over 5.3 million people are living with disabilities resulting from a TBI. Post Concussive Syndrome is a type of Brain Injury resulting from a Concussion and common in automobile collisions where a driver or passenger in a vehcile or driver of a motorcycle has suffered a blow to the head.
Many TBIs are not initially diagnosed and do not result in hospitalizations.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
A TBI is an injury to the brain that results from an external force, or trauma, to the head. In other words, it's a head injury that causes damage to the brain. The "external force" can be a direct blow to the head such as striking the steering wheel in a car accident.
Even though the skull is not penetrated or fractured, the force can cause the brain to be injured in a number of ways. Or, the "external force" can be a rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head that shakes or rotates the brain. Examples of this are whiplash in a car accident or Shaken Baby Syndrome. As the BIA definition states, the "external force" damages the tissues and cells of the brain causing temporary or permanent impairment in the cognitive, emotional and physical abilities of an individual.
Most TBIs are Closed Head Injuries (CHI), where trauma to the head sets the brain in motion inside the skull. Depending upon the degree and direction of the forces applied, the brain can be damaged in many different ways. These include surface contusions of the brain from a coup-contre coup (an initial blow followed by a rebound against the opposite side of the skull) and twisting and stretching from rotational force which damage fine structures like axons.
Obviously, not all TBIs are equally serious. They range from catastrophic to subtle. However, even subtle brain injuries can have significant, permanent, life-altering consequences for the patient. TBIs can be caused by whiplash.
COMMON Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms:
· muscle spasticity
· double vision, blurred vision or low vision, even blindness
· loss of smell or taste
· speech impairments such as slow or slurred speech
· headaches or migraines
· fatigue, increased need for sleep, and
· balance problems.
· short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss
· slowed ability to process information
· trouble concentrating or paying attention for periods of time
· difficulty keeping up with a conversation, and other communication difficulties such as word finding problems
· spatial disorientation
· organizational problems and impaired judgment
· inability to do more than one thing at a time, and
· a lack of initiating activities, or once started, difficulty in completing tasks without reminder.
· depression and mood swings
· impulsive behavior
· more easily agitated, and
· egocentric behaviors, difficulty seeing how behaviors can affect others.
SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF YOU THINK YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM A BRAIN INJURY.
The Holder Law Group, LLP understands the severity of brain injuries including Post Concussion Syndrome and the difficulty in proving them at trial or, in the alternative, getting insurance companies to accept them as substantial injuries. Appropriate medical treatment and documentation for these injuries is crucial for your case.
Additional Information Regarding Traumatic Brain Injuries
How well do you know your automobile insurance policy??
One of my first cases as a young attorney involved a tragic automobile accident where I represented the estate of a University of Illinois student from China, who had perished in an automobile collision. The other 4 people in the car survived with massive injuries, including a girl with a fractured pelvis. This was a hit and run and the later detained defendant did not have insurance and was out on parole for previous felonies. There was a $100,000.00 under insured motorist policy to be split 5 ways. I found myself, through a translator, attempting to explain to the Chinese parents of this young girl, who was their only child, that they would recover very little monetarily as a result of their daughter's death. I was pregnant with my own daughter at the time and have since learned two things. First, as an attorney who works in personal injury, no matter how much you attempt to disconnect emotionally, there are cases that will haunt you every day throughout the litigation process and long after its conclusion. Second, I learned how crucial it is to have good automobile insurance coverage.
When purchasing automobile coverage, we tend to focus on liability coverage, which means how much coverage a person has if they injure another person or person's property. The state minimum for automobile coverage in Illinois is grossly insufficient as it requires a person to only have $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per incident of coverage. This means, that if there are multiple people in the car, the maximum amount that can be recovered by all injured people combined is $50,000.00 Rarely do we ask, what happens if I am injured? Because we cannot control the amount of insurance that drivers whom we share the roadways with may (or may not) have, there are ways to protect yourself.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you directly. This coverage pays if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto liability insurance. This coverage, in effect, takes the place of the liability insurance that the other driver should have purchased but did not. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when the other driver is at fault and whose limits of liability are lower than the damages you sustained. Your underinsured motorist coverage will pay you an additional amount up to your policy limits. In Illinois, your underinsured/uninsured policy limits are equal to your liability insurance.
Taking into account that a trip to the emergency room can easily cost $15,000.00 if you have to have complex imaging, it is important to be properly insured. I am not an insurance salesperson, but as a lawyer who has worked with countless automobile policies and recoveries for my clients, I have gained a bit of knowledge in the area. I strongly urge everyone out there to get a substantial Umbrellas insurance policy coverage plan.
A personal umbrella policy is a type of insurance that provides liability coverage over and above your automobile or homeowners policy. It can also provide additional coverage for your own injuries resulting from an under insured or uninsured driver in a collision. Usually, the amount of money to include this type of coverage is ever so minimal compared to the value it has if you are in a serious accident. Call your insurance agent or company today if you don't have this coverage or are unsure of what sort of coverage you have.