Up to 1.4 million people suffer from serious head injuries (often called traumatic brain injuries) each year, and according to the National Institutes for Neurological Disorders, nearly half of these are caused by car accidents. Serious head injuries are also the leading cause of long-term disability in adults and teens. Those who are at the highest risk of suffering a brain injury include children aged 0 to 4 years, teens between 15 to 19 years old, and adults aged 65 years and older. Seniors 75 years and older are at the highest risk of suffering a brain injury and often require hospitalization or suffer fatal complications.
Head Injury Mechanics
Traumatic brain injuries can be caused in different ways during motor vehicle accidents. Doctors commonly see these injuries in patients who have hit their heads on a dashboard or windshield. Head injuries can also be caused when whiplash occurs. Because whiplash is considered a "closed-head" injury, it's often difficult to diagnose serious brain injuries.
Concussions, contusions, skull fractures and anoxic brain injuries are a few of the more common injuries resulting from car accidents. Though our brains are protected by thick skull bone, it's a very fragile part of the body, and is can frequently be injured in car accidents.
Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are often characterized by memory loss, loss of consciousness, or feelings of confusion or disorientation. Many times these effects are simply short term, occurring after less serious vehicle accidents. But when the problems continue in the long-term, doctors determine the injury as traumatic.
In the long-term, traumatic brain injuries can cause sleep disorders, seizures, and serious memory impairment. Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are also frequently found in patients with brain injuries.
Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury is frequently accompanied by other physical injuries. These injuries sometimes distract emergency personnel, so brain injuries can be initially overlooked. You are your own best advocate. When you've been in an accident, it's important that you request proper tests from your doctor to diagnose potential brain injury. Document any symptoms you may have and discuss them with a doctor as soon as possible.
Traumatic brain injuries are often difficult to diagnose, so it's easy to get frustrated trying to find some relief. The unfortunate reality is that it could take months, or even years to fully comprehend how your brain was affected by an accident. By pursuing every medical avenue available, you'll help narrow down what the problem may be.
Of course, prevention is the best way to circumvent brain injury completely. If possible upgrade your vehicle so that it is updated with the most current and effective safety equipment, like airbags. Always wear your seatbelt and abide by traffic laws. Many people are surprised to find that brain injuries aren't always caused by a blow to the head in a major automobile accident - in fact, they can occur during a simple, sudden deceleration.Prevention can of course only get you so far with automobile accidents. Take the proper steps to help your doctor diagnose potential brain injury once the accident has occurred by recording and accurately reporting your symptoms with detail, and be your own best advocate.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and suspect a head injury, make sure you get prompt medical attention and then consider contacting a Portland car accident attorney at Angel Law, P.C.. Angel Law, P.C. is an Injury Litigation Firm in Portland Oregon but also represents injured clients in Salem, Albany, Medford, Klamath Falls, The Dalles, Eugene, Burns, Hood River, Gresham, Hillsboro, Roseburg, Seaside, Coos Bay and points in between.