Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 34,247 fatal motor vehicle crashes nationwide, resulting in 37,133 deaths — a fatality rate of 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. In Maryland, there were 550 deaths over the same period, resulting in a fatality rate below the national average at 0.93 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. Car accidents are dangerous because they can cause catastrophic and oftentimes fatal injuries to their victims, but perhaps the most serious non-fatal injury that any car accident victim can suffer is a traumatic brain injury.
Below, we will examine traumatic brain injuries and how they can be caused by car accidents.
What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain that occurs when an external force strikes the skull and causes the brain to jolt around inside it. They can also be caused by penetrating wounds, such as bullets and shattered skull fragments. Because the brain is the most vital organ in the body, doctors consider these types of injuries to be “catastrophic,” as they can severely negatively impact their victims’ overall health and quality of life. Mild TBIs can often be treated by over-the-counter medications and home remedies, but moderate to severe TBIs usually require surgery and lengthy rehabilitation.
Medical professionals classify TBI symptoms into several categories, including:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of coordination
- Convulsions or seizures
- Numbness in fingers and toes
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
- Speech problems
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Hypersensitivity to light or sound
Very severe TBIs can result in permanent vegetative states and even death.
How Car Accident Victims Can Suffer Traumatic Brain Injuries
As mentioned above, any accident that causes a blow or puncture wound to the head can result in a TBI. Car accidents present many opportunities for these types of injuries to occur. For example, when a car comes to a sudden stop after an accident, it can cause an occupant’s head to strike the steering wheel, dashboard, window, or any other nearby object. Severe whiplash can also cause TBIs since the violent whipping motion it causes can mimic the effects of a blow to the head. Car accident victims who were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident are at a particularly high risk of suffering TBIs, as they can often be thrown from the vehicle and strike their heads on the pavement when they land. While wearing a seatbelt can dramatically reduce your chances of suffering a TBI (or at least reduce the severity of a TBI), nothing can totally prevent them.
Contact a Waldorf Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love has suffered a TBI in a car accident, you likely are facing a long recovery and a potentially diminished quality of life, not to mention astronomical medical bills. If the car accident in which you suffered a TBI was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. For more information, contact a Waldorf injury lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles by calling 301-705-5006 with office locations in Laurel and Leonardtown.