Head injuries are among the most common and the most serious car accident-related injuries, causing or contributing to nearly 400,000 serious injuries or deaths in the U.S., according to data from the CDC. Even a seemingly minor bump or jolt can have far-reaching implications on your health and wellness, causing symptoms that can persist for years or even a lifetime. In fact, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) sustained in car crashes are so pervasive, the CDC reports they’re the leading cause of TBI-related deaths for people between the ages of 5 and 24 years and the third-leading cause of TBI-related deaths overall.
If you or your loved one suffered a serious, life-altering head injury, The Mellino Law Firm can help you understand your legal options. Our Cleveland traumatic brain injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.
Call (440) 276-3535 or contact us online today to request a free, no-obligation consultation.
Why Are Head Injuries So Devastating?
Motor vehicle accidents are caused by two modes of injury: direct impact and indirect impact. Direct impact injuries occur when the head comes in contact with another object, like the steering wheel, dashboard, or another stationary object, or when an airborne object comes in contact with the head. Most of these injuries are classified as open injuries because they cause openings in the skull, sometimes penetrating into the brain.
It’s easy to see how injuries occur in a direct-impact scenario. What’s less obvious is how indirect impact causes damage. Indirect injuries occur when the head is jolted or snapped back and forth repeatedly, causing the brain to slam against the inside of the skull or resulting in tears in nerves and other tissues.
When the brain makes contact with the skull, a bruise (contusion) or buildup of blood (hematoma) can form and pressure builds in that area of the brain. Sometimes the brain bangs against one side of the skull and bounces back to make contact with the skull on the opposite side. This type of injury is called a coup-contrecoup, and it causes contusions on both sides of the brain. And, in other injuries, the back-and-forth snapping motion can be so severe, it can tear tissues inside the brain, releasing brain chemicals and causing long-term or even permanent brain damage.
Another problem with indirect injuries: They’re often misdiagnosed or entirely ignored until more serious and long-term symptoms and complications appear—and that can take days or even longer.
Head Injury Symptoms: What to Look For
Head injuries can cause immediate symptoms and they can also cause delayed symptoms that may not show up for hours or even days after an accident. Many people make the mistake of thinking an accident is only serious if you lose consciousness, but that’s absolutely incorrect. With most head injuries, loss of consciousness doesn’t occur, and the signs and symptoms are much broader and more subtle.
Some of the more common head injury symptoms include:
- Unusual level of drowsiness
- Mood changes or irritability
- Changes in personality
- Blurry vision
- Balance problems or problems with coordination
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Problems with speaking or understanding
- Sadness or depression, sometimes accompanied by bouts of crying
- Changes in sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep or sleeping longer or less than usual
- Increased sensitivity to lights or sounds
- Swelling at the site of the injury
- Convulsions or seizures
- Loss of consciousness
- Unequal pupil size or unusual changes in pupil size
Many head injury symptoms can be quite subtle and difficult to detect on your own, especially in the hours and days following an accident. And if you’re already suffering from confusion or other cognitive problems, assessing your own condition is even more problematic.
Getting Proper Treatment for Head Injuries
The key to getting the care you need after any type of car accident—even one that may seem relatively minor—is to have a thorough evaluation and assessment by a doctor, and to have that assessment performed as soon after the accident as possible. During the assessment, a physical exam, diagnostic imaging, and other techniques can be employed to provide the doctor with in-depth information about your condition. And, that means you’ll be much more likely to receive care that can help prevent or at least lessen the long-term effects of a car crash.
If your medical exam finds evidence of a head injury or an injury to the nerves in the neck or elsewhere in the spine, your medical costs can wind up skyrocketing over time. You may be left with permanent brain and nerve damage, paralysis, cognitive deficits, or other serious side effects that can take a toll on every aspect of your life for years to come.
Contact an Attorney at Our Firm
The first step after any type of accident is to seek medical care for your injuries, even if you feel “fine.” Then, talk to a lawyer who can make sure you’re compensated for your medical costs as well as other accident-related costs and losses.
The Mellino Law Firm has been helping Cleveland-area clients protect their rights following motor vehicle accidents and other acts of negligence for more than 30 years. Our team knows how devastating a head injury can be, and we also understand the far-reaching effects these injuries can have on your health, your finances, and your life.
If you’ve been severely injured due to someone else’s negligence, call The Mellino Law Firm at (440) 276-3535 and request a free consultation with one of our Cleveland TBI lawyers today.