Traumatic Brain Injury - Seriousness, Signs, and Symptoms

Our heads carry some of our most precious cargo, and even the thickest of skulls are susceptible to damage. When a car versus a skull go head-to-head (pardon the pun) it’s the human brain that will sustain the most damage, no matter what the pain an auto repair bill can bring. The more we learn about traumatic brain injury (TBI) the more we know about how big of a problem it really is.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause for traumatic brain injury in children and young adults ages 5-24 years, according to the CDC. Overall, motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of TBI overall. If you isolate the data down to only TBI-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 26% of TBI-related fatalities, and were the second leading cause of such deaths for 2006-2010. 

One would think that it would be obvious when a TBI occurs, but the effects can be subtle. From an article on TBI by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.

If an object suddenly and violently hits someone in the head, a TBI can result. It almost goes without saying that it can also result when something pierces through the skull and into the brain matter. 

How do you know if you’ve sustained a TBI?

Chances are, if you were hit in the head during a motor vehicle collision, you received a TBI. It is highly recommended that you seek medical attention immediately to determine if any damage occurred. From the NINDS website, symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and can include:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Some TBIs are sustained while the person remains conscious, however.
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurry vision or tired eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • An unexplained bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue and/or change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or cognition

If moderate or severe TBI has occurred, the above symptoms may be accompanied by a worsening or tenacious headache, nausea or vomiting, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness, loss of coordination, and an increased restlessness or agitation. 

I was in a car wreck and have some of these symptoms. What should I do?

If that statement is true for you, first and foremost, seek medical help. While current medical knowledge is limited in reversing the effects of a TBI, doctors can help someone stabilize and prevent the injury from getting worse. Much research is being done, but the brain is considered by some to be the most complex object in the universe

For more on what to do if you've sustained a TBI in a collision, click here. And if you were the victim of a car accident in Bellingham, or anywhere in Whatcom or Skagit County, Bill Coats Law is here for you. A free consultation with Bill can help you decide the best course of action to make a full financial recovery. You can begin that process here.

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