You should act immediately if you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident. According to the CDC, even “minor” head traumas can lead to a lifetime of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes.
Delaying can worsen your injury and hinder your ability to pursue the compensation you deserve.
By understanding the symptoms and types of TBIs and your legal options after an accident, you can seek the appropriate medical care and take the necessary legal steps to protect your rights and well-being.
What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury after a car accident?
The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury after a car accident vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. They include:
- Loss of speech, vision, or hearing
- Vague or lost memories
- Loss of consciousness
- Change in mood or behavior
- Blurred vision
They can occur immediately after the accident or take several days, weeks, or even months to manifest.
The two most common signs and symptoms of an accident-related, traumatic brain injury are dizziness and headaches. For years, these symptoms were treated as part of a potential neck or cervical spine injury. Over the last twenty years, doctors have come to understand that these symptoms may also indicate the presence of traumatic brain injury, and that victims with these symptoms should be evaluated for a potential traumatic brain injury.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek compensation for the physical, mental, and financial damages you suffer. If you’re in Florida, Orlando car accident lawyer Michael T. Gibson can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call 407-422-4529 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and learn how our Orlando personal injury lawyers may be able to help you.
Types of traumatic brain injuries in a car accident
Here are the main types of car accident traumatic brain injuries:
A concussion is a mild TBI caused by a sudden, violent movement or jolt to the head or body. The symptoms appear immediately and may evolve. They may include temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, and memory problems.
A concussion is the most common car accident traumatic brain injury, and while it is considered mild, it can have serious health effects.
A contusion is caused by a direct impact on the head or a sudden jolt that causes your brain to collide with your skull and bruise.
Symptoms of a contusion include persistent headaches, confusion and disorientation, memory problems, balance and coordination issues, sudden changes in behavior, and seizures or convulsions. They vary depending on the location and severity of the injury and can appear immediately or develop over time.
Although contusions can heal on their own, they can lead to much more serious conditions like blood clots and bleeding if untreated.
Diffuse axonal injury (DAI)
DAI is a severe car accident traumatic brain injury caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration forces moving the brain within the skull, tearing axons throughout the brain. For example, in a rollover accident, the multiple rotations can cause the occupants’ heads to move violently in all directions, causing widespread tearing and stretching of the axons.
The symptoms don’t always appear immediately after the accident. They include loss of consciousness, profound fatigue, difficulty speaking, seizures, and coma.
DAI often leads to long-term cognitive impairments, functional deficits, coma, or death.
A coupe-contrecoup injury occurs when the brain strikes the skull at the impact site (coup), rebounds, and hits the impact’s opposite side (contrecoup). The symptoms include motor impairments, sensory changes, seizures, speech problems, memory loss, vision changes, and headache.
Penetrating brain injury
Penetrating brain injuries occur when an object, like debris from the accident, penetrates the skull and directly damages or punctures the brain tissue. It has severe and immediate effects like hemorrhage, localized brain damage, and disruption of essential brain damage.
The extent of the damage depends on the size, velocity, and trajectory of the penetrating object. But many who survive brain penetration are left with debilitating effects for life.
This injury involves a break or crack in the skull bone. It varies in size, shape, and severity depending on the force and direction of the impact. Fractures may be linear (a straight break), depressed (bone fragments pushed in), or compound (open fracture with the skin breaking). Symptoms include bleeding from the ears and nose.
A car accident can also cause a fracture at the base of the skull, leading to cerebrospinal fluid leakage, hearing loss, and other severe complications.
Acquired brain injury
Acquired brain injury, also called secondary brain injury, occurs without any impact on your head. If the car accident causes an injury that restricts the flow of blood or oxygen to your brain, your brain cells can die, leading to a brain injury.
For example, if you stopped breathing for several minutes after the accident, you might suffer brain injury due to lack of oxygen.
We can broadly classify these types of car accident traumatic brain injuries based on the impact on the skull into two: closed head injury (CHI) and open or penetrating head injury (OHI).
CHIs occur when a car accident causes blunt trauma to the head, injuring the brain without penetrating or breaking the skull. The impact and subsequent brain movement in the skull can cause bleeding, bruising, swelling, or tearing of brain tissue.
OHIs occur when an object penetrates the skull and injures the brain or when the skull fractures and exposes the brain. They are typically caused by sharp objects in the accident entering the skull.
What are your legal options after sustaining a brain injury in a car accident?
If you or a loved one sustains a brain injury due to a car accident caused by someone else, you may have the legal option to seek compensation for your damages. You can recover three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic, special, or compensatory damages are quantifiable financial losses you’ve incurred and will incur due to the brain damage. You can calculate economic damages using receipts, invoices, bills, and other financial records and help from experts. The damages include:
- Medical expenses related to ambulance, doctor, and hospital services and medications
- Loss of income as you recuperate and the loss of future earning capacity
- Damages to personal properties, such as the cost of repairing your car
- Rehabilitation costs
Economic damages intend to help restore you to the financial condition you were in before the accident.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, compensate you for intangible losses that are not easily quantifiable in monetary terms. They include:
- Pain and suffering experienced due to the TBI
- Emotional distress like depression, psychological suffering, etc.
- Loss of consortium for the negative effects the TBI has had on your relationship with your spouse
You may be awarded punitive damages to punish the responsible party and deter others from such intentional or reckless behavior. But the responsible party must’ve acted intentionally or grossly negligently.
The amount you’re awarded in punitive damages depends on the severity of the defendant’s behavior. But some states, like Florida, limit the amount of punitive damages you can be awarded. Florida limits it to the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000.
How to pursue your legal options
To successfully pursue your legal options in Florida and receive all the compensation you deserve, you generally must prove the following:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty of care
- The breach caused the accident
- The accident caused your traumatic brain injury
It can be an incredibly complex and overwhelming process, which can be challenging to handle as you experience the symptoms of TBI.
That is why you need the help of an experienced Orlando traumatic brain injury attorney like Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson. As you recuperate, he and his team can help you pursue your legal options by:
Investigating your claim
They will gather all the evidence related to the car accident and the brain injury, such as medical records, witness statements, and police records. It’ll help them build a strong case that proves the duty of care and breach that led to your car accident traumatic brain injury.
Advising you on legal matters
The team can advise you on the next steps to help you understand the complicated legal procedures and terms. They can also provide objective opinions about your case so you don’t let stress, anger, and other emotions you may be experiencing after your accident guide your decisions.
Michael T. Gibson and his team will work with you and your family to evaluate the financial and non-financial impact of the brain injury to ensure you’re compensated for all the damages you incur.
Because they handle such cases routinely, they can come up with a more accurate estimate of the long-term effects of your car accident TBI. They have economists and actuaries in their networks who can help them estimate the long-term financial impact of the TBI accurately.
The team of attorneys can also identify and accurately value any punitive damages for any egregious acts of negligence by the at-fault party.
Negotiating a settlement
The attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. These negotiations typically involve reviewing the policy details and determining the maximum compensation available based on the specific circumstances.
Experience attorneys are used to negotiating with insurance companies so they won’t be easily intimidated, convinced, or duped. They can handle all the communications with the insurance company to prevent you from doing anything that can jeopardize your claim, such as giving a recorded statement.
Representing you in court
If the negotiations fail to result in a fair settlement, Michael T. Gibson and his team will represent you in court and fight for your rights. They will present your evidence and argue your case for the best outcome.
Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson can help you pursue your legal options
When you notice symptoms of a car accident traumatic brain injury, the first step is to seek medical attention for a diagnosis, then contact an Orlando car accident lawyer. The science behind the treatment and diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury is still an emerging field. An experienced car accident attorney can help you pursue your legal options to receive your deserved compensation, and can make sure that you see the correct doctors and get the correct testing to diagnosis and treat such an injury. They can investigate your claim, evaluate damages, negotiate a settlement, and represent you in court.
Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson opened his Orlando personal injury law firm after seeing his family need legal help. He understands the importance of providing compassionate and dedicated legal assistance to those facing similar challenges. We are deeply empathetic to the struggles you might be going through after you or a loved one suffers a brain injury and are committed to helping you navigate the legal system and obtain the justice you rightfully deserve.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation today. We are available 24/7/365.