Brain And Spinal Injuries Change Lives And Drain Finances

Even at low speeds, car accidents that cause brain and spinal injuries can be traumatic, life-changing events. If motorists aren't wearing their seat belts, the chances of suffering a debilitating injury increase dramatically. Brain injury accidents — where an individual strikes his or her head and suffers a concussion or some other form of brain injury — occur with distressing frequency on American roads. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident that resulted in a brain or spinal injury (severe or not), it's important that you act quickly to preserve your rights.

Traumatic Brain Injuries – Facts And Consequences

A brain injury occurs when the head is struck, yanked in an unexpected direction (during whiplash, for example) or penetrated by a foreign object.

The Atlanta National Center for Injury Prevention and Control undertook a study in 2006. Out of the 1.4 million people who suffer traumatic brain injuries every year, more than a quarter million (280,000) are hurt in motor vehicle accidents. A full 20 percent of all brain damage is related to motor vehicle crashes, second only to falling (28 percent) as the leading cause of brain damage. More people are hospitalized every year for traffic-related brain injuries than for any other brain injury accidents.

During a car accident, the human body is flung forward by inertia and then flung backward as the vehicle comes to a stop. This can cause the brain to slosh against the skull. The brain is normally surrounded by a thin layer of cerebrospinal fluid to insulate it from shocks, but impacts that induce rotational force (such as the head snapping forward and/or backward during a car accident) overwhelm this meager defense and cause the brain to strike the interior of the skull. The front and back injuries to the brain are called "coup and contrecoup" injuries. These types of brain injury accidents can bruise or even tear the brain.

The parts of the brain most commonly affected by crash-related injuries are the frontal and temporal lobes (which influence a person's emotions and attention span) and the occipital lobe, which processes visual information.

Commonly reported symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) include:

  • Loss of consciousness. A person may black out for a few seconds or lapse into a coma. The sudden impact of a car accident may stretch the brain's component nerve fibers (which transmit signals) or even break them. This is called a diffuse axonal injury, or DAI, and it is one of the leading causes of long-term comas in accident patients.
  • Amnesia. The stretching or tearing of nerve fibers can also cause a temporary or permanent loss of memory, depending on how severe the damage was.
  • Concussion. The term "concussion" usually refers to any rotational force applied to the brain that causes altered consciousness or awareness afterward. Common symptoms of brain injury accidents include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears), disorientation, confusion, seeing bright flashing lights and other vision problems.

Spinal Injury Accidents – Dangers And Ramifications

The human spine is a column of bone, muscle and ligaments that supports the skeleton. Without the spine, it would be impossible for humans to stand up, bend down or twist. Beneath the outer shell of bones and muscles lies the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that transmit signals from your brain to your arms, legs and the rest of your body. If the spine is damaged in any way, there is a chance that the spinal cord itself may be gravely injured. Symptoms of spinal injury accidents may include:

  • Inability to feel heat, pain or any other sensation in your extremities
  • Inability to move your arms or legs
  • Complete or partial loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms
  • Sexual dysfunction or impotence
  • Intense pain (from damaged nerve fibers in the spinal column)
  • Impaired ability to breathe
  • Herniated disks

The Mayo Clinic estimates that 40 percent of spinal injuries are related in some way to car accidents. It is quite common for the head, neck and back to be injured in a car accident. The human body was not built to withstand sudden impacts or the harsh, back-and-forth motion that accompanies a vehicular collision. Even minor spinal injuries can have far-reaching complications — affecting the muscles and nerves in virtually any part of your body, causing intense pain or limited mobility and impairing your ability to live your daily life.

Why You Need An Attorney

Long-term symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) may include fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, memory loss, loss of attention or concentration abilities, sleeping problems, loss of coordination or balance, dizziness, depression, nausea, sensory problems like loss of smell or taste, light and sonic sensitivity, mood swings, confusion, disorientation, slow thinking, and even seizures. These problems may require years of medical attention and therapy to treat properly.

Even though the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proclaimed that the side effects of even a minor traumatic brain injury may be long-lasting and severe, insurance companies will often attempt to deny an accident victim's claim. The lingering problems associated with brain injuries can be very costly for insurance companies, and their lawyers often cite the lack of a loss of consciousness (even though only 20 percent of concussions result in a loss of consciousness) as adequate grounds for refusing a victim compensation. You are strongly advised to hire a competent brain injury accidents lawyer to help you make your case in court and claim just compensation for your brain injury.

The Belli Law Firm Can Help You Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury (even a mild one) in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver or drivers involved. We understand that brain injury accidents can cause a lifetime of problems and strife for entire families. Call the personal injury attorneys at The Belli Law Firm today for a free initial consultation and a review of your case in our Mill Valley, California, office. Call us at 415-579-3136 or fill out our contact form.