Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury after a Car Accident
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the words “car accident injury?”
You’re probably imagining something physical, like a fracture, a cut, or some kind of mark on your body that you can see with the naked eye.
But car accident injuries aren’t always visible. Sometimes they are hidden, and may not even show any signs until long after the car accident even took place. One such example is a traumatic brain injury which can present with personality and behavior symptoms, though it also depends on which area of the brain is affected. TBIs are life-threatening, so it’s important to spot the signs and get help right away.
Here’s how to identify personality and behavior changes after car crashes:
1. Memory Issues
A TBI will often first present with memory problems, but it is usually not permanent, and therefore easy to dismiss. The emotional toll of a car accident could potentially explain why a person is forgetting some things right after the impact, so when the symptoms disappeared many don’t give it a second thought. However, it also takes the victims’ ability to form new memories, specifically things that take place after the accident. So, you need to watch out for these signs.
2. Out of Character Emotional Response
Complete lack of emotional response such as laughing, crying, smiling, or showing enthusiasm when appropriate should be worrying too. Such moments can occur even after a TBI has been diagnosed and treated. From the outside, people with TBIs can sometimes seem to lack empathy because of their inability to show emotion.
3. Extreme Mood Swings
A person with a TBI can go though opposite emotions in a short amount of time, usually with little to no trigger. They can appear happy one minute and uncontrollable sob the next, leaving those around them confused.
4. Increased Aggression
TBIs can also cause spikes in aggression, both verbally and physically, which affects the lives of everyone close to the car accident victim. Additionally, aggression can increase even if the person was previously not perceived as short-tempered or aggressive at all.
5. Short-Term Focus
TBI victims can also present with difficulty concentrating or remaining focused on a particular thing, including following a conversation from start to finish. They may seem disengaged, or even ask the same questions over and over.
Around 2.8 million people in the US experience a traumatic brain injury annually. These injuries, unfortunately, don’t just leave physically repercussions on the human body. In some cases, a TBI can affect you emotionally, cause behavioral issues, and leave you with conditions you end up struggling with the rest of your life.
On the topic of compensation, it’s important to be able to put a price on a TBI. However, when you account for all the possible negative effects it can unleash, the costs could be quite major.
The Long Term Cost to Treat TBI
Just for the physical issues it may provoke, TBIs can cost victims around $85,000, but when you factor in other consequences and their treatment, the amount can be much larger.
Some potential costs to take into account include:
- Emergency care
- Medical bills for subsequent treatment
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Counseling or psychological therapy
- Medication to treat emotional distress or mental disorder
Additionally, TBIs can cause various types of disabilities. In the best-case scenario, victims can suffer from a temporary disability and recovered completely following therapy. However, not everyone is so lucky, and TBIs could potentially leave you permanently disabled.
According to the CDC, there are reportedly 5.3 million Americans currently living with permanent TBI related disabilities:
- Cognitive impairment
- Coordination issues
- Vision or hearing loss
- Severe changes in personality
This can have a negative impact on the quality of your life, as the TBIs can make you lose your job, or prevent you from taking part in activities that previously brought comfort or pleasure.
Who Calculates the Cost?
In your car accident claim, the insurance company of the other driver will review the case and make an initial offer, based on your medical bills, the severity of injuries, and any other costs the accident may have caused.
However, it is in your best interests to be represented by a St. Louis car injury attorney at this time to negotiate on your behalf. TBIs don’t only have immediate costs, and your final settlement should also account for future medical expenses relating to your injury or its complications. The insurance company will always push for the lowest compensation amount possible, but your lawyer can fight to get you the compensation you are legally entitled to.
What About Situations Involving Life Support?
Life support is when a normal bodily function is being directed by a machine. This may just be a temporary solution as the wounds from a car accident heal, or it could be necessary to sustain life if grave injuries have harmed the brain beyond repair.
Tragic car accidents often cause brain trauma, preventing the brain from controlling the body the way it is designed to do. When this happens, heart and lung function often ceases. Mechanical ventilation is a process in which a machine will force air into the lungs, allowing oxygen to infuse cells and hopefully keep the other organs functioning while the brain is given time to heal. Artificial nutrition may also be administered via an IV. These solutions contain water, sugar, and nutrients that the body needs to stay alive.
How Long Will Life Support Be Continued?
The brain can go into a number of different states after the trauma of a car accident, including coma, vegetative state, and brain death. How long life support is given to sustain other body functions is dependent on the family and any known wishes of their injured loved one. In cases where there is no detected brain activity, the family may choose to cease life support as there is no chance of recovery. This is a painstakingly difficult decision for any family to have to face.
What Happens If the Life Support Was Necessitated By a Brain Injury After Car Accident?
If a car accident results in brain death, the family is given the right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their family member. Not only is maintaining life support financially draining, but it is also emotionally damaging to the family. A St. Louis car accident attorney will work with the family to ensure that the financial burden is compensated for, including the loss of companionship and support.
TBIs are extremely complex medical conditions, and the cost they will ultimately require should be covered by the individual that’s caused you harm. Get in touch with a St. Louis car accident lawyer and work with them to ensure you get the proper settlement for your injury.