A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a brain injury that is so severe it affects the brain’s ability to function correctly. While doctors can sometimes treat and cure TBIs, they often leave the injured victim with life-long disabilities, which can even result in complications that lead to death. Brain injuries can occur in many ways, like a sports-related accident or a fall, for example. However, car accidents are also known to be a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
The CDC reports over 60,000 TBI-related deaths annually in the U.S., with car accidents being the second leading cause after falls. Thus, TBIs are considered to be a significant cause of death and disability in the country. And for children especially, brain injuries can be particularly troublesome as they can affect the development of their brain and lead to life-long physical, behavioral, and learning disabilities. For older adults with weakened bodies and other illnesses, TBIs are often fatal.
Due to the severity of traumatic brain injuries and the complications that can follow, injured victims or their families need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney following the accident. Accidents that result in serious injury, such as TBIs, often leave victims and their loved ones with heavy financial, emotional, and physical burdens to carry.
However, the experts at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can work with victims to ensure they receive the compensation they need and deserve to pay for any injury-related expenses, including emotional suffering. We can also help families pursue a wrongful death claim in cases where the injury is fatal. Some wrongful death cases can possibly settle for millions of dollars.
Types of Car Accidents That Cause Traumatic Brain Injury in Maryland
Traumatic brain injuries occur when there is a significant impact on the head. While this level of impact can occur in many cases and situations, more severe car accidents tend to cause severe injuries like TBIs.
Such types of motor vehicle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
The severity of the above types of accidents can also vary but tend to be the most severe when they involve a smaller passenger vehicle and a larger vehicle, such as a bus, a semi-truck, or even a train. These accidents also tend to be more severe when one or both parties are moving at high speeds.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are typically categorized in one of two ways:
- Penetrating TBI: In a penetrating or open head injury, the skull is compromised and often the brain as well. These types of TBIs are the most severe and often lead to long-term complications and even death.
- Closed TBI: In a closed head injury, the skull is not exposed, and there may only be minor cuts on the skin. However, closed TBIs can still be severe but tend mostly towards mild or moderate.
Aside from an initial classification of open or closed, there can be several different types of traumatic brain injuries that can occur due to a car accident. Those specific injuries include the following:
- Hematomas: Intracranial hematomas occur when blood vessels are ruptured, leading to a collection of blood in the brain. There are a few different types of hematomas:
- Subdural: When a clot forms between the brain and the dura.
- Epidural: When a clot forms outside of the brain but is still contained under the skull.
- Intracerebral: When bleeding occurs in the brain tissue that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel.
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: When there is a bleed within the layers of the dura.
- Intraventricular hemorrhage: When bleeding occurs in the ventricles of the brain.
- Fractures: A skull fracture happens when there is a break or a crack in the skull. There are three common types of skull fractures:
- Linear: A linear fracture occurs when there is a small hairline fracture or crack.
- Depressed: Depressed fractures occur when part of the skull has caved in or been crushed.
- Basilar: Basilar fractures are cracks that occur at the base of the skull and brain.
- Contusions: A contusion is bruising or mild bleeding of the brain tissue.
- Concussions: A concussion occurs when your head and brain are quickly jolted or shaken. Concussions are often accompanied by contusions.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): DAI injuries, like concussions, occur not necessarily from impact but severe and violent movements of the head and brain. When this happens, connections between brain cells tear.
In Maryland, our attorneys see many victims with severe injuries such as the ones listed above. Though some are worse than others, recovering from any kind of blow to the head or TBI is complicated enough on its own, let alone having to deal with filing an injury claim or lawsuit. If you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury, our team at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can handle all of the heavy work to get you the benefits you need while you focus on rest and recovery.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The symptoms of traumatic brain damage can vary greatly depending on the specific type of injury that occurred and how severe it is. Victims of mild to moderate brain injuries may recover quickly and have only short-term effects. Whereas those who have suffered from more severe TBIs may have life-long complications, which can be debilitating and even fatal.
Symptoms of mild to moderate TBIs:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Speech impairment
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in taste and smell
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood changes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Extended periods of sleeping
Symptoms of more serious traumatic brain injuries can include any of the above symptoms in addition to the following:
- Loss of consciousness for long periods
- Persistent headache
- Worsening headaches
- Repeatedly vomiting
- Pupil dilation
- Clear fluids draining from your nose and/or ears
- Loss of coordination
- Difficulty waking from sleep
- Extreme confusion and disorientation
- Extreme mood swings
- Difficulty speaking
- Falling into a coma
Long-Term Effects and Complications of TBIs
Concussions are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries, and they are often easily treated with only short-term effects. However, the initial symptoms listed above are only the beginning for those who suffer more severe TBIs. Many severe TBIs develop further complications and result in long-term and life-long effects, such as the following:
- Chronic seizures
- Loss of motor functions
- Other vegetative and minimally conscious states
- Chronic infections
- Chronic headaches
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Loss of vision
- Hearing loss
- Cognitive complications such as memory loss or learning disabilities
- Speech impairments
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain death
Treatments for Brain Injuries
To first diagnose which kind of brain injury a patient has, doctors will often ask a series of questions followed by imaging tests, such as CT scans or an MRI. They may also insert a monitor into the skull to measure any pressure that has built up.
Mild TBI treatments:
For more mild brain injuries, such as a concussion, there is often no treatment required. Doctors will often tell patients to rest and take over-the-counter pain relievers for any mild pain and headaches. Rest typically involves limiting all physical and even cognitive activities and you should have someone check in on you now and then to make sure that your symptoms aren’t worsening.
Moderate to severe TBI treatments:
Those who have suffered a more serious brain injury will need to seek immediate emergency medical care. After an initial assessment, treatments can vary depending on what the doctor discovers. In some cases, you may be immediately rushed into surgery to repair any skull fractures, stop any bleeding, remove blood clots, or open the skull to get a better look at further damage. Medications such as anti-seizure drugs, coma-inducing drugs, or diuretics may also be prescribed to prevent further damage.
Following initial treatments or surgeries, patients will often need some sort of rehabilitative care to help recover or manage long-term effects. Such rehabilitation treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- Psychiatric rehabilitation
- Working with a rehabilitation nurse
Pursuing a Traumatic Brain Injury Case in Maryland
Following an accident, the most important thing you should focus on is your health. You should always seek immediate emergency care, especially if you suspect you have suffered a head or brain injury. Once you have been treated, your next steps should be to inform your insurance of the accident so you can file a claim. After that, it is beneficial for you to contact an experienced attorney.
Medical treatments for brain injuries are typically costly, and you may even need further treatments and therapy down the road to help you recover or manage any chronic issues or complications that arise. For this reason, you must build a strong case to get the compensation you need and deserve to help cover any costs related to the accident and your injury.
Injuries such as TBIs are not only difficult for the victim to manage but can be an additional burden on loved ones and family members as well. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney will help alleviate the stress of navigating the legal process while you and your loved ones focus on your recovery. An attorney can help you recover damages to help with many things, including:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses and therapy
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future income due to an inability to return to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Permanently disabled
- Wrongful death
Contact an Experienced Maryland Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has experienced a TBI, the attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are here to help. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll a severe brain injury can have on victims and their loved ones. Our experts are here to answer all of your questions and guide you through the challenging process of filing a personal injury claim or legal representation.
Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up a free consultation with one of our traumatic brain injury attorneys today.