When Tessie DiFulco was 18 and driving to class at Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, another car crossed the median and crashed into her head-on. Tessie suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and was in a coma for two and half months. It was a difficult road to recovery, but fortunately she is able to live a fulfilling life working as a disability advocate in Baton Rouge.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a common yet serious consequence of car accidents, and they can permanently change a person’s everyday life. TBIs are a significant cause of death and disability – in fact, there were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the US in 2021.
A TBI is an injury that impacts the normal functioning brain. A bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating injury such as a gunshot. TBIs are classified into three main categories: mild (concussion), moderate, and severe. Certain groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, service members, veterans, homeless individuals, and those in correctional facilities, are more likely to be affected by TBI. In addition to car accidents, common causes of TBIs include falls, firearm-related injuries, and assaults.
TBIs can lead to short-term or long-lasting health problems depending on the severity. Mild TBIs, like concussions, typically result in short-term symptoms and recovery within weeks or months, while moderate to severe TBIs may have long-term or lifelong effects.
Car accidents are a leading cause of TBIs, accounting for a significant percentage of these injuries. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TBI-related hospitalizations rank motor vehicle accidents as the second most common cause. This highlights the importance of understanding the risks and taking preventative measures to minimize the occurrence of TBIs in car accidents.
There are various types of car accidents that can lead to TBIs. These include rear-end collisions, side-impact crashes, and rollovers. In each of these scenarios, the force of the impact can cause the brain to move within the skull, resulting in injury. Factors such as vehicle speed, angle of impact, and presence of safety features can all influence the likelihood of sustaining a TBI.
The severity of a car accident is directly related to the risk of TBI. High-speed collisions, head-on crashes, and rollovers are more likely to result in serious TBIs due to the increased force of impact. However, even low-speed accidents can cause TBIs if the head is subjected to sudden movement or strikes an object. This highlights the importance of taking appropriate safety measures regardless of driving conditions or speed.
Recognizing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a car accident is crucial for receiving timely treatment and minimizing long-term consequences. Symptoms can present differently depending on the severity of the injury. Common signs to watch for include headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, memory issues, blurred vision, and changes in sleep patterns. In more severe cases, individuals may experience loss of consciousness, seizures, slurred speech, or persistent vomiting. If any of these symptoms occur after a car accident, it is imperative to seek medical care as soon as possible. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can significantly improve recovery and reduce the risk of lasting effects.
The long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be extensive and life-altering, touching numerous aspects of a person’s daily life. Physical consequences may involve chronic pain, reduced mobility, and sensory disturbances, such as issues with vision or hearing. Cognitive challenges may arise, including memory impairment, trouble with focus, and hindered decision-making abilities. Emotional repercussions can be wide-ranging, encompassing depression, anxiety, mood fluctuations, and even personality changes. The combination of these long-lasting effects can severely impact an individual’s overall quality of life, limiting their ability to participate in daily activities, maintain social connections, and live independently. Consequently, understanding and addressing these effects is essential for supporting TBI survivors.
Following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained in a car accident, taking the right steps is crucial for receiving adequate care and support. Initially, seeking prompt medical attention is imperative to evaluate the extent of the injury and initiate proper treatment. Additionally, it is vital to gather and preserve evidence related to the accident, such as photographs of the scene, contact information of witnesses, and detailed medical records outlining the injury and subsequent care. This thorough documentation will serve as a strong foundation in the event of pursuing compensation for damages, ensuring that the affected individual’s rights are protected and their needs are met.
Seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features play a vital role in minimizing the risk of TBIs in car accidents. Seatbelts help prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle or striking hard surfaces during a collision. Airbags, when used in conjunction with seatbelts, can further reduce the risk by providing a cushioning effect upon impact. Modern vehicles also come equipped with advanced safety features such as electronic stability control, collision warning systems, and automatic emergency braking. These technologies can help prevent accidents or lessen the severity of crashes, ultimately decreasing the likelihood of sustaining a TBI.
Understanding the connection between TBIs and car accidents is essential for staying safe on the road. By practicing defensive driving, maintaining proper vehicle maintenance, and utilizing safety features, drivers can reduce the risk of TBIs. Additionally, being aware of the symptoms and knowing the appropriate steps to take after an accident can help ensure proper care and support if a TBI is sustained. With knowledge and proactive measures, Louisiana drivers can contribute to safer roads and minimize the devastating impact of traumatic brain injuries.
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident, we can help you to claim the compensation you deserve. Contact us or call (504) 500-5000 for a free consultation.