Car Accidents Are One of the Leading Causes of Brain Injury
By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
If you’ve recently been in a car accident, it’s possible that you’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury (or TBI). You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially true if you consider the fact that automobile traffic injury accounts for 20% of TBIs and is the number one cause of TBI-related death, according to the CDC. These types of injuries can go unnoticed for long periods of time so you should seek medical attention right away to avoid unwanted residual effects in the future. You can never be too safe when it comes to traumatic brain injuries.
Numbers from the CDC
To put things in perspective, it’s helpful to consider the sheer mass of people who are affected by head injuries. According to the CDC, 1.7 million Americans sustain this type of injury on a yearly basis. Of those 1.7 million, 50,000 die; 235,000 need hospital care; and 1.1 million go to the emergency room. Moreover, nearly a third of injury-related deaths are associated with TBIs. These numbers show that head injuries are more common than you might think. What’s worse, they can sometimes go unnoticed.
Head injuries can have long-term effects ranging from memory loss to emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety. Sadly, it’s somewhat normal for a doctor to send a patient home without warning him or her of the long-term consequences of TBIs. For instance, a doctor may tell you that you’ve suffered a concussion without informing you that this is actually pretty serious. Due to the pervasive lack of diligence, you should be wary of leaving the hospital with a false sense of security. Take matters into your own hands and ask your doctor to walk you through the possible effects of TBIs so that you can be prepared for the worst.
Levels of Severity
Being prepared means knowing what a TBI looks like. There are three basic levels of severity when it comes to brain injuries: mild, moderate and severe. Mild brain injuries, otherwise known as concussions, are accompanied by a feeling of being dazed or confused and may result in a brief loss of consciousness. In these cases, brain scans may show no signs of abnormality. Moderate TBIs are slightly more intense, being marked by a loss of consciousness that can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours. Consequently, moderate brain injuries can lead to physical, cognitive or behavioral impairments that are, in some cases, permanent. Severe traumatic brain injuries are the result of a rupture in brain tissue and can have deadly consequences. These are the most difficult to handle. Any one of these levels should be taken seriously as they can each have undesirable consequences.
Don’t Be a Hero
Keeping in mind the troubling statistics, the fact that TBIs can go under the radar and the varying degrees of intensity, you shouldn’t take any unnecessary risks by “shaking off” the pain or pushing through the confusion. This type of stubbornness can lead to unwelcome mental disorders in the future. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, people with TBIs are 439% more likely to experience a decrease in mental function. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. The sooner you can get a diagnosis the sooner you can begin the restful road to recovery.
If your collision was no fault of your own, you may want to seek legal help. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in the process of obtaining remuneration both for economic losses (such as medical fees) and non-economic damages (such as TBI-related depression or anxiety).