No one plans to get into a serious motor vehicle collision. Although everyone knows there is risk of both injury and potentially death when you drive or ride in a fast-moving vehicle, it is necessary for most people in Pennsylvania with jobs, children or medical needs. Many people do their best to avoid risk factors, including drugs, alcohol and distraction while driving. However, the fatality rate is on the rise anyway.
Sadly, not everyone makes good decisions about behavior when behind the wheel of a vehicle. It only takes one person texting while driving or choosing to drive after taking painkillers to completely change your life. Even if you initially think you don't have any serious injuries, you should always seek medical evaluation after a crash, particularly if you hit your head or black out for even a second.
Traumatic brain injuries are common in crashes
Along with broken bones, soft tissue injuries, spinal cord damage and contusions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a common source of injury after a car accident.
You may not realize that your brain has sustained damage immediately, due in part to the rush of adrenaline from the crash and also the delayed onset of many of the worst symptoms. Losing consciousness almost always means that you are at risk for a brain injury, but that isn't the only immediate warning sign.
Several kinds of injuries can cause TBIs
Striking your head on the steering wheel or window could mean a brain injury. You could also sustain a brain injury when thrown from a vehicle. If your vehicle rolls or tumbles, the shaking it causes can also result in a TBI, even if you never hit your head.
Finally, penetrating injuries, such as a puncture wound from glass or other debris, could leave you with a TBI. These injuries can result in permanent symptoms if not diagnosed and treated quickly, so you should always err on the side of caution and seek medical help.
TBI symptoms can worsen over time
Your skull is there to protect your brain from injury, but sometimes it contributes to worsening injury. When your brain bleeds, bruises or swells, the skull prevents all that built-up pressure from going anywhere. That can result in worsening symptoms as the days and weeks go by after your crash.
Some of the TBI symptoms people experience include feeling dazed or confused, persistent headaches, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, dizziness, changes in sleep habits, issues with memory or concentration and even changes in mood or personality. In severe cases, seizures, weakness in your extremities and even coma can result.
Early intervention may prevent some of the worst symptoms from developing. It can also help ensure that you can document the correlation of your condition to the crash, making it easier for you to get the compensation you need to offset those medical bills and potential lost wages from your TBI.