Traumatic brain injuries kill or disable thousands of people each year in Pennsylvania and around the country, and many of them suffered them in serious motor vehicle accidents. Most head injuries suffered in car accidents are closed brain injuries, which means no object actually penetrated the skull. These injuries are not always immediately apparent, and not all of them can be detected by running magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans.
Coup and contrecoup
Closed brain injuries occur in motor vehicle accidents when the brain moves rapidly forward and backward in the skull. When this happens, bruises called coup and contrecoup lesions are left on the front and back of the brain. These injuries can also damage blood vessels and connective tissue, but they can be difficult to identify if there is not much swelling or bleeding. If appropriate treatment is not provided promptly, chemical and cellular changes that take place in the brain over the hours and days following a serious head trauma can cause even more damage.
Recovering from a traumatic brain injury
Brain cells damaged or destroyed in accidents do not regenerate, which means brain damage is usually permanent. However, some patients have brains that are able to compensate for damage by changing the way they work. Functions that were once performed by the damaged part of the brain are reassigned to undamaged tissue, and the routes information follows inside the brain are revised. People who suffer traumatic brain injuries often endure months of difficult physical therapy, and many of them never recover fully.
Expert medical advice
Traumatic brain injuries can be life-changing, and they sometimes present few initial symptoms. This is why you should speak to medical professionals if you are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident even if you feel fine. Consulting with trauma specialists could uncover injuries that might be overlooked in an emergency room, which could prevent a brain injury from getting worse. Understanding the medical challenges you will face could also help you to determine damages if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.