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Brain Injuries after Automotive Accidents

Expert Witness:
Automotive accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries in the United States. However, many individuals do not realize when they have suffered a brain injury after an accident. This can potentially make the injury more serious.

Additionally, brain injuries may even be missed in emergency rooms, causing accident victims to not have the treatment that they need after sustaining a serious injury. In some cases, delayed treatment can even cause death.

Misconceptions Regarding Brain Injuries

Brain injuries continue to be a source of confusion for many individuals, including medical personnel. For example, some individuals believe that you have to hit your head on something in order to have a brain injury. However, brain injuries can be caused after a person is involved in a minor collision. This can happen because of the momentum caused by the collision can make your brain hit areas of your skull. Therefore, you can sustain an injury of this nature without your head making impact on any portion of your vehicle or other object. The brain’s collision with the skull can cause brain
bleeding and swelling.

Another common misconception is that a person must be knocked unconscious in order to sustain a brain injury. While many individuals may become unconscious after sustaining an injury that results in a brain injury, this is not always the case. This is less likely to occur if the individual did not hit his or her head on an object.


Some individuals are able to walk, talk and act normally after sustaining a brain injury. This situation can make it even more difficult to properly diagnose a brain injury as many individuals expect to see symptoms of a brain injury immediately after an accident. Some accident victims may not demonstrate symptoms of a brain injury until hours, days or weeks after an accident.

Some common symptoms associated with brain injuries include:

• Headache
• Drowsiness
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Memory loss
• Numbness
• Slurred speech
• Confusion
• Dizziness
• Disorientation
• Difficulty walking or balancing
• Sensitivity to lights and sounds

Post-Concussive Syndrome

Another possible situation that can arise after an automotive accident is that the victim can suffer post-concussive syndrome. This is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury that an individual can suffer after sustaining a concussion. Like with other brain injuries, the victim may experience symptoms immediately after the accident or even months later. In some situations, the symptoms are permanent.

Symptoms of this condition include changes in the victim’s personality, aggression, mood swings, agitation, trouble concentrating, trouble experiencing the body’s senses, fatigue, depression and insomnia.

What to Do After an Accident

There are steps that victims can take after sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle accident. If they have sustained any injuries, they should go to the emergency room. Although a person who does not observe an injury may believe that he or she has not sustained any injuries, many injuries are not observable by the naked eye. In fact, some injuries including brain injuries can be fatal if left untreated. Medical personnel can run tests and perform diagnostics in order to determine if a victim is suffering from a brain injury.

Accident victims should specifically ask medical personnel about brain injuries. Doctors should be familiar with diagnosing traumatic brain injuries, concussions and other brain conditions. A specialist may need to be brought in if other medical personnel are not experienced in this area. If the victim feels that something is not right, he or she should seek a second opinion.

It is important to consult with a medical professional if a victim believes that he or she may have suffered a brain injury. The sooner that such an injury is detected, the sooner the patient can receive necessary treatment and prevent additional problems.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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