Did you know that car accidents are one of the primary culprits of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in Denver, Colorado? In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of TBI and brain damage that can result from car accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate a whopping 1.7 to 1.8 million new TBI cases are diagnosed in the US every year, which equates to over 4,000 brain injuries a day. Head and brain injuries can be insidious injuries because they can leave the victim with life-long complications or impairments, sometimes without even having very obvious symptoms. While broken bones, cuts, and bruises heal with time, brain injuries have the propensity to create lasting damage.
In this article, we will explain what the most common types of brain injuries are that occur in Denver car accidents and why you need to seek help from an experienced Denver Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer if your injury was caused by a negligent driver.
How Common Are TBIs in Motor Vehicle Collisions?
Car accidents account for a large majority of TBI-related deaths and injuries and are the second most popular cause of brain injuries in the nation (secondary to falls). Over half of all TBI-related fatalities and about 15% of all brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle collisions, including car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
What Exactly Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury that is caused by a sudden, violent jolt or impact to the head and can fall into two categories – penetrating and non-penetrating. An example of a penetrating head/brain injury would be a gunshot wound or a piece of metal that stabs the head and creates an open injury, penetrating the skull. On the contrary, a non-penetrating head injury is one where the head gets hit but doesn’t experience an open, puncture wound.
It’s considered a severe TBI if the patient experiences an unconscious state for longer than six hours, or experiences post-traumatic amnesia lasting longer than 24 hours. TBIs affect a person’s ability to think, move, communicate, and can even cause behavioral changes.
A person can experience a traumatic brain injury even if an object doesn’t pierce the skull and cause a penetrating injury. A mere hit is enough to cause brain damage. What can vary significantly from one brain injury to the next is the severity of the injury, which is often directly correlated with the severity of the blow.
That is, a mild blow will cause a moderate brain injury with short-term consequences, while an extremely brawny pummel will result in a more serious TBI. A moderate brain injury could have symptoms that last anywhere from hours to days, whereas a very severe TBI can have symptoms lasting for years or a lifetime. Sometimes, the impact of the brain hitting the skull is bad enough that it causes permanent tears in the nerve tissues, creating lasting effects on the brain’s structure, along with brain cell damage.
What Parts of the Brain Can Get Damaged From A Denver Car Accident?
Frontal Lobe Damage
The frontal lobe sits right underneath the forehead and allows humans to understand their environments and their role in them. In short, the frontal lobe helps us execute higher cognitive functions, including memory, impulse control, social encounters, critical thinking, problem-solving, emotional regulation, and motor functions, and formulating expressive language.
The frontal lobes are also in charge of governing memories that contribute to habit formation and help us assign meaning to words. When the neurons and tissues of the frontal lobes experience damage, the result manifests as personality changes and difficulties in planning and concentrating.
A person with frontal lobe damage may also experience difficulty with impulse control, loss of movement in specific areas of the body, mood swings, or become less spontaneous. As the frontal lobes are responsible for higher-level executive functions, a person may lose spontaneity or lose their ability to think creatively and practice fluid thinking.
Car-Accident Induced Parietal Lobe Damage
The parietal lobes of the brain are in charge of sensations such as touch perception and visual attention. It’s vital to have properly functioning parietal lobes in order to understand the world around us. Goal-directed movements, voluntary movements, object manipulation, and conceptual comprehension all fall under parietal lobe functioning as well.
The parietal lobe sits near the back, top quadrant of the head. If a person experiences trauma to their parietal lobe, they may experience complications related to hand-eye coordination, naming objects, writing and recalling words, and experience reduced bodily awareness. They may also have trouble with depth perception, gauging their surrounding space, difficulties in reading and math, and distinguishing directions (left and right).
Occipital Lobe Damage After a Car Accident
The occipital lobe is located at the rear of the head, behind the eyes. The occipital lobes control eyesight, so any damage to these lobes will cause visual impairments. In addition to visual defects, the patient may have trouble reading, writing, locating objects, recognizing words or pictures, and distinguishing or identifying colors. In very severe cases of occipital lobe damage, the injury victim could experience visual hallucinations.
Temporal Lobe Damage
Our brains’ temporal lobes are located above the ears bilaterally on both sides of the head. The role of the temporal lobe is to facilitate object categorization, auditory perception, memory formation, and certain visual perception abilities.
Temporal lobe damage may look like a person having difficulty recognizing faces, understanding certain words, and losing their ability to identify or categorize objects. They may also have trouble verbalizing specific objects and experience memory loss (both short and long-term), decreased libido, and increased aggression.
BrainStem and Cerebellum Damage
Technically, the brainstem and cerebellum are not lobes, but they are vital structures that have serious consequences when damaged. The brainstem connects the brain to the spinal cord and cerebellum.
Functions like breathing, alertness, heart rate stabilization, blood pressure, digestion, sweating, esophageal reflexes, falling asleep, and balance, are all controlled by the brain stem. Any damage to the brain stem can have adverse implications for the aforementioned functions.
The cerebellum is located at the bottom of the skull behind the brainstem and controls voluntary movements, balance and coordination, memory, and reflexes. A person who experiences cerebellum damage might have issues like dizziness, incomprehensible speech, slower movement, and tremors.
Specific Types of Brain Injuries Car Accident Victims Experience
Now that you are familiar with what it can look like to have different parts of the brain injured, we can look at some specific types of brain injury. Car accident TBI victims often experience one of the following types of brain injuries after a blow to the head in the crash:
- Brain contusions – contusions are essentially brain bruising. This is considered a minor injury compared to other types of brain injury but still requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, brain contusions can worsen and require surgical intervention.
- Coup-contrecoup – This is similar to a brain contusion or bruise but occurs bilaterally rather than just on one side. Coup-Contrecoup brain injuries occur when the sudden movement within the skull causes the brain to jerk back and forth and hit both sides of the brain. They often occur in serious collisions like rollovers or high-speed crashes.
- Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) – occurs when the head rotates violently, and the brain consequently experiences tearing. The symptoms of DAI include headaches, memory loss, seizures, coma, and even death.
- Penetrating Brain Injury – Penetration injuries occur when objects pierce or penetrate the skull, such as flying glass or metal. Such a brain injury has very conspicuous signs, such as bleeding and an object that might still be stuck in the person’s head. Blood may come from their nose, head, eyes, or ears.
How Do You Diagnose a Brain Injury After a Denver Car Accident?
After getting into a car accident in Denver, first responders might assess your condition and take you to Kindred Hospital Denver, Advent Health Porter, Denver Health, Saint Joseph Hospital, or another nearby medical center, depending on where the accident occurred.
A doctor or neurologist will need to administer one or several of the following tests to confirm that you do, in fact, have a brain injury. Once they can properly assess and diagnose your brain injury, they can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
- Blood Testing – the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator(BTI) is a blood test used by brain specialists to detect a certain type of protein in blood that may suggest a concussion.
- Brain Imaging Tests – This type of testing will look for any physical anomalies in the brain using a CT scan or an MRI. Brain bleeding or swelling may indicate a traumatic brain injury or some type of brain damage.
- Neurological assessment and Evaluations – A neurologist will test your cognitive abilities, motor reflexes, thought processes, and memory, as well as sensory functions.
How Much Compensation Can I Seek With a Denver Brain Injury Claim?
The value of your brain injury claim usually has a direct correlation with the severity of your injury. For instance, if you suffered a life-changing injury from which you will experience irreversible, long-term complications, you are entitled to more financial recovery than someone who suffered a concussion and recovered within weeks.
A Denver Brain Injury Attorney can help paint a picture that shows how it will be difficult for you to become “whole” again and perhaps never reach a full medical recovery. In doing so, your attorney can help you seek a higher settlement. The point of financial compensation for damages and injuries after a car accident is to provide relief for injury victims and their families, so it needs to be sufficient to cover you and your family over an extended period.
If your injury requires you to seek ongoing medical care, in-home care, or assistive medical devices, there are all costs for which you can seek compensation. Additionally, any lost income, decreased earning potential, or negative impact on your quality of life are also damages for which you have a right to seek reparations.
Contact an Experienced Denver Car Accident Attorney Today Who Can Help You Win Maximum Compensation for Your Brain Injury
Our Denver car accident lawyers are here to help you after experiencing such a devastating injury to a car accident that quite likely could have been prevented. If a negligent driver caused the accident and your injuries, we will help you seek justice and hold them accountable. You can focus on healing and recovering while we handle all legal proceedings and communications on your behalf.
Call us today to contact your free initial consultation.