Any type of motor vehicle accident could cause significant injuries, especially motorcycle accidents or 18 wheeler wrecks. One of the most significant types of injuries from an auto accident is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The CDC reports that there are almost 3 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or deaths due to TBIs. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most difficult types of injuries to detect, treat, and cure. The problem is that a brain injury does not always show up on an imaging study. A brain injury is not like a broken bone that an x-ray will normally detect, or a torn muscle that an MRI scan will reveal. Although it is true that some traumatic brain injuries are immediately visible, many brain injuries may take months to show up on an imaging test. Other brain injuries may never show up.
There are several different types of brain injuries which could be caused by a New Mexico auto accident. The four most common types of TBIs include the following:
Concussions – Probably one of the most common head injuries that most people have heard of, a concussion can actually be the most debilitating and permanent brain injury. Concussions are caused by trauma to the brain which causes both physical and chemical changes in the brain. This results in pain, impairments, and processing issues such as for cognitive functioning, memory, language, or other related problems.
Coup-contrecoup Injuries – The brain is encased in the brain and suspended in cerebral-spinal fluid, or CSF. When the head is whipped back and forth hard, either through an impact or due to whiplash, the brain will slide forward and then back in the CSF. If the impact is forceful enough, the brain will strike the sides of the skull in the direction opposite of the impact and possible back toward the impact. This causes injuries to the brain on two opposite sides. This has obvious and significant ramifications to the brain’s ability to properly function, and raises extreme concerns for swelling.
Brain Contusions – This is a bruise-like injury to the brain due to a heavy impact to the head. The brain is enclosed in the skull and suspended in CSF which is a “closed system,” meaning it is independently pressurized and there is no easy way in or out. This is why a bruise-like injury to the brain is dangerous because it results in bleeding in the brain. This bleeding is very dangerous because it can 1) destroy tissue from the bleeding itself which is toxic to certain brain tissue, and 2) due to the increasing pressure within the skull due to blood coming in but no ability for the closed system to release pressure. If bleeding on the brain is not quickly treated, it can lead to permanent brain damage and death.
Diffuse Axonal Injury – Even if the brain does not strike the sides of the skull and suffer bleeding, the impact and motion could still be so violent that the brain issue actually tears or sherds inside the skull. This is known as a diffuse axonal injury which is similar to a muscle tearing, only that it is your brain. This is incredibly debilitating because it could disrupt neural pathways, or message highways within the brain which are responsible for processing information or sending signals to the rest of the body (i.e., move the arm).
Not Sure if You Have a Brain Injury? Do Not Hesitate to Go To Your Doctor Now
Damage to the brain is not something that can just be repaired later like a scar or fixed like a broken bone. The medical saying is “time is tissue,” and the longer that the brain is injured, the longer that the injury’s damaging effects could be causing permanent damage. This is why it is incredibly important for a victim to know whether or not he or she has a brain injury. But this can be complicated because some symptoms may gradually build, and other symptoms may seem inconsequential but ultimately become debilitating. You are your own best advocate, and only you will know that something is not right.
Adding to this difficultly is that the symptoms and signs of a brain injury may not be immediately obvious. Sometimes the symptoms will slowly appear and gradually get worse. Other time the symptoms will become observable to other people but not the victim. This is what makes a brain injury one of the most difficult types of New Mexico auto accident cases because determining appropriate compensation for a victim is left up to make different factors.
Even if a doctor is unable to affirmatively diagnose you with a brain injury, either because the brain injury doe into show up on an imaging study or because your symptoms may have gone away, that does not mean that you are not entitled to compensation. A brain injury could take months or years to fully present itself, and any damage to your brain is catastrophic. This is why certain athletes that have had multiple concussions are in worsening trouble every time thy suffer another concussion.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or if a loved one has been wrongfully killed, please call our experienced team at the Contact box located by clicking here.