Yes. It's absolutely possible for someone to walk away from an accident having no idea they've sustained a brain injury, particularly if the accident itself seemed relatively minor. Much like soft-tissue injuries, the symptoms of a brain injury aren't always readily apparent after an accident.
In fact, it can take days, weeks, months or even years for the symptoms of a brain injury to develop and present. Unfortunately, this initial lack of symptoms can delay a brain injury diagnosis, as well as much-needed treatment. Knowing what symptoms to watch for can help someone with an undiagnosed brain injury get the necessary medical care before the injury worsens.
Brain Injuries and Accidents: What's the Connection?
Though brain injuries can be caused by any number of things, including falls, assaults, and sports injuries, one-third of all reported brain injuries are the result of a motor vehicle (car, truck, or motorcycle) accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For people between the ages of 15 and 24, brain injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents is more than 50 percent.
To understand how and why motor vehicle accidents cause so many brain injuries, you must first understand the conditions under which these injuries occur. The brain is a soft-tissue organ encased in a hard skull. When the head or body sustains a violent jolt or blow in a vehicle or motorcycle accident, the soft brain can knock around inside its hard bone casing, resulting in swelling, bleeding, nerve damage, and other issues.
In turn, the brain injury can cause a wide range of temporary, long-lasting, and even permanent physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments.
Symptoms Associated With Concussions
Concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries, are not only the most common form of brain injuries, they're also more likely to be missed at the time of the initial injury. The symptoms of a concussion may be subtle and, thus, not immediately noticed by the victim, their family or even their doctor.
Often, it's a change in personality or behavior that ultimately leads the person to return to the doctor for a more thorough examination. Symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Persistent headache
- Visual disturbances, which may include blurred vision, photosensitivity, and difficulty tracking objects
- Difficulty or slowness in thinking
- Short attention span or trouble concentrating
- Memory loss or trouble remembering new information
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Confusion or disorientation
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensitivity to sounds
- Loss of smell
- Sleep disturbances, including sleeping more or less than usual
- Emotional disturbances, including irritability and mood swings
Living With a Brain Injury
Though concussions are considered a mild form of brain injury, they're far from harmless. In fact, 15 percent of people with concussions have symptoms that last for one year or longer. A concussion and its symptoms can be incredibly disruptive to a person's life, making everyday tasks difficult and straining work, family, and social relationships.
A number of brain injury treatments exist. However, these treatments can be prohibitively expensive for some individuals, particularly if long-term rehabilitative care is required.
Are You Considering a Brain Injury Lawsuit?
Being in a vehicle or motorcycle accident can be a life-changing experience, particularly when serious injuries are involved. If you or someone you love sustained a brain injury in an accident caused by another driver's negligence, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for economic damages such as medical expenses and property damage; as well as non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Sevenish Law Firm can help you explore your legal options and determine if filing a personal injury lawsuit is right for you, your family, and your situation. Contact our Indianapolis law office today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your potential brain injury case.