If you were to ask most people about what kind of injury they most fear in a car accident, many people will quickly answer spinal cord injuries. Given their visible and dramatic nature, there is little question that spinal cord injuries can be life-altering after a car crash, but they are not the only kind of severe and permanent injuries someone can suffer.
People all too often ignored the very real potential traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in a car crash, although these injuries can have consequences as severe as or even worse than those that result from spinal cord injuries.
Brain injuries can cause a wide range of symptoms
Perhaps one of the reasons that people don’t recognize the risk of TBIs as readily as those of spinal cord injuries is that most spinal cord injuries have the same consequences, which is the loss of motor function and control below the injury site.
With brain injuries, the symptoms can vary dramatically based on the location of the injury, its severity and any pre-existing medical concerns the injured party may have. Brain injury symptoms can include loss of motor function, balance and memory issues, sensory problems, changes in mood or personality, cognitive issues and even coma or a vegetative state.
Brain injuries may not be obvious immediately after the crash
The fact that car crashes are the second leading cause of TBIs, causing about 1 in 5 diagnosed cases, isn’t common knowledge. People can develop a TBI as a result of violent shaking, blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries suffered in a car crash.
In some cases, it can take days or even weeks for the symptoms to reach a point where a person seeks medical evaluation. Bleeding and bruising on the brain can take some time to cause enough pressure on the brain to produce symptoms, which is why it’s important to seek a medical evaluation after a crash for anyone who strikes their head, loses consciousness or experiences a crash that involves the flipping or spinning of a vehicle.