Each year in the U.S., an estimated 1.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury. Of those people, approximately 50,000 die, and 230,000 are hospitalized and survive. Between 80,000 and 90,000 people experience long-term disability as a result of their injury.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of hospitalization for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These injuries have both short-term and long-term consequences for victims, their families and society as a whole. The financial cost of a TBI can be astronomical, especially when it results in long-term disability. 

If you suffered a TBI in a car accident, you may have a long road of recovery ahead. Why should you be footing the bill for an accident that wasn’t your fault? The answer is that you shouldn’t, and with help from an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer at Case Barnett Law, you may not have to. 

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury? xray of brain injury from a California car accident

Brain injuries are divided into two categories: non-traumatic brain injury (NTBI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). NTBIs are often caused by internal factors, such as disease, lack of oxygen, a tumor, or an aneurysm. TBIs, on the other hand, result from a violent external force, such as from a fall, car crash, assault, or sports injury. 

Typically, brain injuries from car accidents occur when a person’s head hits the steering wheel, window, dashboard, or another object. However, TBIs can also develop without any direct impact. In a sudden wreck, a person’s head can jerk violently back and forth, causing their brain to bounce between the interior front and back of their skull. The resulting damage takes many forms, ranging from mild to severe. 

Brain Injuries from California Car Accidents

TBIs come in a variety of forms and grades. A healthcare professional determines the severity based on a number of factors, including loss of consciousness, loss of memory, and abnormalities on a head CT or brain MRI. 

Car accidents can produce the following types of traumatic brain injuries

  • Concussion. Concussions are the most common type of brain injury and account for three of every four TBIs. They may result in a dazed feeling or brief loss of consciousness (less than 30 minutes) and confusion that lasts for about a day.
  • Moderate TBI. This grade of brain injury is characterized by a loss of consciousness for over 30 minutes but less than a day, as well as confusion that lasts up to a week.
  • Severe TBI. Victims of severe TBIs lose consciousness for more than a full day and generally display abnormalities on head CTs and brain MRIs. 
  • Uncomplicated TBI. With this type of brain injury, brain scans come back normal, regardless of whether the TBI is mild, moderate, or severe. 
  • Complicated TBI. In patients who have a complicated TBI, brain scans reveal changes in the brain after the injury, such as bleeding. 

Additionally, medical professionals describe all TBIs as either open or closed. The majority of TBIs are closed, meaning that the force or object that caused the injury did not penetrate the skull. Open TBIs, which are sometimes called penetrating TBIs, happen when an object goes through the skull; these are among the most serious injuries a person can experience. 

Steps to Take After Suffering From a Costa Mesa Car Accident Brain Injury

Most people don’t think about what they would do in the event of a car accident until it’s too late. If you ever suffer a head injury or even whiplash in a car accident, remember these three crucial steps: 

  1. Seek immediate medical attention. Although some types of injuries don’t require immediate attention, brain injuries from car accidents do. If you endured whiplash or hit your head during the wreck, it’s essential to seek medical help right away in order to rule out any potentially life-threatening conditions — even if you feel fine at the moment. 
  2. Gather documentation. After getting emergency treatment, make sure to get the proper appropriate referrals for diagnostic imaging. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, these test results can provide critical evidence for your claim. Early documentation, including a record of your emergency room visit, can help establish a connection between your brain injury and car accident. 
  3. Contact a California brain injury lawyer. Once you’re on your feet again, you’ll want to contact an experienced Costa Mesa brain injury attorney. They can help you communicate with your insurer, review medical charges, identify the responsible party in the accident, send a demand letter, and, if need be, go to court for you. 

Brain Injury Car Accident Settlement

Brain injuries can continue to wreak havoc in a person’s life even after the initial recovery. People who have suffered serious TBIs are more likely to develop dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as to experience divorce and commit suicide. 

As if the physical injuries weren’t bad enough, TBIs can also be financially devastating. Brain injury victims who spend an extended period of time in the hospital or who require long-term therapy or care may be faced with tremendous medical debt. Even more challenging, some accidents can leave people with a permanent disability, unable to work. 

In these situations, lawsuits are often the most effective way to pursue compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you sue for past and future medical bills, damaged property, lost wages, mental trauma, pain and suffering, and more. Even if you were partially at fault for the car accident, you may still be able to get some financial relief, thanks to California’s comparative negligence laws.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our California Car Accident Lawyer

A serious brain injury can disrupt your entire life and change your health forever. If you suffered a TBI in a motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for a brain injury car accident settlement. Concerned you can’t afford a personal injury attorney? Don’t sweat it — we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until and unless you do. 

You can find out whether you have a valid case at no cost to you. To request a free consultation with our team contact us online, reach out by calling 949-409-0055 or filling out the online contact form below. We have been proudly servicing clients throughout Costa Mesa, California and the surrounding areas.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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