Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are perhaps the most misunderstood among the injuries that victims often suffer in car crashes. Most people associate TBIs with combat veterans, professional athletes, and coma patients.
However, mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs for short; also known as concussions) are a common occurrence in people who have been in a car wreck. Their name is also misleading: so-called “mild” TBIs can lead to serious and debilitating symptoms, and they’re often difficult to diagnose.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when a victim suffers a hit or jolt to the head, causing injury to the brain. In more severe cases, they can even involve an object piercing the skull and injuring brain tissue directly.
Brain trauma is common during a car accident. In fact, some studies suggest that roughly half of all TBIs occur during car crashes.
There are four common types of traumatic brain injury:
- Concussion: Although they’re technically the least severe form of TBI, concussions can still be devastating. During a concussion, the brain’s blood cells and nerves suffer stretching and general trauma. This can lead to headaches, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, seizures, and other symptoms.
- Contusion: A technical term for a bruise on the brain. Sometimes, an impact is forceful enough to cause contusions on multiple parts of the brain. Large contusions frequently require brain surgery.
- Diffuse axonal injury (DAI): Axons are long, thread-like nerve fibers that send information between nerve cells. Trauma can tear and stretch these delicate and important fibers, causing chemicals to be released that can further damage the axons. A severe DAI is potentially life-threatening.
- Penetration: Potentially the most serious type of brain injury, in which an object pierces the skull and damages brain tissue.
RELATED VIDEO: What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Nine out of ten TBIs are mild or moderate. Doctors consider a mild traumatic brain injury to be one that involves a very brief loss of consciousness, a short period of amnesia, and brain imaging studies that appear normal. With a moderate TBI, on the other hand, you might lose consciousness for up to a few hours, and MRI or CT scans of your brain may show visible abnormalities.
“Studies show that many victims of mTBIs suffer from ongoing cognitive, emotional, and physical problems.”
“Mild” TBIs Can Cause Serious Symptoms
Many mild TBIs resolve quickly on their own. However, some victims face a much longer and more challenging recovery. It can take a year or more to recover from a severe concussion, especially if the brain suffered axonal damage.
Studies show that many victims of mTBIs suffer from ongoing cognitive, emotional, and physical problems. These may include:
- Chronic headaches and pain
- Decreased attention and concentration
- Slowed thinking and “fogginess”
- Problems completing tasks
- Memory problems
- Mood changes and other emotional issues
- Difficulty maintaining personal relationships and/or employment status
RELATED EBOOK: 4 Signs You Might Have an Undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury
The Challenge of Diagnosing a “Mild” TBI
Mild TBIs can be difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, many standard diagnostic studies like MRIs and CT scans can’t detect microscopic damage (“microtrauma”) to your brain. If your x-rays and scans come back “normal,” it doesn’t mean you don’t have a brain injury, especially if the scan was performed using older technology.
RELATED CLIENT STORY: Client With “Mild” Brain Injury Secures Settlement Against Trucking Company
Some studies suggest that fewer than 10% of mild TBI sufferers have abnormal brain imaging studies. This is due in part to the differing quality of imaging technologies as well as the varying skill of the radiologists who read the scans. While cutting-edge diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and some newer MRI machines can identify microtrauma in brain tissues, older machines don’t take enough image slices to pick up these injuries. If your CT or MRI machine was older, if your physician didn’t request contrast dye, or if the radiologist wasn’t looking for microtrauma, you might get a “normal” scan result even though your brain has suffered real and serious damage.
Seek Help From an Experienced TBI Lawyer if You Have TBI Symptoms but Receive “Normal” Test Results
Unfortunately, these “normal” scans also give the insurance company an excuse to dispute victims’ claims and deny them benefits. If you’re experiencing brain injury symptoms but the insurance company denies your liability, personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) claim, you should immediately contact an experienced TBI lawyer for help.
When the team at Crosley Law works with a TBI victim, we carefully investigate the facts surrounding the crash, the injury mechanism, the reported symptoms, any physical and neuropsychological findings, and other important data. We also work with leading experts, including neuropsychologists and neuroradiologists, to identify and explain the causes of our clients’ crash-related symptoms.
Finally, we take time to understand our clients’ circumstances and calculate their unique damages. For example, the Crosley team at one point represented a very young TBI victim. Even though the child was meeting early developmental milestones, our experts argued that the child’s brain injury would impact the child’s still-developing executive functions, such as self-control, mental flexibility, and the ability to multitask. This information guided the family’s care choices and helped them understand the true value of their legal claims.
RELATED CLIENT STORY: Trampoline Park Injury Alter’s Teen’s Life Forever
Crosley Law: Advocating for San Antonio TBI and Concussion Victims
Crosley Law’s personal injury team has extensive experience handling traumatic brain injury claims. If you’d like to learn more about our cutting-edge approach to TBI litigation and our client-focused services, complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. Initial consultations are always free.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2014, July 16). Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause brain damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140716165202.htm
Bitonte, R., Tribuzio, B., Hecht, K., & DeSanto, D.J. (n.d.). Mild traumatic brain injuries were previously undiagnosable, and therefore treatment uncertain, and damages speculative. International Brain Injury Association. Retrieved from http://www.internationalbrain.org/mild-traumatic-brain-injuries-were-prev-undiagnosable-therefore-treatment-uncertain-and-damages/
Croall, I. D., Cowie, C. J. A., He, J., Peel, A., Wood, J., Aribisala, B. S., … & Blamire, A. M. (2014, July 16). White matter correlates of cognitive dysfunction after mild traumatic brain injury [abstract] (10.1212/WNL.0000000000000666; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000666). Neurology: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Retrieved from http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/07/16/WNL.0000000000000666
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
Can You Get a Concussion Without Hitting Your Head?Sep 21, 2022
Concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries, are far more common than most people realize. Most estimates figure at least 3 million new cases occur in the United States each year, with falls, sports accidents, and car crashes commonly responsible. But because so many people with mild traumatic brain injury delay or skip medical […]
Depression After a Car Accident: Common Causes and SymptomsFeb 14, 2022
A car accident can turn you and your loved one’s lives upside down. Car accidents can lead to financial, physical, mental, and emotional hardships for victims and their families. After you experience a devastating accident, it is important to call an experienced personal injury attorney so you can get the compensation you deserve to help […]
Headache After Car Accident Trauma: Why It Won’t Go Away and What to Do NextJan 24, 2022
Post-traumatic headaches after a car accident usually resolve after a few months. However, a surprising number of crash victims experience chronic headaches for years after their wreck. Unfortunately, insurance companies are skeptical of people who claim ongoing, disabling headaches—and sometimes deny legitimate claims. In this article, the traumatic brain injury (TBI) lawyers at Crosley Law […]
What’s the Difference Between a Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome?Jul 26, 2021
Head injuries are common in car crashes, and many victims must deal with changes to their mental well-being. Troubles from head trauma can last a few weeks or stick around long-term, but even a mild head injury can force victims to withdraw from regular day-to-day activities. Hundreds of thousands of people experience a traumatic head […]
10 Strategies That Will Help You Navigate a Brain Injury LawsuitFeb 18, 2021
Personal injury claims can feel overwhelming, even without a traumatic brain injury. However, a TBI adds an unwanted layer of difficulty to your case: memory loss, word-finding issues, and other symptoms can make a lawsuit feel impossible. Don’t give up. Instead, start taking little steps that help you regain control. At Crosley Law, we’ve earned […]
8 Questions For Brain Injury LawyerOct 13, 2020
When someone’s negligence causes your brain injury, you deserve accountability and compensation. Often, the first step towards getting the help you deserve is finding the right brain injury lawyer. Here in San Antonio, the Crosley Law team has earned a reputation for a cutting-edge and client-focused approach to brain injury claims. We know how difficult it […]
Living With a TBI: A Guide for Survivors and Their Loved OnesAug 06, 2020
It may only take a few weeks to recover from a mild concussion. However, most people with moderate or severe TBIs face a lifetime of challenges. We’ve worked with many TBI survivors, and we know that every brain injury is different. At Crosley Law, we never lump every survivor into a single bucket. We take […]
Can an Old Head Injury Cause Problems Years Later?Jul 14, 2020
If you’ve ever suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury, you know it can take time for the headaches, memory issues, and dizziness to go away. Sometimes, concussion victims suffer permanent damage that makes it difficult to work and do the things they love. However, insurance companies will often try to minimize your TBI symptoms […]
3 Things You Need to Know About Scooter Injuries and Young PeopleMay 05, 2020
Electric scooter rental companies like Bird, Lime, and Lyft make it easier for young people to get from place to place in urban areas at a fraction of the cost of a taxi or rideshare. Scooters can go up to 20 miles per hour to get people where they need be quickly. They also alleviate […]
Children and Seniors Are Most Vulnerable in Pedestrian CrashesApr 23, 2020
Every 88 minutes, someone dies from a pedestrian-car crash. In 2018, there were 8,110 bicyclist and pedestrian crashes in Texas. Unfortunately, pedestrian-car crashes are more common in urban areas like San Antonio. While all pedestrians are vulnerable, children and older individuals face a much higher risk of death or injury. In this article, the experienced […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.