Trauma to the head may be among the most frightening injuries one can suffer. If your loved one was in a motor vehicle accident, it is likely that evidence of head trauma is one of the first things emergency responders looked for. Determining as quickly as possible whether an accident victim may have suffered a brain injury is critical. Responders can then alert emergency room doctors to take immediate steps to prevent further damage to the delicate tissues in the brain.
What are those signs that emergency responders and doctors look for in a patient who has been in a catastrophic accident? Not all head injuries present with open wounds, so it is important for your loved one’s medical team to be attentive to the symptoms that a brain injury has occurred.
Signs of a brain injury
In some cases, it is easy to conclude that an accident victim suffered a brain injury. Bleeding from the head, broken bones in the skull or protruding eyes may indicate that serious brain damage is probable. If your loved one was having difficulty breathing or lost consciousness, even for a moment, doctors probably assumed there was a brain injury. However, if your loved one remained unconscious for 24 hours or longer, or if he or she suffered amnesia, it is possible there was significant trauma to the brain.
The brain is such a complex organ that there is no way to accurately predict how a trauma will affect the victim. Where in the brain the injury occurs determines the kind of deficits your loved one may suffer. For example, injury to one part of the brain may impair vision, but damage to another area may affect language. Unfortunately, many head injuries result in diffuse damage, which may complicate your loved one’s prognosis.
What is a diffuse injury?
Trauma to the head may cause injury throughout the brain, such as when the brain is shaken violently within the skull. This may cause nerves and tissue to tear and bleed throughout the brain, potentially resulting in significant impairment in multiple body functions, including physical mobility, emotional control, cognitive abilities and sensory functions.
It may seem like a grim future for someone with a brain injury, but medical science continues to make advances in the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of head trauma. These treatments are not free, and you may already be feeling the financial burden of medical bills, lost wages and ongoing treatment since your loved one’s accident. You may find peace of mind and hope for the future by consulting an attorney about your options for seeking compensation from those responsible for your loved one’s injuries.