Concussions And Other Head Injuries

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often heard in discussions of car accident injuries, motorcycle accidents, and other types of injuries.  Often, the terms used for these types of injuries include “concussions,” “head injuries,” and “head trauma.”  These types of injuries can happen in accidents involving vehicles due to the speeds involved, as well as other attributes of vehicle crashes, including unpredictability and the force of impact.

The CDC has a page for traumatic brain injury which has a variety of statistics and discussion of this injury subject.

As seen on this page:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBIs occured either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.

As to how TBI occurs, the page provides the following explanation:

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

Mayo Clinic also has a page for Traumatic brain injury in which it provides a similar explanation, as well as a number of other resources regarding TBI.

Whenever someone sustains a significant head impact, it is recommended that a thorough medical exam is performed to assess whether a TBI has occurred.  Of note, many types of head injury symptoms – even those that are serious if not potentially life-threatening – can take (many) hours to become apparent to the person injured.  Typically, a visit to the emergency room may include testing for bleeding on the brain and other potentially problematical health conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page titled “Concussion Danger Signs,” in which “Danger Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion” is seen.  As stated on the page:

In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form on the brain after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that may squeeze the brain against the skull. Call 9-1-1 right away, or take your child or teen to the emergency department if he or she has one or more of the following danger signs after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body:

  • One pupil larger than the other.

  • Drowsiness or inability to wake up.

  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away.

  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.

  • Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).

  • Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

  • Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.

As to how to prevent concussions, various recommendations can be seen on the CDC “Concussion Prevention” page.  As seen on this page, general recommendations as well as sport-specific preventative tips are provided.  Of note, as seen in many statistics the wearing of certified, properly-fitted helmets is among the best preventative measures when participating in many activities, including bicycling and motorcycling.

In recent years, the subject of how concussions impact short- and long-term health – including mental functions, emotions, memory, and other conditions – has been the subject of considerable discussion and debate.  The CDC discusses the subject on its “Complications of Concussion” page.  An excerpt:

Concussion may cause a wide range of short- or long-term complications, affecting thinking, sensation, language or emotions. These changes may lead to problems with memory, communication, personality changes, as well as depression and the early onset of dementia.

The page then discusses a wide range of potential complications of concussion, including post-concussion syndrome and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

If you are involved in an accident, there are many steps you should take to protect both your health and your legal rights, which includes your ability to potentially receive accident injury compensation.

As mentioned above, from a medical perspective, it is highly recommended that you get a thorough medical exam after any significant accident, especially one in which head trauma has occurred.

From a legal perspective, it is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.   There are many reasons for this.  In short, the lawyer can provide you with steps that you should take, as well as actions you should not take.

Due to the nature of head injuries and other serious accident injuries, it is important that those who have been injured seek appropriate compensation for these injuries, as the many direct and indirect costs of such injuries can be very substantial.  Generally speaking, there are various forms of accident injury compensation. These forms include, but are not limited to, compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Physical and vocational rehabilitation costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for permanent impairments (loss of function)
  • Out-of-pocket costs

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group based in Chicago, offers a free legal consultation to those that have been injured in an accident (or, for individuals who represent those that have died as a result of an accident.)  Tony can provide you with the actions that you should be taking in order to maximize your potential accident injury compensation, as well as provide you with an idea as to what levels of compensation may be reasonably expected for your accident injuries (i.e. “how much your case may be worth.”)

Tony Elman can be contacted directly at (773) 392-8182.  Elman Joseph Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury cases over the last 25+ years.  We have established a reputation for notable successes in both court verdicts and settlements for our clients.