Crash Caused Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury
Even low-speed crashes may lead to the vehicle occupant’s discectomy, concussion, and permanent damages. Neither the impacted vehicle visual damage nor body restraining systems, nor the unrecorded speed of vehicles at the time of the collision, nor the vehicle’s geometry, body material, or repair estimate, can be translated into a quantified and ascertained duration and severity of inflicted injuries.
Concussion, a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), is caused by the brain’s shifting and bouncing within the skull when the head is rapidly snapped back and forth and thus violently jolted due to its shaking or inertia forces, i.e., a strike to the head is not a condition precedent (requirement) for concussion causation.
Delay. TBI /concussion symptoms may appear right away or delayed for hours or days after the injury. The first emergency visit is just a moment in the victim’s medical history and life. Thus, the emergency room physician’s diagnosis may not be conclusive in establishing the TBI and soft tissue injuries.
Symptoms of TBI / concussion are different for each person and may change during recovery. Symptoms of concussion usually include headaches and dizziness, unsteady gait, blurred vision, nausea, mental confusion, loss of memory and cognitive skills, and mood disorders, and their presence supports medical and legal proof of the sustained TBI.
The Glasgow Coma Scale (15 is the highest score for a fully awake person), is one of the criteria used to measure the level of concussion severity, the score may change over time and may not be dispositive on the concussion causation issue. One does not have to lose consciousness or experience persistent post-concussive symptoms as prerequisite symptoms of concussion.
The force of impact. Neither biomechanical engineers nor doctors cannot precisely determine the magnitude of force applied to the person’s head at the time of the injurious event. In case of a vehicle collision, the applied force would depend on the occupant’s head’s angular and tilting position, neck muscle strength and density, speed of the initial whipping movement and rebound, crash-caused distance traveled, pre-existing medical conditions, etc.
The steering wheel and dashboard-mounted airbags do not deploy in a vehicle’s rear-end collision as the impulse-caused direct force, which is transferred to the vehicle, causes the occupant’s body to snap backward toward the backseat and not toward the airbags.
Double jolt. Two sequential concussions cause significantly more damage than a single concussion because the second not-even-strong concussion is inflicted before the first concussion is healed. The double jolt often happens when the head rebound follows the initial head’s strike of the seat headrest in the rear-end collision or when the impacted vehicle ricochets into another object.
CT scan and MRI imaging tests usually do not show concussion but will show the brain bleeding or swelling and the skull’s open fracture.
An insurance company adjuster’s decision to deem the doctor-prescribed treatment given to the injured person as unnecessary or unjustified amounts can be argued that such a decision constitutes an unauthorized practice of medicine.
Since there is no cure for TBI, doctors recommend mental and physical rest and psychological or psychiatric support as the initial treatment which is then followed by physical and occupational therapy. These measures help the brain to heal and gain its functionality but may not totally cure it.
Sequelae. TBI damages brain cells, changes chemical interactions, results in a loss of normal brain function, and causes lasting or permanent sequelae Biological and biochemical mechanisms of traumatic brain injury cause secondary conditions such as depression. TBI can cause an epileptic seizure right after the injury happens or even months or years later. The other TBI long-lasting cognitive and neurologic sequelae include:
Dysphasia (‘forgetting names’); memory deficits /cognitive long-term impairments; depression: early-onset dementia and dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT), vestibular dysfunction (loss of balance and poor gait): sleep disorders; and so on.
Proof of sustained TBI and corresponding damages’ recovery in court involves analyses, reports, and testimonies of neurologists, surgeons, economists, life care planners, accident reconstruction, and many case-related experts and requires extensive specialty-specific and legal knowledge to obtain a successful recovery for the injured persons.
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