Marchese Injury Law

"MY CLIENTS HAVE RECEIVED MILLIONS IN COMPENSATION. YOU PAY NOTHING UNTIL WE WIN."

HEAD INJURIES & BRAIN INJURIES IN CAR ACCIDENTS

October 29, 2011

Each year in America, one million (1,000,000) people are seen by medical doctors due to a blow to the head. Of that number, 50,000 to 100,000 have prolonged problems that will affect their ability to work and/or affect their daily lives. The majority of people wth traumatic brain injury are injured in car accidents.  It is important to note that you do not have to be traveling at a high rate of speed to get a head injury. Nor do you have to hit your head on an object (steering wheel, windshield) to injure the brain. Even at moderate rates of speed, traumatic brain injuries can and do occur.

Each year in America, one million (1,000,000) people are seen by medical doctors due to a blow to the head. Of that number, 50,000 to 100,000 have prolonged problems that will affect their ability to work and/or affect their daily lives. The majority of people wth traumatic brain injury are injured in car accidents.  It is important to note that you do not have to be traveling at a high rate of speed to get a head injury. Nor do you have to hit your head on an object (steering wheel, windshield) to injure the brain. Even at moderate rates of speed, traumatic brain injuries can and do occur.

Three separate processes work to injure the brain: bruising (bleeding), tearing, and swelling. If a person is driving a car at 45 miles per hour and is struck head-on by another car traveling at the same rate of speed, the person’s brain goes from 45 miles per hour to zero in an instant. The soft tissue of the brain is propelled against the very hard bone of the skull. The brain tissue is “squished” against the skull and blood vessels may tear.   In the case of the car accident, the brain is thrown forward, then bounced backward (remember those car commercials where the crash dummy flies forward, then comes flying backward). In this forward/backward motion, the brain can be torn. The brain can also be torn by the effects of “energy”. If you take a block of ice and hit it with a hammer (assuming you don’t completely shatter the ice), you will see little cracks in the ice. Energy from the hammer has been transferred to the ice, producing the web-like cracks. Tearing in the brain is very serious.   Injury to the brain often causes it to swell up.  The problem with swelling of the brain is that there is no extra room inside the skull and the pressure begins to build up. This pressure pushes down on the brain and damages structures in the brain. If there is too much pressure, this can stop important structures that control breathing or the heart rate. Sometimes, doctors will install a “relief valve” (intra-cranial pressure monitor or ICP) to let off the excess pressure.

Impaired memory is one of the universal problems of people with head injury. One of the most important things is to get help from people who specialize in head injury. Every head injury program has a specialist who teaches memory strategies. In most cases, this is a Speech Therapist (they don’t just help people who have slurred speech).  Headaches can be a serious problem with a head injury. If you are in pain every day (headaches can also wake you in the middle of the night), headaches will wear you down mentally and emotionally. How common are headaches in head injury? In one study of head-injured people, 50% reported having a headache when they were discharged from the hospital. After one year, 33% of this same group of people said “my head still hurts.”   Your doctor will prescribe medication to help with your headaches, as well as to help you sleep when the headaches prevent sleep.

A lot of people complain that following a head injury they have difficulty getting organized.   Getting help in a head injury program is very important. These programs have a number of activities aimed at improving various skills. If you’re not involved in a head injury program, what can you do for yourself? Start simple–do one thing at a time. This may sound easy, but it’s hard to do in the real world. One of the most important things to help with organization is writing things down. Get a daily planner and write things down in the order you’re going to do them.  Let’s look at another common problem. Planning a meal each day is difficult even if you don’t have a head injury; it can become a nightmare if you do have one. One solution is to sit down on Saturday or Sunday and plan out meals for the entire week. Just plan one main meal for each day.

Another symptom of head injury from car accidents is the feeling of being overwhelmed in certain situations, when you did not get this feeling before suffering a head injury.  When my head-injured patients go into a store, or if they are in noisy situations (playing loud music) or crowded settings (busy restaurants), this feeling of being overwhelmed may set in.  Some brain injured people say that being around young children can also overwhelm them.  It’s not always overload from sound; some people have visual overload. Typically, very bright lights will cause overload.

People will accept that head injury can change your thoughts and memories, but have difficulty understanding that is also changes your emotions. Two of the more common changes in emotion are anger and depression. Someone may have been a “hot-head” or an angry individual before their accident. Since the head injury, this person’s anger is multiplied 2 or 3 times.

Word-finding is a common, and often annoying, problem. Almost every head-injured person has this problem to some degree. Head-injured people may talk normally; speech flows evenly and it’s easy to understand. But they’ll have this very odd problem–they’ll know the word they want to say but just can’t come up with it.  A speech/language pathologist is a professional who commonly works with this type of problem. This person can teach you techniques to decrease this problem.

DIAGNOSING HEAD INJURIES: Diagnosing a head injury is not a simple thing. If your doctor does not believe that you have a head injury, you will not get the treatment you need.  In the vast majority of brain injuries, the CT Scan or MRI (these are very expensive machines that take a picture of the brain) results are “negative”—in other words, normal. People can have significant head injuries and still not have a positive finding on these tests.  In fact, all the medical tests can be negative on a person who still has a significant head injury. If all of the medical tests are negative, what is the next step?  Many doctors rely on neuropsychological testing. Neuropsychological testing is probably one of the best vehicles for diagnosing head injury. It’s between 90 and 95 percent correct in accurately diagnosing someone who has a head injury. Right now, it is the best technique available.

When a car accident occurs due to the negligence of someone else, victims should consult with an experienced Maine injury attorney.  If you are a passenger and the driver of your car caused the auto accident, of if the driver of the other car caused the car accident, you have a personal injury claim against them.   If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident then contact us to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at Marchese Injury Law. We can help you get your medical bills paid, and to fight the insurance companies for all the money you deserve. Call us toll-free at (888) 775-6042 or from local phones at 775-6042. Our offices are located at 477 Congress Street, Suite 1104, Portland, Maine, although we can meet you at other locations if it is more convenient to you.

[1]    http://www.tbiguide.com/howbrainhurt.html

Leave a Reply