Motor vehicle collisions are unfortunately common in Kansas City, and they bring with them a host of potential injuries. One of the most severe, yet frequently overlooked, is a concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Due to prevalent misconceptions, many TBIs go unnoticed, leading to delayed treatment and complications. As Kansas City Auto Accident Injury Attorneys, we aim to shed light on TBIs, their occurrence, symptoms, treatment, and their implications on insurance claims.
What Exactly is a TBI?
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by a sudden force or trauma. This can result from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by an object that pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. Unlike external injuries that heal over time, a TBI can have lasting effects on cognitive, physical, and emotional functions.
How Serious is a TBI?
The seriousness of a TBI cannot be overstated. While some individuals might recover from a mild TBI with minimal lingering effects, others can face life-altering consequences. The brain is the control center for our entire body, and any damage to it can impact every aspect of our lives, from our ability to think and communicate to our emotional well-being and physical health.
How Do TBIs Occur in Motor Vehicle Collisions?
During a collision, the rapid change in momentum can cause the brain to move or twist inside the skull. This movement can lead to bruising, bleeding, or tearing of brain tissue. Even in accidents where there’s no direct impact to the head, the sheer force can be enough to cause a TBI.
Why Are TBIs Often Missed After Car Accidents?
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are often missed after motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) for several reasons:
- Subtle Symptoms: Mild TBIs or concussions may not present with obvious symptoms immediately after the accident. Symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or slight confusion can be easily dismissed or attributed to the shock of the accident.
- Delayed Onset: Some symptoms of a TBI may not manifest until days or even weeks after the accident. By this time, the individual might not associate these symptoms with the accident.
- Overlapping Symptoms: The symptoms of a TBI can overlap with other injuries or conditions. For instance, neck injuries or whiplash can also cause headaches or dizziness, leading to a misdiagnosis.
- Lack of Visible Injury: Unlike cuts, bruises, or fractures, a TBI is an internal injury. Without visible signs, it might not be immediately apparent to first responders or even medical professionals.
- Inadequate Medical Evaluation: Not all medical evaluations after an MVA are thorough. If a patient doesn’t report significant symptoms, a detailed neurological assessment might be skipped.
- Patient’s Perception: The individual involved in the accident might downplay their symptoms, thinking they are just minor issues that will resolve on their own.
- Lack of Awareness: Both the general public and some healthcare providers might not be fully aware of the signs and implications of a TBI, leading to missed diagnoses.
Symptoms to Look Out For
TBIs can manifest in various ways, and symptoms might not appear immediately after the accident. Some common signs include:
- Physical Symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and fatigue.
- Cognitive Symptoms: Memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and confusion.
- Emotional Symptoms: Mood swings, depression, and irritability.
Seeking the Right Treatment
If you suspect a TBI after a collision, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Early diagnosis can lead to better outcomes. Treatment might involve:
- Rest and medication for mild TBIs.
- Physical, cognitive, or speech therapy for moderate to severe TBIs.
- Surgical intervention in cases of significant bleeding or swelling.
Long-term Effects of TBI
The long-term effects of a TBI can be profound and life-altering, impacting both the individual and their loved ones. While the immediate aftermath of a TBI might present with headaches, dizziness, and cognitive disturbances, the enduring consequences can extend far beyond these initial symptoms. Cognitive impairments can manifest as memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, and challenges with decision-making. Physical repercussions might include persistent headaches, motor function issues, and sensory disturbances like vision or hearing problems. Emotional and behavioral changes are also common, with individuals experiencing mood swings, depression, irritability, and even personality shifts. For some, communication can become a challenge, with expressive and receptive language issues arising. Beyond these direct effects, individuals with a TBI are at an increased risk of developing neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease in the long run. The cumulative impact of these long-term effects can significantly influence an individual’s quality of life, ability to work, and interpersonal relationships.
TBIs and Your Auto Insurance Injury Claim
Insurance companies might downplay the severity of a TBI, given its “invisible” nature. However, the long-term effects of a TBI can lead to substantial medical bills and loss of income. It’s essential to document all medical visits, treatments, and any changes in health post-accident. Here are a few ways a brain injury may impact your auto insurance injury claim:
- Severity of Injury: TBIs can range from mild to severe. The more severe the injury, the higher the potential compensation due to increased medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and potential long-term care needs.
- Medical Documentation: Proper medical documentation is crucial. Insurance companies will scrutinize medical records to determine the extent of the injury. Regular check-ups, MRIs, CT scans, and expert medical opinions can strengthen the claim.
- Long-Term Implications: TBIs can have long-term effects that might not be immediately apparent. This can include cognitive impairments, emotional disturbances, and physical disabilities. These long-term effects can increase the value of the claim as they might require ongoing medical treatment and affect the victim’s ability to work.
- Quality of Legal Representation: Having an attorney experienced in TBI cases can make a significant difference. They can help gather the necessary evidence, consult with medical experts, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure fair compensation.
- Potential for Litigation: Insurance companies might be hesitant to pay out large sums for TBI claims. In such cases, the threat of litigation can be a leverage point. If the case goes to court, the jury might be sympathetic to TBI victims, leading to higher compensation.
- Comparative Negligence: In some jurisdictions, if the victim is found partially at fault for the accident, it can reduce the compensation amount. An experienced attorney can help navigate these complexities.
- Policy Limits: The compensation might be limited by the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. In cases where the medical bills and other damages exceed these limits, victims might need to explore other avenues for compensation.
How Kendall Law Group Can Help
Navigating the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision can be overwhelming, especially if you have suffered a TBI. At Kendall Law Group LLC our team of dedicated attorneys understands the complexities of TBI cases. We’re here to:
- Guide you through the legal process.
- Ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Advocate for your rights against insurance companies.
A TBI is a serious injury with potential long-term consequences. Recognizing the signs and understanding their implications is crucial. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a Kansas City motor vehicle collision, remember that you’re not alone. We’re here to support and guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.