Injuries to the head caused by an auto accident can result in long-term debilitation and may not be immediately apparent after the collision. This makes brain injuries some of the most dangerous types of injuries sustained in collisions involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles. This is why you should always seek immediate medical care at a hospital for an evaluation following an accident. The Chicago auto accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers routinely work with clients who have suffered a diminished quality of living because of injuries to the head and brain. Our lawyers understand how expensive caregiving and treatment for brain injuries can be over a lifetime. This is why we will aggressively pursue any avenue available to recover the compensation you deserve.
- The Brain Structure and Vulnerability in Auto Accidents
- What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries in Auto Accidents?
- Symptoms of a Concussion Following an Auto Accident
- Long-Term Impact of Brain Injuries from Auto Accidents
- Valuing Traumatic Brain Injuries Sustained in Illinois Car Accidents
- Brain Injury Statistics in Illinois Car Accidents
- Defenses to Brain Injury Claims in Illinois Auto Accident Lawsuits
The Brain Structure and Vulnerability in Auto Accidents
The brain is made up of three parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. The cerebrum is by far the largest portion of the brain. It is composed of two halves and is responsible for advanced body functions including speech and critical reasoning. The cerebellum is located underneath the cerebrum and is responsible for muscle movements including balance. Finally, the brain stem is the anchor of the brain. It connects the spinal cord to the other parts of the brain and controls automatic functions like breathing.
The skull wraps around the brain and encases the entire organ. It acts as a protective shield and is composed of eight separate bones that are fused together. These bones include the frontal, sphenoid, occipital, ethmoid, two temporal bones, and two parietal bones. Both the brain and spinal cord are also covered with membranes called meninges. There are three layers of meninges called the pia, arachnoid, and dura. The dura is on the outside, the arachnoid is in the middle, and the dura is the innermost level of meninges. Similar to the skull, these provide protective functions but also contain other elements including blood vessels and subdural cavities.
The cerebrum itself is divided into four parts or lobes including the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal. The frontal lobe is primarily responsible for speech, judgment and general intelligence. It is located in the front of the brain. The parietal lobe is where language, perception, and feeling emanate and is in the middle region of the brain. The occipital lobe is in the back of the brain and is responsible for sight. Finally, the temporal lobe is underneath the other lobes. Hearing, memory, and organization come from this lobe.
Here are a few diagrams to illustrate the brain’s anatomy and organization:
3 main brain parts:
What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries in Auto Accidents?
Scientists are still learning what happens to the brain during and after a traumatic event like an auto collision. Many of the injuries that are sustained are difficult to detect without extensive imaging tests because victims show no signs of symptoms until the damage has been done. Below are some of the common causes of head trauma that our Chicago auto accident lawyers come across.
- Contact with a foreign or stationary object. Victims of auto-related head trauma are injured when their heads come in contact with objects such as a steering wheel, airbag or the ground. Motorcyclists are especially at risk of suffering head and brain injuries because of the limited protection when riding their bikes.
- Forward momentum in an accident. Even if the victim doesn’t strike an object upon impact, their brain may strike the front or back of the skull. This is because brain matter is suspended within the skull and can actually bounce around inside the skull during sudden and rapid deceleration. This can result in internal swelling within the brain through micro tears that are only detectable through imaging scans.
- Untreated concussions. It is important to properly assess whether an auto accident victim has sustained a concussion. This is because these injuries can lead to serious complications if left untreated. The initial symptoms can last mere minutes, making them more difficult to detect without further tests if the symptoms have passed quickly.
- Contact with the ground. Motorcyclists are often thrown from their bikes during an accident and will inevitably make contact with the ground in some matter. Even the use of a helmet offers a limited amount of protection, making it important for motorcyclists to submit to a medical evaluation after an accident.
Symptoms of a Concussion Following an Auto Accident
The initial symptoms of a concussion can pass quickly, but additional symptoms can surface in the days and weeks after the injury. Our Chicago auto injury lawyers highly recommend seeking medical care immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after you have been in an auto accident. Early detection and treatment of concussions and brain injuries are critical to improving your long-term prognosis.
- Blackouts or loss of consciousness for any amount of time. Blackouts can last only a couple of moments, but must still be treated with concern.
- Headaches that are accompanied by the pressure inside the head. Some victims describe this sensation as feeling as if someone is inflating a balloon within their heads.
- Sensitivity to noise and light, similar to what one would experience with a migraine.
- Poor coordination or balance.
- The inability to fall asleep.
- Excessive fatigue and weakness despite being fully rested.
- Loss of memory, confusion, disorientation or the inability to concentrate. Any loss of cognitive functions, whether for a brief time or ongoing should be documented and medical attention sought.
- Sudden mood swings, irritability or excessive emotional reactions to everyday events.
- Numbness, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands, fingers, feet or toes.
Long-Term Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries from Car Accidents
Traumatic brain injuries are linked with neurological disorders and degenerative brain diseases. There are currently very few ways to repair brain damage, so any damage suffered is permanent. Victims must find ways to cope with the complications instead and this can result in the need for ongoing treatment that comes with a prohibitive price tag. Anyone who has been in a car, truck or motorcycle accident that has resulted in a traumatic brain injury has been through enough already without the additional financial pressure that can come with seeking treatment.
Many of those with traumatic brain injuries lose their ability to concentrate, recall past events, speak or communicate clearly or perform motor functions. They may require assistive care for the rest of their lives. This can place a financial burden on their families as well and many victims have a difficult time handling the thought that their families must suffer with them.
Valuing Traumatic Brain Injuries Sustained in Illinois Car Accidents
“What is my car accident case worth?” Inevitably, this is the first and most important question you will have throughout your Illinois car crash lawsuit. Here, we want to outline some specific issues germane to brain injuries that touch upon how you should value your brain injuries sustained in auto accidents.
- First, is it important to note that more than half of all traumatic brain injuries come from car accidents.
- Second, the average cost of a typical brain surgery is approximately $100,000.
- Third, the average stay in a hospital following a traumatic brain injury and its accompanying surgery is a little over 9 days; however, some patients are able to leave before then and some required many more weeks and even months to fully recover.
- Fourth, brain injuries will often require extensive rehabilitation with qualified medical professionals. This care can cost patients well over $1,000 per day.
- Fifth, total costs for medical care directly related to brain injuries easily costs upwards of two or three hundred thousand dollars in the first year alone.
From these statistics alone, it is easy to see how the numbers easily add up to a lot of potential recovery for the medical care and treatment required as well as the corresponding time missed from work and attending to investments. However, on the other side of the coin are intangible losses and brain injuries often come with a bevy of these including pain and suffering and loss of a normal life.
Compared to other car accident injuries, brain injuries undoubtedly alter a victim’s life and lower their quality of life and juries tend to generously compensate them for these intangible losses. Therefore, when following our procedure to estimate your car accident case value, keep in mind that the hard numbers and intangible losses will both be higher for brain injuries than many others.
Brain Injury Statistics in Illinois Car Accidents
- Over one million people suffer a traumatic brain injury every year.
- Tens of thousands of people die from a traumatic brain injury annually.
- Roughly 15% of traumatic brain injuries result from motor vehicle accidents.
- The total cost of treating a traumatic brain injury is approximately $1,000,000.
- Men receive traumatic brain injuries at a rate that is almost twice as high as women.
Defenses to Brain Injury Claims in Illinois Auto Accident Lawsuits
Out of the gate, the defendants that you target for your brain injuries resulting from a car accident will have credible defenses to throw at you. Here are some to think about as you formulate your plan of attack:
- It wasn’t their fault. This might be the most frequent argument. It is normally referred to as contributory or comparative negligence and that is exactly what they will charge you with. In another words, they’re alleging that it was your fault or some other unrelated person or entity.
- It was the doctor’s responsibility. Due to the highly complex nature of these incidents and the heavy involvement of medical professionals such as doctors, defendants often point the finger at them. If they don’t say that it was entirely the fault of your physicians, then they will probably argue the doctors made it worse and they shouldn’t be on the hook for all of your damages.
- It’s not that big of a deal. This is a standard response in automobile accident litigation. Defendants will try and show that you didn’t suffer and will not suffer as much as you think because of the car crash and subsequent brain injuries. Really, though, the main point of contention will be the intangible way in which you were injured because you have concrete things you can point to for tangible damages including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
If you sit down with a team of qualified personal injury lawyers, you should be able to work out adequate returns to each of these defenses and preserve the value of your brain injury claims.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you recover the financial compensation you are entitled to receive after an auto accident. Our team of legal experts has helped thousands of clients move forward by connecting them with qualified medical experts. We provide award-winning legal services. If you have been in an accident, contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our qualified lawyers.
Our Chicago auto accident attorneys have many years of experience, extensive legal knowledge, and a successful track record. Once we have reviewed your case, we will provide legal options and build a strong case on your behalf to recover the compensation you need and deserve. Our contingency fee policy allows us to represent clients of all backgrounds and financial means by guaranteeing that you will never be required to pay attorneys’ fees upfront. Our services are free of charge if we cannot secure compensation on your behalf.
If you would like to learn about other kinds of injuries sustained in Illinois auto accidents, then please read the following pages: