New York City Car Accident Traumatic Brain Injury
Every year, hundreds of New Yorkers are killed and thousands more are injured in car accidents. Some of the most severe injuries sustained in New York City car accidents are traumatic brain injuries, which result from blunt-force trauma to the head.
Some forms of traumatic brain injury are relatively minor, but many traumatic brain injuries from car accidents are severe and may have lifelong consequences.
If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else, contact our dedicated team at David Resnick & Associates for assistance. Call (212) 279-2000 to learn more.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Car Accidents
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves acute damage to the brain typically caused by a sudden jolt, blow, or penetration to the head. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of TBI in New York City since the violent forces and blunt trauma many accident victims endure are highly likely to damage the brain’s fragile structures.
When a car collides with another vehicle or object, the traumatic brain injuries that occur immediately after impact are called primary injuries. Primary injuries often involve trauma to specific areas of the brain, known as “lobes,” but may also affect the entire brain in severe cases. Whiplash and other forces that roughly jolt the head back and forth may result in a minor TBI, which often manifests as a mild concussion with symptoms like confusion, nausea, and blurred vision. In severe accidents, the skull can sometimes fracture, causing penetrating trauma that damages the brain’s soft tissue.
As a result of primary injuries to the head, the brain sometimes swells after the initial impact, which may cause additional trauma known as secondary injuries. Secondary TBI can also be a result of internal bleeding within the skull. Regardless of the origin, the presence of excess fluid around the brain often causes a buildup of pressure in the skull. This pressure can prevent adequate blood flow to the brain, leading to oxygen deprivation and possible long-term brain damage.
If a TBI victim does not immediately lose consciousness at the scene of a car accident, some common symptoms they may exhibit include disorientation, vomiting, memory loss, irritability, headaches, visual problems, and seizures.
Mild cases of TBI are often treated simply with medication and rest. Moderate to severe TBIs, however, may require more intensive treatment or even emergency surgical intervention. In many cases, car accident victims with moderate or severe TBI require significant rehabilitation to recover their ability to perform basic physical tasks.
Types of TBI in Car Accidents
Depending on the nature and severity of your New York City car accident, you may suffer one or more of the following types of traumatic brain injury:
- Concussions –After a car accident, a person may exhibit signs of confusion, disorientation, memory problems, and issues with vision, speech, or coordination. Rest is often the best treatment for a concussion. If a concussion is left undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to more significant injury.
- Contusions: A bruise on the brain is known as a cerebral contusion. While bruises are usually considered minor injuries, a brain bruise is much more serious and can cause swelling and serious complications. Serious contusions may require surgery to mend.
- Hematomas: Hematomas involve bleeding inside the skull and internal collections of blood that result from ruptured blood vessels. They range from mild to severe. When TBI patients suffer from hematomas, there is a risk that the blood could form a clot, which has profound health implications. Blood clots may need to be surgically removed if possible.
- Diffuse Axonal Injuries: When a car accident’s violent forces cause a person’s brain to move back and forth violently within the skull, it can cause stretching or tearing of brain tissue resulting in diffuse axonal injuries. These injuries involve tears to axons, which are responsible for making nerve connections within the brain. Axonal injuries can cause serious brain damage and may even be fatal.
- Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhaging involves internal bleeding in the space that surrounds the brain within the skull. Usually, this space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid. TBI-related tears in the arteries of the subarachnoid space can cause buildups of blood, which put pressure on the brain.
- Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries: A coup-contrecoup, or “strike-counterstrike” injury, occurs when the impact of a car accident causes the brain to bang back and forth against opposite sides of the inside of the skull. This kind of injury is especially problematic because it can result in damage to both the site of impact and the opposite side of the brain, which can have serious repercussions.
Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injury after a Car Accident
In cases involving penetrative head trauma or fractures to the skull, a traumatic brain injury may be obvious. But some minor, moderate, or even severe brain injuries may be more challenging to diagnose because there are no visible signs of trauma. When car accident victims are treated for emergency head injuries, physicians use various methods to evaluate their condition and determine whether a TBI is present.
Some of the most common tests used by doctors to diagnose a TBI after New York City car accidents include:
- The Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) Test – A test used to evaluate a patient’s level of consciousness against a standardized 15-point scale. A higher score on the GCS index can indicate mild TBI, while the lowest scores of 8 or below indicate more severe TBI.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scans – CT scans are diagnostic imaging exams that use x-rays to create detailed images of the brain’s anatomy. CT scans can help identify trauma such as skull fractures, internal bleeding, and blood clots.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Tests – An MRI is another common, non-invasive test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to map out the brain’s soft tissues. MRI tests are more sensitive than CT scans and may be used to detect more subtle changes in the brain’s anatomy.
- Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) Scans: MRS scans are conducted with the same type of machinery used for MRIs. But these diagnostic tests measure the brain’s chemical composition to detect biochemical anomalies such as abnormal tissue growth.
Legal Assistance in Brain Injury Car Accident Cases
Traumatic brain injuries from car accidents often require extensive medical attention and may leave patients with lifelong physical, psychological, and financial consequences. If you or someone you love sustained a TBI in a New York car accident caused by another motorist, you may have a legal right to file a personal injury claim with the help of a seasoned traumatic brain injury lawyer.
While no amount of money could ever reverse the effects of your brain injury, a successful personal injury claim can go a long way toward helping you get the medical attention you need while providing financial stability to support your family. With the help of the New York personal injury attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, you may seek compensation for losses associated with your TBI accident such as:
- Costs of past and present medical treatment
- Future medical expenses for chronic conditions
- Expenses related to rehabilitation, in-home caregiving, or modification of your house to make it more accessible
- Loss of income from missed time at work
- Loss of future earning potential, if you are permanently disabled
- Pain, suffering, and psychological trauma resulting from your injury
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or family support, if your loved ones are affected
- Punitive damages, which are awarded to punish at-fault parties who were particularly negligent or reckless
With more than 20 years of experience helping personal injury victims throughout New York City, the Manhattan-based attorneys of David Resnick & Associates know what it takes to reach a favorable outcome in your car accident traumatic brain injury case.
We have the resources and experience to handle these cases and offer the personalized, one-on-one attention you expect from a smaller, boutique firm. No matter how minor or severe your accident-related TBI, we have what it takes to help you recover and move forward.
We offer a free case review to help you determine your best course of action. Our attentive staff is happy to assist you in either English or Spanish. Our New York City lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means we never charge clients any upfront fees. We only receive a legal fee if we obtain compensation for you. To learn more about how our firm can help your traumatic brain injury case, call us now at (212) 279-2000 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.