Car accidents are not uncommon in St. Louis, and after a minor collision a victim may feel shaken up and sore. Modern vehicles are built with many safety features that make late model automobiles better equipped to handle the impacts of crashes and to prevent their drivers and passengers from suffering serious harm. However, even the safest vehicles on the road cannot stop all serious car accident injuries from occurring. One significant form of personal injury that many motor vehicle accident victims sustain is traumatic brain injury (TBI).

What is TBI?

The skull provides an incredible amount of protection for the brain, but it is not always enough to stop brain injuries from happening. Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head is jolted or when it collides into a stationary object, such as the dashboard on a car. They can also happen when objects penetrate the skull and enter the brain.

Injuries to the brain can be mild to severe. In fact, the concussions that individuals suffer each day in sports accidents and personal injury incidents like falls are actually mild TBI. However, any injury to the brain should be evaluated and treated by medical professionals, and readers are reminded that this post provides no legal or medical advice.

Why is a TBI so serious?

Any injury to the brain is serious because the brain affects the functioning of the rest of the body. When the brain sustains damage, far-reaching problems can plague a victim’s body. For example, individuals who suffer serious TBI can experience symptoms such as loss of consciousness, seizures, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, inability to wake and coma. Not all TBI symptoms are temporary. Some victims of TBI suffer long-term pain, cognitive disturbances, and permanent disabilities.

Does TBI really occur during car accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 20% of all TBI injuries in the United States were caused by vehicle accidents. Vehicle accidents were the second highest cause of TBI throughout the nation and only falls beat them on the list. During that same year, more than 56,000 people died in the country from TBI incidents and accidents.

What should victims of TBI do?

It is important that TBI victims seek medical help to treat their symptoms and improve their medical conditions. They may wish to discuss their legal rights with attorneys who represent victims of motor vehicle accidents. Personal injury claims such as those related to car accidents are subject to statutes of limitation, and victims do not have unlimited time to file their claims. As the costs associated with treating a serious TBI injury can be extensive and long-term, victims may wish to explore their rights to seek damages with the help of supportive legal counsel.