September 7, 2021
What are the Effects of Brain Injuries After Car Accidents?
Many prominent sports stars suffer head injuries that become widely reported by the media. With wider coverage on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, and other head injuries, comes greater awareness of the effects of brain injuries and how they are caused.
Car accidents are a leading cause of TBIs. When a car accident causes lingering brain injuries and ongoing costs to treat them, an experienced lawyer can help hold the accountable party liable.
What are the Different Types of TBIs?
A TBI varies in severity, with three general levels recognized by doctors. Each level of TBI is accompanied by commonly occurring symptoms and ongoing effects. The three levels of TBIs include:
- Mild: Mild concussions account for the majority of all TBI cases. Virtually any head injury that causes a concussion qualifies as a mild TBI and could become a serious condition. Mild cases often experience confusion for a few minutes to about a day. An initial concussion is a relatively easy condition from which to recover, but repeated concussions could lead to more significant ongoing cognitive problems.
- Moderate: Moderate TBIs often occurs after at least 30 minutes of unconsciousness but less than a day. A moderate TBI can trigger confusion and discomfort for about a week, but sufferers can recover fully and relatively quickly compared to severe cases. Severe TBIs often reveal themselves on imaging scans and could accompany a comatose condition.
- Severe: Severe TBIs cause people to lose consciousness for more than a day and could lead to a comatose condition. Very long-term cognitive and physical impacts make severe TBIs especially costly to treat. They can change the personality of the person, affect their cognitive abilities, and destroy personal relationships. The initial treatment and recovery times often mean significant time away from work, and the long-term effects can have very negative effects on long-term ability to earn income and maintain the lifestyle the person was accustomed to prior to the TBI.
Brain Injury Costs are High and Ongoing
Head injuries are especially problematic conditions that could lead to a very wide range of long-lasting or permanent cognitive and physical effects. The lifetime costs can range anywhere from $85,000 in relatively mild cases to $3 million in severe cases.
About 1.7 million U.S. citizens sustain a TBI injury each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A TBI can affect someone’s finances as well as their physical and mental capabilities well into the future and possibly on a permanent basis. Full recovery from a severe TBI might be impossible, which makes it difficult for an auto insurer or medical policy to fully cover the costs attributed to the injury.
Hospitalization costs often include extended time in intensive care units as well as hospital rooms and multiple surgical procedures. Constant imaging scans are required to assess the extent of injuries and monitor any potential progress from medical treatments. Physical therapy, mental health treatments, and lost career opportunities all add to the typically very high cost of treating head injuries.
Common Legal Claims for Car Accident-Related Head Injuries
Personal injury cases generally focus on the extent of the injuries and the costs to treat them. Relatively simple medical cases, such as a common leg fracture or a similar injury, are easier to treat and have relatively few ongoing complications. With TBIs, the situation is much different.
Head injuries affect people in many different ways, and the brain remains a bit of a mystery regarding the full effects of injuries. That makes it very difficult for doctors to prescribe a fully effective treatment that results in a rapid and full recovery. With long-term effects potentially impacting accident victims, civil actions often arise to obtain the best possible compensation. Commonly sought damages arising from TBIs caused by auto accidents include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced enjoyment
- Lost earnings potential
- Damaged relationships
- Medical costs
Some items, like medical costs, are readily provable. Others like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost career opportunities can be more difficult to prove in court. An experienced lawyer can help build a strong case against the at-fault party.
Potential for Punitive Damages in Pennsylvania
When injuries are severe and costly and the at-fault party acted particularly recklessly, the more likely they are liable for punitive damages. Punitive damages are additional punishments ordered by a civil court to emphasize the outrageous way in which the offending party acted.
When a motorist engages in an egregious driving behavior, then punitive damages become likely. Continually drinking and driving despite prior convictions is a good example of how a motorist willfully engaged in driving behaviors that could trigger punitive damages following an accident.
Punitive damages can include compensation for damages that do not create direct costs, such as pain and suffering. However, the effects are just as real as broken bones or a head injury. An experienced lawyer can help their client successfully argue for punitive damages in extreme cases.
Our Norristown Car Crash Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Those Suffering From Collision-Related TBIs
Our experienced car wreck attorneys in Norristown help clients financially recover from TBIs after car accidents. If you have a TBI that was caused by a reckless driver, call us at 267-861-7100 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown, Pennsylvania.