car accident attorneyThe majority of reported traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents.  Traumatic brain injuries are the result of some force penetrating or fracturing the skull.  For instance, in a car accident, a brain can be traumatized when an occupant’s head strikes the steering wheel or windshield.  A car accident lawyer is skilled in handling these types of cases, establishing liability and proving medical damages.

Not all traumatic brain injuries leave an open wound

One thing many people don’t realize is that there may not be an open wound in every traumatic brain injury.  In car accidents, the sheer force of the collision can cause the brain to collide with the internal hard bone of the skull. This happens when a moving head comes to a quick stop, but the brain continues in its movement, striking the interior of the skull. The result is often a contusion (bruising of the brain) and hemorrhage (bleeding of the brain), neither of which may be visible at the time of injury.

Brain injuries from blunt trauma

Blunt trauma is a more serious type of head injury that typically occurs in a car accident when a moving head strikes a stationary object such as the windshield or where the head is crushed by the roof caving in, for instance, or if the occupant is ejected from the car and strikes an object.  Blunt trauma often results in an open wound.  In blunt force trauma, the impact on the brain is different in that the impact is on the opposite side of the skull from the source of trauma.

General classifications of brain injuries

Brain injuries are generally classified into one of three categories: mild, moderate, or severe. The victim of a “mild” brain injury, will typically experience loss of consciousness, confusion or disorientation, but it usually lasts 30 minutes or less.  The majority of reported traumatic brain injuries are concussions or other types of mild brain injuries.   Moderate brain injuries are characterized by longer periods of unconsciousness and sometimes memory loss. Severe or catastrophic brain injuries often result in impaired cognitive functions and, possibly, comatose states.

You car accident lawyer can tell you if your injury is “catastrophic”

Catastrophic injuries are typically characterized by the level of devastation.  These injuries are usually so severe that they require a significant amount of medical treatment.  Often, this includes long-term hospitalization, ongoing rehabilitation, and multiple surgeries, among other things.  Catastrophic injuries frequently result in significant financial consequences, as well.

What is “crashworthiness?”

Crashworthiness refers to the ability of a structure to protect its occupant during impact. The “crashworthiness” of a vehicle is most commonly discussed when testing and investigating the safety of vehicles.  The criteria used in determining crashworthiness depends on certain factors, including the nature of the impact and the type of motor vehicle involved in the crash.  The legal issues surrounding liability are not really who is at fault in the accident, but whether or not the vehicle protected the occupants the way it was supposed to.

Traumatic brain injuries caused by vehicle defects

In many car accident cases, traumatic brain injuries are the result of some type of vehicle defect.  One recent example is sudden acceleration, where the vehicle suddenly accelerates on its own due to a manufacturing defect.  In vehicle defect cases there is usually a pre-existing defect in the vehicle which it is believed actually caused the accident to occur.  An automotive defect or defective part can include any of the following:

  • defective seatbelts
  • defective airbags
  • defective seatbelts
  • child seat failures
  • tire failure or defective tires
  • faulty door latches
  • improperly designed roofs
  • vehicle defects which lead to rollovers.

It is common for these types of vehicle defects to lead to more severe injuries for the victims.

Types of damages available for traumatic brain injuries

It is important to contact a car accident lawyer who has the experience you need to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. They will be better able to assist in determining who is responsible.  This means determining whether the cause of the accident was an at-fault, negligent, reckless or aggressive driver or by defective parts, defective or recalled vehicle, or vehicle design defects.  Potential damages available for traumatic brain injury claims include the cost of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are a special type of damages designed to punish the defendant for their reckless behavior.
If you have questions regarding traumatic brain injuries, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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