A traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a car crash could cost someone hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. It might also force them to change professions.
Despite the potentially severe impacts such injuries can have on someone’s life, a surprising number of people fail to notice the warning signs of a TBI immediately after a collision. It may take them multiple days to seek a medical evaluation, at which point they may have an uphill battle when seeking compensation. Why is it so common for people to overlook TBIs following a car crash?
The chemical response people have to trauma
The human brain takes special steps when someone is in immediate physical danger. It pumps someone full of chemicals that allow them to flee the situation or potentially fight off a predator. One of the things that those chemicals do is to mask pain symptoms. People may not recognize that they have pain in their head after a crash until hours later when their chemical state goes back to normal.
Symptoms can take days to develop
The warning signs of a TBI aren’t necessarily obvious at the time of a collision. Often, the swelling or bruising of the brain will continue to progress for some time after the initial trauma. Someone may have symptoms several days after a crash that they did not experience immediately after the collision. Many people will ignore their initial symptoms, such as a persistent headache, because they don’t yet seem significant enough to warrant medical attention.
Symptoms are different from case to case
The dramatic symptoms often depicted in the media, such as unconsciousness, confusion and slurred speech are only a few of the possible symptoms that a brain injury can generate. TBIs cause symptoms ranging from motor function challenges and a loss of equilibrium to issues with memory and changes in personality. With such a broad range of symptoms possible, people often fail to properly screen themselves for signs of injury. Those involved in high-speed collisions, especially those who strike their heads or lose consciousness for even a few moments, may need to see a medical professional to rule out the possibility of a brain injury after a car crash.
Receiving a timely diagnosis can improve someone’s chances of recovery and make it easier for them to seek compensation after a wreck caused by another’s negligence, recklessness or intentional conduct.