Many brain injuries can cause severe symptoms. The brain can suffer an injury without the head being directly impacted, making brain injuries common in motor vehicle accidents, especially those involving large trucks.
Even at a slow speed, getting hit by a commercial truck can cause catastrophic injuries. Some injuries take time to show symptoms, meaning that you could have suffered a brain injury in the truck accident but will not see symptoms until days or weeks later.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an injury affects how the brain operates. This is frequently caused by a direct blow to the head, but it may also be caused without any impact to the skull. The most common example of this is a concussion. Your head may not impact the steering wheel, dash, or headrest, but the impact was so forceful that your brain moved around in your skull, causing damage and a concussion.
There are many tell-tale signs of a TBI. There are both physical and behavioral symptoms to look for after a truck accident. Some can be subtle and could be missed.
Common physical symptoms of a TBI include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Loss of balance.
- Sudden fatigue.
- Weakness in fingers and toes.
- Fluid draining from the nose or ears.
- Dilated pupils.
A TBI can also cause many behavioral symptoms that might be overlooked after a truck accident. Common behavioral symptoms include:
- Sudden memory loss.
- Sudden mood changes.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Slurred speech.
Even if you are not experiencing these symptoms, you could still be suffering from a TBI. One of the biggest symptoms to look out for is lack of motivation. If you have been in a truck accident, appearing lazy or unmotivated to do daily tasks could be a sign of a TBI. You should also understand that anyone suffering from a TBI might not fully comprehend what is happening to them.
What Are the Categories of TBIs?
There are three degrees of TBIs:
- Severe: A severe TBI usually leaves a person unconscious from the moment of impact and may remain in a coma.
- Moderate: A moderate TBI may make someone lose consciousness for a short time, but they will likely regain consciousness on their own. They may have long-term damage caused by brain swelling and bleeding.
- Mild: A mild TBI generally does not cause someone to lose consciousness, although they can for a brief period of time. A mild TBI usually causes brief memory loss, confusion, and disorientation.
Just because a TBI is categorized as mild does not mean it should be ignored. A concussion is the most common type of mild TBI. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should go to the doctor immediately. While in-home care and rest will likely be prescribed, ensuring there is not any additional serious damage is vital.
What Are Common Causes of TBIs?
About 25 percent of all TBI hospitalizations every year are caused by motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Large trucks are common causes of the more serious accidents. Tractor-trailers weigh many times more than your regular car, up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. The sheer size and weight of the truck can cause catastrophic impact. Even with the highest safety rated vehicles, that force can cause significant damage.
A TBI can also occur in a slow-moving accident. A truck moving slowly can still cause immense damage. The weight of a truck can push through many barriers and protections inside the passenger car. Often, these accidents cause TBIs.
What Should I Do if My Loved One Has a TBI?
It can be extremely challenging for family members who have a loved one who is suffering from a TBI. Above all, the family needs to be supportive and understand that their loved one is going through a traumatic time.
Here are some ways you can help someone who is suffering from a TBI:
- Create a routine. Helping them create a routine and adhere to a schedule will increase their independence. For example, getting ready for bed typically involves brushing the teeth, putting on pajamas, and turning out the lights, which will help the brain recognize that it is bedtime. The same is true of any activity. Routine helps the brain be prepared for tasks.
- Use visual and audible reminders. Visual cues like to-do lists and written schedules can help a person who has a TBI follow a pattern of steps for each task. Audible reminders and alarms can also help by reminding them to change tasks.
- Be patient with them. This goes for both you and the injured person. The brain is a complex part of the body that will not heal overnight. You also need to give the person more time than you may think is necessary to respond to a question or to complete a task.
Is it Possible to Get Compensation for a TBI?
Trucks are massive vehicles that can cause lifelong injuries. Even with all the precautions, you could still end up in a truck accident and suffer from a TBI. While many TBIs will eventually heal, you may have to endure significant life changes. These could include:
- An inability to return to work temporarily or permanently.
- Missing out on life events.
- Spending extended periods of time in the hospital.
- Undergoing extensive medical treatment.
- Spending time in rehabilitation.
Not only do each of these items take away from your enjoyment of life, but they also add to the financial burden you may face after a truck accident. That is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer who can help you overcome the financial challenges.
If possible, your lawyer may try to get you compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Lost income.
- Lost earning potential.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Present and future medical expenses.
- Rehabilitation costs.
Your ability to collect compensation will depend on you being able to prove that someone else caused the truck accident and your TBI. That is why it is crucial that you gather all of the documentation you receive, such as medical bills.
Whenever you receive a bill for medical services provided to you following a truck accident, keep a copy. You should get copies of your medical records as well. You may need those to show the amount of money you had to pay out of pocket to cover your medical care because of the truck accident.
You will also want to get a copy of the police report if possible. The police report may not assign fault, but it will provide crucial information your lawyer can use to show that the other driver was negligent and caused the truck accident. Proving negligence is important for the success of your personal injury claim. All of the evidence you collect will help your lawyer.
South Jersey Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Can Protect Your Rights if You Have a TBI Because of a Truck Accident
A truck accident is a traumatic experience, and you may not know what to do if you are left with a catastrophic injury. To get the legal help you need following an accident, speak with one of our South Jersey catastrophic injury lawyers at DiTomaso Law. You can call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you. We are located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.