If you've been in a car accident that resulted in an injury to your brain or spinal cord, you're probably facing a long road to recovery. It's important to understand that these types of injuries could resurface later in your life due to the trauma that you experienced. Therefore, it's a good idea to make sure that the compensation you receive from a lawsuit, settlement, or insurance claim will cover any unforeseen medical issues that might occur later in life. Here's what you need to know if you've had a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury in a car accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury = Seizures
Initial injury: The impact of a vehicle accident, such as when a head hits the steering wheel with brutal force, could cause the brain to continue to move inside the skull until it hits the skull and, possibly, slam back and forth inside the skull. This can result in injuries such as a concussion, a diffuse axonal injury, and/or a diffuse axonal shearing.
Can cause: A traumatic brain injury can cause seizures. About 25% of people who have a seizure after a brain injury will have another seizure months or years after the initial injury. Out of those, 80% will have recurrent seizures.
Symptoms to look for: Grand mal seizures cause unconsciousness and convulsions. Other types of seizures (atonic, clonic, myoclonic, and tonic) cause various symptoms including unresponsiveness, staring, vision changes, dizziness, confusion, tiredness, shaking, twitching, being unable to speak or comprehend, and loss of bowel and bladder control.
How it can affect your life: Recurrent seizures can make it difficult to remain gainfully employed. A diagnosis of recurrent seizures may cause you to lose your driving privileges. You may need to take medication daily to control the seizures.
Compensation to consider: If you had a seizure shortly after the car accident, it's a good idea to include unforeseeable medical costs and loss of the ability to drive as you and your lawyer determine a value for your case.
Spinal Cord Injury = Syringomyelia
Initial injury: A impact to the back or a contortion of your body during an accident can result in a back injury. The nerves in the spinal cord and the discs in the spine can also be damaged, especially in a severe vehicle collision where the force can be tremendous.
Can cause: Anytime there is an injury to the spinal cord, there is a risk of the development of a condition called syringomyelia. This is a progressive condition in which cysts filled with cerebrospinal fluid form inside the spinal cord. In fact, research shows that this condition can develop as soon as 3 months or as late as 32 years after a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms to watch for: A syrinx can cause weakness, muscle spams, pain, and/or stiffness in your legs, arms, neck, and/or back. Your face may feel numb and have pain. You may not be able to control your bladder and/or bowels.
How it can affect your life: Since syringomyelia is a progressive condition, you may eventually find it difficult to perform regular tasks of daily living. This condition could eventually lead to paralysis, so surgery to drain the syrinx is highly recommended.
Compensation to consider: Since syringomyelia is a progressive condition, it's a good idea to include the costs of ongoing life-long medical testing for this condition in the valuation of your case. That way, the MRIs and other imaging tests can be paid for. Your lawyer may value the unforeseen medical expenses portion of your case based on the severity of your spinal cord injury.
For more information and assistance with getting compensation for your injuries as well as future injuries, talk with a car accident attorney.