Truck accidents routinely cause fatalities, but they also cause catastrophic injuries that can leave a victim debilitated for life. No truck accident injury is worse than a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can be so devastating the victim can no longer do the everyday things that most of us take for granted, like making our meals, bathing, or even brushing our teeth. However, there are a lot of different types of traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild to severe.
If you or a loved one suffered a TBI in an accident caused by a distracted truck driver, a tired driver, or any other type of negligence, a lawyer with Penn Kestner & McEwen is ready to help. Our firm has helped clients across the country obtain full and fair compensation, and we can do the same for you. Call (800) 732-3070 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your case.
How Do Truck Accidents Cause Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Since trucks are so much larger than the average passenger cars – commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while passenger cars weigh about 4,000 pounds – when a truck hits a car, the forces are incredible.
Motorists and their passengers are at risk for severe injuries, including TBI. Some of the kinds of TBI are detailed below.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries: Closed Brain Injury vs. Penetrating Brain Injury
Two of the most common forms of TBI are closed and penetrating brain injuries. A closed TBI occurs when the victim’s brain slams against the inside of their skull. The force of the truck’s impact can cause the head to suddenly lurch forward, resulting in torn tissues, swelling, and bleeding.
Open or penetrating TBI can occur during a truck accident as well. It happens when the victim’s head strikes a hard object inside their car. It could be the steering wheel, the dashboard, or even the windshield. The impact can crack the skull and force pieces of bone into the brain. Not only does a penetrating TBI cause torn and swelling brain tissue, but it also poses a significant risk of severe infections.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
A DAI is another form of severe TBI. This occurs when axonal tracts, nerve fibers in the brain’s white matter, are sheared. A significant DAI can lead to a coma and other forms of permanent damage.
Primary and Secondary Brain Injuries
A primary brain injury happens upon impact. Examples include the following:
- A skull fracture.
- A bruise on the brain can lead to bleeding and the formation of blood clots (also known as hematomas).
- A concussion.
- Lacerations or tears in the brain’s blood vessels or tissues.
Secondary brain injuries evolve over a period ranging from a few hours to days after the primary injury. Brain tissue is further destroyed due to a series of changes affecting the cells, blood vessels, tissues, and chemicals. A secondary brain injury is an indirect result of the initial trauma. These are just a few examples:
- A lack of blood flow to the brain, or ischemia.
- A lack of oxygen, which is also known as hypoxia.
- The blood pressure inside the brain can get too high or too low.
- Increased pressure inside the skull can result in parts of the brain herniating or becoming displaced.
- Meningitis, or a brain infection.
- Epilepsy due to chemical changes within the brain’s neurotransmitters.
Possible Effects of a Brain Injury
The long-term effects of a TBI will, of course, depend on the severity of the injury. Different people experience different effects, which can change over time. In most cases, however, TBI victims will encounter physical symptoms and cognitive issues and probably experience changes in their motor skills and behavior. Here are a few more common effects of this type of injury.
- Thinking and learning – Victims may find it difficult to think clearly, or understand what others say. They can also have problems remembering what they’re told, concentrating, and communicating.
- Physical symptoms – A moderate or severe TBI can result in arm and leg weakness and difficulty with balance and coordination. Victims may not be able to see or hear properly and may also experience sensory perception issues. For example, their sense of touch may disappear.
- Emotions and behavior – People with a TBI may have severe anxiety and depression and exhibit unnatural aggression and anger. They sometimes undergo a complete behavioral transformation, acting more impulsive than usual. Some victims find it very hard to control their behavior.
How Much Do Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries Cost?
As you might expect, the costs associated with a TBI are significant. According to one study, the average hospital expenses for TBI victims could reach as high as nearly $402,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the average emergency room TBI treatment costs more than $6,600. According to the CDC, a victim of a so-called “minor” TBI can miss an average of 11 days of work, typically costing about $1,600 per day.
But other expenses can last for years, long after a victim is out of the hospital. These include the following:
- Speech and occupational therapy
- In-home modifications
- Prescription medicines
- Nursing home care
- Crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair
- Loss of quality of life
Contact Penn Kestner and McEwen if You Were Injured in a Truck Accident
How can a TBI victim possibly hope to pay for those expenses? They’ll need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. A lawyer can uncover the evidence needed to prove that someone else is to blame and should be forced to pay compensation. Multiple parties could have contributed to the accident and should also face liability.
Penn Kestner & McEwen attorneys have an extensive track record of helping truck accident attorneys get the money they need to pay for their accident-related expenses. If you want to learn more about what we can do for you, schedule a free case review by contacting us online or calling (800) 732-3070.