Motor vehicle collisions often result in devastating injuries. A head injury, for example, can lead to damage that is either structural or functional in nature. Depending on the severity of the injury, an individual can suffer lifelong impairment.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur with direct physical impact to the head or not. In some situations, the jarring motion of the vehicle can lead to a back and forth or side to side movement of the head. This violent motion can cause the brain to crash into the hard inner surface of the cranium. Most likely, however, a vehicle occupant will strike his or her head against the steering wheel, dashboard or side structural supports of the car or truck.
While, generally, there might be a visible indicator of the injury – lacerations, bruising, or swelling – symptoms of a TBI might not contain an easily-identifiable component. In fact, some symptoms might not appear for hours or even days after an accident. These are often referred to as “hidden symptoms” because it becomes challenging for a diagnostician to clearly link the sudden new symptom to any physical impact.
Commonly, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can be described as either behavioral or emotional. Changes in behavior might include:
- Increased aggressiveness
- Increased impulsivity
- Poor judgment
- Decreased ability to initiate conversation
- Repetitive behaviors
- Diminished social skills
- Impaired self-awareness
Emotional effects might include:
- Increased anxiety
- Mood swings
- Changes in self-esteem
These symptoms can be accompanied by personality changes and memory impairment. It is often the friends and family members of the individual who first notice these changes in mood or behavior. After a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can provide the guidance and honest answers you need.