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Dealing with Spinal and Head Injuries from Car Accidents

Dan Brian   |  March 28, 2016   |  

Two of the most serious types of injuries – as well as two of the most common – that result from car accidents are spinal injuries and head injuries. Both types of injuries may have lasting repercussions for an affected person, requiring long-term care and forever changing the course of the person’s life.

painful spinal injury stick figure personIf you are involved in a car accident and suffer from a spinal or head injury, or both, you deserve to be compensated if someone else was to blame for the crash. The North Carolina car accident attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, LLP, can guide you through the process of recovering damages.

Signs and Symptoms of a Head or Spine Injury After a Car Accident

A head injury and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often synonymous. Anytime that the head is hit with force, shaken violently, or penetrated, and the normal function of the brain is disturbed, a person has a TBI.

While many people assume that brain injuries are obvious, oftentimes symptoms are not clear, and people fail to seek medical care.

If any of the following symptoms of a head injury (according to the Mayo Clinic) appear after someone is involved in a car accident, seek treatment immediately:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Leaking of fluids from ears or nose
  • Sensory problems
  • Difficulty standing
  • Not being able to wake up
  • Changes in mood or emotion
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Dilation of the pupil(s)
  • Coma

An icon style drawing of a brain with a curved arrow pointing to a stick figure person. A proper diagnosis is essential when a person suffers a head injury. While minor head injuries may heal with rest alone, others may require more emergency and invasive measures, such as surgery. Headaches after an accident should not be ignored!

A spinal injury usually has more acute symptoms. A person who has a spinal injury will typically be able to tell immediately that something is not right.

The spinal column is composed of vertebrae. When the spinal column is disturbed, a fracture of one of the vertebrae may occur. Typically, this is characterized by sudden and severe back pain, obvious deformity of the spine, height loss, and potentially stomach and breathing complications.

What is even more serious than a spinal fracture in itself, though, is when a spinal column injury disturbs the spinal cord. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of sensation
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme back pain or pressure

Remember, not all injuries are obvious after a car accident. Regardless of whether you think that you have a serious injury or not, you should always get checked out by a medical professional after a car accident for the sake of your health and wellbeing.

Long-Term Complications of Head and Spine Injuries

Both a head injury and a spinal cord injury can cause long-term complications. A head injury can lead to permanent changes in a person’s cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities. If a TBI is very severe, a person may require long-term care for the remainder of their life, and will permanently be unable to do the things that they once did, work, or care for themselves.

A spinal injury can have the same effect. While a spinal column fracture may be treatable, often with surgery, it can still limit a person’s mobility on a long-term basis. A spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating injury types, as a spinal cord injury can cause irreversible paralysis or partial paralysis from the injury site downward.

Compensation for Brain and Spinal Injuries from Car Accidents

The damages that an individual is likely to suffer from a head or spinal injury are severe. A person may find themselves:

With hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills

  • Unable to return to their job
  • Unable to provide for their family financially, physically, or emotionally
  • Unable to care for themselves
  • Unable to do the things that they once loved
  • Unable to pay for basic cost of living expenses
  • Psychologically traumatized by the accident

If the accident resulting in injury was caused by the negligence of another, filing a lawsuit for compensation may be in order.

A car accident lawsuit can help a victim recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost benefits
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Other losses

Filing a Claim for a Spinal or Head Injury after a Car Accident

It is very important that you act quickly after a car accident in order to improve your chances of receiving your full benefit amount. In addition to seeking medical care – which is not only useful in protecting your health, but also in protecting your right to compensation – make sure that a police report is filed about the accident, that you get the other driver’s contact information, and that you inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible.

If you are physically able to do so, you should also begin collecting evidence about the accident as soon as you are able. This includes notes about what happened and who you believe to be at fault, pictures of the accident scene and damages, and thorough documentation of all your medical bills.

Contact an Experienced North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today

You have rights after you have been injured in a car accident, as do your family members. At the law offices of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, our car accident attorneys will do everything we can to advocate for your rights and get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more about our legal services and steps you should take, schedule a free case consultation by filling out our online form now.