Whiplash and Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur when the brain collides with the skull and suffers damage as a result. This type of injury is, understandably, most often associated with a victim who suffers direct trauma to the head. However, many people may not realize that a person does not need to actually hit their head on an object in order to suffer a TBI. Instead, TBI can also occur when the head is jolted or shaken so hard that the brain rattles inside the skull.
Whiplash1 refers to a variety of soft tissue neck injuries that an individual may suffer when their head snaps suddenly forward or backward and then back the other way. Whiplash gets its name because the motion of the head is similar to the cracking of a whip. Needless to say, when the head jolts hard enough to cause soft tissue injury in the neck, chances are high that the jolt was also hard enough to make the brain knock against the skull. In this way, whiplash victims often also suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Though we do not often hear of the correlation between whiplash and traumatic brain injury, a medical study2 found that, out of 1200 patients who suffered whiplash, 23 percent also suffered some degree of brain injury. Because only a limited group was examined for this study, the true number of whiplash sufferers who also had TBI may be even higher.
Signs and symptoms of whiplash-induced TBI
Victims who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may experience a wide array of signs and symptoms, many of which can hinder their ability to live a normal life while they recover. Some signs and symptoms may include the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Blurry vision
- Other sensory issues
- Moodiness or depression
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Difficulty following conversations
- Inability to express proper emotion
- Struggling with timed activities
- Numbness or tingling of extremities
- Memory problems
Even if the brain injury is relatively minor, the symptoms can cause TBI victims to often experience an interruption in their regular lives. They may be unable to go to school, work, or even do regular everyday activities. Often, brain injury victims will require extended periods of rest as well as rehabilitative therapy. This is all in addition to any treatments required for the soft tissue injuries caused by the whiplash.
Symptoms may be delayed or misdiagnosed
To complicate matters even further, signs and symptoms of brain injuries may go undetected by an immediate medical examiner. Often TBI symptoms can take up to 24 hours or more to show up in a victim. Therefore, if you go to the emergency room or to the doctor directly after an accident, you may not have experienced any brain injury symptoms yet and so the medical professional may not know to perform tests to check for a TBI. In addition, many of the symptoms of TBI, such as headaches, neck pain, or odd sensations in the arms and fingers, are also commonly associated with whiplash, so your doctor may simply attribute y our symptoms to your neck injury. Anyone in a motor vehicle accident should request tests for TBI whether or not you have hit your head on anything during the accident, especially if you suffered whiplash injuries.
An experienced Clearwater, Florida traumatic brain injury attorney can help you recover
Following a car accident case, you need an attorney who knows how to help you recover for all of your injuries that were related to the collision. If you suffered whiplash, your legal team should always look into whether you also suffered any related injuries such as a TBI and will help you receive compensation for all treatments you received. The Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida has a group of attorneys led by Matthew Dolman who has extensive experience not only in motor vehicle accident cases but also in handling claims involving traumatic brain injuries. If you are the victim of a TBI, please call at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation to discuss how we can assist you today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756