Detecting Mild Brain Injuries After A Car Accident

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most troubling injuries that can be suffered in a car accident. Not only do brain injuries cause painful and life-altering consequences, but they can also be very hard to detect. As a result, many brain injury victims end up with significantly delayed diagnoses, or even worse, never even have their injury detected at all.

Most brain injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents happen in one of two ways. The first occurs when the head strikes a hard object, like a steering wheel, windshield or door panel. The second occurs when a person's body is jolted forward or backward during an accident. This can cause the brain to move and strike the inside of the skull.

Both mechanisms of injury can lead to bruising of the brain tissue. In addition, since the brain is so soft, its movement inside the skull can cause microscopic tears that sever connections within the brain. Unfortunately, neither bruises nor tears can be easily detected with X-rays, MRIs or other common imaging technologies.

Diagnosing Brain Injuries

Traditionally, doctors have relied on patients' symptoms to diagnose traumatic brain injuries tied to car accidents. Some of the most common symptoms associated with mild brain injury include the following:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Persistent headaches.
  • Confusion or diminished cognitive abilities.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Fatigue that does not diminish with rest.
  • Increased irritability or changes in personality.

There are, however, some new imaging tools that are helping physicians diagnose brain injuries more accurately. For example, a technology called Susceptibility Weighted Imaging can allow doctors to spot brain abnormalities caused by small hemorrhages and tears. SWI works by utilizing high resolution imaging that highlights areas with contrasting blood and iron concentrations.

Furthermore, a recent study presented to the American Academy of Neurology found that advanced MRI scans could reveal evidence of mild TBI. Unlike more severe brain injuries, which tend to present with linear lesions on a small section of the brain, mild TBIs are often associated with microbleed lesions throughout the brain tissue.

Working With An Experienced Attorney

Unfortunately, most clinics and hospital emergency departments do not have the equipment to perform these scans. Instead, brain injury patients will likely need to connect with a doctor or clinic that specializes in treating brain injuries.

This is an area where many accident victims are surprised to learn that their attorneys can be of assistance. In addition to having the skills and resources necessary to litigate the claim, most experienced personal injury attorneys also have access to extensive networks of medical experts.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advocate on your behalf and help you get the care you need.