Large commercial trucks are involved in tens of thousands of accidents annually on Texas roads and highways. If your car or SUV is struck at highway speed by a fully loaded 18-wheeler, you’re likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. One of the worst truck accident injuries you can sustain is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs afflict as many as 10,000 truck accident victims each year in our state.
If you suffer a TBI in a Texas truck crash, you’re entitled to file a claim for damages against one or more liable parties, which could include the trucker, the trucking company, a manufacturer, or a repair service that maintains the truck. Obtaining fair compensation for an expensive claim from multiple defendants is a complex job best left to the experienced truck accident lawyers at SJ Injury Attorneys.
Closed-Head Injuries vs. Open-Head Injuries
A head wound might be categorized as either closed or open, depending on whether the skull was penetrated in the accident.
A closed head injury can result from a hard impact to the head that does not fracture the skull. If you hit your head on a steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield in a truck wreck, your brain can actually bounce around inside your head. When the soft tissues of the brain collide with the inside of your skull, a contusion, cerebral concussion, or brain herniation can result.
An open head injury, also called a penetrating injury, results from a piercing of the brain by something sharp. If your skull is fractured from the impact of a truck crash, shards of bone can pierce the brain tissue. Glass from a broken window or sharp pieces of metal can also pierce the skull and enter the brain in a truck wreck.
Specific Types and Levels of Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are a number of different TBIs you might sustain in a truck accident, including the following.
A cerebral concussion is a mild TBI that occurs more often than any other in a truck wreck. In some cases, post-concussion syndrome (PCS) requires treatment by a neurologist to address ongoing symptoms.
A contusion is a bruise on the brain that occurs in approximately 30% of head injuries. In some cases, a contusion can result in a subdural hematoma (brain bleed), which requires surgery.
If your skull is fractured in a truck crash, bone fragments from your skull enter the brain and cause a penetrating injury, which is potentially fatal.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
Extreme whiplash or twisting of the neck or head that tears the brain’s nerve tissue can impair your speech and other functions.
The brain sustains multiple contusions, both on the side impacted in the wreck and on the other side of the brain.
Recurrent Brain Injury
If you should suffer a second TBI before the first has healed completely, your symptoms are likely to be more severe than usual. Long-term brain damage can result.
Common Symptoms Associated With TBIs
The symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe TBIs range from bruising to brain herniation, depending upon the severity of the injury.
The symptoms of mild TBIs are headaches, balance problems, nausea, swelling, lack of concentration, and mood swings.
Moderate TBI symptoms include headaches, loss of consciousness, abnormal behavior, and coma.
Severe TBIs are characterized by unresponsiveness, coma, loss of cognitive function, and slipping into a vegetative state.
Other symptoms that might be associated with any TBI include:
- Lack of communication
- Avoidance of social interaction
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
What to Do After a Truck Crash Brain Injury
If you’re involved in a truck accident that causes whiplash or any impact to your head, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you’re not transported to a hospital after the crash, see a doctor on your own right away, even if you don’t feel you’re seriously injured. A medical exam and diagnostic testing can reveal hidden damage and get you started on treatment right away. A doctor’s exam and diagnosis also provide documentation of your injury, which is vital to your insurance claim. Other steps you can take to preserve evidence if you’re physically able to do so, include:
- Calling 911 to report your accident
- Taking photos of the vehicles involved and the scene
- Exchanging insurance and contact information with the other driver
- Getting contact information from any witnesses
- Informing your own insurance company of the accident
- Staying off social media
- Not speaking to any adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Not admitting fault
- Contacting a truck accident attorney
An attorney can investigate your accident thoroughly and obtain data from the truck’s onboard recording devices to prove liability in your case. Your lawyer can also handle all communication with the insurers of multiple defendants. You should not respond to phone calls or email messages from these insurers. Instead, refer them to your attorney, concentrate on recovering from your TBI, and let your lawyer do the talking.