When someone sustains a traumatic brain injury in a car accident or due to a fall or during a sports activity, often the symptoms are subtle and begin slowly.
As a personal injury attorney early in my career, I represented a young woman who was involved in a car accident. The accident was serious, both cars were totalled, but fortunately neither driver was seriously injured, or so we thought.
My client, the party who was not at fault in the accident, was a young and vibrant nursing student with a 4.0 average and internships waiting for her at any area hospital she wanted. She had been a top student her entire life. And what she wanted to do with her life was help others.
And so it was only natural immediately following the accident that the first thing this young nursing student did was check on the other driver and make sure that he was okay and not injured. He was fine. He was mad at having totalled his father’s SUV and having ran a red light but other than that he was okay.
So my client called her parents and a friend to let them know what had happened and then sat down on the curb to try and gather her thoughts. Slowly she began to feel dizzy and a little disoriented. But she shook it off as nerves and even denied treatment at the scene figuring that she just needed to go home and get some rest and that things would be fine. They weren’t.
In the days and weeks to come first she simply had a sore and stiff neck from what her doctor thought was simple whiplash from the accident. Btu then, very slowly, began showing up. She had headaches, which she had never had before. Then she started having memory problems – first minor things like where she left her keys, then bigger issues like whole conversations. She started having concentration problems and reading difficulties and her school work began to suffer. And this is when she knew something was seriously wrong and she sought medical help.
What fallowed was a serious of never ending doctor appointments including specialist after specialist who simply could not find anything abnormal on any of the imaging studies that were ordered and reviewed. Despite this lack of evidence what had happened, and what she was suffering from, was clear: she had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion induced by the whiplash that she had sustained in her car accident.
She was told by countless doctors that she should get better over time and that her symptoms would go away. They didn’t and she didn’t. Her grades took a nose-dive, she dropped out of school, and was forced to move back home and in with her parents. Her entire life was placed on hold.
What happened to this young nursing student unfortunately we see with brain injury victims on a regular basis. Symptoms from a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) often take days or even weeks to show up. And then they often do so slowly. And what makes all of these cases difficult is that the CT scans, MRIs and other imaging studies are often negative for any abnormalities.
And from a legal standpoint these cases couldn’t be more challenging. The difficult nature of both the medical and legal aspects of a personal injury matter involving a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury makes your selection of an attorney all the more important.
My client, the nursing student, was fortunate. She found attorneys who were willing to fight for her and doctors that cared and eventually was able to put her life back together. If you or a friend or a family member sustains a brain injury in a personal injury accident you should want the same. So contact us, we’d like to help.