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Recovering from a brain injury after a collision

No matter how alert and cautious a driver you are, if another Colorado motorist who is sharing your roadway is negligent or reckless, you are at great risk for injury. If you or your loved one were recently in a car accident, the events that transpired moments before the crash may be deeply etched in your mind. On the other hand, if you suffered a severe brain injury in the incident, the first memory you may have had was waking up in a hospital bed.

The levels of severity of a brain injury vary widely. Even a slight bump on the head upon impact in a motor vehicle accident can cause a concussion. In a situation where the other driver was traveling at highway speeds, the blunt force trauma to the head can cause immediate, life-threatening injuries. In either case, recovery can range from mildly challenging to long, arduous and highly stressful.

Knowing what to expect

Because no two situations are exactly the same, it's impossible to predict how a particular person's recovery will unfold. The information in the following list, however, may provide insight as to typical stages of recovery that many brain injury patients experience:

  • Unconsciousness is definitely a sign that traumatic brain injury has occurred.
  • In worst cases, those who suffer catastrophic brain injuries never regain consciousness.
  • If your loved one has opened his or her eyes and has responded to external stimuli, it is a good sign that he or she is on the road to recovery.
  • In the days that follow an accident, your spouse, child or parent may spend most hours of the day sleeping. This is a common stage of brain injury recovery.
  • The human brain is remarkable but needs time to stabilize and reorganize itself after suffering blunt force trauma.
  • As time goes go, your loved one may stay awake longer and may even be able to have a coherent conversation. Even at this stage, however, it's not uncommon to suffer setbacks, perhaps signified by mood swings, irritability or cognitive impairment.
  • Your loved one may need daily living assistance on a temporary or permanent basis after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Tasks such as eating, personal grooming or walking may require assistance either from you or a licensed caregiver.
  • In cases where neurologists are hopeful for complete recovery, the ultimate goal is to help the patient return to his or her normal lifestyle. It's always best to continue to closely observe the patient's condition, however, as symptoms of brain injury might recur.

The signs of traumatic brain injury are not always immediately apparent. In the days and weeks following a car accident, you should immediately report any signs of discomfort, head pain, mental confusion or other concerning symptom to a licensed physician. It's also critical to inform the doctor that the patient was recently involved in a collision as this information may influence his or her course of action regarding medical examination.

Who should pay for your medical bills and post-accident care?

When driver negligence is a causal factor in a collision that results in traumatic brain injury, victims and their families can seek monetary judgments against those deemed liable for damages.

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